Coffee House

Will Nick and Nigel be sidelined from the 2015 TV debates?

27 March 2014

7:38 PM

27 March 2014

7:38 PM

Has last night’s debate affected Nigel Farage’s chances of being involved in the general election TV debates? Although the broadcasters and political parties have yet to agree any dates or formats, the precedent has been set and the public will be expecting them. With weasel words from No.10 and a bullish attitude from some broadcasters, there’s a long way to go before an agreement is made.

The public already have a clear idea of what they expect. According to the last YouGov polling on the subject, nearly half believe there should be a four-way debate between Cameron, Miliband, Clegg and Farage:

[Alt-Text]


It’ll be interesting to see whether the public have changed their minds following Nick vs. Nigel — which will have two effects on the 2015 debates. Firstly, it makes it difficult not to include Farage in some form. Plenty of viewers agreed with him — 57 per cent to 37 per cent for Nick Clegg. Appearing alongside the Deputy Prime Minister has also given him a new sense of credibility. Sure he’s been on Question Time a lot, but the LBC debate was closer to the 2010 leaders’ debates. It was a step up. Perhaps it will seem a little false to repeat the exercise in 14 months without him.

But now Clegg and Farage have appeared side by side, it’s far easier for David Cameron and Ed Miliband to exclude them from the main leaders debates. On the topic of the EU, they’re arguably on the fringes — Clegg representing the Europhiles and Farage king of the Eurosceptics. Instead of having a debate with the four major parties, it is now possible that the 2015 debates could feature two separate panels: the leaders who may actually be Prime Minister and the others who are simpler minor party leaders.

Although Nick and Nigel will protest at being shunted aside, it’s unlikely the broadcasters would mind. They’d get the real debate that matters — between the candidates for the Prime Minister — while David Cameron would certainly be pleased. He wouldn’t have to face his worst foe.

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Show comments
  • Robin Wilde

    I’m getting quite tiresome across the internet peddling this argument, but it seems sensible to me that the debates should be between the parties running sufficient candidates to form a majority government, were they all elected.

    Last election, this would have been Labour, the Tories, the Lib Dems, UKIP, the BNP and the Greens. This time probably knock off the BNP since they’ve collapsed recently.

    Have regional Welsh and Scottish debates that include Plaid and the SNP too.

  • aurila

    to stop the broadcasters filling the studio with their supporters,
    there should be no audience in the studio

  • Rossspeak

    Simple answer – no Leader of a party that has less than 15% popular support ( take an average of the main opinion polls) – should be entitled to take part in the “televised Leaders debates”.
    Lets see how Cleggy likes them apples.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Cameron (and by 2015 Miliband) will do anything to avoid a 4-way debate that includes Farage.
    If that means dumping The Clegglet as well, they’ll do it.

    • Kitty MLB

      As said before, its not up to Cameron. The rules are the lovely Nigel would
      need a set first. And these debates are bout who will be able to run country.
      It will not just be about the loathsome EU, Nigel needs to sharpen up his act,
      act and mention a few other topics. As loathsome as the EU is, it will not
      be enough, when it comes to choosing a government.

    • Kitty MLB

      Sorry, I meant seat not set.

  • bengeo

    Farage represents a marginalised group of poor, unskilled workers and pensioners that mainstream government needs to address.

    • Lady Magdalene

      Apart from those like me who aren’t poor, unskilled or pensioners ….. and there are a lot of us supporting UKIP as well.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      He also represents that marginalised group called the electorate who have been sidelined by Liblabcon.

  • Tom Tom

    How do you have a debate”between” 4 persons ?

  • redteddy

    It should be a straight fight between Miliband and Cameron. If Clegg appears that will mean that the current government has two spokesman. I would suggest that is hardly fair.

  • Kitty MLB

    It apparently depends on Nigel Farage having a seat in parliament
    until that happens speaking about whether he should
    be their is pointless. These debates are also about chosing
    the next government and ability to run a country, the
    economy, education etc…and I am not too sure if
    Clegg should be there, he should most certainly not
    have been last time.

    • HookesLaw

      We have seen Clegg Cameron and Miliband in parliament. there is no need for debatesd and no one is denying anyone party political briadcasts.
      We may have these debates but irrespective of Farage they are a bad idea. It is a trivialising of politics not a ‘growing up’ of it.

