Wednesday 22 June 2016

The Great Debate

What did you think of the Great Debate? What did you think of the BBC’s contribution?

First you sit through the debate itself. Then you are fed various reactions (not only by the BBC by the way, but by the press, Sky, and so on) and you start to wonder if you had actually watched the same programme.

One small thing summed up the impact of the Great Debate. Afterwards, Reeta Chakrabarti interviewed four of the people who had been chosen to put questions to the panel, two from each ‘side’. 
Not one of the four had changed their minds in any way whatsoever. Of course asking their question in such a public arena must have been nerve-racking, so perhaps they were too distracted to listen to the answers. 

Or it could be that nothing much short of cataclysm will change the human mind when it’s firmly set on matters it cannot fully grasp. Mine included. Well, if that is true, then the great debate could only affect the undecideds.

“.....unite against the hate that killed her” says Harriet Harman on TV as I type. See? That sort of thing.  Are ‘Remain’ actually claiming Jo Cox as their martyr?  No - how distasteful of me.

Many pundits are declaring that Ruth Davidson emerged as the clear winner. But why? Probably because they weren’t quite as sick of the sight of her as they were of the others. I couldn’t help noticing that they passed on Frances O’Grady. Very wise.

As far as I could make out, Ruth Davidson had two tactics. One was to insist on extracting undeliverable, speculative promises about immigration from the Leave side, and the other was to intermittently accuse them of lying. I can’t see how anyone thought her performance was a triumph.

I must be the only person in the world (apart from my family) who found the Leave side’s mission to insert the phrase “take back control” as many times as possible deeply insulting to our intelligence. But  on the other hand, if the general public are genuinely as dumb as they are portrayed by the media, only repetition of basic slogans could penetrate our rhinoceros-hide-like stupidity.

Another thing the media has decided for us, thank you very much, is that the Remain side wins on the economy and the Leave side wins on immigration. Somehow that seems to have been established as fact. 
The great debate, however indicated that this could actually be another media myth. 
I found the Leave arguments on the economy just as robust as the Remain’s, and I did think the Remain side raised a few doubts about post-Brexit’s ability to reduce the number of immigrants. 

Sovereignty is the most interesting aspect of this conundrum. I am persuaded by the argument that (oh no! I have to say it) we could ‘take back control’, but doubts creep in, even to that prospect, when I think of the calibre of the ‘we’ that would actually be in control. The warring Conservatives? The retrogressive Corbyn Party?
I know we can kick them out if we don’t like the direction they’re taking us in, but the juggernaut takes so damned long to change course that it all seems so cumbersome, and by the time we realise we’re heading for the rocks the damage has been done. And it’s irreversible. If you’ll excuse the nautical analogy. (Since the image of being driven over cliffs in a speeding car has been appropriated by both sides)
While we’re on the topic, I rather like the image of being shackled to a corpse. It’s very evocative. 

As for the other speakers - I thought Sadiq Khan was pretty terrible. For one thing his enunciation is poor. He gabbles. But that soundbite that the media is so fond of : “Project hate” is beyond unseemly. I just found it inappropriate and divisive.

I think we’ve seen a bit too much of Boris in buffoon mode recently. He spoke on Sky this morning in a much more considered tone, and I wish we’d seen more of that and less of the other. Gisela and Andrea were warm and personable, but we’d seen too much of the same from them already. Maybe they should have given Daniel Hannan a go.

Out of interest, here’s an excerpt from something from Gatestone that popped into my inbox.
“Even after hundreds were murdered in terrorist attacks over the past months in Paris, Brussels, California and Florida, the leadership of the U.S. and Europe persist in their politically correct denial of the threats from radical Islam. 
Worse, led by the European Union, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have been trying to impose a muzzling "code of conduct" to censor and remove from the internet any comments they consider "illegal hate speech." This, in the words of Soeren Kern, "could include virtually anything deemed politically incorrect by European authorities, including criticism of mass migration, Islam or even the European Union itself." 
We have recently felt the effects of it; we were censored by Facebook twice in one month, once just for pointing this policy out. If you have not yet been the victim of an assault on your freedom of speech, prepare to be one soon. Facebook suspended the account of Ingrid Carlqvist after she posted our video about Sweden having the second-highest rate of rape in the world. The video has been watched by more than 200,000 people. Then, Facebook blocked our article by Douglas Murray for objecting to Facebook's censorship.”
I haven’t got a Facebook account, but I have access to one, and my family agree that all their Facebook timelines have been littered with semi-aggressive posts promoting Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders,  and denigrating the ‘right’. Very intimidating if you happen to take a different view.

