Review of the second Leaders’ Debate

Having decided to watch the Leaders’ Debate out of morbid curiosity a couple of things stood out…

Let’s start with the Lib Dems.  Nick Clegg doesn’t represent change, he’s a charlatan.  The measure of his hypocrisy was exposed by the discussion about his Trident policy when compared with the discussion about an immigration cap proposed by the Conservatives.

Clegg wants to scrap Trident but is incapable of saying what cheaper alternative he would deploy and how much it would cost, because a review would be needed to determine the appropriate system.  Yet he tried to score points off David Cameron for taking an identical approach about an immigration cap as Cameron would not provide an arbitrary cap figure, because a wide ranging review with a variety of services and bodies would need to be conducted each year.

So Clegg is saying that Lib Dem plans for reviews then decisions are a sound approach, but Conservative plans for reviews then decisions make a policy unworkable.  How is this new politics or any different from the ‘old’ two parties?  While on the subject of the ‘old’ two parties, it’s about time Clegg was reminded that the Liberal Party existed long before Labour and a few name changes have not made it a different party entity.  History and fact checking are clearly not his strong point.

Clegg spent so much time telling the audience about EU failings and mismanagement, it defies belief that he wants Britain to be more entwined in it.  He tries to make the EU sound like a well meaning club of kindly amateurs, stumbling along as best they can and making a few chuckle raising howlers as they go along.  It ain’t so.  The EU is an anti democratic, managerialist machine and its failures stem from its determination to eradicate national sovereignty and draw all power to itself.  Clegg was trained by the EU and nurtured in its ways and his claim that the EU can be reformed is a naked deception.

On to Labour.  Gordon Brown is an economic illiterate.  It is a terrifying thought that this man spent a decade as Chancellor. No wonder the economy is in the state it’s in today. This man has wrecked our nation’s finances.

Reducing the tax burden on businesses and individuals does not take money out of the economy.  By definition, if the money remains in our pockets and business bank accounts, it is still in the economy.  It doesn’t disappear into a hole never to be seen again – which it would if it was sequestrated by the Treasury.

As for Gordon Brown’s inability to tell the truth, being exposed as a bare faced liar in such a devastating manner just moments after the debate ended can only reduce his stock still further.  It was the moment of the night seeing Wee Alex Salmond – after Brown denied he has sanctions Labour leaflets carrying false claims about Conservative policy – holding up Brown’s personal election literature as distributed in Kirkcaldy.  It was a leaflet Brown had to have personally endorsed and it carried the claim Brown states he did not sanction that the Conservatives would get rid of the winter fuel allowances, free bus passes, free eye tests, etc.

Brown is also incapable of understanding the concept of net migration – or is deliberately deceiving the public.  Having one million Britons living in other EU states and one million EU member state citizens living in Britain does absolutely nothing to alter the horrendous net immigration figure.  A net inward migration figure of 200,000 is the figure over and above the number of people who have left the UK in the same time period.  If 150,000 people have left that means 350,000 migrants have come in.  Not only does this mean huge extra burden on services and infrastructure, it also means a massive change in the social fabric of this country.

Lastly, the Conservatives.  We know David Cameron is supposed to be a polished performer.  But he fails to inject spark into his speaking. With these debates he is on a hiding to nothing.

The more Cameron strives to emphasise difference between the three parties, the more it becomes clear they are trivialities rather than matters of great substance.

Europe (more precisely the EU) will remain a thorn in Cameron’s side because while he is happy to reel off a list of reasons for us to cooperate with our neighbours on the continent, not one example of a supposed benefit he, or Clegg or Brown provides to justify EU membership, requires a nation to sacrifice its political sovereignty.

Why will no one pin these main three parties down – and particularly the Conservatives who trade on a platform of supposed EU scepticism – with a simple question that exposes the weakness of their position on the EU?  Namely, ‘what benefit or advantage of EU membership and cooperation would be lost if we in the UK had complete political sovereignty, made all our own laws and ensured our own courts were the judicial venues of last resort?