      • Kitty MLB

        Although I would hate to agree with you I do.This
        ghastly Americanism , popularity contest of TV
        debates cheapens politics.Its not supposed
        to be the x factor, its about running a country.
        And we were benighed with Cleggie as a result
        of one of those. Saying that its good to be able
        to question MP’s.and if UKIP grows who knows.

        • Makroon

          Indeed, we already have “politics as trivialising show-bus”, on a weekly basis – it’s called Question Time, with abundant opportunity for Mr Farage to display his “wit” and facility for the cheapo shot.
          Even Andrew Neil is quite happy to invite gruesome “D” list Slebs to have a song and dance and a couple of inane opinions, on his supposedly serious programme.

          • Kitty MLB

            Actually, Question Time is for grandstanding obnoxious
            Leftie MP’s and the planted audience. Good for Nigel
            Farage for putting up with the pathetic BBC offering, I would
            say.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        They are only trivial if the participants make it so.

      • Lady Magdalene

        Our Political Elite have deliberately trivialised politics with their moronic soundbites, lies and spin.
        Asked a straightforward question …. the only one that answers is Farage. The other 3 lie, distort, propagandise and rely on “the small print” to weasel our of their cast iron promises.

  • Two Bob

    Only on planet London is the corrupt, dysfunctional (the Euro) and
    downright dangerous (Ukraine) European Union a force for good.

  • Ricky Strong

    If anything, LibLabCon really need to stop insulting anyone who dares to even sympathise with but one view help by UKIP. It does not do any of them any favours other than reinforce the idea that they are utterly intolerant of anybody who dare express an alternate opinion.

    UKIP are pulling votes from all three major parties, if the reaction to that is to call these people ‘fruit cakes’ ‘racists’ ‘idiots’ etc then how on earth do they expect to win back many dissatisfied ex-members? I see Hooky on here insulting presumably many traditional conservatives. Way to go to garner votes.

    • HookesLaw

      No – go over to PBdotcom and see that it is clearly pulling its vote overwhelmingly from tories. Not surprising since most natural tories are Euro sceptic.
      UKIP if successful will deliver a Europhile labour govt.

      • saffrin

        I voted Labour since the mid 70’s, up to and including 1997.
        I’ve been voting UKIP ever since.
        Worker unit I may be, but at least I’m a British worker unit.

      • Alexandrovich

        ” Not surprising since most natural tories are Euro sceptic.”
        So what type of Tory are you then?

    • Kitty MLB

      Linking the Conservatives(the party of Thatcher ) to
      the other two just because of its unfortunate present
      is also insulting and childish and makes the grass roots
      defend their party. UKIP needs to do more then attack.

  • saffrin

    “Appearing alongside the Deputy Prime Minister has also given him a new sense of credibility”
    What, Clegg didn’t have any credibility in the first place.

  • colliemum

    The Westminster establishment would love to see the two small parties sidelined.
    However – they cannot really sideline the party of the Deputy PM, and if Nick Clegg is there, the Nigel Farage surely cannot be excluded, not when UKIP is polling consistently higher that the LibDems.
    Should the Westminster establishment – that’s the three political parties plus the BBC plus the hack pack – convince themselves that they can exclude Nigel Farage and thus UKIP, there will be a backlash. They might ponder, before deciding, how much the people hold them in contempt, and that such decision will reinforce the view that they couldn’t care less what we think.

    • Makroon

      “The people” eh ? Do you have any idea of how small the audience was for yesterday’s borefest ?

  • monty61

    Farage doesn’t lead a UK national party. It’s a party of Little Englanders. He has no place in a debate of this sort at a General Election.

    The very fact this nonsense has been raised plays into the discourse of the Gnats who just love it when England forgets Westminster is the Parliament for the whole of the UK.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Farage contested 558 seats in 2010 and likely will contest 631 seats at the next election (the same as Labour, Libdem and Tory). Only in the deranged minds of despotic centralist anti-democratic establishment types is it a party of ‘little Englanders’

    • Two Bob

      England must be the only country in the world that you can mock without a mark on your conscience….

  • sfin

    Neither should be – Our continued membership of the EU is the overriding issue of our time.

    I take my hat off to Nick Clegg. Whilst I disagree with virtually everything he says, he has at least had the cojones to argue his position, on this issue, in open debate – unlike the the other two europhile parties who hold to the EU policy of integration by stealth.

    Do you want to directly elect who governs you? Or, are you happy to leave the business of government to a European technocracy?

    Everything else, for now, is irrelevant.

