Friday, April 16, 2010

Leaders debates: the morning after

I'll keep this short as last night's leaders' debate is getting far more attention than it really deserves. In general though there were no real surprises, the party leaders stated their already existing policies through the medium of tendentious anecdotes and bickering and it was not a pretty sight.

Cameron's performance was very weak and, if he keeps to this low standard over the next two debates he will probably have lost some votes along the way. I quite warmed to Brown at times but any persuasive power he might have had did really rely on the viewer having amnesia. It was genuinely laughable when he advocated PR for the House of Lords - we could have had Lords reform years ago if he hadn't been blocking it consistently.

Nick Clegg was certainly the least worst of the three and he got some solid blows in on trident and the gap between the parties' rhetoric and reality. However that's where my praise ends because the theme of the evening was consensus on the big issues and just a choice of flavourings for our shit sandwich.

It's quite frightening when you consider what it means when all three leaders boasted of the cuts they intend to deliver on public services. Even as they promised tax cuts they unashamedly expressed their intention to add to the growing dole queues. If you think we need investment and a regeneration of public services you shouldn't vote for any of them.

Worse though was the consensus on immigration. Cameron was the most blatant, talking about a "black man" he'd spoken to who thought we were letting in too many (black?) foreigners. Brown was the least vile of the three in his rhetoric but defended his record on keeping people out (this, even as disturbances rock Oakington Detention Center over the death of an 'inmate' whose offense was to have the wrong colour passport).

Clegg rambled on about good and bad immigration, keeping it deliberately vague so the racists can assume he's being racist and those for a *liberal* immigration system can assume that's what he was talking about. He then talked about restricting immigrants to specific UK regions in what sounded like a series of restrictive and unworkable proposals that would inevitably cause great injustice and distress - but I guess that's mainly the "bad" immigrants who'll be on the sticky end so perhaps we shouldn't really care. How liberal.

This is not surprising. All the party manifestos have framed immigration with crime despite the fact that most immigrants are here completely legally and being foreign is not an offense of any sort. If you want a party that does not paint migrants as suspicious and a burden you can't vote for any of these parties.

If politics was just the three parties invited to the debate then we'd all be doomed and it would be time to put your head in the gas oven, but thankfully it isn't. Whoever wins the general election there will be a movement to defeat their cuts - nursery by nursery, service by service, ward by ward there will be resistance to their consensus. I wonder if they're ready?

1 comment:

James Mackenzie said...

So glad I don't have to eat any of these sandwiches.