Of Winners and Losers

27th March, 2014 8:46 am

I’m going to start and end this blog post with things I don’t do very often. Here I’m going to attempt a football metaphor. You know how in the World Cup, before the real final happens, you have another match to determine who came 3rd and who came 4th? Well that was kind of the Clegg Vs Farage vibe at last night’s debate.

Neither man is ever going to be Prime Minister. Despite all the spin from all concerned, I think we can probably all agree on that. But on the other hand, they may both have decisive roles to play at the next general election either as disruptor or king maker.

Farage did not perform as well he has on other platforms. The debate format didn’t really suit him as well as the soundbite culture of Question Time where his bonhomie is carefully parcelled out and measured. Here he sounded almost morose at times – baleful about his difficult life and how little fun he is having. Which is odd, becuase a great deal of his appeal is in convincing us at all times that he is in spirit down the pub having a pint, a fag and a laugh.

Clegg was pretty good presentationally. There was a moment there when the talent that led to Cleggmania in the run up to the 2010 election surfaced from where it has seemingly been long buried. Then one of the questioners mentioned tuition fees and the moment passed. Never has one broken politicians promise come to mean so much.

_73375594_farage_clegg

I watched the debate in the “Spin room” surrounded by the Westminster press. The sense I got in the room was that Farage was flailing a bit and therefore Clegg was winning. It’s certainly true that Clegg got him on the ropes with some of his dodgy figures. As did moderator Nick Ferrari. He was also looking like a man who was regretting his photo stunt of going to the pub in preparation for the debate as the hour wore on as he became sweatier and more ill at ease.

But the Westminster press and politicians don’t get Farage. That’s his gift. He fails by the rules of the bubble because he doesn’t play the game of the bubble. So it wasn’t a big surprise to me that the public felt he had won the debate according to the YouGov polling. His appeal goes beyond his Euroscepticism to his disdain for the “political class” (cheerfully ignoring just how much he belongs to this himself). In this Clegg was the ideal opponent. Who is more loathed than Clegg? Who more representative of everything the current “a plague on all your houses” mood?

This debate will – sadly – change little in our dialogue over Europe. But it will have a lasting effect. Firstly, I believe it has made the leaders debates much, much more likely. Cameron will find it hard to back out of these now. Equally, it probably makes it easier for these to be true debates between the two men who do have a shot of being in Number 10 when the dust has settled. Clegg can keep his losers debate with the man he is vying for 3rd place with. At the election, the real choice before the country is Labour or the Tories. And that’s the debate the country (who chose this choice when we so decisively rejected AV) should get.

I said I would end with something I don’t do often just as I started. I am going to praise Clegg. Yes, he was on the defensive most of the time, yes, he’s Nick Bloody Clegg of the Liberal Bloody Democrats but it was genuinely refreshing to hear a senior politician making and making well the case for Britain’s continued role in Europe. It was a hard job. Probably not one for someone as unpopular as Clegg. I doubt he won many converts in this singular outing. But it is a case we hear far too seldom and usually with far too many caveats. He made a substantial argument well. He deserves praise for doing so.

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  • James Sorah

    Who cares! I can’t decide which one I hate most……..actually that would be Clegg!

    • treborc1

      Hate why do you hate people., not worth it, they are careerist looking to stay in power Clegg is hoping to get his party back into a coalition which it may well do, and Farage is fighting to get his party a few MP’s no different then Miliband who is fighting for his career, or Cameron.

      I do not hate them.

      • James Sorah

        Why do I hate them!!? Seriously? Just look at the harm to our country and the persecution of our most vulnerable citizens which Clegg has enabled. Farage (ably assisted by the Tory press) is making bigotry socially acceptable again and we should all know the dire consequences that can lead to. I know it’s a negative emotion Tre, but that’s why I hate them.

        • treborc1

          Who are the most vulnerable and how do you think the Tories have attacked them.

          I have had the biggest benefits rise, Labour actually held down benefits for the first four years of New labour my benefits rises did not go up above £1 my first rise in 1997 was 70p the second was 90p the third 95p and then you had ATOS and labour scroungers cheats and work-less rhetoric.

          Since the Tories have come in my benefits have gone up not a lot granted but my first benefits rise was £2.45 higher then under the three terms of labour.

          The Tories have now got rid of ATOS ok they walked out, but labour saying they would sack them was just labour trying to look hard. The best thing the Tories did was that each time a sick person goes to appeal the DWP had to review the case first, thousand of people are not now going to appeal because they are winning.