    • HookesLaw

      Whatever else it is, the EU is not the overiding issue of our times.
      the biggest danger our nation faces is the election of a Labour government. If the years 2000 to 2010 have not proved this then nothing will.

      • tastemylogos

        > EU is not the overiding issue of our times

        Yes it is. Liberty and representative democracy is at stake.

        • HookesLaw

          Not from the EU.

          • tastemylogos

            Yes. In its very nature, with its ‘directives’, undermining of national judiciaries and ‘Commissioners’… From the EU.

            • HookesLaw

              No we elect our own govts and set our own budgets have our own currency and promulgate our own laws control our own health and welfare.
              If we left the EU and were in the EEA we would still have to meet EU regulations to be in the single market and be involved in the free movement of labour and payments to EU regional funds. The EU exists and we have to deal with it.
              in a related issue, the ECHR has nothing to do with the EU. We founded it.

              Why don’t kipper nutjobs just come out and be honest and admit they hate foreigners and coloureds – indeed virtually everybody including the Welsh and Scots – not forgetting the Irish?

              The ‘I’ in UKIP stands for Intolerance.

              • tastemylogos

                You started reasonably well, but as usual with you, you ended up drifting into intolerance and insults. Why do you wish to so blatantly lose the argument so easily? You don’t even put up a fight.

                For the record. UKIP is run by has-beens that I want nothing to do with but I agree with them that we should leave the EU. Is this kind of nuance too much for your bigoted little head to internalise without exploding?

                • HookesLaw

                  And after we leave the EU?
                  If in the EEA – and I cannot believe that people would vote to leave the single market – there would be very little difference. This may indeed be the case after 2017 – it may be an option in the referendum and I may vote for it. But it will make very little difference to us.
                  The big difference we face is the election of a Europhile Labour govt.

                  Its pretty clear when you look at UKIP that it is a hate filled party fuelled by intolerance. I would suggest the SNP is a bit the same.

                • tastemylogos

                  > Its pretty clear when you look at UKIP that it is a hate filled party fuelled by intolerance

                  No not really. I look at UKIP and laugh. I don’t find them intolerant though. I do think Farage is a legend it has t be said. The guy does not give a sh!t.

                  > If in the EEA

                  Have I missed something? Who says the ONLY alternative is the EEA? I see no reason why we could not have a simple free trade agreement within 5 years of leaving. Are we not their biggest export market IN THE WORLD?

                  > and I cannot believe that people would vote to leave the single market

                  You can’t believe it because you don’t want to, Hookey.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  This countries existence as an advanced Western state is not dependent on membership of the EU. In fact we are world leaders in many aspects of cultural and political thought/action. You disagree, which is your prerogative, but I and many others have a greater respect, knowledge, and optimism for this land. We refuse to rely on ex Leninists and Maoists for guidance on the future.

                • telemachus

                  Our leadership is in the context of EU membership
                  *
                  Think of the industry and City furore if there were an out referendum which would destabilise our economy for ever

                • Michele Keighley

                  UKIP is “a hate filled party fuelled by intolerance”

                  If this is true [and I doubt it], reading your disgusting bigoted rants you would fit right in.

              • tastemylogos

                No fella. The control of law in this country has always been part statute/part common. The common side of it has been nullified by the ECJ. You knew this already though.

                > The EU exists and we have to deal with it.

                But you agree that we don’t have to be part of it. Or does physics not allow for such decoupling?

                ECHR has to be absorbed into our own law, lest be removed from the EU. But you knew this already.

                • HookesLaw

                  We have always been signed up to the ECHR. We invented it. Its nothing to do with the EU. People could always go to the ECHR.
                  Our laws are our own.
                  We do not have to be part of the EU and if we were not in any way connected to the EU we would have to live with that – probably more badly than being in it or in the EEA.
                  What you have to do is persuade people that that is a good idea. there is no evidence that people would vote for that.

                • tastemylogos

                  > Its nothing to do with the EU

                  You keep saying it has nothing to do with the EU. I understand it is not part of the same institutional body but you are deluded/misinformed if you believe you can be part of the EU and withdraw from the ECHR: Which is what we should do.

                  > Our laws are our own

                  You keep saying this too but you don’t actually counter the points I put to you. You just regurgitate this axiom.

                  > probably more badly than being in it or in the EEA

                  More platitudes. I hear this often but no one has given me evidence as to why. As if Turkey does badly. Or Australia. Or Singapore. Or Hong Kong.