People have been making snide remarks about Israel and the Eurovision Song Contest. I must say I don’t know what the necessary qualifications are. Also I don’t care. But if anyone’s interested in Israel’s relationship with Europe, do have a look at this.  Click please.
It’s both a prospective model for Brexit and a little ad for Israel that I think Jo Cox’s followers  ought to be made aware of.

Israel is in Europe too. 

The United Kingdom has recently been totally absorbed with the Jun 23rd referendum on whether the UK should Remain or Exit the European Union.  The arguments in favor of the Remain camp appear to hinge on its claim that the UK’s economy would collapse if it terminated its EU membership.  UK citizens should not panic, however, but instead take a closer look at the “Israeli model”. 
The modern State of Israel has been an “adopted” member of many European entities for some time - mainly due to the unwillingness of surrounding Arab countries in Asia and Africa to accept the Jewish State into “their” continents.  Israel is not a member of the EU, but the current relationship has many mutual benefits.  Using news articles since the beginning of this year, here are some examples of how the relationship benefits both Israel and Europe.’ 

Israel – it’s practically holding Europe together!


  1. The Great Debate - My reaction, Meh!

  2. Are ‘Remain’ actually claiming Jo Cox as their martyr?

    Yes, they are. I watched it happen today. They were very careful, but it was obvious to anyone knowing the background of the event.

    As for the sovereignty issue, don't fall for the Owen Jones/Caroline Lucas anti-democracy argument. Which they of course claim is democratic. It doesn't matter who you think will form the next Government. Corbyn won't be elected, and any worries about what any other version of Labour would do, or what Cameron would continue to do, pale in comparison to what the EU will do. Great Britain is finished if the result is Remain. All of the agreements which have given a few things back to Britain (e.g. not being automatically obligated for the next bailout, or the 'rebates') can be given up back to the EU in a heartbeat if the next leader feels like it. With a Remain result, whoever it is won't feel that it's a risk to their political future. The only reason you're having a referendum now is because Cameron and Osborne thought not having one would be a risk to theirs.

    Heseltine gave it away already.

  3. The repetition of the slogan “take back control” was a little jarring in an otherwise fairly articulate case put by the Leave side. Sadie Khan on the other hand spoke, or at times shouted, almost entirely in slogans. A peculiar characteristic of his, that I have never noticed before is the way he punctuates his invectives with a two finger point, reminiscent of a child simulating a gun in play - not a very endearing trait. Most of Frances O’Grady’s points were irrelevant. Ruth Davidson wins the prize for being the most aggressive. On the leave side Gisela Stuart’s performance, despite the Guardian’s description as “leaden” was quietly impressive. Andrea Leadsom, although perhaps the most charming, had as you suggest nothing new to say. Boris was Boris. The additional panel added nothing at all.
    I would doubt that anybody watching felt better informed or swayed in either direction. So was it worth it? It might have been, but the end result was yet another huge vanity project for the BBC.

    As to the referendum itself, contrary to many of the people who post here and on similar sites this is one of the most agonising decisions I have ever made.

  4. Leave ahead early. Right on cue, we go back from the Sutherland result to Dimbleby in the studio. Wouldn't you know it, sterling has plummeted, he intoned slowly and morosely, as if telling a small child that their pet had just died.

    It always seems like British election earliest results are the opposite of the final result, though, so I'm not getting my hopes up.

  5. Nick Robinson just disparaged every Leave voter in the country. He said Leave voters in small towns were old Thatcherites who just wanted to kick Cameron, Brussels, the Establishment, the Bankers, anyone, really. We haven't seen the firm Remain supporters yet: the young, public sector workers, urban elites, BBC staff (he may not have said that last one, but I see it as a collective term for the first three). So the early returns favor Leave because it's "the Left Behind", Robinson says, who just want to kick someone, and see voting Leave as the way to do it.

