Five observations about last night’s debate

I actually enjoyed last night’s BBC Debate much more than I expected. Sure, I was livid that Nick Clegg had been excluded, but it was the price that had to be paid for David Cameron taking part in any debates at all. It was an interesting affair. There was no huge drama but it was mostly conducted in reasonable style. Nicola got her chance to bid for a coalition, Ed got the chance to rebuff her so honour was satisfied on that score. Conservative spin doctors trying to extrapolate post election chaos from that display just looked silly.

It told only half a story, though. Each of the four smaller party leaders outlined their own narrow (and in the case of Farage abhorrent) interests. The ideal coalition partner, who would govern for the whole country with fairness, responsibility and respect for civil liberties was not in the room. We have his pitch, though. I just wish the party would put the speech he made at the manifesto launch on Wednesday on You Tube. Particularly this bit:

At its heart is one word that is absolutely central to what Liberal Democrats believe: opportunity. No matter who you are, where you were born, what sexuality or religion you are or what colour your skin is, you should have the same opportunity to get on in life. We want to tear down the barriers that stop you from reaching your potential. We want to smash the glass ceilings that keep you from achieving what you want to achieve. Your talent and your hard work, not the circumstances of your birth, should decide what you can be.

Here are five quick observations from me about last night’s event.

Nigel Farage was a disgrace

He didn’t top the awful comments he made about people with HIV two weeks ago. That would have taken some doing, but slating the audience for being too lefty was a sign of his petulance. Nasty Nigel was there from the start though, making ill-informed barbs at immigrants.

What was particularly good was the way the three women called him out. They were perfectly reasonable about it, but they got him for demonising immigrants. Natalie Bennett was particularly good about her experience as an immigrant. They didn’t shout. They just took him down with logic and evidence. Nicola Sturgeon lamented the fact that UKIP had dragged other parties off to the right on this. Ed Miliband was a huge disappointment because he didn’t really do that.Unfortuantely, that’s because Labour are really pandering to UKIP these days, what with their mugs and the sorts of leaflets Liam Byrne’s campaign is putting out. 

Farage made me laugh though. That bit where he was talking about how UKIP was for the small businessman, not the massive corporate. You’d never have thought UKIP had just accepted a cool million from the owner of some of the most misogynist, unpleasant publications known to man. Nigel said they were spending it on social media. I was therefore very amused by an ad for UKIP appearing in my Facebook timeline this morning.

Ed and Nicola went soft on each other

Both Labour and SNP leaders missed an awful lot of open goals. Nicola has been floundering in leaders’ debates in Scotland on the issue of full fiscal autonomy. Ed mentioned it once, but he didn’t really use the fact that her plans would put a £7.6 billion black hole in Scotland’s finances. Nor did he tackle her during the housing section. There are 11,000 fewer social houses in Scotland since they cane to power however they might try to spin it.

In turn, Nicola let Ed off on the blatant discrepancy between what Jim “there will be no cuts in Scotland” Murphy and Chuka “the Scottish Labour leader will not be writing the budget” Umuna have ben saying.

A majority of women

Again it was good to see three women take to the stage and for once form a majority. I am getting a bit tired of people saying that Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood are out of their depth. I might not agree with them, but they are both capable of putting their points across engaging and effectively. They were up against three people (five in the last debate) with much more prominent roles on the national and international stage and they did fine. The problem I have with their arguments is that they don’t make economic sense. Leanne Wood did well to pitch for a better deal for Wales from Miliband. He said it couldn’t be afforded. That’s another area where Nick’s intervention would have been useful, because we have said we’ll sort it by the end of the Parliament.

Ed and young people

At one point, Ed talked about standing up for young people.These would be the same young people he intends to deprive of Housing Benefit, something about which homelessness charity Crisis has grave concerns:

If Labour genuinely wants to tackle the causes of homelessness, it must also look at cuts to housing benefit, which have left growing numbers of people struggling to keep a roof over their head. We therefore have grave concerns about plans to replace out-of-work benefits for 18 to 21s with a training allowance, which could have serious implications for housing benefit.