                  Just to clariy. Are you saying that we have to be part of the EU or the EEA? Why not a free trade agreement? We are their biggest export market in the world. Why is this improbable?

                • HookesLaw

                  Ah so now we should be the only country in europe not in the ECHR. What sort of laws does a UKIP govrt have planned for us??
                  But I am gald you are forced to admit that the ECHR has nothing to do with the EU and thus the EU cannot have a major influence on our laws nor our legal decisions.

                  Why not a free trade agreement? ie the only country in Europe with the need for one?
                  And why should the EU give us something ‘better’ than Norway. Why should the EU agree anything with us after we have walked out?
                  Why not waiit until all our car factories have relocated and they have started to hoover up our inward EU investment. Why should the EU dance to the tune you propose to play for them? You paint the EU as this terrible organisation and then you determine that it will suddenly be all soft and cuddly and give us all we want to make us better at their expense – when all it has to do is wait until the election of a Europhile labour govt and start all over again.

                • tastemylogos

                  > Ah so now we should be the only country in europe not in the ECHR

                  Would it be outrageous for our own courts to replace it with a British Human Rights Act? Why is this implausible? Could you explain?

                  > EU cannot have a major influence on our laws nor our legal decisions.

                  According to the Parliamentary Library, 59% (I don’t know where Farage gets 75% from and wish he would stop saying it) of our law comes out of Brxelles. This is a fact that you are struggling to counter beyond vacuisms.

                  http://www.parliament.uk/briefingpapers/commons/lib/research/rp2010/RP10-062.pdf

                  > And why should the EU give us something ‘better’ than Norway. Why should the EU agree anything with us after we have walked out?

                  Because we are their biggest export market. We will get nothing for free but I am not expecting to It is their interests is it not?

                  Do you concede yet?

                • Wessex Man

                  You are showing all the signs of someone who has examined the EU’s Toleration Directive and is loving it just loving it, of course the part that says there is no need to be Tolerant to those who do not express Tolerant views as approved by the EU will see this publication shut down along with any other point of view other than those of the Commissioners.

              • JoeDM

                Utterly delusional.

                We cannot deal with the fundamentals of immigration etc. without leaving the EU !!!

                • HookesLaw

                  Well we could and have, and EU immigration is going to be broadly cyclical and people will relocate back to their base countries eventually. We had too much immigration in 2004 because Labour made Britain the only country people from say Poland could come to.
                  Furthermore there are already conditions relating to EU immigration and there is absolutely no reason why the movement of labour cannot be ammended to suit whatever may be agreed.
                  And of course Norway is not in the EU but is part of the single market and the free movement of labour.

                  Your obsession with immigration is typical kipperesque nutjobbery. UKIP is merely making xenophobia and racism acceptable. Its moving on to justify totalitarianism by building a hagiography around Putin.

                • Tom

                  When is eventually that isn’t very comforting to the people put out of work by mass immigration.
                  I work in construction and the mix on the site I work at is 60/40 in our peoples favour.
                  Every single job done by the immigrants could be done by our own people.

              • Smithersjones2013

                When all else fails out comes your bitter twisted vomit stained bigotry. You truly are representative of Cameron’s ‘swivel eyed nutters’.

                • HookesLaw

                  Its not me siding with Putin. Its the kippers saying how they admire the ‘strongman’.
                  Its not me spewing out bile against gays women and foreigners – it’s UKIP councellers and MEPs.
                  Kippers are mean nasty and intolerant.

                • saffrin

                  You’re as confused as those you support.
                  How intolerant of you.

                • HookesLaw

                  That don’t work – try harder.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  Shut up Tele

                • Wessex Man

                  ‘That don’t work’ really sums you up nowadays.

                • Tom

                  Where as you seem such a nice amiable chap.

                • edward

                  He is an incredibly rude cretin.

                • Wessex Man

                  You just don’t see the irony do you, you are turning into Billy not mates with you stupid rants and ravings, referring to the only Tory supporting rag trying to create mischief for Nigel Farage with a pack of lies when yet another very prominent Tory ruling Toff is in Court facing sexual assault charges!

                  You are turning into you very on Red Top you sad person.

              • sfin

                You blew it with this rant Hookey…

                Just for the record – I am a white middle class, middle aged, Briton, with a grandparent from each of the home countries.

                I currently live and work in Paris and my partner is an ethnic Arabic French woman of decidedly leftist political leanings (although she despises Hollande).

                I believe in direct democracy.