          So ok Clegg is sounding hard, Labour of course were hard on the vulnerable.

          Any thing we got from labour was due to labour getting a reaction from cuts, the 70p rise saw people getting heating allowances, the removal of the 10p tax band saw labour giving away tax credits or child credits.

          I do not hate people I’m use to people electioneering.

          • James Sorah

            Good for you, your magnanimity does you credit! Seriously though, quite apart from you not addressing my point about Farage and bigotry, are you seriously suggesting the poor and average earners are better off under this shower? Because that’s not how the thousands of public sector workers made redundant, the millions who have had pay freezes, people hounded by ATOS, demonised by IBS, or made homeless by the bedroom tax would see it. Like all thinking Labourites I have my criticisms of the last Labour government and the current leadership, but you take it to almost nihilistic proportions. Often sounding like one of the Tory Trolls who, all too often, pop up on this site.

          • treborc1

            Would I vote Tory at the next election your going to have to tell me which one mate. But seriously what is the difference between them the bedroom tax.

  • Robert_Crosby

    I’m more concerned that Miliband wasn’t on the platform. He should have been! Time to cast off the shackles, Ed… be braver and bolder on a host of policy issues or else increasing numbers of people will, in th run-up to the GE, simply conclude that there’s no point voting Labour.

    • reformist lickspittle

      Did you read the article?

      Ed wants debates like this at the GE, very much so. Cameron doesn’t.

      • Robert_Crosby

        Errr… yes, I did. I’m not sure what your point is and I’m happy to stand by mine.

        • reformist lickspittle

          Your “point” seemed to be that Ed didn’t join last night’s shindig because he is a scaredy-cat in some way.

          Is this the same Ed Miliband who has defied the “conventional wisdom” on phone-hacking, Syria, energy prices, predatory capitalism, standing up to Daily Mail bullying and much more?

          He is far from a coward.

          • Robert_Crosby

            Well ten out of ten for you for being a professional toady! If you bother to read the first comment, I never said he was a “coward”. It’s perfectly legitimate though to question the over-cautious approach by the Shadow Cabinet generally. The Collins Report (apparently into very little or nothing) wasted time and energy that could have been spent on the Tories, Lib Dems and UKIP, The fact that you can cite only a handful of examples (“and much more” is pretty meaningless) where Ed M has (quite rightly) made the running says a lot. People want hope that Labout has something better to offer rather than just a “less unfair” or “less unpleasant” “alternative”.

          • reformist lickspittle

            The hard left have this maddeningly simplistic belief that all an opposition leader needs to do is shout loud enough about how awful everything is, and electoral paradise will follow.

            And the only reason they don’t do this is because they are cowardly (and yes that WAS what you implied about Ed, however much you try to row back now) or evil or whatever.

            When the reality is, political leadership is not that simple. Never has been, never will be.

            Ed has to pick his battles – not least because he has a hostile media (not least an almost wholly coalition compliant BBC) to get past. Not to mention several in his own party who never wanted him as leader, and in some cases still resent that he is. And yes, there are some in the shadow cabinet who are still addicted to the outdated Blairite playbook and think Labour can win next time with a minimalist programme that promises as little change as possible.

            Given all this, its a miracle we still stand a chance really 🙂

          • Robert_Crosby

            “Hard left”??? I’ve been a Party member since I was 15 years old – and that’s just over 30 years. I’ve never been a member of any faction . The simple steps many people advocate but which you seem keen to deride were mainstream positions under the leaderships of Kinnock and Smith, nothing more. I also voted for and did some telephone campaigning for Ed Miliband. If you think I hoped to be disappointed by him, then you are completely wrong. He can do better – and he has to!

          • reformist lickspittle

            Strange that people moaned about Kinnock and Smith in very much the same way, then!

            Yes, I’ve been in the wars too you know. Voted for DM last time as well, though (unlike you maybe?) I am now convinced the party made the correct choice 🙂

          • Robert_Crosby

            Maybe Blair used/abused Smith’s legacy as a platform from which to steer the Party down a road many now regret. I had no problem at all with Kinnock or Smith back then… the difference was that they were prepared to outline and argue for policies. Our leaders now do their best to undermine those of us who are trying to make the case that “the parties aren’t all the same” on doorsteps.