Liberal Democrats will protect young people’s right to benefits.

Nicola does not speak for Scotland

The reality is that Scotland is a deeply divided place at the moment. Those who disagree with the SNP are often vilified or cast as traitors – for something as simple as refusing to take a leaflet from a street stall. Most of the people at the top of the SNP aren’t like that, but even so, they should not try to claim that they speak for Scotland or that a whole load of them in Westminster would be serving Scotland’s interests. They would be serving the SNP’s quest for independence. Nothing more. As things stand, Nicola can’t claim to speak for even half the population and she needs to consider how she will heal those divisions.

It was probably the most interesting no-score draw I’ve watched, but when the star player isn’t allowed on the field, the match is not complete.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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52 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 17th Apr '15 - 2:40pm

    Before Farage made his outburst against the audience I was thinking if I were there I would address the audience at home and tell them that this audience is not representative of the population as a whole. It was so unbalanced to the point where I thought it would affect people’s votes, so I am not surprised that Farage spoke out against it. Although he should have offered them a bit more love.

    It was reassuring to see the results of the Survation poll afterwards, to remind us that the country is not about to embark on a socialist revolution. However those who watched the program won’t be representative either.

  • I thought all of the women performed really well, Ed was a bit wet and as for NF…well the embodiment of the NF really.

  • So who was the missing “Star Payer” – Nick or David?…

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 17th Apr '15 - 2:48pm

    Chrimbo, Do you know nothing about me at all? It was never going to be Dave, was it?

  • Nick Collins 17th Apr '15 - 3:21pm

    I’m delighted to say that I did not see this debate ( I did not see the “Seven Dwarfs” one either). I went to the pub (the one I used to go to after campaigning and to which I now go instead of campaigning).

    I’m now listening to “Test Match Special” which , Jonathan Agnew has promised, is to be a general election free zone.

  • Farage made an ass of himself. The fact is given who the debaters were there was going to be a left leaning bias amongst those who wanted to attend and if you look at the voting figures as a whole the idea that UKIP are the People’s Party is mostly a myth generated by the press. They’re a big minor single issue party that are in tune with some and out of tune with others. Just because a bunch of newspapers want it to be so, doesn’t make it so. This debate was hubris for Farage. At best UKIP will get 3 or four seats, but are more likely to get two. Clegg should have gone, but I understand why he didn’t

  • Caron – Farage may or may not have been a disgrace, but no-one engaged with his arguments, and both Sturgeon and Bennett were let off the hook by Dimbleby on the immigration point, to which:

    – Farage is calling for an Australian-style points system for immigration. Why is that a bad thing? (I’m genuinely interested in the answer to this – no-one I’ve asked can tell me)
    – Bennett was asked, given she’s Australian, what was wrong with the Australian system (she failed to answer this question – and she dodged the question from the man in the audience who asked about pressure on the NHS)
    – Sturgeon said that the SNP would have strict immigration controls (I paraphrase) but when Dimbleby asked how, would not answer and no-one thought to question her why her system was different from what Farage was proposing

  • “Sure, I was livid that Nick Clegg had been excluded, but it was the price that had to be paid for David Cameron taking part in any debates at all. ”

    Clegg should have taken part. I can understand why he felt that ensuring Cameron took part was important, but it wasn’t as important as ensuring he was there to represent the people who elected him leader. You can take these grand gestures to the point where you forget that what it’s about is representation, and the debt you owe to the people you represent, members and voters alike.

  • Did anyone notice that in the debate the government was always referred to as “the Tory government” and I don’t think Nick Clegg or the LibDems were mentioned once. In 2010 a lot of the campaign was about Nick Clegg and the LibDems, in 2015 they are not even an after thought.

  • Jonathan Pile 17th Apr '15 - 5:01pm

    I have joined Stephen Tall in complaining to the BBC about the misinformation about why Nick Clegg did not attend . It’s a disgrace for the BBC to mislead and reveals an anti-Lib dem bias. http://t.co/Nw1YTMgkQJ

  • Nigel Farage was not a disgrace, the fact that you think he was is just your personal view, which in the current climate, as with the views of your party, is not worth very much in the greater scheme of things.

