Farage Beats Clegg in Second Debate on U.K.—E.U. Relationship

Youtube screengrabYoutube screengrabLast night Nick Clegg, British deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) faced each other in the second and final scheduled debate on the U.K.’s membership in the European Union (E.U.).

According to polling, Farage was the clear winner of last night’s debate. Farage managed to present a case for British withdrawal from the E.U. by saying (among other things) that immigration helps the rich but hurts British natives and that the U.K. would be capable of making trade agreements with countries if it were not in the E.U. Farage also cast the status quo as unfair, emphasizing the undemocratic nature of the E.U. and the fact that the British people have not been offered a referendum on the U.K.'s relationship with Europe since 1975, when the British people voted to joined what was then called the European Economic Community. 

Clegg, who was more forceful than he was in the first debate, made sure to highlight Farage’s controversial comments on Russian President Vladimir Putin and one piece of bizarre UKIP literature featuring a native American which features the words: “He used to ignore immigration...now he lives on a reservation.”

Clegg may be wondering why he agreed to these debates in the first place. Farage is the head of a party which has no seats in the House of Commons, has no hope of securing a majority in the next general election, and cannot force a British referendum on E.U. membership.

Farage will be particularly pleased by YouGov’s polling on the most recent debate:

It is clear that Farage gained ground most among the very people LEAST likely to support his party or his cause:

  • The proportion of Labour supporters saying Farage performed better rose from 42% after the first debate to 57% after the second

  • Among Liberal Democrats, Farage’s figures are: first debate 20%, second debate 33%

  • Among people who told us ahead of the debate that they supported British membership of the EU, his figures are: first debate 30%, second debate 45%

Some members of the Conservative Party, which contains some Euroskeptics, are worried that UKIP could take away votes in the next general election. However, Prime Minister David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, could end UKIP tomorrow. All he would have to do is work to secure a referendum on E.U. membership to be held before the end of the current parliament.

Watch last night’s debate below:

Martin Durkin, a self described "wicked, middle-aged libertarian," spent six months with Farage and had the experience filmed. Watch below:

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    Why is he pointing at the Indian?

  • Robert||

    What'd you expect, the Indian to point to him?

  • DJF||

    “”””Clegg may be wondering why he agreed to these debates in the first place.”””

    1. Because Clegg and the Lib/Dem are fanatical EU supporters

    2. Ever since the Lib/Dem joined in a coalition government with the Conservatives their poll ratings have collapsed and they are desperately trying to regain support with the core voters

  • John C. Randolph||

    Yes, Britain should withdraw from the 4th Reich. So should everyone else.

    -jcr

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    4th Reich. Nice.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Oh, that little twerp went off into the weeds right in his opening statement when he equated quitting the Riech with isolationism. What a sleazy little weasel.

    -jcr

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I watched about 2/3 of the debate. It's complete bizarre world.

    The young progressive Clegg's arguments are Britain is too weak and vulnerable to compete as an independent nation-state and being part of a super-state makes it more influential. Basically, he fear mongers. He then goes on to accuse Farage of wanting to take Britain back into the past as if the only future possible is one of the super structure state even as we watch the super states and super institutions losing power. Clegg's making an argument based on cold-war era realities and economics when clearly that era is coming undone. Farage is more forward looking than Clegg. Weird.

  • Restoras||

    Beer and Fag Night? Sounds interesting...

  • jmomls||

    *bizarre UKIP literature featuring a native American which features the words: “He used to ignore immigration...now he lives on a reservation.”*

    What's bizarre about it? It's completely true.

  • ||

    True, but not analogous to the current situation.

  • MJGreen||

    Native Americans ignored immigration?

    Current immigrants are comparable to a technologically superior horde of colonizers? Current populations in Britain (or the US) are comparable to the weakened, divided and technologically inferior natives of 17th century America?

    It's a lame attempt at wit that makes no sense with 2 seconds of thought.

  • NL_||

    I assume he means that Romanians and Croatians will bring plague, cholera, and influenza that will wipe out the English countryside over a few generations, with the remainder being converted to Catholicism.

  • NL_||

    Not sure that Farage would want to go back to EFTA/EEA. That still requires compliance with the bulk of EU rules, including free movement. I assume he means negotiating like a non-European state with the EU, like Chile or South Korea.

  • Skomoroh||

    Farage - "We are no longer sovereign."
    Clegg via Reason-"You are a poo-poo head because something something something PUTIN"

    Farage - "Mass immigration is hurting our native population."
    Clegg via Reason - "Isn't diversity great. And here is a picture of a Native American so you must be a RACIST."

    Clegg is a member of the permanent political class. From the debate it is clear his primary concern is that the European political class be viewed as equal to the American, Chinese and Indian political classes. He could give a damn about the average Brit. His blatant hypocrisy on an EU referendum should tell you everything you need to know about the weasel.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement