What did the BBC Debate tell us?

by Charlie_East_West on April 17, 2015

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The BBC Debate, just like the previous TV debates are proving to be much better than their equivalents from five years ago. The additions of Plaid Cymru, SNP, Green Party and yes, even UKIP have created a more rounded and broader political spectrum for debate. The voter demands nothing less, as more and more people are turned off by the rather unedifying spectacle of the three major parties all adopting various colours and shades of neoliberal policy and tone.

The debate last night was chaired with the usual aplomb and authority by David Dimbleby, but the debate was not as rounded as the ITV debate, because of the notable absence of David Cameron and his Deputy Head Boy, Nick Clegg. I am sure that they were spending the evening together on one final date night, walking hand in hand under the moonlight of the Downing Street Rose Garden. Ah, the wistful memories of that place. Five years ago, the two lovebirds were gazing intently into each other’s eyes, promising that they would be faithful to each other, so long as they remembered to support each other for richer or poorer and in good times and bad.

I digress. Back to the debate. What did the debate tell us? Well, it told us quite a lot…

First of all, the notable absentees:-

The Lib Dems were not mentioned at all. That is a damming indictment on them. They are now seen as utterly irrelevant. A rotten husk of a political party that one remaining purpose in life, to repeatedly deny cuplibility in propping up the Tories, and to go back to their constituencies and prepare for oblivion, or at least, scrape up a few MPs from tactical voting.

After the debate, Danny Alexander even popped up in the Spin Room (God, how I hate that Americanised phrase) to spit out the usual robotic Lib Dem guff that they had made difficult decisions to clean up Labour’s mess and had moderated the worst elements of the Tories. If the Lib Dems ever make it to heaven, Nick Clegg would probably form a coalition with God and then boast how his influence had made God more moderate & tolerant.

David Cameron, as we all know, chickened out of the debate. This is not exactly Prime Ministerial behaviour and he was exposed and outflanked by not being able to defend his record from repeated attacks by the five leaders participating in the debate.

So what about the five leaders within the debate?

Farage as usual, came across as a pub bore. He stuck to his repeated lines on immigration and Europe, and even had time to have pop at the audience for being cherry picked by “lefties” in the BBC.

Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood provided some strong attacks on Farage’s fear and loathing ideals on immigration and both were keen to attack Labour’s hypocrisy over NHS privatisation – which was instigated under New Labour, rather than the coalition government.

But, the real talking point of the debate, once again, was the strong performance of Nicola Sturgeon. She made Farage look like a fool on immigration, and set a trap on Ed Miliband over post election alliances. She openly challenged Miliband to form an anti-Tory alliance, but only if Labour promised to “do better” than the Tories. On this point, plus her challenges on Trident and austerity, Miliband found himself in a difficult place, unable to answer.

As the dust has settled on the BBC Debate, a clear theme has emerged. Will Labour’s Achilles Heel of tribal stubbornness let David Cameron sneak back into Downing Street? It looks increasingly likely that Labour will have to forge an anti-Tory pact with the Progressive Alliance of SNP, Plaid Cymru and The Green Party to gain the keys to Downing Street. If they fail to compromise, and let the Tories back in with possibly UKIP and the Lib Dems, Labour may face the wrath of voters right across the UK. There is a risk that if Labour are seen to let the Tories back in, their toxicity levels in England will end up matching the current toxic levels in Scotland.

I suspect that Miliband cannot currently address Sturgeon’s challenge of alliances on this side of May 7th, because if he did, it would open up even more howling at the moon from the right-wing media.

The real winner last night was Sturgeon. All credit to her. She has outflanked Labour on austerity and the anti-Tory ticket, made Farage look like an idiot over immigration, and is now the most talked about politician in this election – which is pretty incredible considering her party are only applicable to Scotland, and she is not even standing at the General Election.

We have one more debate to go. The final debate is back to the old boys network of Clegg, Miliband and Cameron – but once again, due to the antics of Cameron, there is no actual debating, just questions from the audience and the inevitable hollow rhetoric that will follow.

Three weeks to go. Still all to play for. Christ only knows what the outcome will be.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East April 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

There aren’t any more debates. That is it. It is done. Just Cameron, Miliband and Clegg individually taking questions from an audience on 30.4.15, chaired by Dimbleby.

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Charlie East-West April 17, 2015 at 11:30 am

George. I know. I stated this in the article.

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George_East April 17, 2015 at 12:11 pm

I know you did – just emphasising how absurd it is.

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Charlie East-West April 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Farcical last event. Control freakery by Cameron.

Even though Cameron declined last night’s debate, Jeremy Hunt pitched up in the Spin Room. If the Tories thought it wasn’t worthwhile for their leader to turn up at the debate, why the hell did his henchmen turn up and do his post event bidding?

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George_East April 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm
John Dunn April 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm

The best way to avoid that 2 years of uncertainty is to bring the EU referendum forward.? The sooner we get out of that megalomaniac mess, the sooner we can develop our own trade deal with the rest of the world and save the UK a net £10 billion per year.
And, we can also End ECB Dick-tatorship. What an absolute star that girl is.

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