    Since UKIP are outpolling the Libdems by some margin, principally because of a really disgraceful event, namely the treachery to a whole generation that voted for you over tuition fees, a touch of humility might be in order before you start judging others. Your holier than thou posturing, considering some of the revelations about senior LibDems in recent years is either chutzpah or selective memory sydrome.

    You used the term observations, because that is all they are, the observations of a member of a party that would be destroyed next month, yet is ironically only going a maintain a semblance of a parliamentry party by relying on the First Post The Post System it abhors to protect it at the ballot box. The irony of that is laughable.

    .

  • Caron

    I think you don’t see the impact of the under representation of the UKIP view. There is no way the audience had 15% UKIP voters. Dimbleby claims that the audience is “representative” but it has been the case for years on question time and was last night. It may well be the case of people representing them selves to the organisation who selects the audience as being UKIP supporters but actually being something else, the fact remains the audiences are biased and the BBC needs to stop the denial.
    These people have bad ideas, the only way to address bad ideas is to have them expressed openly and challenged so people can see the errors in them. We have a culture where these ideas are expressed in hushed tones and expressed in fora where it is hard to address. Sensible ideas suffer as a result of the shouting down and suppression of certain bad ideas.
    On that basis an observation of the audience bias was accurate, though Farage being Farage it was expressed in the worst way possible.

    Glenn
    The audience selection was not supposed to represent the supporters of the debaters but the public at large on that basis the BBC failed. As for UKIP being a single issue party, as far as I can tell they are the “return to 1050” party which is a horrible idea but horrible on many not just one level.

    Caron
    “I am getting a bit tired of people saying that Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood are out of their depth. I might not agree with them, but they are both capable of putting their points across engaging and effectively.”

    This is an important point, often missed. It is not the personality in these cases who are bad it is the policies. People should not attribute the fact that people don’t want terrible policies to the fact that it one of these tow trying to justify them.
    Bennet in particular has taken a battering over the Nick Farrari interview, the criticism that was fair is the policies are ridiculous not that the person trying to explain them are not good at it. It is a bit worrying that people seem to be more forgiving of old men putting forward these silly ideas but harsher on women making the same case.

  • malc – “Did anyone notice that in the debate the government was always referred to as “the Tory government” and I don’t think Nick Clegg or the LibDems were mentioned once. ”

    Political posturing from the other parties who want to set up the government in order to demonise it and to minimise any effect the Lib Dems might have had on it (to maximise the transfer of votes from us to them).

  • It was quite fun, Clegg should have insisted that he attend but there we are.
    Farage is clearly enjoying being the pantomime dame, I increasingly suspect ukip are not serious now.
    Miliband is becoming increasingly irritating I find, especially with that americanised ‘debate me’ plea. It’s not even English!

  • paul barker 17th Apr '15 - 5:27pm

    All the Leaders were talking to their own voters not trying to reach out to anyone else. Even Farages attack on the audience was calculated to appeal to UKIP paranoia about being excluded.
    The reaction I find oddest is the conviction on Labour sites that Milliband scored a huge victory & that Cameron was damaged by his absence. Labour seem to be having a bit of a “Sheffield Rally” moment.

  • Mike Barnes 17th Apr '15 - 5:36pm

    Nigel again used the HIV anecdote, so it’s not a gaffe. Yougov polled it after the last debate and found 52% thought he was right to raise the point of foreigners receiving expensive NHS treatment. He’s clearly on to something whether you think he’s racist or not. Once again, it’s not very liberal to shout down debates because you don’t like where they are going.

    Yes or no, should the NHS be free to every citizen of the world as soon as they move here? One of Nigel’s opponents actually needs to answer this question rather than changing the subject and insulting him.

  • Tony Greaves 17th Apr '15 - 5:39pm

    Miliband was more body-language peculiar and geeky than ever, and Sturgeon destroyed him. But Polly Toynbee says he was wonderful so everything is okay.