            It’s because I voted for Miliband (and rejected his brother) that I’m so disappointed. He doesn’t have to agree with everything that I or any other individual member may think or believe, but he has to be prepared to inject some energy into and take a more vociferous fight to the Tories. He has sadly lost many people’s enthusiasm following the Falkirk nonsense and has some work to do if he is to enthuse enough of those who we lost last time and who we want back. We’ve given the Tories and LDs far too soft a ride as they attack everything we ever did – which is criminal really.

    • Doug Smith

      There was no need for Miliband to be on the platform. Nor Cameron.

      Clegg was perfectly adequate as the representative of the LibLabCon.

  • JoeDM

    The LibLabCon establishment elite still don’t get it !!!

  • treborc1

    Clegg is a very good politician he has hardly done anything else in his life

    Between 1992–1993, he was employed by GJW Government Relations Ltd, which lobbied on behalf of Libya.

    In 1993, Clegg won the Financial Times’ David Thomas Prize, in remembrance of an FT journalist killed on assignment in Kuwait
    in 1991. Clegg was the award’s first recipient. He was later sent to
    Hungary, where he wrote articles about the mass privatisation of
    industries in the former communist bloc.

    In April 1994, he took up a post at the European Commission, working in the TACIS aid programme to the former Soviet Union. For two years he was responsible for developing direct aid programmes in Central Asia and the Caucasus, worth €50 million. He was involved in negotiations with Russia on airline overflight rights, and launched a conference in Tashkent in 1993 that founded TRACECA—an international transport programme for the development of a transport corridor for Europe, the Caucasus and Asia. Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Leon Brittan then offered Clegg a job in his private office, as a European Union
    policy adviser and speech writer. As part of this role, Clegg was in
    charge of the EC negotiating team on Chinese and Russian accession talks
    to the World Trade Organisation.

    A total 100% career politician so yes he’s able to put forward a good speech, or a good debate or argument.

    But in the end the one thing which no political hack can argue with, we did not have a say in voting for the EU as it now stands, we have been totally conned into accepting this.

  • Chelseaboy1905

    That’s funny because I have read a summary of every newspaper review of the debate, tabloid & broadsheet, left & right and everyone without exception says Farage thumped Clegg. So it seems does the public. But they must all be wrong and you right.

    Ps your football 3/4th place play off was an analogy not a metaphor.

    • Sarah_Howell

      You need to re-read the article, nowhere in the piece does the writer dispute who won the debate based on what is in the press or on public opinion.

      • treborc1

        I watched it and I think Clegg won as a politician and Farage won on the grounds he is not in power and can say anything.

  • Graemeyh

    Good article. I really have little time for Farage as nd none now for Clegg. Interesting and balanced review.

  • David Powell

    I tend to agree with Emma, though I found the particular debate format does not allow serious analysis of the why, when, and how the European Union came into being, which is fundamental to understanding it. The other problem of the short answer format, is that loudly repeated slogans and opinion still get through largely untested. If anything the debate demonstrates even more the need for the public to be presented with a serious, objective as possible study of the history and functioning of the EU. The pervading ignorance and assumptions of even many of the reporting commentators appalls me, and is incomprehensible to friends in Germany, or my neice and nephew, – who thanks to the EU were able to develope their career in France when opportunities in industry declined in the UK.

  • ButcombeMan

    The real issue, missed out of this article, is how long can Ed Milliband and the Labour party ignore the tide of voter opinion and refuse to give the electorate a vote.

    Labour will continue to bleed votes to UKIP until it grasps this nettle

    • treborc1

      I do not think either party will bleed votes to UKIP I will maybe vote for them more out of a protest then anything else, then again I may well vote Plaid.

      The year after I will vote labour for the Assembly because they are a labour party.

    • Theoderic Braun

      Vote for what? In? Out? Shake it all about? And vote when? After a Cameronian attempt to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe in some unspecified way? Or after a major treaty change? Or what about before/after enlarging of the European community? And after the next British European referendum has been held what then? Similar periodic referendums every five, ten, twenty or x years so that future generations who had no say in our referendum can have the chance to make the same choices that we did?

      As far as I can see the only people who really care about an EU referendum do so because, for whatever reason, they want the United Kingdom to leave the EU. Very few people I have spoken to are passionate about this issue and I am pretty sure offering the public a referendum in respect to EU membership wouldn’t boost Labour’s poll ratings much if at all.

      • “Vote for what? In? Out?”

        Yes. Exactly that. The Labour Party offered a referendum

        • Theoderic Braun

          I don’t agree. Or at least I don’t agree that any referendum should be held now while the world is recovering from an historic slump which distorts and colours the European issue such that people can’t see where one ends and the other begins. Holding a referendum now, or in the near future, would be the worst possible time to do such a thing. Better to wait until the dust settles and we can see what sort of Europe emerges from the rubble of recession before deciding.

