Another advantage of my enforced presence in Brussels was that I was able to see that debate yesterday evening. I must immediately eat my hat for, contrary to what I previously wrote, it was not staid. The dynamics were anything but. Moreover, there was a ‘surprise’ ‘winner’, in the form of Nick Clegg (all of the polls identified his performance as the best and support for his party immediately jumped). I don’t know whether, as Gordon Brown has said, the debate has energised the campaign, but on the basis of this showing it was certainly a worthwhile innovation. There were two other ‘surprises’. David Cameron, undoubtedly a skilful communicator, did not score the easy victory that some pundits expected of him. And Gordon Brown did not come across in the tired and negative way that some pundits had expected of him. Cameron was also at a subtle disadvantage as the man in the middle. I have put inverted commas around various words because the bookies had Clegg as the favourite for this debate and also it was always clear that Cameron and Brown, as pretender and incumbent, would have to concentrate their fire on each other. There were no disastrous gaffes, there was no killer blow, and all three parties are claiming that their candidates did well and, on balance, that’s probably right. Maybe the campaign will now come to life. I would certainly love to be a fly on the wall in the tactical discussions the two major parties must now be having!