BBC, Britain First, Civilisation, David Cameron, Defend the modern world, England, ITV leadership debate, leaders debate, leaders debate 2015, Leanne Wood, Natalie Bennett, Nick Clegg, Nicola Sturgeon, Nigel Farage, Scotland, SNP, Tories, UKIP 2020
Who do you think won the leadership debate last Thursday? Whatever answer you give, there will be a newspaper that agrees with you.
According to the Leftist media, Miliband walked it. According to the centre-right, Cameron walked it. According to the far-left, Sturgeon triumphed, for the farther right, Farage won and so on… The only thing this confusion can really tell us is that nobody won, and that the election campaign continues much the same.
Most of the attention in this debate was on Nigel Farage, a fact he was surely aware of and which can best explain his sensationalist approach. In a mortifyingly misjudged aside, the UKIP leader at one point chose to fling his net on foreigners suffering from the Human Deficiency Virus, a comment that was later trending on Twitter and there attracted much celebrity condemnation.
On the Left, Nicola Sturgeon, the brassy and bold leader of the SNP, greedily gobbled up the cheap goodwill that is the plentiful reward of the politically incautious. Freed from the heavy burdens of responsibility, consistency and conviction, Sturgeon promised to stop cutting government spending and use borrowed money to lavish gifts on the Scots and only the Scots (not wholly unlike the politics of the Arabian peninsula).
Me? I wasn’t convinced by any of them. In fact, looking back over my 31 years, I don’t think I’ve ever been less certain of my political allegiance.
I don’t think I ask for too much in a political party. My manifesto is short and relatively simple: Stop importing terror threats, and deport those already here. Preserve the welfare system for those most in need. Protect the NHS. Legalise handguns for those with no criminal record. Teach patriotism, health and positivity in the classroom, just like the Americans do. Build up our armed forces to at least 500,000 men. Provide community service sentences for all non-violent crimes. Make prisons hellish for those who commit violent crimes. Draw up a new constitution for the country, including within it a statement guaranteeing freedom of speech.
These priorities are far from radical and – if properly communicated – would find a very general audience. As for their realisation, I won’t be holding my breath.