          • treborc1

            That’s the problem is it not, you may not agree I may not agree , but the fact is we do not know because we have never ever had a vote. The whole of the dam EU is built on a farce.

          • Theoderic Braun

            The issues are poorly known and there has been no real public debate about said issues. When I talk to anti-Europeans their main concerns seem to be connected with three emotive issues: immigration (“Keep the pesky foreigners out and there would be housing and jobs for all”), sovereignty (“I hate those foreigners telling us what to do and when”) and the cost of EU membership (“Money is flooding to EU countries which could be better used doing things home here in Blighty”).

            The benefits of EU membership hardly ever get discussed.

            Before anybody can decide anything a proper, national debate should take place where all sides can speak, be listened to, and get a fair hearing. Otherwise we, as a nation, may end up cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

          • gunnerbear

            “The benefits of EU membership hardly ever get discussed.”

            What are the benefits and how much do they outweigh the loss of sovereignty and the cash we are forced to hand over to the EU?

            Do the benefits of the EU outweigh the extra food costs imposed by the CAP?

            Do the benefits of the EU outweigh the utter destruction of the UK fishing industry?

            Do the benefits of the EU – by allowing mass unlimited EU immigration – outweigh the costs of those immigrants taking UK jobs and imposing massive strain on UK social services?

          • The EU ruling classes have been clever enough to be seen as progressive on many issues, and this has been enough to seduce the European social democratic parties into supporting a non elected EU executive over their own elected executives.

            However, underneath all that they are intensely conservative on economic matters. It would be inconceivable that a country like the USA, for all it other faults, would ever allow the economies of any region in the USA to degenerate in the same way as the EU have allowed that to happen in regions of the EU.

            People aren’t stupid. They know what would have happened if the UK had been stuck with the Euro. Unemployment wouldn’t have been just bad it would have been catastrophic.

            Your “better to wait” until there is a better chance of getting the right result, presumably, is an example of the anti-democratic nature of the EU and those who support it. Tony Benn made the argument that democracy is more important than socialism. He’s right. That means its better, at times, to have a democratically elected Tory government than any EU imposed government which may appear to be superficially more progressive.

          • Theoderic Braun

            No, I don’t agree.

            The reason anti-Europeans are pushing as hard as they can for a referendum now is because they think, quite rightly, that as things stand they stand the best chance of winning an out vote. In fact I think they’re right and that the country would vote to leave the EU now and regret its decision forever thereafter. “EU ruling classes”. Blimey! You’re beginning to sound like some sort of weird conspiracy theorist now, sport. Any of these shadowy EU rulers members of the Illuminati by any chance? As far as unemployment in the EU versus America I would imagine that it is higher in the former than the latter because America pursued an economic course based Keynesian economics, involving increasing its borrowing, while most EU countries chose to pursue austerian policies of various kinds and tried to cut their deficits and spending. (I infer you are anti-austerity.) Trouble is that the public at the moment seems sold on the deficit/debt cutting agenda which is why we have a government dominated by Conservatives and the Labour party in opposition. You may not agree with it, I don’t, but it is what a majority of people in this country have been persuaded is the best course and given most of their votes to the party promising to do it most full bloodedly. And as far as I can see the Euro failed most of all because there was insufficient integration, economic and political, amongst the countries that chose to use it to enable it to succeed; use of a common currency in the Euro zone was a premature project that ended rushed and botched. Countries in the Euro zone need to draw closer together and integrate further rather than splinter and drift apart in order to make the Euro work properly.

            And in my view it’s NEVER better to have a Tory government.

            I loved Tony Benn but even he got things wrong sometimes.

          • You are entitled to have your own views on the EU, of course. That’s not the point. You can argue for what you believe in. That’s democracy. We don’t need three parties all offering virtually the same thing. That’s not democracy. The question of the EU transcends the usual lines of political disagreement. Sovereignty has been signed away without any reference to the wishes of the electorate.

            The only option for those who disagree has been to support a party which is quasi-fascist in its outlook, and it’s only because the Tory party are now scared of that party that they are now reluctantly offering a referendum. The political system in Britain have failed the electorate. by denying them a clear choice and that choice should have been offered years ago. After the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties would have been good times to have a referendum.

            Those supporters of the EU may well have have a better chance of winning then than they have now. But whose fault is it that a referendum wasn’t offered? Opponents have never argued against one on the grounds they didn’t think they could win. I don’t remember Blair or Brown ever making that offer! Have I missed something? Blair and Brown have floated the idea but EU opponents have poured cold water over the idea because they wanted to wait for a more opportune time? I don’t think so!

          • gunnerbear

            “Sovereignty has been signed away without any reference to the wishes of the electorate.”

            Brilliantly put!

      • ButcombeMan

        At the same time as the next General Election would suit me. The boil needs lancing. Cameron’s re-negotiation is not possible in any meaningful way. All the LibLabCon politicians know that.

        Personally I would go for an Article 50 declaration now and out in two years. Only after an Article 50 declaration will any meaningful negotiation be possible. Cameron knows that. He is being duplicitous.

        • Theoderic Braun

          I don’t agree as I have explained above. In my view now is not the time for an EU referendum. The issues are far too jumbled, undecided and confused to enable any of us to make sensible long-term choices at present.

  • markmyword49

    Erm? There was a debate? Where? All I’ve seen is the pundits responses. Did anyone but them and the 1000 youguv members polled watch?
    Even if it had been on an accessible channel I wouldn’t have watched. Membership or otherwise of the EU is a long way down the reasons I cast my vote for a particular candidate or party. I’ve yet to hear a rational debate about our membership from either the pro or anti camp.
    These debates won’t change many voters intentions. The anti brigade are blinkered and will accept nothing less than leaving. The pro camp pussy foots around scared of listing the reasons why we should remain in.
    Nothing much to see move along.

    • JoeDM

      Sky News and BBC News carried the broadcast live.

  • Doug Smith

    The high-point of the debate: Farage nailing the imperialist aspect of EU expansion. As Farage said with regard to Ukraine, the EU has blood on its hands.

    • JoeDM

      The EU as a whole, but in particular Germany.

      • Theoderic Braun

        But surely as far as international events are concerned, e.g., Russia annexing the Crimea in the Ukraine, the only influence the United Kingdom has is as part of some greater collective, namely the EU (economically) and NATO (militarily). Alone our nation has next to no international power left at all.

        • ButcombeMan

          It has plenty of soft power, It has an absence of decent leaders.

          • Theoderic Braun

            There are 50 states in the United States and England is about the same size as Idaho, one of the smallest. In reality we are a small, over-crowded rinky-dink country saddled with a big ego left over as a legacy from a former supposedly glorious, militaristic, imperial past. These days our influence and relevance in the world, as a foreign power, comes wholly from our association with other nations as part of the EU.

          • ButcombeMan

            That is a not very sensible view if you imply the UK does not have more soft power than Idaho? Most people in the world could not point to Idaho.

            Idaho has not influenced world events (for good or ill) for 300 years.

            In respect of the Ukraine, the EU and the UK got it wrong.

            Prodding a wounded Russian Bear was never a sensible practice.

          • Theoderic Braun

            My point is that Idaho, on its own, is totally unimportant internationally whereas the United States of America, of which Idaho is a part, wields great power and influence over the globe. Much the same can be said in respect to Great Britain – which I suppose will become just plain old Britain if Scotland secedes – and the European Union. We are much stronger and influential because of our association with other first world countries.

            When my daughter was receiving her first lessons in geography aged about five the way her teacher taught her to find the United Kingdom was, “First look for the big country called France… then look a little bit to the left… see those couple of really tiny islands there? Well the United Kingdom is the biggest bit of them.”

            It’s time to see ourselves as we are and get real.

          • ButcombeMan

            You are depressingly wrong. No wonder the UK has been in relstive decline for so long. We must be grateful most people do not think so negatively. With or without Scotland we still have a huge economy. Our language is the most dominant second language in the world. We are still admired for the stability of our institutions, for habeas corpus, for our inventiveness, our values.

            We still have one of the top five real international cities, Along with the US the UK remains one of the most desireable for economic migrants. One of the safest places in the world to live. Even the French have come here in droves.

          • Theoderic Braun

            The capital has become virtually a separate city state in its own right. (If Scotland leaves the Union perhaps London should be given a vote to be independent or remain a part of Britain next? What’cha reckon?) And to be honest I think that English is still a dominant language because we introduced to the natives of many foreign countries around the world which we conquered and subsumed into the British Empire and because the last super-power and largest economy, America, uses it.