                • HookesLaw

                  Riots in the streets?
                  The I in UKIP stands for intolerance. The evidence is there. Farage cannot even stand foreign languages on the tube.

                • sfin

                  Nigel Farage is married to a German woman!

                  We agree on many issues Hookey (not this particular one, I grant you!). But stop the ranting and the petty insults. It’s the language of the left, you undermine your argument in the process and frankly, it’s beneath you.

                  Rational argument please – game on!

                • HookesLaw

                  Nkigel must hope the good frau knows her place.
                  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2579115/Nigel-Farage-accused-paying-wife-former-mistress-using-public-money-Ukip-leader-dismisses-absolute-nonsense.html
                  She is of course on his payroll.

                  Kippers speak and its clear what they think. If they did not spout so much maybe they could get away with it.

                • Tom

                  He said he felt uncomfortable which js a fair comment which many people agree with.

                • telemachus

                  What we need to do is manage the uncomfortableness
                  It is quite clear that pullout from the EU if voted for and achieved would not change anything
                  Norway is allowed full free trade with the EU by acceding to all the rules including some of the more stupid Brussels directives without influence on those directives
                  *
                  The only honest position is that taken by Cameron(renegotiation from within) but this requires the steely resolve of Thatcher that achieved the rebate. (Remember the Tories schizophrenic attitude to the EU blew Thatcher’s achievements by replacing her with Major who acceded to Maastrict) .
                  *
                  So we are where we are and we need to work from within and at the same time manage peoples uncomfortableness without the UKIP/Tory Right Rancour
                  *
                  Only Labour can do this

                • telemachus

                  Hear Ed Balls:
                  “At a time when securing jobs and growth must be the priority in Europe and when the future shape of the eurozone remains so uncertain, announcing now a referendum that will raise fears that Britain could leave the EU cannot be in our national interest.

                  But as Douglas Alexander says..those of us who believe that Britain’s future remains firmly in the EU must address public concerns and continue to push for change. Alexander’s recent Chatham House lecture called for reform in Europe, not exit from Europe. That is the right approach for Britain.

                  This is just the kind of “hard-headed pro Europeanism” that I advocated in a pamphlet for the Centre for European Reform in 2007: that while recognising we can better tackle shared challenges like globalisation, climate change and cross-border crime by co-operating, we must also argue our case where we need change and where we believe Europe risks taking the wrong course.

                  That hard-headed approach is why the last Labour government decided it was not in Britain’s national interest to join the euro. And it is why Labour is making the case now for a change in strategy in Europe to prioritising jobs and growth rather than self-defeating austerity, alongside completion of the single market and reform of the EU budget – all issues I will be discussing with the French finance minister, Pierre Moscovici, when I meet him at the Trésor in Paris today.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Your talking to yourself Telemachus, not a good sign.
                  We were forced to listen to Labours babbling for 13 years.
                  Instead of babbling about what ghastly atrocities you
                  would commit , I suggest a moment of reflection on all the mistakes. A majority Conservative with no leftie influences,
                  the party of Thatcher will emerge again.

                • telemachus

                  Please read
                  We are where we are
                  We need to move forward
                  Europe is a fact
                  UKIP therefore is an irrelevance
                  As noted above Cameron’s position is honest and realistic but he is too weak to carry through and stymied by his Eurosceptic right in other actions
                  It is time to return to a cohesive political force that works on behalf of all the people

                • Kitty MLB

                  I want to leave the EU, but I will listen to honest facts from
                  those who don’t. The problem is everyone ( including you)
                  are very extreme with their views and because of that and others with their own agenda’s this referendum the
                  conservatives are offering may not be fair or just.
                  I am no apologist for Cameron but a see he is trapped
                  and a lot of that is due to his own making and arrogance.
                  UKIP are not irrelevant, they are growing and we need
                  more parties on the Right to defeat your bunch of scoundrels.

                • telemachus

                  I want to leave the EU
                  *
                  I remember my children at the Supermarket checkout having similar desieres in relation to the lollipops
                  Today many parents for the sake of peace give in to their children
                  Now we have the obesity epidemic we heard about yesterday
                  *
                  We have to manage crazy expectation
                  And at the same time mould the EU to our needs
                  *
                  Only Labour can do that
                  *
                  From within

              • Hexhamgeezer

                You are telemachus and I claim my £10

                • telemachus

                  There is only one telemachus

                • Andy

                  Thanks be to God for that. The fact that the world is inflicted with one fascist telemachus is cause for deep regret.