    One thing is quite clear. If Labour get to 280 seats they are going to have to deal with the SNP. So they, and the rest of us, had better get used to it.

    More to the point the SNP had better work out how they are going to make it work.

    Tony

  • Raddiy

    “Your holier than thou posturing, considering some of the revelations about senior LibDems in recent years is either chutzpah or selective memory sydrome.”

    My memory is normally ok but as for “Senior” LibDems of “recent years” who did you have in mind apart from Chris Hume?

  • Stevan Rose 17th Apr '15 - 6:25pm

    You could tell Miliband has been on a media presentation course and swallowed a comms manual. Someone has taught him to start every response with “Look…”. His delivery comes over as contrived and insincere so probably a very cheap course. I can’t stand politicians who can’t speak passionately from the heart. Though I disagree strongly with Bennett, her delivery was reassuringly flawed and human. I believe she believes what she’s saying even if I don’t. I liked Wood and Sturgeon and I think they were the winners. Surely Scots are going to vote SNP to get the Devo Max Scotland was promised and if a full and equal federal UK emerges as a result that would benefit the entire country.

    The interesting thing about UKIP is people seem to like the general thrust of some of their policies until they throw in a random immigration reference, and then they start to seitch off. Running short of jelly babies? It’s immigrants being allowed to buy them and the EU prohibiting dodgy food colourings in US confectionery imports. Vote UKIP for cheap and plentiful jelly babies. So what if they give your kids ADHD. We can treat UK citizens for that.

  • PSI
    I’m sorry, but UKIP are a single issue party to the point where it verges on being some sort of paranoid conspiracy theory based thing. All their arguments circle back to the EU. It doesn’t matter what the issue is Farage or one of his cronies will insist that the reason there is a problem is Brussels and the answer is leaving the EU.

  • What leap of logic justified Clegg missing this so that Cameron would attend the other debate. Nick is supposed to work for the Lib Dems, not for the Tories. Seriously misplaced loyalty right there.

  • Regarding Clegg’s non-appearance, the Guardian reported in March: “…sources close to the negotiations said Cameron and his team had prevented Clegg from appearing in the third televised event on 16 April with five other party leaders, because he did not want to be the only absent leader and because he did not want Clegg to speak on behalf of the government.”

    So how come Clegg didn’t just tell Cameron to get lost, and demand an invitation? I think there must be slightly more to this than what we’ve been told.

  • PSI
    Also if 15% of the audience were UKIP sympathisers that means 75 % weren’t. So the BBC might be telling the truth. Maybe some of that 75 % were simply louder and a lot of UKIPPERs stay quiet because they don’t want to be seen saying something dodgy on TV. Farage has appeared on the BBC way more than his puny 2 seats warrants and lets be honest most of BBC flagship news coverage is mostly fronted by well known Conservatives.

  • Philip Thomas 17th Apr '15 - 7:20pm

    Not sure, maybe BBC really wanted Cameron (for first debate) and Clegg didn’t have an option?

  • It’s simple – the deal offered by Cameron was as we see it. Our options were (i) accept it or (ii) reject it and have no debates and have that blamed on us by everyone else.

  • Cameron would have caved if all the other parties would have agreed to attend all of the debates. Maybe the Beeb was weak. Maybe Clegg was. Perhaps a little of both.

  • Colin says :
    “Douglas Alexander is trailing a 20 year old untested girl barely out of school.”
    Could be seen as a tad sexist perhaps Colin?
    Lets reflect that Joan of Arc after a heavy service to her career, died at the stake at age,…19
    Maybe we should give the 20 year old girl a chance Colin.

  • Cameron is a disgrace.

    We have rules for ordinary citizens if they do not turn up for job interviews,
    They end up being sanctioned and living off food banks for a Month.

    Time for the Ordinary citizens of this country to give Cameron and his cronies a taste of their own medicine.

  • There should be no immigration controls at all. Britain should have free movement with the world. Farage is a lunatic.

