Friday, 17 April 2015

The debate goes on

Last night there was yet another leaders debate on the BBC.  It proved to be much better than last week's efforts, due in no small part to the chairmanship abilities of David Dimbleby, who kept control of the participants most of the time.  At least on this occasion you could hear what the various participants had to say on a particular topic without it continually descending into a stairheid rammy.  Which is not to say there weren't any, but they were kept to a minimum.

The person who benefited least from this was Nigel Farage, whose odious views were heard loud and clear.  This was not to his advantage.  As usual his solution to everything was (a) leave the EU and (b) stop immigration.  Inside Mr Farage's head one imagines that there is continual Union Jack waving, forelock tugging and everyone knowing their place.  This explains his frequent, if geographically-challenged, references to all things north of Hadrian's Wall as a shorthand for 'Scottish'.  We Scots have introduced a sour note into his fantasy by holding a referendum on independence.  The mere thought of anyone challenging his 1950s theme park is simply unbearable, hence the desire to punish the Scots as demonstrated in the Ukip manifesto.  How dare we question the greatest nation in the world ever!  Cognitive dissonance rules for Mr Farage.  Oh, and a tip for the next debate - best not to insult the audience if you want them to take your part.

Ed Miliband put in a workmanlike performance which seems to have gone down well generally.  He did, however, rule out any kind of deal with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament.  Smooth move Mr Miliband.  He has effectively said that he would rather see the Tories in power than have anything to do with the SNP, who will not do any kind of deal with the Tories.  Somehow I don't think that's the impression he wanted to give at this stage.  Also an FYI to the many challenged newspaper editors - the SNP are not offering a coalition with Labour.

Similarly Trident was not a winner for him.  He may be a fan of stick-on hairy chest wigs, but many, many people see it for what it is - a very expensive white elephant.

Meanwhile David Cameron did not take part in the debate, being busy spending 10 minutes in Scotland to launch the Scottish Conservative manifesto.  Mr Cameron managed to avoid contact with any of the proles while here, which merely reinforced people's view of him as remote and out of touch with normal people.  Compare and contrast with Nicola Sturgeon, who regularly meets ordinary people, as for example at the Bairns Not Bombs rally in Glasgow last weekend.

Nicola Sturgeon again came out as the winner of the debate according to the post-match polls.  Her performance was assured and showed that the SNP are not simply a one-issue party but have ideas to benefit the whole of the UK.  Again there are people wishing that they could vote for the SNP outwith Scotland, which is the kind of endorsement many politicians would sell their grannies to have.

So, in summary, a much better debate than the previous ones (which I found literally unbearable to listen to).  Probably not Mr Miliband's finest hour, but at least he had the advantage of being there, unlike Mr Cameron.

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