Introduction — March 28, 2014
You can tell that the UKIP leader Nigel Farage is authentic because he keeps making such politically incorrect observations.
Unlike all the other party leaders he has thus far refused to publicly endorse gay marriage. When asked why he said: “I think we are opening up a very big can of worms here, and I think there are some very, very big risks.”
His outspoken honesty resonates with a growing number of voters who are increasingly mistrustful of politicians.
Farage’s political integrity and forthright manner was on display a few days ago during a public debate with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. While Clegg condemned the UKIP leader for his apparent defence of Putin over Ukraine, Farage dismissed his condemnation saying that the European Union has “blood on its hands over Ukraine”.
What’s more Nigel Farage is winning support not only from increasingly disillusioned voters. Even political commentators in the corporate media are being won over, see the comments from the Evening Standard’s David Sexton below.
With his forthright integrity and honesty, Nigel Farage is beginning to expose other politicians like Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, for the smooth talking frauds they really are. Or as Sexton describes it, in the debate between the two Nick Clegg’s comments just sounded like “patronising PR”.
Nick Clegg hits out at Nigel Farage over ‘perverse’ Vladimir Putin comments
Joe Murphy — London Evening Standard March 27, 2014
Nick Clegg today conceded that he failed to beat Nigel Farage in their first big showdown debate but claimed he will win the “marathon” battle over Europe.
Launching a fightback, he branded the Ukip leader as “extreme” and “insulting” for appearing to side with Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the annexation of the Crimea.
But asked if he felt he had lost, Mr Clegg did not disagree. “ Clearly a lot of people didn’t agree with me but, look, this is a marathon not a sprint,” he replied during his weekly LBC 97.3 phone-in show.
“For years and years you’ve had disinformation and deeply misleading facts put about by people like Nigel Farage, unchallenged. Of course I’m not going to be able to reverse that in one hour.”
Mr Farage was celebrating this morning after snap polls suggested the public felt he was victor in the hour-long contest, although commentators were more evenly divided, with many saying Mr Clegg appeared to be catching up in the second half and that Mr Farage looked sweaty and angry.
One of Mr Farage’s most uncomfortable moments came towards the end, when he blamed the European Union for the plight of Ukrainian protesters in Kiev and said the EU “provoked Mr Putin” into taking over Crimea. “We should hang our heads in shame,” Mr Farage said.
“We have given a false series of hopes to a group of people in the western Ukraine and so geed up were they that they actually toppled their own elected leader.
“That provoked Mr Putin, and I think the European Union, frankly, does have blood on its hands in the Ukraine.”
Mr Clegg condemned the remarks this morning and said: “It shows quite how extreme people can be like Nigel Farage when their loathing of the European Union becomes so all-consuming that they even end up siding with Vladimir Putin in order to make their point.
“To suggest that somehow it is the European Union’s fault … is such a perverse way of looking at things.
“It is really insulting to those people who, in Kiev, were simply standing up for values which we should share and support … I was astounded.”
Former Ukip leader Lord Pearson claimed Mr Farage had won easily. “I think he won, quite frankly, and I think his arguments resonate with the British people and I think they’ll go on doing so.”
Middle Englander conviction triumphed over patronising PR
By David Sexton — The Evening Standard
GIVE it up for the little guy. Nick Clegg is taller, younger and better looking than Nigel Farage. He stands straighter and has squarer shoulders, his suit is better cut and looser fitting. He doesn’t go red and blotchy, he doesn’t visibly sweat. His eyes aren’t pouchy and he doesn’t have a double chin. His features are so regular he could be a Playmobil figure.
Last night, the techniques that worked so well for him in the general election debates, when he was the underdog, failed him completely.
This time, his repeated assertion that he agrees with the questioner, carefully named (“I agree with you Jamila, I understand, John”), didn’t make him seem the likeable guy. It just felt like patronising PR.
His vocabulary was surprisingly threadbare and repetitious. He said a dozen times Ukip wanted to “pull up the drawbridge” — there is no drawbridge — and even more often that outside the EU Britain would lack “clout”.
He went in for scaremongering from the start — “it’s about your job” — and repeatedly, as Farage noticed, failed to answer the question. Did he really say, when asked about breaking his word on tuition fees: “Of course, I accept that trust is a rare commodity in politics?” As in, come on, we’re a bunch of crooks?
He tried to look straight into camera throughout and not dignify Farage with attention, but when Farage said “people like Nick think that Britain isn’t good enough”, he just winced.
For a lot of people, this was their first long look at Farage. Although he and Clegg went to equivalent public schools, Farage is much more middle England, a rare delegate from that abandoned constituency.
Although his appearance is less prepossessing than Clegg’s — he belongs to the saloon bar, not the gym — last night he conducted himself much better, responding more. He stuck to his points, he showed emotion, he didn’t resort to abuse. It was obvious to all but the liberal commentariat, who find his mere appearance in such a context incredible, that he won this debate.
Actually, he had won already by the mere fact of it happening. Those three-way debates we had last time won’t wash any more.
This was a surprisingly intense political event — despite LBC staging it as though it was a mid-Nineties afternoon game show