The impact of the infamous Sheffield Rally on Neil Kinnock’s 1992 campaign is debatable. It took on emblematic significance after the election, rather than unarguably shifting the polls during the campaign.
But it remains short-hand for a campaign losing moment.
OK. David Cameron didn’t do anything dire during last week’s debate. There was nothing like Kinnock’s primeval cries of “Well, all right!” which will be repeated on the telly ad nauseam (including, one suspects, in his obituary videos).
But it is emerging that it was Cameron’s personal decision to have a three-way debate.
In fact, that was a decision with which I agree. – Good for democracy and all that.
But if you look at it from the point of view of the narrow partisan interests of the Conservative party, the debate has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. They’ve been struggling for ages to try to get above 40% in the polls – the magic figure associated with an overall majority in the Commons. Now this happens three weeks out and, instead of going up in the polls, they’ve gone down.