by chrislucas on 27 March, 2014
Last night I watched the first instalment of the ‘Nick v Nigel’ debates on whether or not we should to be a part of the European Union, and I also followed the debate on Twitter. Hands down I thought that not only did Nick Clegg win it but I thought he TROUNCED Nigel Farage! So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the headlines this morning: ‘Farage Wins Europe Debate!’ Simply unbelievable! I have no idea what debate those polled were watching but it certainly wasn’t the one the rest of us were! OK, I’ll give him his due – there were moments when Farage was quite witty (the remark about the food being better since being in the EU) and the odd jab did manage to find its way through the guard (for instance when he repeatedly tried to associate Nick Clegg with the Euro and tuition fees), but they stung Nick Clegg more than they hurt him. Time and again, Nick Clegg kept landing blow after blow and Farage kept getting more and more flustered as he had no answer to the fact that 3m jobs depend on our relationship with the EU, that to deal with cross border crime we have to fully cooperate with our European neighbours and tackling climate change will require a pan-European response. So what did Farage do? Well, he did his usual thing: he makes it up as he goes along or he plays to the gallery. Farage claimed that 75% of laws come from Europe as opposed to the real figure of 7%. He stood by discredited UKIP literature that ’29 million Bulgarians and Romanians Could Come here’ when there are not 29 million Bulgarians or Romanians in those two countries put together! He then shamefully attacked same sex marriages. In the face of all that bluster and filibuster, Nick Clegg was much more passionate, much more knowledgeable and much more factual. Nick Clegg cited several examples of business leaders who state categorically that if it wasn’t for our membership of the EU they would not invest in Britain. Farage came back with some nonsense about trading with India & New Zealand, and the one thing I wish Nick had been clearer about was the fact that there is nothing stopping us from trading with those countries NOW, but who can blame British business from concentrating their trade our the 500m consumers right on our doorstep? I also liked the bit where Nick Clegg pointed out how ridiculous it was for Farage and his crew to vote against measures to help Brits in need of assistance when caught up in the criminal justice systems in other European countries for no other reason than “we don’t want to give Europe any more laws” dogma. So much for fighting for the rights of British people! Further analysis of the polls suggest that the result was not that clear-cut. Labour & Lib Dem voters suggest that Nick Clegg won it but Tory & UKIP voters gave it to Farage.
In my view there was only one real winner: the British people! Finally we get to see two hour long debates between two leaders from political parties whose position is clear – either in or out of Europe. Not a whiff of the “ifs”, “buts” and “maybes” you get from Labour and the Tories. It’s all set up rather nicely for the next debate on 2 April on BBC2.
Leave a comment