Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and Corporal Clegg debated one another on the subject of the EU yesterday evening. Hosted by Nick Ferrari of LBC, there was also a video feed. And the result was that listeners, and viewers, were treated to much heat, and very little light, and the certainty that very few voters would be persuaded to move their vote from UKIP to Lib Dems or vice versa.
Squeaky finger up the bum time once again
While Clegg kept positive about the benefits of being in the EU, Farage paraded the usual UKIP line-up of shameless whoppers, claiming that 75% of our laws are made in Brussels, which he was then asked to stand up with evidence. To no surprise at all, none was forthcoming. There were the usual frighteners about migrants coming over here to drive down wages and take our jobs.
But enough of what you knew already: what did the punditerati think? And, perhaps more importantly, what did real voters think? To gauge the reaction of the latter, YouGov polled a thousand voters after the debate for the Sun, and overall Farage was considered the winner by 57% to 36%. Notably, Clegg was considered the winner not just by Lib Dem voters, but also Labour supporters.
Punditry? Look at me!
Voters, though – what do they know compared to the self-appointed? The loathsome Toby Young decided the public needed to know the opinion of Himself Personally Now, and so took to the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs to declare “Well-briefed Nick Clegg wins on points as Nigel Farage plays to the gallery”. See, Tobes has the real story – you proles don’t know what you’re talking about!
True, “Thirsty” did have a tendency to bark his lines out, and those getting the video would have seen him exhibit a Nixonian tendency to perspire visibly under pressure, but the people decided, and they said he won. Also at Tel blogs, Peter Oborne said Clegg certainly didn’t win, and noted the tendency of the Lobby to get the public mood wrong. It wasn’t just the Lobby.
No, look at me!
So that was that, was it? You jest: when there’s an opportunity to do some serious trolling, and a Tory Party point of view to pitch, that means there is (thankfully former) MP Louise Mensch somewhere around the Twittersphere. And the increasingly out-there Ms Mensch did not care for real voters, redefining reality with “So I got my wish! They both lost”.
Yes, look at me, me, me!!!
But there had been a poll, conducted by a reputable polling organisation. This cut no ice: “Any ‘poll’ on [the LBC debate] is worthless unless it includes ‘none of the above’ option” she trilled. The YouGov poll had a category for those who did not consider that either of the participants had won it. That, folks, is the state of the punditry and, more worryingly, the kind of people who get to be MPs, in a nutshell.
Meanwhile, the public remains sceptical about both. No change there, then.
"“Any ‘poll’ on [the LBC debate] is worthless unless it includes ‘none of the above’ option” she trilled"
It would be interesting to run a General Election on that basis.
Or did we do that last time out?
Hmm, I do have my concerns about such a poll.
1. Was the poll restricted to those who actually watched the debate? (I'd hope so!)
2. What was the demographic and ideological mix of those polled (I'm sure the major polling organisations have ways of handling such things, but surely not if the audience were 80% 'white van men' and 20% taxi drivers)
3. Did the pollsters factor in a handicap score for Clegg (given that 90% of the country would gladly see the man rot in a dungeon beneath the Tower of London). It's only fair.
** I'm half-joking, half-chronically-cynical.
Also, what I wouldn't give for a none-of-the above option on general and local election ballots! One where >50% votes cast for none-of-the-above vacates the seat for six months, losses all candidates their deposits and offers electoral grants to independents for the bi-election to be held six months there after. There's about as much chance of that happening as there is of Parliament passing even a disgracefully watered down right-of-recall bill (i.e. none, zero, zilch, nada!).
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