Ask the Chancellors TV debate: Cable triumphs

Vince Cable wins by a nose in Channel 4's "love-in" with just over a third of the online vote and mo

At close of play in Channel 4's Ask the Chancellors, the Lib Dem Treasury spokesperson had edged the online vote with 36 per cent over Alistair Darling and George Osborne, jointly tied on 32 per cent.

Cable got laughs, calling the live debate a "love-in" and inviting the audience to ridicule a nervy Osborne's double standards on the savings set out in the Budget: last week they were pie in the sky, this week they are a damning indictment of government policy.

He also had the lion's share of catchphrases, calling out the "prima donnas in financial speculation" and "pinstripe Scargills" among the super-rich who are holding the country to ransom over the highest rate of tax.

This was hardly suprising -- as the public's choice for chancellor, Cable was always going to have the best of it. What was interesting was Osborne's weak showing, as he failed to land a solid punch on the government that had managed the finances for more than ten years preceding the recession.

Instead, the older men ganged up on the shaky Tory shadow chancellor, who could only manage weak references to the national debt in a discussion of the causes of the financial crisis.

Darling called out Osborne on National Insurance, accusing the shadow chancellor of "taking a terrible risk with the economy", and of being "irresponsible" and guilty of "poor, poor judgement". He even got a laugh from the derisory question, "What is the Conservative position?"

And he came back quickly on the accusation of stealing Conservative policy on stamp duty, saying, "Nothing like cross-party co-operation, George."

Verdict? Sorry, Dave, you're on your own.

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What did Jeremy Corbyn really say about Bin Laden?

He's been critiqued for calling Bin Laden's death a "tragedy". But what did Jeremy Corbyn really say?

Jeremy Corbyn is under fire for describing Bin Laden’s death as a “tragedy” in the Sun, but what did the Labour leadership frontrunner really say?

In remarks made to Press TV, the state-backed Iranian broadcaster, the Islington North MP said:

“This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died.”

He also added that it was his preference that Osama Bin Laden be put on trial, a view shared by, among other people, Barack Obama and Boris Johnson.

Although Andy Burnham, one of Corbyn’s rivals for the leadership, will later today claim that “there is everything to play for” in the contest, with “tens of thousands still to vote”, the row is unlikely to harm Corbyn’s chances of becoming Labour leader. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.