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Live: Nick Clegg vs Nigel Farage debate – round two

2 April 2014

This is a live blog for tonight’s debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, kicking off at 7pm. We’ll be adding in audio from the debate below. This page will automatically update every minute. Comments from James Forsyth and Fraser Nelson

20:05 Fraser: So it’s over – another hour of trading numbers, insults and stretching the truth until the elastic snaps. This reinforces my overall suspicion that these two are as unconvincing as each other. The represent incredible extremes – and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The EU is neither a Giant Satan with blood on its hands, or a panacea that doesn’t need to be reformed at all. The average voter will have tonight seen clown to the left of the screen, and a joker to the right. They will find themselves stuck in the middle with the Conservatives, who want reform and then propose an in-or-out referendum.

20:00: My initial reaction is that Clegg came far harder at Farage than he did last week but Farage rode the punches quite well

19:57: Farage ends with a real anti-establishment tirade, asking people to join the ‘people’s army’who’ll topple the pro-EU establishment

19.55: Farage right about how the Euro crisis is fostering extremism across Euroope

19:50: Expect Lib Dem base and anti-Ukippers will relish how feisty Clegg is being tonight. But not sure what middle ground voters will make of it

19:50: Clegg speaks about the “anger of the over-57s” nodding to UKIP’s key demographic.

19:47: Farage going on about 80pc of our laws made in Brussels. A rather dishonest point – as Dimbleby says, it’s a con. It mixes up tiny regulation with bigger laws, and Nick Clegg was right to use the phase ‘dangerous con’. He was so kind as to give us an example: 7pc of primary legislation comes from Europe, he says. As he knows, that’s a small fragment. Full Fact has the graph below:-

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 19.47.56
19:49 Interesting point from Mrs Michael Gove

Britain is full of “unelected bureaucrats”. Jeremy Heywood, for one. #europedebate

— Sarah Vine (@SarahVine) April 2, 2014

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19:45 Dimbleby gets worried about Clegg speaking about Scottish referendum and then trips up, calling Farage ‘Nick Farage’

19:40 Lib Dems sending out fundraising texts saying, ‘Is Nigel making you angry? Don’t get mad, get even. Reply NICK to donate £5 and keep Britain IN

1938: Clegg says Farage thinks ‘we can return to the gold standard, get W.G. Grace to open the batting for England again’. You can see the point and his strategy – posing as the future, vs the past. But his pre-rehearsed jokes lose a lot of impact on delivery.

19.35 James: Farage right about subsidies for wind farms benefitting the landowners, they are the modern day versions of out relief for the aristocracy

19:32 James: The more I listen to Clegg in these debates, the more I think he could sign up to nearly all of Cameron’s renegotiation aims. It might not be the post 2015 obstacle people think it will be

19:30 James: It is a sign of how much Ukip have changed politics that Farage is behaving like the incumbent and Clegg the challenger in this debate

1932 (Fraser): Clegg has twice quoted figure saying 90% of jobs over last two years has gone to British people. A wee bit of a stretch – that figure does include immigrants, but those who have successfully applied for British passports. Of the 1.3 million jobs he talks about about half – 713,000 – are accounted for by UK-born workers according to the Labour Force Survey.

19.27 (James): Clegg pitches himself as ‘the man who loves modern Britain’. Lib Dem strategists believe that this fires up their base and appeals to soft Tories

1926 (Fraser) Clegg now turns this into a clash of values, of wordviews. “Nigel Farage says he doesn’t like modern Britain. I like the diversity, compassion of modern Britain” not “some 19th century bygone age that just doesn’t exist anymore.”

19.25 (Fraser): Farage has a point when he says that mass immigration is “good for the rich – cheaper chauffeurs and gardeners”. While I’m in favour of immigration, its benefits tend to be felt by employers of immigrats and the problems by those who compete with immigrants for jobs, housing, school places, etc.

