The Great Debate…the seven leaders of major political parties in England, Scotland and Wales…ahead of the Westminster Election. Confirming the fact that Norn Iron is a semi-detached part of the DisUnited Kingdom, no Party gives a tinkers curse about Norn Iron. It is totally irrelevant.
So how did they all do:
David Cameron…Conservative…..he is a Conservative. ‘Nuff said.
Ed Milliband….Labour…intellectual socialist royalty, from posh Islington in London and representing a working class constituency in South Yorkshire. He is at least trying to draw Labour away from the “New Labour” crap of Tony B Liar. His most obvious problem is that he looks like a geek or a nerd. His most obvious advantage is that he is not a Tory.
Nick Clegg…Liberal Democrat and Deputy Prime Minister. The problem is that the Lib Dems sold out when they threw themselves into a coalition with the Tories. Of course they will claim that they mitigated the worst excesses of a Tory-orientated Government. Will their 2010 voters be forgiving and put the proverbial clothes peg on their noses and vote for them again?
The minority Party in any Coalition is a loser. Labour in the Republic of Ireland will get slaughtered. Deservedly so. Liberal Democrats in “Greater England”. Deservedly so. He looked like a Dead Man Walking. In five weeks, he will be a former MP.
Nigel Farage…..UKIP. He can pose as an outsider. But really his Party is the old nastier side of the Conservative Party. Migration. Europe. Their biggest asset is that Nigel Farage is an amateur and a self styled “man of the people”. The biggest problem is that Nigel Farage is an amateur and a self-styled “man of the people”. Xenophobia and Racism is never far from the surface.
But thats the double-legacy of Imperialism. British Liberals think that the sins of their ancestors can be forgiven by a multi cultural society and tip-toeing around sensitive issues like radicalisation of young Muslims. British “conservatives” are bullish about their imperialist past.
The problem with Farage is that he can say the politically incorrect and it resonates. And then he can go too far. So making the usual “man of the people” point about Migration, he struck a sour note when he spoke of HIV infected migrants using the British National Health Service. Tellingly it was the women on the panel, including the two nationalist leaders who challenged him
Natalie Bennett….Green Party….in some ways it is impossible not to be sympathetic to “green issues” like climate change, energy, the environment. But to a traditional socialist like myself, I preferred the Greens when they were simply a pressure group on the fringe of mainstream politics. They are like UKIP…amateurs. Indeed as Conservative and Labour have spent two decades rushing to the political “centre”, UKIP on the right and Green Party on the left have picked up support from people who feel abandoned by their tribal leaders. For now, Greens nibble at Labour votes but it will be a generation before they ever emerge as a genuine political Party.
And what of the nationalists? Well it is in itself interesting that the Scottish Nationalist Party and Plaid Cymru-Party of Wales are led by women.
Leanne Wood from Wales is unknown to English audiences. Indeed PC has struggled to come out of the remote Welsh speaking areas in North Wales. Most of Wales is solid Labour. Yet there is a perception that the British Labour Party have taken Welsh votes for granted. At best PC will take four or five Welsh seats and Leanne Wood could have been easily overwhelmed by the experience. Wisely she started by making the point that she was speaking to people back home in Wales. She grew in stature during the two hours.
But the star of the night was Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP. She is already First Minister in Scotland where the SNP is in government and is not even standing in the Westminster Election. Yet SNP are expected to get at least thirty five seats (they currently hold just six seats) and will possibly damage Labours chances of forming a government.
Nicola played a “canny game”. Arguably SNP would prefer a Tory government in Westminster. And almost certainly a minority Labour Government will need SNP support. A coalition would suit neither Labour or SNP. Much of Labour is “internationalist”, politics without borders rhetorical shite. Labour hates the nationalists. And yet paradoxically, the nationalists …in Scotland, Wales and Norn Iron are more left-wing than mainstream British Labour.
So ALL of the Parties from England, Scotland and Wales were on the platform. But nobody invited the Norn Iron parties to attend. Peter Robinson of DUP made some threats about legal action but it was never going to happen.
Why not? Well I dont think SDLP gave a tinkers curse about the Leaders Debate. And Sinn Féin wouldnt care either. Only the DUP took synthetic offence that Robbo wasnt given his due as a Party Leader with eight seats at Westminster….SNP have six , PC four, UKIP two and Green one….so why was DUP sidelined?
Well simply put the Conservative Party and Labour Party do not put up candidates in Norn Iron. The local Parties cannot take seats from the two Parties which can provide the a British Government. The seven parties in the Debate are actually in competition.
So …..what can it all mean for an Irish Nationalist like myself? Well, my politics are defined by my Irish nationalism, my republicanism and my socialism. I want the DisUnited Kingdom to fall apart so good luck to SNP and Plaid Cymru. And both are at least as socialist as British Labour. And UKIP are the Trojan Horse in the “United Kingdom”. Effectively they are English nationalists ….racist and xenophobic but the best possible revenge on British Imperialism is the exploitation of the fault lines in the British imperialist legacy.
Is that ignoble of me? Probably. I want to see the DisUnited Kingdom dissolved, under the weight of its own contradictions.
I think the debate was reasonable, and it was good that they left time to explore each question.
But what I get a little weary of is the insistence of the media that someone has to be declared the winner of a debate like this, or that someone has to flop. If you think about each person’s performance, they all got their points across. I do find it particularly depressing to listen to very partisan people declaring their person was the winner, just because that is what they are paid or expected to say.
Actually the “Spin Room” is much more interesting. All Debates are “no score draws” and the after match commentry is basically what happens after every “no score draw” in football.
“Our team edged it”
But as long as nobody scores an own goal, it is all played in the middle of the pitch with no sight of goal.