So on just such an evening all I can say is thank God for the BBC and what at first looked like a game show complete with that witch who is rude to the contestants. It turned out to be a debate among British party political leaders vying to win next month’s general election. Five minutes in and it still looked like a game show.
Then he’s on to health tourism and his bête noire - immigrants – specifically immigrants going on the dole and getting free medical access, which “costs a lot”, i.e. they’re scrounging tax-payers money. “60% of AIDS sufferers (in UK hospitals) are foreigners,” he explains, i.e. foreigners scrounging drugs and hospital beds. He hates foreigners, but that’s not a trait exclusive to British bigots. You should get out into the big wide world, Nige, and you’ll find more racism there than you can shake a stethoscope at or buy a drink for.
By now he’s broken into a sweat and it pours from his brow at the mention of the European Union and the other bee in his party’s bonnet: Mrs. Merkel, who “is the real boss of Europe.” Meaning: she’s a kraut with clout. On other party leaders he scoffs, “Most of them haven’t had a real job in their lives”, i.e. more scroungers and spongers, and loses his rag when everyone turns on him after he gets in a bit of Scot-bashing, “English taxpayers are a bit peed off with money going over Hadrian’s Wall.”
Ed Milliband, a 40-something-year-old looking like a schoolboy in the debating society and jolly keen to win the grand prize – five years vacation in 10 Downing Street - desperately tries to look prime ministerial and can’t stop talking about it. Each sentence begins with “If I were Prime Minister …” while staring pleadingly into the camera, but his tongue is too big for his mouth so he sticks his index finger out instead and jabs it about like a drunken vet attempting to induce a calf’s birth. He talks woodenly and unconvincingly and at times sounds like he’s about to cry. Now he has his hand in the shape of a gun. With fantastic economic foresight he announces, “If I’m PM I’m going to get a load of cash from smokers to turn the NHS round ” as if the current 80% tax on cigarettes isn’t enough. Farage splutters convincingly.
Cameroon, a windbag and general nasty piece of work with the appearance of a smarmy North London landlord, pipes up that he is going to build 200,000 houses. The audience is non-plussed and a pause ensues … build them by himself? Not only is he superman of the construction trade but, like Clint Eastwood going after villains, he’s also going to sort out tax evaders - I know one, Dave, he’s well dodgy, you’d like him - then he gets down to his specialty of waffling his way around accusations of spending cuts in the well-practised manner of a seasoned bullshitter. Heard it all before.
Nicola Sturgeon, a Scottish lady, is easily the most eloquent and level-headed of the seven, which is all good training for talking a majority of Scots out of the UK in the next referendum. In one sentence she sizes up the beast in the room, “There’s nothing Nigel Farage won’t blame on foreigners”. CUT TO Nige doing an impression of Frankie Howard miming “I won’t deny it.” He follows this buffoonery by shouting out, “If you have to build a house every seven minutes to keep up with immigrants then we’ve got a problem!” Don't worry Nige! Cameroon can do it all by himself.
A Welsh lady for Plaid Cymru (bloody daft name), Leanne Wood, in a lovely red dress says she comes from the Rhonda valley and therefore speaks in a wonderfully mellifluous voice telling us, “It wasn’t Lithuanian barmen who caused the economic crisis, it was the bankers.” Bravo Mrs. Taff! Mr. Farage perks up at the mention of barmen.
Nigel Clegg gets asked a question … but he seems forgotten … and proves why by painting a picture of a dull but well-meaning middle-class sit-com husband, sounding just like Cameroon voice-wise, and therefore entirely untrustworthy. He’s going to invest in the NHS just like his promise before the last election when he said he would not put up university tuition fees then did.
For some reason during the Green Party leader’s speech (Natalie Bennett, an Ozzie … must be lost) the picture cuts to a green fuzz when she’s in full flow – perhaps a subliminal party political broadcast – telling us that we have to stop trashing our planet. She’s right of course and no doubt has the most logical manifesto out there. Problem is that when money and the resultant greed are the name of the game, environmentalism takes a back seat, ignored entirely by the majority and most importantly doesn’t make money. In fact it costs money! Next!
As a finale, a heckler jumps to her feet in a fluffy jumper and starts screeching about the plight of the homeless. Unfortunately she isn't given a microphone so we don’t hear the details but she’s probably giving Dave Cameroon notice to get his spade out and start shoveling: they’re dying on the streets drinking meths. Mr. Farage looks on approvingly.
Victoria Prosser, the interloper, later told The Guardian, “I can’t vote for anyone who I know is lying or omitting facts. That means I couldn’t vote for any of the people that I saw tonight. Even though some of them had good ideas, I know that they are all out for the same cause.”
“David Cameron mentioned giving a fair deal to everybody in this country, including people such as our fine military service people. Yes, they are fine. But they are not treated fine after they have left the army, when they are in poverty and destitution, homeless on the streets and no hope of getting housed. He is using their name just to garner votes, because it might be a vote winner.”
The report added: Prosser was escorted from the studio by seven security guards. “They didn’t say hardly anything. They just moved me,” she said. “When we got around to the back, I said ‘am I in trouble now?’ and they said ‘no, it’s alright’. It was all fine.”
A fine two hours entertainment sent me chuckling off to bed and next morning the dust had settled. An opinion poll concluded that the Scottish lady’s common sense won it and Nige Farage came second, either for comic value or more worryingly that 23% of UK citizens agree with him.
You can either go this way ...