Forget the hype, mind games and expectations management, success in the ‘art of communication’ will be the thump card tonight.
Here is the ‘cut out and keep’ guide of what to look out for:
A – aggression, arrogance
B – body language, boredom
C – candour, confidence
D – discipline, dress code
E - early exchanges, empathy, evasiveness, eye contact,
F – facts, fibs, flippancy
G – gaffes, gestures, gravitas
H – hesitation, human touch, humour
I – impressions, insults, interruptions,
J - jokes
L - leadership, lizard tongue
N - nerves
R – reaction, repetition
S – self-deprecation, slip-ups, smiles, sound bites, statistics, stories, stupid lines
T - the time limits, tributes, truth
W - waffle
For once, the verdict on tonight’s debate will come not from the commentators, but from the millions of voters throughout these damp islands.
And last but not least, the founding members of the AJ4PM committee will finally be able to pass judgement on Peter Mandelson’s decision to keep Gordon Brown in post.