Going beyond that, when will someone pin the Conservatives down, and the other two parties for that matter, by asking why they keep talking about the EU as a free trade area when it is nothing more than a customs union?  The EU is a hindrance to the UK being able to trade freely with countries around the world, so how can it be a benefit?  The debate is devoid of honesty and candour. It is characterised by subterfuge and fear and it shouldn’t be.

So, the final analysis.  Nothing any of the party leaders has been reported to have said in the first Leaders’  Debate, and nothing I saw them say in this Leaders’ Debate, has changed my view of the parties.  I have not been moved one inch towards voting for any of them.  The discussion about immigration was dumbed down to such an extent a five year old would have felt patronised.  There is a consensus stitch up where these three main parties will not tread onto ground the public needs them to.

From Clegg’s approach of giving up and granting a ludicrous amnesty that rewards people who have broken the law of this land to live here, to Brown’s tough talk and promises of action to contain immigration – despite documentary evidence that open door migration was deliberately implemented for political ideological purposes – to Cameron’s cap on non-EU immigration which will have no effect in reducing the number of unskilled EU migrants arriving here, the required action is not on offer.  And of course no alternative to EU membership and the loss of national sovereignty is on offer.

This means the debates remain an exercise in obfuscation and deception, satisfying only the media’s insatiable appetite for something to report, spin and hype.  How does that serve the interests of the nation and its people?  The new politics that was promised has not been delivered.  What is required is a genuine conservative alternative to the centre ground mish mash that dominates the discourse of the political class and its cowardice in tackling major issues.  Only when a sensible conservative alternative exists will mainstream politics be worthy of our engagement.

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6 Responses to “Review of the second Leaders’ Debate”

  1. 1 Woodsy42 22/04/2010 at 11:06 pm

    I’m pleased you pick up this ridiculous statement of Brown’s that failing to increase NI takes money from the economy. He wittered on about it last week too in the same language.
    But you don’t seem to have taken the next step and considered what that language indicates – It surely means he believes that government cofers actually ARE the economy! Scary isn’t it.
    Even more frightening is that Cameron, posh education or not, seems to have also completely failed to spot or capitalise on Browns language.
    Meanwhile Clegg was branding global warming skeptics as deniers lumped together with homophobes and anti-semites (clearly too squeamish to use the description nazi or holocaust denier but the meaning was clear enough) – so that’s the end of any tiny sympathetic urges I might have had for his lot too.
    I cannot think of any other election where I have so detested every one of the main parties.

  2. 2 Autonomous Mind 22/04/2010 at 11:21 pm

    I thought about making that point Woodsy, but it was made in several other places last week. As you mention Clegg’s swipe about anti semite Polish politicians, it seems appropriate to mention that he only has to look within his own party at Jenny Tonge to find genuine anti semitism.

  3. 3 Subrosa 23/04/2010 at 2:17 am

    An excellent summary AM. I became so disillusioned that my own summary was erm… limited.

    A ‘foreign affairs’ debate it was said. How on earth were bus passes and eye testing anything to do with that?

    They didn’t want to discuss foreign affairs. None of them has enough understanding of world politics and that includes Brown.

  4. 4 Autonomous Mind 23/04/2010 at 7:37 am

    There are plenty of foreign affairs issues to discuss, so spending just 45 minutes on that before a ‘general’ Q&A is very disappointing.

    But when they stick to their pre rehearsed lines it makes you wonder if there is any point to it all anyway. As I’ve said previously, the whole thing is a media event for showmen, not a genuine political debate.

  5. 5 kenomeat 23/04/2010 at 10:40 pm

    An excellent summary AM. One feature which demonstrates Cameron’s ineffectiveness as an opposition leader was his ability to miss several open goals. When Brown uttered the oft-repeated lie about 3 million jobs being lost if we left the EU any leader worthy of the name would have jumped down his throat. This lie was first spoken by the late Robin Cook and was refuted by the statistician that gave him the figure (I forget who it was) who pointed out that the figure referred only to those jobs which related to contracts placed with EU countries and which would have to be terminated without cause for the jobs to be lost. This would be highly unlikely.

  6. 6 kenomeat 23/04/2010 at 10:43 pm

    Subrosa: Sorry I’ve just noticed I’ve accidentally plagiarised your opening sentence!

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