            In a world with China and the sub-continent of India on the rise and globalisation seemingly irreversible I believe that our best chance as a small nation of securing a future for ourselves is as part of a collective powerful enough to stand up to larger potentially much more powerful nations, already in the ascendant, many of which may well end up becoming much less enlightened and benign towards others than imperfect North America has been during its own short history. The EU represents such a collective in my view.

  • driver56

    Ed Will be dragged into this debate like it or not. simply put, The people want a debate and a vote on Europe and if Labour won’t give them one then UKIP will. At this point I don’t believe ED Milliband will be the next prime minister. The Labour party needs a complete overhaul.

    • Mark Reilly

      Poll after Poll after Poll show that the British public do not rate the EU as important and recently You Gov are showing a majority for staying in the EU

      There is a risk that Labour’s election strategy gets diverted by this faux argument as the Tories need to press their credentials on it and the press are representatively anti-EU
      But frankly that is the lesser of two evils, the worst case scenario is that Labour win the election and spend the 1st two years fighting the EU referendum rather than dealing with the issues people actually care about.

      • driver56

        This is the point I made some considerable time ago, I urged the party leaders to lance this festering boil once and for all but they flatly refused, Their swaggering arrogance was breath taking. and look where we are now. I would suggest Europe has moved up peoples agenda for a variety of reasons. This is why the party should take this head on and give people a vote and a debate, I hope labours strategy comes out a little quicker as we are lagging behind.

        • reformist lickspittle

          There is no “festering boil”.

          Most people simply do not share your obsession with the EU.

          And *certainly* not most Labour supporters.

          • driver56

            Sorry Mate if you believe that then you are in for a shock.

          • treborc1

            I think the EU has been great for Wales in some ways, sadly not in others, but the fact is we should have been asked labour and the Tories should have had the guts to dam well trust us..

  • Hamish Dewar

    Good article, Emma, Readable as always.
    But I think there is a typo near the end: it is a case we hear far too often.
    Surely you meant far too seldom.

  • RWP

    Agree that in principle the 2015 debate should be between the candidates who are likely to be Prime Minister after the election (although clearly in 2010 that would have meant Cameron debating with himself!). But another hung parliament is possible and the Lib Dems could have a crucial role in shaping the new government, so it would seem odd to exclude Clegg.

    ” Firstly, I believe it has made the leaders debates much, much more likely. Cameron will find it hard to back out of these now.” – there’s no question in anyone’s mind that these will happen. Cameron said a few times that he’s expecting to do debates in 2015.

  • Grouchy Oldgit

    Public opinion was more likely influenced by preconceptions of the personalities than arguments made. Clegg is widely viewed as a serial promise breaker. Farage has a knack of connecting with a sizeable audience. I think/hope that if really faced with the question of quitting EU most people would balk at the dire economic costs of isolationism. Reality is EU is headed for 2-tiers, one of ever-closer integration, other (inc Britain) of more and more countries with looser ties.

    • gunnerbear

      “I think/hope that if really faced with the question of quitting EU most people would balk at the dire economic costs of isolationism.”

      What would these dire economic costs actually be? The EU sells more to the UK than we purchase from them, most trade agreements are conducted via the WTO and under WTO rules.

  • swatnan

    In the same way that Labour speaks for the working man and woman, UKIP speaks for the people left behind by progress; society has moved on and yet these people live in a world they cannot understand; change has left them confused. They need help to adapt to that change.

    • Doug Smith

      “Labour speaks for the working man and woman”

      Have you just emerged from a 20 year hibernation?

    • gunnerbear

      “In the same way that Labour speaks for the working man and woman….”

      This would be – presumably – the same Labour Party that threw open the doors of the UK to all and sundry and so drove up unemployment and hammered the ‘working class’.

  • trevor sharkey

    The problem for Clegg is , so many people now despise him that no matter how well he did last night , people will still have said farage was better just to give him a kicking. The polling therefore was pointless and useless. You could have predicted the result before it happened. Ukip 15 + Lab 38 + Betrayed Lib dems 15 = 68!

  • Hamish – quite right about the Seldom/often. Have fixed!

    Chelseaboy1905 – Right too about the analogy/metaphor. I have left this to remind myself that I am often a bit of an idiot. Teach me to try to write about footie!

    And the room changed their mind in plenty of time to file their copy once the YouGov poll was announced. But in real time that was the sense I got from them and from Twitter.

  • littlescrimmage

    It’s not because of their position on the EU that UKIP is so popular. It’s because they reflect and catastrophise a lot of popular fears about immigration and ‘foreigners’. I really wish it wasn’t the case but that is an issue that will be important to people when they choose who to vote for.

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