Friday, April 4, 2014

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg loses yet again in TV debate with Ukip’s Nigel Farage, the margin of Farage’s victory by 2-1 by viewers is a wakeup call for the Lib Dems which they can’t ignore, Ukip have momentum which spells real problems for mainstream parties

Dear All

In the 2010 Westminster election, both Labour and Conservative leaders debated with Nick Clegg on prime time television.

One of the themes used by both Gordion Brown and David Cameron was:

"I agree with Nick"!

Nick Clegg did well in the TV debates, as an underdog, he ran a successful PR strategy which saw the Lib Dems 'win' in the debates.

This performance allowed the Lib Dems to go into Government with the Conservatives, as a unity Government, at least on the surface.

Clegg was to come a cropper, what did him and his party in was reneging on a promise which they had no intention of keeping.

The public didn't like being lied too, and his party suffered because of it, and will continue to suffer.

For whatever reason, Nick Clegg has decided to go head to head in TV debates with Nigel Farage of Ukip, Ukip represent a danger not just to his party but also to the Conservatives.

Clegg's problem isn't that he cannot deliver a good line, his problem is that he can't win over the people, and the British people are moving towards Ukip.

So, rather than putting down Farage, Nick Clegg is getting the political shit kicked out of him, he has had two attempts to put down Farage, and has had two public drubbings.

I am a big fan of the European Union, there is a lot of good in it, trouble is the European project isn't working the way it really should.

People, ordinary people are seeing that their futures and their borders and sovereignty are being eroded, and the main stream parties rather than defending their interests are unwilling to address the real concerns that people have.

And we are talking about immigration.

Nigel Farage and Ukip have tapped into people's fears and concerns and when the mainstrream parties don't or won't listen, people turn and listen to other voices.

Ukip is that voice, for the most part in England. The Ukip presence has really taken off in Scotland, those on the left dismiss Ukip as 'racist', they fear Ukip so, they brand people in it racist.
In the second debate, Nick Clegg went on the attack, accusing Mr Farage of fostering a 'dangerous fantasy' about Britain leaving the European Union.

Is that a dangerous fantasy?

No, it is a choice, a political choice, a financial choice and a social choice.

Ukip leader urged voters to join a 'People's Army' to topple the political establishment in Brussels, but Farage has his sights not just set on Brussels but also Westminster.

Two polls showed he had won by a margin of more than 2-1 over Clegg.

In response to the mainstream voice losing out, critics fell back on the old standby, accusing Farage of using the language of the BNP. This type of smear has been running for quite some time, but that doesn't appear to work, in fact you could say that tactic has backfired. In trying to label Farage and Co as 'racists', they are also branding the British people as 'racists'.

Farage is appealing using popularism to the disenfranchised, the completely disenfranchised.

Two snap polls suggested viewers saw the Ukip leader as the overwhelming winner of the BBC debate. 

YouGov survey came out at 68% in favour of Farage with Clegg pulling a miserable 20%.

An ICM poll for the Guardian showed that 69 per cent gave it to Mr Farage, and 31 per cent the Deputy Prime Minister.

Whatever poll you look at, there is a message for all mainstream parties, people aren't willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for much longer.

As Farage gets more exposure to present his arguments, it is only natural that his 'stock' will rise at the expense of others. As a wake up call for the Lib Dems, people who voted for them in 2010, 55% preferred Mr Farage.

In politics, it can get heated, this second outing saw Clegg go more on the attack, this led to the rematch being more bitter than last week’s exchange.

Each man branded the other as liars and fantasists.

Down at the office, the Lib Dems must be pretty miserable, if attacking Farage won't work and going soft won't work either, the question running through their brains, what will work?

How to solve a problem like Nigel!

Clegg's response to being betaen up on TV was:

"I totally accept that what I say might not be popular, clearly as the polls have indicated overnight,' he said on his weekly LBC radio phone-in. I don't feel bruised at all... The debate has now finally started. These were two hours of a debate that will now go on month in, month out. I understand given the myth making around the EU over the last 20 years it is quite a challenge to contest these myths and these settled perceptions. But I am delighted the debate has started because this is a marathon not a sprint."

