Last night's leader question time made for thrilling television and was certainly the best thing TV could do once Cameron had chickened out of a leader debate because that would have got him rattled and once rattled he lies and blusters. Last night's lies were smooth and untroubled.
Yet then audience was heavily and unfairly weighted against Miliband and he stumbled into two well prepared Tory traps. Clearly the Tories in the audience had been better briefed and prepared with their trick questions than the Labour people who just relied on their horror at then treatment of the poor and disabled ,something which doesn't trouble the Tories or apparently the Libs in the audience.
The first trap was on overspending by the last Labour government. Labour governments do spend more than Tories and they should be proud of it because of the schools, childrens centres, health practices hospitals and infrastructure this creates but the last Labour government spent more because it had to borrow to save the banks. N ot Labour's fault. The banks had created their own crisis by speculation. They had to be saved to avoid collapse.
Yet borrowing went up because of it and Cameron carefully prepared the trap by waving the note from Liam Byrne about no money left- something he just happened to have with him from five years ago. This was then followed by a carefully arranged question from the audience which pushed Ed Milliband into the trap and had him wallowing in the past as if he'd been responsible for turning Britain into Greece. Clever stuff because bogging down in the past meant less talk about the future which is what this election is really about
The second trap was to heighten the tory smear that Labour will be a puppet government with the strings pulled by the SNP. This assumes that Scottish MPs have no right to participate in government and appeals to English prejudices and conceals the fact that the Tories will be making concessions to the Ulster Unionists disturbing nthe carefully constructed balance in Northern Ireland to get their support.
But Ed blundered in disavowing any coalition with the SNP but also any working relationship and even seeming to say that he'd sooner not have a Labour government than have it with SNP support.That's barmy. If Labour needs an arrangement of any kind with the SNP then som be it. Then crucial issue is that government must be carried on and that that government should be Labour not Tory.
The Tories would do a deal with the devil, or even Cleggie the Clogg dancer and though the SNP will Take fewer Labour seats in Scotland than the wipe out proclaimers say they will take some and those replacements will be to the left of Labour and won't want an early election. Does it matter all that much whether Scottish MPs wear a Labour or an SNP shirt as long as they keep Labour in power? Mc Labour can avoid the Tory horrors that are to come if we go all prissy over a sporran or two.