Having seen the very warm reaction Nick Clegg got from his speech to the Citizens UK conference in Westminster Hall, I was a bit worried GB might not quite match the performance or the response. Oh me of little faith.
That was GB at his best. He was fired up with real passion, and the conviction of his politics came through. There was a depth to him that was lacking in David Cameron and Nick Clegg before him.
And the response of the audience showed that when GB can shake off the stultifying, negativising prism of the 24 hour media, and cut through direct to a big audience like that, he is head and shoulders above the other two when it comes to policy, values, conviction and ability to deliver.
He clearly enjoyed it. The people in the audience were an antidote to Cameron’s so-called Broken Britain. Twce GB said they had inspired him.
We need to see more of that hope and passion between now and Thursday. Because this remains an election that is impossible to call. The Tories may be in the lead, but their lead is not big enough to suggest they are homw and dry, and the resistance to an overall majority is strong.
Clegg remains quite popular, but his policies are not, and as TB has just said on a campaign visit in the Midlands, it is ultimately the policies that count. He told the story of someone who had said they had heard Clegg speak and he spoke well. ‘What did he say?’ asked TB. ‘Oh I don’t know.’
So yes, for sure, a lot of people have doubts about Labour. But they have just as many doubts about the other two. And with more undecideds than in any election any of us can recall, it is all to play for.
I have no idea if people who missed today’s three speeches will be able to watch them in full. They should. I don’t doubt the news tonight may focus as much on a lone protester as on what GB said, and the phenomenal response he inspired. But it will be very hard to edit out the passion and the mutual inspiration.
As the BBC reporter said, if there had been a clapometer, he won it. Sky also said that was him at his best. More of the same tomorrow and Wednesday and who knows what can happen on Thursday?
*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.