19.22: Farage thrown onto the back foot as Clegg brandishes a Ukip leaflet suggesting that Brits could end up like Red Indians if immigration isn’t stopped

19.20: Striking how Clegg keeps trying to claim credit for the coalition toughening up the benefits rules for EU migrants, suggests Tories could get coalition agreement to go further

19.18 (Fraser): Clegg teases Farage for being a conspiracy theorist, saying he’ll next be claiming that Elvis is still alive and Obama is not American. He should be careful – about 8% think that Elvis is still alive. About the same as the percentage of people who supports the Liberal Democrats. About 17 per cent of Americans think Obama is a Muslim. Clegg would kill for those kind of ratings.

19.17: This debate already far more feisty than last week’s and there’s still 45 minutes to go

19.15: Haven’t seen Clegg this passionate in a while, he is far more engaged than he was at the start of the debate last week when he let Farage make the running

19.10 The debate turns to the Ukraine and Clegg accuses Farage of being the leader of Putin. Farage squirming over his comments about ‘admiring Putin’ but he tries to turn the table by presenting himself as the anti-war leader

19:05 Clegg begins by warning that if you think what Farage is offering is too good to be true, because it is.

Farage starts with a joke at Dimbleby’s expense and warns that it is only politics and big business trying to keep us in

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Show comments
  • William Moriarty

    Newsflash: Farage suggesting that immigration, innovation, and openness are bad isn’t just foolish. It’s dead wrong.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    What a dishonest bit of journalism Mr Nelson.

  • Magnolia

    The lyrics to that song (by Gerry Rafferty RIP) are ‘stuck in the middle with YOU’ and I guess we are!
    The red roses are growing all over bottom of this page so Nige must have done well.
    Listening to Baker Street now for some perspective.

    • Rhoda Klapp8

      Dylan, not Rafferty?

      • Magnolia

        I don’t think so but may be wrong.

      • gerontius

        Stuck inside of Mobile
        As I recall

  • The Commentator

    Clegg completely lost it tonight. Once again accusing UKIP of wanting UK to be isolated, the complete opposite of what Farage is arguing for. Clegg will have to watch his back now, Farron and co’ will smell blood!

  • Nicholas K

    Sebastian Payne’s comment that “Farage going on about 80pc of our laws made in Brussels” is rightly dubbed a‘dangerous con’” because only a small proportion of Euro-derived law is enacted in the form of primary legislation is itself ill-informed at best.

    Whether a law has force because it was enacted through an Act of Parliament or a Statutory Instrument, it is still a law and its form says nothing about its importance: the European Communities Act 1972 makes provision for the implementation of EU law though SIs, so it is hardly surprising that little EU law reaches these shores through Acts of Parliament. In 2013 Parliament adopted as primary legislation, the Groceries Code Adjudicator Act 2013; do you really think such an exercise in legislative trivial pursuit is more significant than, say, The Single Common Market Organisation (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2013, which implement a range of EU law requirements affecting food labelling affecting much of the food industry?

  • Agrippina

    Of course, big business wants to remain in the EU, that cupboard in Luxembourg, is Head Office, thus avoiding taxes in this country even if they make billions from sales here in the UK.

    Glad cameron’s father-in-law got a mention for that windfarm on his land.

  • MaxSceptic

    “They will find themselves stuck in the middle with the Conservatives, who want reform and then propose an in-or-out referendum.”

    Wishful thinking.

    UKIP’s position is more popular than the mainstream parties would like to admit.

  • Lady Magdalene

    “This reinforces my overall suspicion that these two are as unconvincing as each other”

    WRONG Fraser. 68% Farage win. Clegg failed to impress and avoided answering the questions and was patronising.

  • echo34

    68-69 to farage in the polls fraser. Yet stuck in the middle according to you. Disappointing establishment rubbish.

    • Alexandrovich

      Guardian ICM poll says 69% say Farage won, 31% Clegg. •

  • Lady Magdalene

    Farage win …. on a knockout.

