A Clegg vs Farage debate on EU membership?

Courtesy of Pogle’s Woodsman in the comments we find the Spectator reporting Nick Clegg is to throw down the debate gauntlet to Nigel Farage ahead of May’s European Elections.

What we don’t know is whether such a debate is of sufficient interest to the TV networks for it to be televised on a terrestrial channel.  Such a debate would need to be televised live on national TV for it to have any chance of adding any value, which in itself is not a mortal lock.

In any case, potential viewers may consider the debate to be a Third Division affair as the leaders of the main two parties are not involved.  While EU enthusiasts and members of the Farage cult will be clearing their diaries, getting in the popcorn and wearing their colours for the ‘big match’, for most people this would probably be an event of very little interest or consequence.

It’s easy for many of those on the comment thread of the Spectator’s article to get carried away, as they are, predicting that Farage will bash Clegg.  But the ‘debate’ could – and more than likely will – descend into a turgid ‘my fact vs your fact’ exchange that bogs the whole thing down and doesn’t do anything to inform people or increase their understanding and knowledge about how this country is governed, by whom and what little control they have to shape that governance.

There is also near certainty that Clegg will adopt the economics narrative and frame the debate in such a way that Farage, who famously doesn’t do detail, gets taken down alleyways, trips up on facts and is exposed as not being in command of his brief… and that’s before any possible failure to focus on the essential core political issue of addressing who should run Britain – if he actually even planned to do that in the first place.

This proposed debate has the capacity to undermine the EUsceptic cause if Farage gets it wrong.  Being articulate is no substitute for a lack of strategic vision going into such a debate and will not make up for any deficiency in knowledge.

7 Responses to “A Clegg vs Farage debate on EU membership?”


  1. 1 David Jones 20/02/2014 at 12:27 pm

    Quite. I especially agree with your last paragraph.

  2. 2 TonyT 20/02/2014 at 1:08 pm

    As any debate has the possibility to undermine ones cause if you get beaten, even if your are right. So let’s not put him down before it’s happened. The fact is that he is in the position and we are not.

    It does however look like a potential stage managed pro EU trap. Whenever Nigel is on TV they set the dogs on him and I’ve yet to see a flattering picture of him in the papers. It’s a difficult one one because if he ducks it that will play badly as it will be jumped on by the quisling pro EU establishment media as weakness.

    I totally agree with you that he needs to keep it the who governs us/sovereignty aspect and not get bogged down in subjective economic arguments or bang on about immigration which is after all a subset of the bigger issue.

  3. 3 Brian Lloyd 20/02/2014 at 1:24 pm

    I understand that

    its on LBC (obtainable on Sky if out of area)

    NF says he will give his reply tomorrow on LBC

    The euliblabcon are getting hysterical over UKIP -unbelievable !

    Their Soviet style spring offensive is unprecedented ,volgogarad again perhaps !

    Brian

  4. 4 Autonomous Mind 20/02/2014 at 2:12 pm

    So that means it will be a limited audience and it won’t be televisual. I don’t think there’s much upside for Farage or the EUsceptics in him doing this.

    No offence to LBC, but this would be a ‘little league’ fixture. If he had a stormer in EUsceptic terms too few people would hear about it. If I were him and wanted the debate and had a plan for turning Clegg inside out, I would turn this down and be pushing for a TV debate instead.

  5. 5 Johnnydub 20/02/2014 at 8:01 pm

    Given UKIP are polling twice the Libdems at the moment, I wouldn’t validate the crappy Libdems any further…

  6. 6 Edward. 21/02/2014 at 12:30 am

    Farage, would be insane to take on Clegg, it is a no win game for UKIP.

    Cleggo, will seek to hole the good ship Farage and if Farage is true to form – Uboat Cleggo will stalk, line him up and then launch to torpedo him good and proper – so why bother with it at all?


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