The duel between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn was described by some as a “boring draw” – as neither of the two men gave an outstanding performance.
It is safe to say that the leadership debate broadcast on television last night was not exactly a spectacular showpiece.
The different reactions of the party leaders give a decisive insight into their character
About 20 minutes after the start of the debate, a listener asked a very pertinent question about people’s ability to trust politicians after the few years in which disagreement, aggression and repulsiveness have been so great.
There was, however, a defining moment that provided a crucial insight into the different characters of the two men vying for the office of prime minister of this country.
This was the moment in the debate when the leaders were asked to convey some of their personal values and beliefs, to talk to potential voters about what makes them tick and why they believe in public service.
As we have seen many times before, this inward-looking, relativistic response is simply not something that Boris Johnson can – or is willing to – do.
Of course, he did not mention that the country’s highest court found that he had unlawfully suspended the same parliament.
Instead, he decided to put all the blame for lack of trust in politicians on the parliament because it had not allowed him to push through his brexite deal.
It was almost funny how his answer to this question ended up with him repeating the sound bite of “Get Brexit Done” for the umpteenth time in the debate.
Nor did he realize that the trust of the people might have been somewhat undermined by a prime minister who promised he would rather “die in a ditch” than not leave the EU on October 31st – but he just kept going, regardless of when that didn’t happen.
Mr. Corbyn’s performance was far from perfect – he is not a natural in this format and did not deliver the number of decisive blows needed for someone who is as lagging behind in the polls as he is.
This gap became particularly apparent when comparing his answer to the same question about trust and integrity.
Instead of resorting to rehearsed political lines or looking for blame, he gave a decent and honest answer that many people will have liked.
But what he consistently showed was that he is a far more genuine character than his conservative rival.