  • Alexandrovich

    You can turn off the updating now, we’re up and down like a whore’s draws here.

  • Agrippina

    cleggy says we can sell our goods and services to 500million folks in the EU, but refuses to accept that is the number permitted to come here because we do not control our borders.

    He ducked the infrastructure question, giving schools money does not equate to schools and teachers nick.

  • Alexandrovich

    Nick Clegg attempts ‘passionate’. Comes across as desperate.

    • Lady Magdalene

      Passionate ……. I never thought I’d feel sorry for Miriam.

  • rtj1211

    Question for Mr Clegg: why did the EU support the overthrow of the Ukrainian President when democratic elections were due in the near future?

    Does he believe in democracy only in countries which do what the EU tells them to??

    Does he believe that the EU’s offer was far worse than that of Putin and why does he believe that Putin does not have the right to make a counter-offer at the time of his choosing??

  • Colonel Mustard

    Much of Clegg’s performance tonight was ad hominem towards Farage, Would love a word count on the number of times Clegg said “Nigel Farage’ vs the number of times Farage said “Nick Clegg”.

  • rtj1211

    I’d like Nick Clegg to be asked what he thinks is ‘modern’ about uneconomic renewable energies, in particular wind turbines.

    Being modern is about being cost competitive: wind energy is less competitive than coal was, less competitive than gas is and less reliable than nuclear power is. It truly is a return to the middle ages of windmills. He, Ed Davey and Ed Miliband are enthusiastic supporters of this energy fiasco and he should take full responsibility for the consequences of it.

  • Colonel Mustard

    7 “comments” by telemachus already?

    Come on Spectator, you are worth more than that.

  • BuBBleBus

    Did Clegg say ANYTHING that is actually believable?

  • rtj1211

    I’m sure that Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Norway are 19th century countries, backward and insular, unable to trade globally and the apotheosis of ‘billy no mates’ states.

    I’d like Nick Clegg to be challenged about this and if he continues with this “Britain is uniquely useless’ thesis.

    If that is what he believes, he should leave this country tomorrow morning and go, with his wife and family, to live in Spain at the heart of the EU, the Eurozone and youth unemployment.

    • Agrippina

      cleggy, China, Brazil, India, Mexico, NZ, Australia & Canada are not part of the EU, they seem to be doing fine.

  • telemachus

    ‘It will end unpleasantly’
    Will that be the Farage epitaph

    • Lady Magdalene

      No. But it may well be the EU’s.

  • telemachus

    Losing it avail
    accusing Nick of Lying
    Shocked and Surprised

    • Lady Magdalene

      Clegg WAS lying.

    • Agrippina

      That is what happens if you don’t tell the truth, it is a lie.

  • telemachus

    The fantasy word is sticking to Farage

  • dado_trunking

    19.35 the Magna Carta Socialists finally get their comeuppance. Now, will The Farage speak out about Square Mile socialism too?

  • echo34

    Ask nick about his tax payer funded eu pension that’s at risk if the uk leaves the EU. After all, HE was an MEP for a couple of years..

  • telemachus

    Farage made the mistake of the Swiss card
    Nick demolished him

    • Colonel Mustard

      YouGov 68% Farage 27% Clegg.

      Join the other muppets. You are on the wrong side of history.

      • telemachus

        Daily Mail poll: 20% more men would like to date Nigel Farage than Nick Clegg

  • telemachus

    Let’s get fracking
    No other policy to date

  • telemachus

    Turns out all the disaffected Italian, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese are headed here in droves
    Losing It

  • telemachus

    Almost half way
    Nick is demolishing a shifty looking Farage

    • Lady Magdalene

      Wrong. Clegg lost 68% to 30%

      • telemachus

        What about the stupid remarks

        • Lady Magdalene

          Stop making them!

          • Colonel Mustard

            Brilliant riposte!

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