  • When I was 18 I rejected a political party that talked about the most important thing to do was to give people equal opportunities. It was not interested in increasing people’s freedom and liberty it just talked about how people should “get on in life” not for everyone to have a life of freedom. Once I identified myself as a Social Democrat and I joined the Liberal Democrat Party and I discovered really I was a Liberal. It is depressing to discover that the party I joined is now led by a person who things the most important thing for it to do is pursue the aims the Conservative Party I rejected when I was 18.

    I was quite happy that Nick was not present. We know how bad he is at debating with Nigel Farage and if he was defending the government he would have come over as even more of a Conservative.

    @ malc
    I think the Liberal Democrats were mentioned at least once.

    What I enjoyed were the women attacking Nigel Farage and stating that austerity is not the answer. It was lovely to hear that the answer to UKIP is more investment in the NHS, building the houses Britain needs and investing in the economy. The lowest point was Natalie Bennett shouting and then attacking Ed Miliband.

  • Ryan McAlister 17th Apr '15 - 11:54pm

    I can understand why Miliband didn;t bring up Scottish Fiscal Autonomy or a better Welsh deal.

    If he had stood there and pointed out that that Scotland is effectively subsidized to the tune of £7.6bn a year, and then promised to funnel more cash to Wales on top of what they already get I suspect it would not play very well in that forgotten part of the UK that has 532 MP’s and already is comfortably last in Public expenditure per head.

  • A Social Liberal 18th Apr '15 - 12:15am

    Tabman asked why an Australian points based system is wrong.

    Now, I could point out that stopping immigrants working in our pubs and restaurants, our potato fields and our Old Peoples Homes would result in higher prices for the goods proffered in those industries given that the restaurant/pub owners, the farmers and the owners of OPHs would have to offer much more attractive wages to attract UK workers into those industries. Of course there are those on here who would say this is no bad thing, ignoring the inconvenient truth that this would price the poor out of being able to have the occasional night out, be able to afford UK sourced vegetables or be able to place their ancient P’s into care – so much for not enslaving our poor, but there you go. For this reason I am not offering it as an argument.

    What I would say, is that certainly since the time I served (throughout the 80s) HM Armed Forces have had to rely on the recruitment of personnel from overseas to fill the ranks. In my time I have met servicemen and women from all over the world including Nepal (obviously), South Africa, Namibia, Eire, Barbados, Polynesia and the Antipodes. These were not skilled soldiers or airmen when they signed up, they were raw recruits. Under the Australian points system they wouldn’t be allowed into the country.

  • All the politicians settled for the deal which the broadcasters eventually came up with. Clegg could have decided to scream blue murder at the appropriate time. He didn’t. I think he probably settled (a) because he got a place on Question Time at the end of April in parallel with Cameron and Miliband, (b) because like everyone else, he would have taken a lot of flak if he was the one who refused any deal and thus got all debating scrapped.

    So to come along now, and bleat that he wan’t happy with what he accepted, won’t wash.

    Clegg doesn’t believe it matters if he looks like Cameron’s poodle, because that’s entirely the pitch for support that he is himself making.

  • “Leanne Wood did well to pitch for a better deal for Wales from Miliband. He said it couldn’t be afforded. That’s another area where Nick’s intervention would have been useful, because we have said we’ll sort it by the end of the Parliament.”

    It’s easy for nationalists to demand more spending in their own parts of the nation. Miliband needed to show responsibility on the deficit. If he hadn’t done, I’ll bet the Lib Dems would have been quick to condemn him. Since he did do, Caron has turned around and condemned that.

    At least she hasn’t used the language the Coalition usually reserves for Miliband. You know the sort of thing, “economically crazier than a rabid rhino, socially more awkward than a pit bull with chronic diarrhoea”, etcetera!

  • Eddie Sammon 18th Apr '15 - 1:29am

    Plenty of Labour supporters are still in denial about Miliband. The only question is whether they will desert or defend as soon as he makes the first difficult decision.

