Current Affairs Politics

The BBC Challengers Election Debate 2015

Britain First - or fascists, racists, bigots and Neo-Nazis

Did Nicola Sturgeon, the formidable SNP leader and current First Minster of Scotland, emerge as the winner from last night’s televised debate of the “challengers” in the UK general election? She certainly seems to have put Ed Miliband on the defensive more than once, though much of the centre-left media in Britain is spinning the Labour Party leader as holding his own against his rivals.

David Cameron, the Tory leader and incumbent British prime minster, was of course not present since he is seeking to avoid future head-to-heads with his opponents, judging that he has everything to loose and very little to gain by such contests. Some observers believe that he may regret the decision to try and appear statesmanlike and above the torrid fray of party politics. His absence was notable during the debate. This of course also meant that Nick Clegg, head of the Lib Dem minnows in the coalition, was automatically excluded – which is a disaster for him as he needs every opportunity he can get to sell his shop-worn case.

On the other hand it left the field open to Sturgeon, and to a lesser extent Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru, to get the digs in to both the Tories and Labour (the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was largely an also-ran, her performance and impact somewhat marginal when compared to her previous televised effort). Of course the first two politicians were appealing to very different markets. Nicola Sturgeon to the people of Scotland first and foremost, followed up by some very public overtures to British Labour insiders who may wish to form some sort of partnership in the event of a “hung parliament”. Which Miliband very publicly – and very foolishly – rejected. Wood on the other hand was pursuing her previous tactic of concentrating on her domestic audience in Wales – and by all accounts with some modest success (albeit much to the irritation of the metropolitan-obsessed London media).

Nigel Farage of UKIP, a party that has tried to seize the nationalist “Greater England” mantles of both the Conservatives and Labour, was his typical self, turning on the audience when sneering at his opponents was not enough. It might satisfy the atavism of the party’s core vote but new voters it will not make.

Wee Ginger Dug has a typically acerbic take on it all that does more justice to the debate than my few brief lines.


16 comments on “The BBC Challengers Election Debate 2015

  1. While the failed states China, India, Pakistan and Russia have their nukes the Brits should not decommission theirs.

    • The Americans own the missiles and hold the launch codes, so it’s not an independent UK deterrant, we’re simply subcontracting for the US. But it’s only a tiny fraction of their weapons, so its only value is political. It tell the world that the UK is the USA’s lapdog. It the Russians wanted to take back the Baltic states, they could probably cook up a deal with the Americans just like they did with the Nazis. Would France then nuke them? Hardly likely.

      • Are you sure?

        I’ve read that only the Prime Minister of the UK can decide whether to launch those nukes not the Americans.

    • China is a “failed state”? When did that happen? What about Israel and its nukes? Do you trust the crazy rabbis of the Israeli Right more than Putin?

      • Would you want to live as an average Chinese worker?
        It’s a totalitarian shithole that oppresses its people and doesn’t give a fuck about its environment.

        The only good parts of China are Hong Kong and Macau.

        And yeah – Israel doesn’t threaten Latvia, Russia does.

        • All true. However that does not make China a failed state. On the second issue, radiation-clouds do not respect international borders.

          • Any state that can’t provide an adequate living standard to its citizens is a failed state – and China definitely is one. Just like the USSR was despite all the nuclear dick-waving during the Cold War.

        • Ceannaire

          Israel’s warmonger leader threatens more than Latvia – he’s a threat to Israel, the rest of the Middle East and the wider world. Don’t kid yourself.

          • Even if Iran or whatever destroys Israel – it will not affect the EU or NATO in any way.

            And Israel has no intention to nuke the EU – it’s nukes will fall on Iran most likely.

            Israel is not my enemy and I could not care less about HAMAS.

            • I’m happy for NATO or something similar to act as a Europe-wide *defence* alliance, and I imagine that that’s the basis of the SNP’s support for NATO, although this could easily change, the debate a couple of years ago was hard won. Unfortunately NATO is also a strike force used to promote the USA’s interests, one of which is the defence of Israel. So if Israel starts anything in the Middle East, the UK at least is likely to get dragged in. Look how WWI got going through a chain reaction of interlocked alliances that rapidly got out of hand.

  2. Unfortunately NATO is also a strike force used to promote the USA’s interests
    No it isn’t.
    NATO’s 5th article requires others to act if one of the member states is attacked.
    And that only applies to the North-Atlantic region – that’s why NATO didn’t participate in the Falklands war, for example.

    If one of the member states decides to invade another foreign country others are not required to help.
    That’s why Germany and France did not participate in the Iraq war.
    Latvia did because we’re afraid of Russia and our politicians will do anything to please the Americans. (and also we’re not fully confident that the rest of Europe will help us in the event of a Russian attack)

    • NATO led the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2014. Essentially it was a NATO war. So those articles are quite flexible.

    • I’m inclined to agree with Seumas here. Jānis, first you say that NATO really is there to defend Europe, then you say you’re not confident that Latvia would be supported in the event of invasion. That seems like a contradiction to me.

      Btw. since we seem to have gone OT here, where does Ireland stand in all this. You’d think as a small country that had to struggle (is still struggling?) for independence, it would be willing to support the independence of other small European nations …

      • 1. The USA provides 75% of NATO defence spending, that’s why it makes sense to support them.
        2. We have doubts about some NATO members like France that sells military hardware to Russia. (The infamous Mistral deal – they still haven’t cancelled it) or Germany that depends on Russian gas.
        The rise of parties like Front National and UKIP also is worrying, because they are friendly to Russia.
        You’d think as a small country that had to struggle (is still struggling?) for independence, it would be willing to support the independence of other small European nations …
        Other small European nations doesn’t recognise Northern Ireland as part of the Republic of Ireland and most of them are required by NATO’s 5th article to defend it in the unlikely event of an attempt to annex it by force.

  3. Meanwhile the Fates seem to be conspiring …

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