                • Andy

                  He is a Fascist and I claim my £10.

              • Michele Keighley

                Face up to it HookesLaw – you are part of the minority now.

              • Lady Magdalene

                In the EEA we would only have to meet EU regulations for business within the Single Market – which is about 8% of our economy.
                The 80% which is internal to the UK would be freed from them … as would trade outside the EU.

          • saffrin

            Exactly, wich is way the OUT group grows by the day.
            If Nigel Farage gets 57% of the vote, UKIP will be the only party in Parliament.

            • HookesLaw

              You are a dumb idiot if you are trying to relate an beauty contest unrepresentative poll to a general election.

              • saffrin

                I win.

              • tastemylogos

                Your continued rudeness does not do your cause any good. The Spec recently noted that 130’000 people view the comments section every week. A tiny proportion contribute. To these people you lose the argument every time you engage in such insulting behaviour. It’s just needless, man. Engage with substance and be less angry.

                • Alexandrovich

                  Tell him that you only want a conscious decoupling.

                • Wessex Man

                  It’s amusing to see that Brian is rapidly becoming his only supporter, so he’s not Billy no mates yet, well maybe.

                • Kitty MLB

                  I am not sticking up for Hooky who even despises Right Wing Tories but Thatcher said it was about being right not popular .
                  Also, deploring the wretched EU is not enough-
                  The economy, law. education, etc…people will want to know about these issues. If UKIP want to be a serious player
                  then she will need to act like one and I hope she does.

              • Makroon

                The only people who really want to turn politics into ‘reality TV’ are the usual bloody trivialising journos (like Payne of this parish).
                What about the Greens, they have an MP, the Scot Nats, Welsh Nats, assorted Ulster parties, chuck in the Monster Raving Loonies and let Simon Cowell run it ?
                We have the idiots Brown and Cameron to thank for this.

      • saffrin

        The EU may not be an overriding issue for you and the rest of you LibLabCon artists Hooky, it is however an overriding issue with the electorate.

        • HookesLaw

          No it is not. Last poll anyway showed more people in favor of staying in.

          • saffrin

            If that were true the LibLabCon party would be holding a referendum tomorrow.

          • Wessex Man

            is Gnostic Brian your alter ego?

      • Kitty MLB

        Both Labour and the EU are socialist, destructive
        repressive iron fists that need defeating.
        Aim your fire at them if I were you.

      • Lady Magdalene

        The EU is imposing European-wide socialism without a mandate.
        Labour is just one of their puppet parties in the UK.
        Mrs Thatcher saw the danger after Delors spelled it out to Labour and Labour suddenly switched from being a party of OUT to a party of IN.
        She said she hadn’t spent time fighting the forces of socialism in the UK just to see it imposed by Brussels. They got rid of her shortly afterwards.
        The EU = socialism. It is a slightly more benign version of the USSR, on which its institutions are modelled.

    • telemachus

      Trash bilge and poppycock
      *
      Europe is a side issue. We will never pull out. Full stop
      The issues are stopping Gove destroying education
      Getting Smug Hunt to restore the quality of NHS care at least to that that Lansley inherited
      And to return our living standards to let our poor live in a little comfort
      *
      Nothing else matters

      • sfin

        Ha! Ha!

        I’ve never taken LSD – and reading your posts means I don’t have to!

        Now – let’s all calm down and return to planet Earth shall we?

        • telemachus

          Calm down
          When our children’s future is in the balance
          When our sick relatives are lying in corridors waiting for a doctor
          When waifs in Tower Hamlets have no shoes to go to school in
          *
          And you witter on about some fruitcake chatting to a has been to increase LBC ratings on an issue that is of no interest to those outside the Westminster Village and the blogosphere
          Joe Public understands that however much hot air is expended nothing will change
          We went in in the 70’s and we can handbag a few changes with the help of Merkel but out is not an option

          • saffrin

            Labour wrecked our children’s future when Labour dumbed their education down to the lowest denominator and gave their starter jobs to the World’s immigrants.
            You have obviously forgotten the Labour days, the electorate on the other hand never will.
            18 years your mob were out last time, I don’t have enough fingers on both hands to count the decades they’ll be out this time.

          • http://batman-news.com Whizjet

            And as for the NHS – after Mid Staffs, Labour can never hold up their head again!!

          • Colonel Mustard

            Oh dear. You seem to be losing it, tele-boy.

            As for Tower Hamlets if you care so much stand as mayor and put things right. Don’t bleat about it non-stop here.