Whether it is a sprint or a marathon, Clegg is certainly wearing the wrong clothes for either.

Clegg's only bit of joy was when he blasted Nigel Farage for ‘indefensible’ comments in which he suggested he admired Russian president Vladimir Putin for outwitting the EU and Western leaders over Syria and Ukraine.

On Syria, the Russians have played a blinder with the West backing a coup over the legitimate Government. Although Syria isn't perfect, the alternative is much worse, the opposition is divided, it doesn't speak with one voice, and the West was acting like cheerleaders.

On the Ukraine, the Russians have no business doing what they have done, the referendum is illegal and the pebble they have dropped will be rippling for some considerable time to come. Seizing the Crimea was a seriously bad idea, and harks back to expansionism of the old Soviet era. Our American cousins have been wanting to set up a missile defence system, the Russians feel threatened by this, personally, it seems a lot of money for a limited benefit, the world has moved on quite some distance since the fall of communism. Why invade when financial and currency warfare is cheap and generates a profit?

In a heated moment, Clegg pulled out a 'smoking gun; a Ukip leaflet featuring a Native American which stated:

"He used to ignore immigration. Now he lives on a reservation."

In trying to be too clever, Clegg opted for some prepared jibes, including saying the Lib Dems were ‘the party of in’ in terms of the EU, while Ukip was the ‘party of Put-in’. I don't the comedy value of that one will have them rolling in the aisles somehow.

Farage had more traction, with going with Clegg is a 'liar', and highlighted the number of laws were imposed on the UK by the EU. 

He said:

"By saying 7 per cent of our laws are made in Brussels, you are wilfully lying to the British people about the extent to which we have given away control of our country and our democracy."

Farage added:

"I want the EU to end, but I want it to end democratically. If it doesn’t end democratically, I’m afraid it will end very unpleasantly. If you take away from people their ability through the ballot box to change their future because they have given away control of everything to somebody else, I’m afraid they tend to resort to unpleasant means. This is our country. It is a very good country. It is a country that developed the principle of parliamentary democracy. it has been given away through a whole series of lies and deceit. Let's take back control of our borders. Let's stop giving £55million a day as a membership fee of a club we don't need to be part of. Let's free ourselves up. I know the people are behind this. Come and join the People's Army. Let's topple the establishment that led use into this mess."

On Syria, the West was gung ho for declaring war because of chemical weapon usage which was laid at the door of Assad, at the time, I wasn't convinced that Assad had ordered such a strike on his own people. The Russians had a similar view, if Putin hadn't voiced dissent, we, the West would have been involved in destroying yet another country on someone's assumptions rather than evidence, the public wouldn't be so easily fooled after Iraq.

In a piece of truth telling  on the political reality in Britain, he mentioned the career political class and their friends in big business.

On immigration, Nigel Farage said Europe's open door policy meant that 485million people were able to move to Britain.

He warned that immigration has 'left the white working class, effectively, as an underclass and that, I think, is a disaster'.

Clegg dismissed that as 'more dangerous scaremongering'.

So, are white working class, effectively an underclass?

I would say that is a pretty fair assessment, we see it in many areas of society, such as in higher education, were a trickle of poor people manage to secure places at universities. The corruption in Britain will eventually reach a tipping point, when it does, the mainstream parties will see seats going towards other groups, the big three have effectively operated a cartel were a career political class has flourished, the problem is on both sides of the Scottish and English border.

The Lib Dems are a party in decline, Clegg is to blame for that, he sold out his entire party for a few seats at the Conservative Cabinet, called a coalition, Clegg and Co are human sandbags, they take the hits for what Cameron and others are doing. Their membership is 44,000 down a third on the 65,000-plus levels it enjoyed before joining the Conservatives in coalition government in 2010.

Ukip has seen its membership rise dramatically, 20,000 at the end of 2012 to 35,000.

Farage aims to replace  the Lib Dems as the third major force in British politics, as long as he treads carefully, he might pull that off.

One thing is certain, Ukip leader wouldn't be saying:

"I agree with Nick".

As to Clegg, he took a gamble, that gamble failed to pay off, in a most spectacular fashion, Farage understands who to use people positions to win over support, Clegg is tied to the old style dogma.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University   

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