Here’s a six-minute highlights reel of a debate the other night between Nick Clegg, the LibDem deputy prime minister of the UK’s coalition government, and Nigel Farage, leading of UKIP, the populist-nationalist party. It’s pretty stunning, actually; Farage wipes the floor with Clegg, who is reduced to hysterical ad hominem attacks (e.g., responding to Farage’s stated opposition to a EU foreign policy he sees as dragging the continent towards war with Russia by calling Farage a friend of Putin, Assad, and mass murder. Farage is widely seen in Britain to have won the debate; it was such a rout that PM David Cameron has been reduced to denouncing both Farage and his coalition partner as “extremist.” Simon Jenkins writes in The Guardian:
Farage has given this appeal a shrewdly rebellious overlay reminiscent of Wilkes, Cobbett and even Tony Benn. He claims that the EU had made the working class “effectively an underclass”. He calls on everyone to “Come and join the people’s army! Let’s topple the establishment!”. Clegg looked as if he would rather bury his head in the cushions of a Brussels salon.
UKIP’s support comes overwhelmingly from former or disaffected Tories, reports Prospect, but there are some natural Labour voters in its ranks. In the wake of Clegg’s trouncing, Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for excluding Farage from next year’s general election debates. Sounds like it’s onward and upward for Farage. Good.