          • Hexhamgeezer

            Hilarious. Keep it up.

      • saffrin

        I’m not too sure the electorate want the Liverpool Pathway days back telemachus.

      • Kitty MLB

        You do talk rubbish, Michael Gove is trying to make
        our education system fit for purpose and dealing
        with the feral unions at the same time.
        Andrew Lansley was dealing with a NHS where
        the question was are we safe in their hands.
        When are you going to wake up to the
        many mistakes Labour made.

      • Tom
  • HookesLaw

    4 way debate? Spare us.
    And ‘plenty’ of viewers?
    YouGov had to trawl ‘thousands’ of participants before they could find just 1000 for their sample. Do we think it reprsentative?
    As I understand it, the analisis of the sample showed that the debate had not changed opinions. The question is why we need these debates, which completely disrupt the political process, at all.

    • tastemylogos

      > YouGov had to trawl ‘thousands’ of participants

      Who says? Did you dream this up?

      > As I understand it, the analisis of the sample showed that the debate had not changed opinions

      Who says? Did you dream this up?

      > The question is why we need these debates, which completely disrupt the political process

      Hookey prefers closed shop stitch ups than dialogue the ‘plebs’ can comb over. It is the Socialist way of doing things. Its the only way socialism ever ‘works’.

      • HookesLaw

        Go to UKPR run by a director of YouGov and read what he says.
        I’ll save you the trouble
        ‘First up, remember that the vast majority of people didn’t watch it – to
        get 1000 people for our poll of people who were watching it we had to
        ask tens of thousands of people.’

        There is no closed shop – we have an open free election every 5 years. It survived without TV debates and the last time we had them it did not add anything to the process.

        • Makroon

          Sorry, it did “add something to the process” – it enabled Clegg to ham it up and grab about twice the vote that he would probably have done without the “debate”.
          UKIP just think they can repeat the trick.
          Brown was desperate and would have agreed to anything, but what is Cameron’s excuse ?
          An exercise in pure vanity and hubris, which ultimately put him in coalition with Clegg.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Oh god forbid trying to better inform the electorate and enhancing our democracy should interfere with your precious despotic political process.

      You really have joined the authoritarian Brownite section of the Labour Party haven’t you?

      • Makroon

        “Better inform the electorate” ?
        You are having a laugh.

      • Wessex Man

        they woulsdn’t touch him with a Brown pole!

    • Makroon

      Because the Kippers are convinced that when the population get more exposure to the messianic Nigel, they will all flock to the UKIP banner.

      • Michele Keighley

        No – but sensible people exposed to your type of insulting rhetoric just might flock to it to get rid of the parties that spawns the likes of you and Hooky.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …actually, that’s what you Camerluvvies have always seemed to believe about your messiah Dave .

    • Hexhamgeezer

      ‘The political process’? You mean the stage-managed crud you so avidly lap up like your chum Tele?

  • Smithersjones2013

    All parties who put up enough candidates to theoretically form a majority should be included in all the debates, We must end this arrogant elitist closed shop two party state. Particulary given less than 40% of those eligible to vote supported Labour and Conservative collectively at the last election.

    If we are to improve the reputation of our political system we must end this venal two party stitch up that has done so much damage to our democracy. By allowing all those parties who aspire to form a government we provide the electorate with the proper informed choice and not the usual corrupt two party stitch up.

    Basically if Labour and Tory are too scared to compete in these then they do not deserve to form the government.

    As to the TV stations. Are their memories that short? Nick Clegg was the star of the 2010 debates. The unfamiliar makes it worthwhile and provides the novelty. Do the TV stations seriously think anyone except the usual political freaks will bother watching if its just ‘Dishonest Dave the Dullard’ vs ‘Miliband the Moribund Misfit’. It will be like the certificate U version of PMQ’s for an hour more. What a snore bore!

    Frankly if its just Cameron vs Miliband they may as well not bother because all it will do is furthermore instill the same old corrupt twqo party state

  • Tony_E

    It has to be seen whether UKIP will be putting up candidates in enough seats to have the mathematical chance of forming a government – if they are, then it would be hard to argue that they should not be at the table if they are scoring opinion ratings around the same as the Lib Dems or higher.

