26 Mar 2014

Farage vs Clegg: blood, sweat and statistics

Nick Clegg was asked about tuition fees. Nigel Farage was asked if he enjoyed his job. This was billed as the debate about Britain’s place in the world but that was always going to be a tricky billing to live up to.

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Much of the time was spent quibbling about statistics. Nick Clegg, who has been advised to use the word “jobs” as much as possible by his spin doctors and really didn’t let them down, accused Nigel Farage of making up numbers and some of his arguments hit home. Nigel Farage accused Nick Clegg of using tired old arguments about how good the EU is for the UK economy and tired old statistics too.

Nick Clegg didn’t look at Nigel Farage too much. But then he’s not looking for his votes.

Nigel Farage opened and closed on immigration because that’s what he thinks has woken up his vote and created UKIP as a viable party. “Sovereignty,” the argument that would have been so much of a Europe debate in the past, was barely mentioned.

I doubt many votes were shifted for the in/out referendum, if it ever happens. But the point was to shift them and shore them up for the European elections. The Lib Dems were staring at a wipe-out in the Euro elections and hope they’ve found a way, they certainly couldn’t think of a better one, to stave it off. That means getting some people who normally vote Labour or Conservative to give them a “good for you for speaking out” pat on the back. A

t most, they hope this will keep them from full-scale disaster, give them something to cheer up their troops or at least stop them slipping into despair.

NIgel Farage, by now a little sweaty, later slipped into some stronger material. I’m told he talked about lazy Mediterraneans and suggested that over Crimea the EU had blood on its hands.

Both party leaders performed well – not losing their cool though seeming pretty passionate. One hour to fish in Labour and Conservative voting pools untroubled by the Lab/Con fish farm managers.

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2 reader comments

  1. Ray Turner says:

    I didn’t see or hear any of it, but was following it on Twitter.

    Nick Clegg certainly mustered all of the Social Networking resources that he could, with a lot of pro-Europe Tweeting to be seen.

    UKIP were very busy too of course.

    In the end, it made no difference. I have already made my mind up about Europe. I have lived through the entire period of Britain’s membership and seen the damaging effect that it has had on MY country. There’s nothing that could possibly be said to change my mind…

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    Blood, sweat and statistics?



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