Opinion: First UK election debate a massive anti-climax

Either Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson will be the new UK Prime Minister.
Either Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson will be the new UK Prime Minister. Photo credit: ITV

Opinion: Great Britain is in dire need of a great Briton to fix its problems. 

Someone to unite the country after years of bitter division, austerity, political paralysis, and a revolving door of government ministers.

Someone to fix the crumbling NHS, crumbling infrastructure, and crumbling business confidence. 

But that 'someone' is neither Boris Johnson nor Jeremy Corbyn, the two men who just had their first head-to-head debate of the snap election campaign. 

One of them will become the new Prime Minister, even though neither deserves it given their performances. 

Boris Johnson stumbled through his opening statement, which he read from a piece of paper. Nice to see he'd made an effort to learn it. 

There was nothing new or inspired from him; his Brexit deal is 'oven-ready' and he'll serve it up by January 31, he'll pump billions into the NHS, and he'll grow the economy. 

Jeremy Corbyn's opening statement was polished, but that's as good as it got, with the same old rhetoric dribbling out of him. 

His crooked glasses distracted the focus from what he was saying, which was his unoriginal "for the many, not the few" line, as well as scaremongering about Boris privatising the NHS. 

The debate was 90 minutes of predictable and rehearsed lines and attacks and I doubt any viewers at home would've got to the end with any feeling of inspiration. 

Britain needs solutions, and the two people who just debated on the telly are problems, not answers.

Johnson's strategy was to turn every question into an oven-ready Brexit answer. Yes, Brexit is the reason for this election but it's not the answer to questions about his trustworthiness, or how his spending pledges will be funded, or how the NHS crisis will be addressed. 

Corbyn didn't seem to have a strategy and simply rock-hopped through core Labour values without actually saying too much. How will his 4-day week policy affect the government's cashflow? How will he pay for his frivolous spending pledges? And where will he get the 33,000 nurses needed for the NHS? 

The United Kingdom needs some certainty, and it needs a leader who will provide that. 

Unfortunately, the two choices in front of them are the antithesis of certainty. One is a socialist promising radical (and expensive) change while the other is a populist right-wing policy flip-flopper with a history of untrustworthiness. 

There are three weeks until polling day and two more debates. Here's hoping they both buck up their ideas and show some long-needed leadership.

Lloyd Burr is Newshub's European correspondent.

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