    Personally I would like to see a straight Cameron / Miliband debate – because they are the holders of the two main opposing views ideologically speaking – progressive v conservative (or at least they should be). And it’s hard to see past one of them being PM (most likely Milband unless something dramatic happens)

    • Smithersjones2013

      They put up 558 last time. Its hardly likely they will be putting up
      over 200 less this time given the increase in their profile. I expect
      them to put forward 631 (the same as Labour, Libdem and Tory),

      • HookesLaw

        A party need only put up 316 in order to claim it could in theory form a govt.
        And Mr TonyE… Miliband and Cameron debate every week – there is no need for this ‘debate’ in our political system – especially when invariably it changes nothing.

        • Smithersjones2013

          Well technically it is 326 and just because UKIP put forward well over that threshold only further emphasises why they should be given the opportunity to debate their opponents.

          Thank you for highlighting what a pointless exercise it would be to just involve Cameron and Miliband. As you say it would likely end up a rather insipid sterile version of PMQ’s if that were the format adopted. However, by including the other parties that aspire to win a majority it provides the electorate with the best possible information for them to make their democratic choice with.

          Unless we adopt this wider more inclusive format to put an end the current closed shop two party format stitch up our political process (as you put it) will only fall further into disrepute as will those who promote it….

          • HookesLaw

            They can debate their opponents – its called an election. 630-odd constituencies where they can debate.

            You want an end to 2 party, but a multi party system would just mean more coalitions and the electorate not knowing what they would get after an election. An agreed policy which no one had voted for would be cobbled together in a smokless filled room with back door wheeling and dealing.
            Where is the democracy in that?
            A major political party is itself a coalition but that coalition puts its agreed policy together in its manifesto and places it before the electorate. Openly.
            Of course if we have multi parties on the right and a solid party on the left then the left will win easily.

            I do not expect you to take this on board because Saint Nigel rules and must be obeyed. But I suspect thinking people will see the logic.

            • Smithersjones2013

              This has nothing to do with any political preferences but to do with improving our democracy. There is no justification why two parties should receive preferential treatment in the electoral process as is suggested here.

              Furthermore, just because you better inform the electorate’s choice by exposing them to the views of all the serious parties does not mean that the outcome will be never-ending coalition. Just look at Scotland where now the SNP are the majority party in government.

              So obviously I do not except your stagnant failing closed shop view of our political system.

            • Wessex Man

              oh do get a life.

        • saffrin

          It changes everything. Why would you restrict the electorate to such a short sighted narrow view?

          • HookesLaw

            Evidence shows that these sort of debates do not change much. They may display something of the character of the participants but our system exposes that anyway.

            • saffrin

              The reason these sort of debates do not change much is because there is little to differentiate between those debating.
              Put Nigel on the stand Hooky, you just watch those LibLabCon artists group-up.

              • HookesLaw

                As ever you have to pretend that there is no difference between the political parties when there clearly is.

                • saffrin

                  Like what?

                • HookesLaw

                  Like everything.

                  Labour have opposed all the coalitions cuts.
                  Under the tory led coalition hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs have been lost. Opposed by labour.

                  Labour opposed the 45p tax cut.

                  Ed Balls has spent 4 years telling us his economic policy would be different, how he would spend more and cut less.

                  There has been a reform of the NHS opposed by labour – the reforms would have been greater but for the LDs.
                  Labour and welfare? Yes big laugh.
                  Education? Come on …

                  You are a joke pretendinjg ‘they are all the same’. But you have to to justify your bigotry. Oh I know you do not like to be told what you are – but tough.

                • saffrin

                  Labour are playing the opposition game for their own benefit. There is nothing to suggest they wouldn’t be doing exactly the same had they been re elected.

                  The tag-team with LibDem playing the protest vote days are over.
                  None of the so called main three parties have an ounce of credibility.

                • HookesLaw

                  That is a pathetic defence.

                • saffrin

                  True all the same.

                • Andy

                  There have been reforms to NHS England, and teh LibDums have no moral right to have prevented greater reforms because the Tories had a majority in England.

        • Tony_E

          Not on our terms with us asking the questions

      • Tony_E

        I agree – the caviat is purely that we know the minimum 316 candidate list of all three main parties already – I’m not sure that we have a list of candidates yet for UKIP and until they finalise those plans they haven’t declared where they will stand. If they already have that in place then I apologise and accept that the minimum standard has already been reached.

  • Daniel Maris

    For the general election I think it would be fair to have a debate with all four, followed by a debate with Cameron, Miliband and Clegg and lastly a debate with just Miliband and Cameron.

    • Makroon

      Ha-ha, good one Dan, a Maris “special”.

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