  6. As if to tease me, every result in the last ten minutes have been strongly for Leave, and the Beeboid on site says, "We've been expecting that, as it's a rural small town (Clive Myrie, Basildon) where they want to kick the elite, etc."

    Myrie is a good one, no sneering, unlike the rest of them, but it's disappointing that he has to use what's obviously some sort of script handed round. I'm serious, you could probably take the audio from any of them and dub into any other video, and the only time the lips would by out of sync is when they say the name of the town.

    The wave form graphic they're making Jeremy Vine jangle around in like a scarecrow is much better than the previous designs they've had.

  7. Poor crestfallen, nervous Laura K., reassuring herself and her team, like a stereotype in a Japanese high school anime, that certain boroughs of London are coming in strongly for Remain. Meanwhile Leave is up 100,000 or so as the total approaches 1 million.

    It's still the early tease, I still think Remain will win.

  8. Laura K. just pipes up to say a "senior Labour figure" has said that Leave will win. She is nearly in tears. No, I am not inferring. If anything, I'm giving her too much credit for hiding her feelings.

    PS: The BBC has finally figured out they need to put her on stage right, audience left, poor thing.

  9. Why does it look like Stage Performer Maitlis is sitting behind a sneeze guard at a salad bar? It's weird. The accusatory way she asked St. Vince Cable if holding a referendum was a mistake cheered me up, though.

  10. Correction: she looks like a dinner lady behind a sneeze guard at the counter.

    (RIP Victoria Wood)

  11. Remember when the pound trading lower was good because it made debt cheaper and easier to pay? Ah, good times....good times.....

  12. Stage Performer Maitlis just welcomed her guests, Isabel Hardman and Andrew Rawnsley by saying that they were going to discuss the latest news "if you can tear your eyes away from what's happening on Channel 4"....if it's "not Swedish pr0n or something...."

    Class act, that Maitlis.

  13. I wonder if anyone else is savoring the irony of nearly every single Beeboid saying over and over that London and Scotland are as one union ideologically.

  14. Dimbley by to the Welsh Beeboid in Deeside just now, who is not quite aware that he's on camera: "James, you have the conch!"

    As Yogi Berra once said, it gets late early out there.

  15. Sheffield and Essex for Leave? Hope?

  16. Wolverhampton for Leave, Durham for Leave. Eric Idle and Jeremy Vine are eating their own livers right now.

  17. Hah! James Landsdale from some Britain Stronger In party saying that Eddie Izzard has scrammed like a rat leaving a sinking ship. Not in so many words, but he was specifically pointing out that the luvvies have left, a vote of no confidence.

  18. I take it back. Jeremy Vine's slide-o-meter thing is confusing. It looks better than the previous attempts, but it's not visually informative. Vine is having to spend an inordinate amount of time explaining what everything is supposed to look like if this or that, and it's not really clear that we're seeing what he says we are.

  19. Certain Remainiac explanations for people (in this case traditional Labour voters, the sainted working class) voting Leave are not making sense. Chuka Umunna is currently being the fourth or fifth idiot saying that they know leaving the EU will crash the economy but want to kick the Tory Government for ruining the economy. What?

  20. Beeboid Martyn James (I think) from Poole just dismissed British fishermen's concerns over getting their own local waters back to fish in as "emotive". In what other situations would it be okay for a BBC journalist to devalue concerns about jobs and small family businesses like that?

  21. What did Farage say that was so awful and divisive? That it's a victor for ordinary, decent people? What a giveaway.

  22. Congratulations on being a free country! A Real Ale Revolution!

    Unbelievable. Long faces at the BBC, wailing and gnashing of teeth to follow, tomorrow all Beeboids wearing sackloth and ashes.

    You have saved your country, and saved Europe.

  23. Thanks for the post David very enjoyable commentary on a interesting and ground breaking night

  24. The lesson is: never doubt the Question Time audiences when the BBC doesn't rig them.


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