  • Peter Watson 18th Apr '15 - 8:46am

    @Eddie Sammon “The only question is whether they will desert or defend as soon as he makes the first difficult decision.”
    One advantage that Labour and Conservatives have traditionally had is that if they move away from their core support towards the centre, that more extremist support doesn’t have anywhere else to go. A few years ago someone posted here a brilliant analogy about icecream sellers (https://www.libdemvoice.org/good-news-voters-places-themselves-and-the-lib-dems-in-the-centre-bad-news-that-doesnt-mean-theyre-liberals-41800.html#comment-308079).
    Now, in England UKIP mean that the Tories have to watch their right flank. In Scotland Labour are already seeing the effect of what you describe as their vote deserts them for the SNP to the left. But south of the border where would a disaffected Labour vote go now that Lib Dem policy is avowedly centrist?

  • Philip Thomas 18th Apr '15 - 8:56am

    Green is the obvious destination for disaffected Labour supporters. As with UKIP, it is of course in practice half a vote for the other big party. But it is there.
    (Some reports of Greens in marginal swapping votes with Labour supporters in safe seats, which is sensible. No reports I’ve seen of UKIP-Con swapping. But then the only UKIP supporter I know maintains that vote-swapping ca’t be trusted!)

  • David Cheng 18th Apr '15 - 9:49am

    @Eddie Sammon

    If he gets he will no doubt make difficult decision but unlike the coalition policies I’m hoping they won’t just be aimed at the most poor and vulnerable of our societies.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 18th Apr '15 - 10:07am

    Ryan, the rest of the UK gets much more in terms of having that single trade and labour market of the UK. It’s not just about how much that costs. £7.6 billion is a relatively small sum in terms of the UK budget and it’s based on the price of oil at the moment. However, in terms of the Scottish budget, it’s a pretty massive sum and would have a huge impact o our ability to finance our public services.

    The problem with full fiscal autonomy is that we would have to make cuts because as part of the UK, we wouldn’t be able to borrow to make up the shortfall. Or at least it’s unlikely.

  • @ Peter Watson
    Thanks for the Jenny Barnes link and the ice cream van analogy, which was very informative. And I think analogy (used carefully), is a very useful tool for critical thinking. And that’s why at the very least I feel that this election is the most exciting in decades.
    Analogy : If we perceive each of the party poll ratings as the individual faders on a studio mixing desk, then for many years the voter had no real voice. The end music was either Red or Blue. And worse than that, Red and Blue sounded increasingly like *the same tune*!. Now with so many faders (parties), competing to produce the music track, no one party can raise the ‘dominating decibels’ over the 326 level. This means at least an individual voter, has a greater chance of getting their *voice*, heard in the *final mix*?

  • Tony Greaves 17th Apr ’15 – 5:39pm
    “..,,,One thing is quite clear. If Labour get to 280 seats they are going to have to deal with the SNP. So they, and the rest of us, had better get used to it.

    More to the point the SNP had better work out how they are going to make it work.”

    I agree with Tony Greaves.
    It would be in the interests of the future of our party for those Liberal Democrats who know they will still have a seat in the Palace of Westminster in June ( Liberal Democrat members of the HofL) to plan how they will work with the SNP.

    Whatever the political stripe of the government the SNP will have a large force in the Commons.

    This SNP force will be pro-Europe, have experience of local elections using STV, against renewal of Trident.

    The SNP will be an obvious ally on those three issues for Liberal Democrats in the Westminster Parliament.

    I hope that I have not broken too many taboos by mentioning these inconvenient facts. 🙂

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the debate as my own biases were confirmed with ease: the three central speakers spread the fairy dust of profligate spending; Ed was a blancmange – his fake toughness was the kind of thing I last saw at youth theatre during a production of Bugsy Malone; Nigel had the ill temper of the man who knows his moment has passed – I kept think Diane James would have at least brought some intellectual bite against the leftists.

    Didn’t miss the ‘gotcha’ debating style of Cameron at all. I would have liked NC to be there to provide some much needed realism, but frankly his ‘that shower’ comments only play into the hands of those who see him as patrician and wedded to power for its own sake. The Flashman analogy applies to both Nick and Cam these days. It’s all very sad. Stephen Tall (who I generally admire for being feisty as the ship goes down) saying it’s irrelevant, no one watched it, again reeks of an entitled political class. Grumble grumble.

  • Philip.
    The Greens have picked up as many disaffected “lib dems” as “labour” voters. People really vote for policies for a variety of reasons. When parties forget this they end up in trouble. The SNP benefited from there being a lot of Scots who wanted a more left leaning Nordic version of society, the greens offer a mixture of statism and environmentalism. There’s a much remarked on shift to the Right in Britain, but really it’s a shift in all directions. The problem for Labour and the Lib Dems has been a willingness to clobber people who voted for them harder than those that didn’t. The Conservatives have always understood this and have propagated the idea that right wing economics that favour their core support is the same thing as realism, but really it depends on what you want. Britain’s concentration on this kind of economics delivers a population that is fatter, less happy, less educated, poorer and more indebt than the majority of western Europe. Oh but our economy is growing faster on paper, so it must be working. Really, compare and contrast living standards which is the real mark of whether an economy is working.

  • Glenn

    “UKIP are a single issue party to the point where it verges on being some sort of paranoid conspiracy theory based thing. All their arguments circle back to the EU. It doesn’t matter what the issue is Farage or one of his cronies will insist that the reason there is a problem is Brussels and the answer is leaving the EU.”

    I think you underestimate how bonkers many of their ideas are. It goes beyond the EU, look beyond what a few higher profile figures say. They are a return to 1950 party, as illustrated by the infamous “traditional coloured trains” policy.

  • PSI;
    Yes, but the EU is the reason trains are no longer a traditional colour and the Cultural Marxist Metropolitan Elite Lib-Lab-Con hates traditional coloured trains because open door immigration mean 12 billion Albanians are coming here to claim benefits next week!

  • Whilst we may underestimate how bonkers many / most UKIP candidates and activists are, Farage has wisely ditched the manifesto promises that made the MRLP appear mainstream. I find myself in agreement with elements of current UKIP transport policy, whilst disagreeing with the LD one. On HS-2 for example. His Achilles heel and why UKIP will not break through is the linking of almost everything back to Brussels and to immigration. And this theory fortunately only works for 15% of the electorate, fairly evenly distributed amongst older voters. It us impossible to predict the impact of that 15% switch though. It could work well for us in LD-Tory marginals.

  • jedibeeftrix 20th Apr '15 - 6:11pm

    @ A Social Liberal – “What I would say, is that certainly since the time I served (throughout the 80s) HM Armed Forces have had to rely on the recruitment of personnel from overseas to fill the ranks. In my time I have met servicemen and women from all over the world including Nepal (obviously), South Africa, Namibia, Eire, Barbados, Polynesia and the Antipodes. These were not skilled soldiers or airmen when they signed up, they were raw recruits. Under the Australian points system they wouldn’t be allowed into the country.”

    But, they were [selected].

  • Glenn

    I don’t think we are going to agree on what is driving certain UKIP leaning voters. Though I think the ones who are pining for the days when the police carried whistles not radios and everyone lived within 100 meters from where they were born are at risk of alienation by Farage when he starts attacking people who are ill (as with the AIDS comment).

    As to your comment on the audience. If the Audience were actually to be 15% UKIP supporters that would leave 85% non-UKIP but also remember that should include over 30% Tories who are likely to have some sympathy with some UKIP ideas.

    The balance of Audiences has been a long term problem as is the dismissive treatment given to their views, just labelling an idea to try and dismiss it may work occasionally but most of the time it looks snooty to a passing person and it encourages lazy thinking and reasoning.

    UKIP polices are bad, and they should be addressed head on in sensible tones to explain why. This trend for “labelling and dismissing” for most people doesn’t leave a lasting understanding of what is a good idea or why.

  • Alex Sabine 21st Apr '15 - 2:04pm

    100 meters, Psi?! No self-respecting UKIP member would pine for such non-Imperial measures (especially not with American spelling!). 100 yards, old chap, get it right 😉

    (I agree with you on your serious point.)

  • Alex,

    woops, that is me getting all european again…

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Recent Comments

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