The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

27 March
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That Farage/Clegg Debate – Media Pundits Caught With Their Trousers Down…

Animal - Woodland - Weasels, various

 

Probably the most significant outcome of the Farage/Clegg debate was not so much the verbal fencing of the discussion itself but the final piece of evidence proving, if any further proof were needed that, with regard to UKIP most of the media establishment is as out of touch with the views of the man and woman on the street as the political class which claims to represent them.

I’m not talking about the liberal/left ramparts of The Guardian or Daily Mirror – at least the bias in those quarters is so blatant that one can immediately discount much of their “reporting” or “comment”. But the barrage of sneering anti UKIP bile filling the pages of the Telegraph and Mail, both supposedly rightward leaning and Eurosceptic, has certainly puzzled many of us in UKIP.

Many have suggested that the Telegraph/Mail have merely been pimping Tory HQ propaganda as part of a campaign to buttress Cameron. Yet the Mail is often scathing about Dave so I cannot see the Tory HQ line as being the whole story.

My feeling is that, though “journalists” work for media outlets that have varying political stances, the bulk of them are all part of the London media “village” and intermingle professionally and socially not just with each other but with the political class. All of them see politics as a political game where the terms of the debate are exclusively set by the metropolitan elite and the role of the electorate is to be as passive as a TV audience, maybe cheering or booing on cue, but otherwise happy to leave decisions about the important issues to the “professionals” who know best.

What these people hate about UKIP is that it is a party of political outsiders with no connection to the metropolitan elite. No political “big beast” SDP type defections have brought the party into the dinner party conversations in North London. They hasten to characterise UKIP members, supporters and potential voters as simple minded, racist, ignorant etc but they have made no attempt to get to know UKIP members or treat their views seriously.

The result? They constantly get blindsided…

During and immediately after the debate, Westminster observers appeared to come down on the side of Clegg – or that both men had performed competently. Initially, Lib Dem cheerleaders apparently satisfied with the performance of their leader and several “gaffes” from Farage, who they pointed out appeared to denigrate the European car industry and claimed the EU had “blood on its hands” over Ukraine.

“The truth is it was a score draw,” said Andrew Mitchell, the senior Conservative backbencher and former chief whip.

However, the mood shifted to visible disappointment in the Clegg camp as the first opinion polls showed Farage was ahead by 57% to 36%.

Asked whether the loss mattered, one Lib Dem aide said philosophically: “In a snap poll, populist arguments may well win over. The real win tonight has been that we wanted this debate and talked directly to the voters.”

Let’s face it – the media hacks were all caught with their trousers down

Backstage, Westminster’s hack-pack was necking cheap vino and Pret sandwiches after carrying out a spectacular volte face. Initially ‘the spin room’ had called the duel for Clegg, on both style and substance. But, as news of the Sun/YouGov poll filtered through to the scribblers, headlines were rewritten and awkward tweets deleted. Soon, only the BBC was left flying the Clegg flag, with the help of Danny Alexander and Tim Farron.

The moral of the story? Simples… On every Mail snide anti UKIP piece, or Tim Stanley/Dan Hodges ill informed rant, or snooty dinner party Spectator put down keep on hammering the comments with the phrases that wind them up…..LibLabCon, Tory HQ agitprop, out-of-touch media luvvies….believe me those remarks really get under their collective skin.

The media expects to be courted. Until the age of the internet there was no other option if you wished to be heard. But today is different. Journalists are ranked with estate agents, car salesmen and pimps. They don’t need to be courted – when they lie and distort and misreport they need to be exposed and attacked from every angle.

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06 March
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That BBC Farage/Clegg Debate – If It’s Dimbleby Nigel Needs A Very Long Spoon…

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Classic anti Farage tweaking via the Telegraph’s James Kirkup in a snarky piece about the forthcoming Farage/Clegg debates – Kirkup uses that pic of Farage perspiring during his UKIP conference speech alongside a standard stock photo of Clegg looking steady and serious…..par for the course, I suppose.

Young Kirkup claims that the format is nearing some sort of agreement

LBC, the radio station that hosts Mr Clegg’s weekly phone-in, will stage a debate expected to have fewer rules and restrictions than the BBC. The debate – also before a live audience – will be hosted by Nick Ferrari, a more combative broadcaster than Dimbleby, who is expected to allow more “lively” exchanges.

So far, so good….Ferrari won’t take any prisoners but, unlike anyone at the BBC (except maybe Andrew Neil) he does tend to resonate with white van drivers and their wives, a constituency that is not renowned for going starry eyed over beards and sandals.

But warning bells did start to ring in my head when I read about the TV debate

The two men will be given an hour to argue about the merits of Britain’s membership of the European Union, moderated by David Dimbleby.

Ah, Dimbleby, the Grand Panjandrum of BBC Question Time who inevitably intervenes when he feels a member of the BBCQT panel is simply not up to his own intellectual level. Pompous, smooth and trousering sackfuls of taxpayers’ money via the licence fee he is the epitome of BBC smugness, socially and culturally closer to Clegg than Farage. When you also hear that the audience will be carefully selected to demonstrate “balance” red lights should be flashing in the Farage camp because we just know the BBCQT definition of “balance” from week after week of handpicked rent-a-quote lefty androids who always seem to get chosen when Dimbleby’s eyes scour the audience for his “random” selection…..and isn’t it strange that they often seem to be allowed a few additional comments just in case the message didn’t get through.

During the 2008 and 2012 US Presidential elections the TV debates were organised and “moderated” by the big networks, all dominated by the same liberal/left viewpoint  as our own BBC. The Republican establishment is now coming under increasing pressure from the Tea Party movement to demand a less Democrat friendly structure to the 2016 debates.

I certainly hope that Farage and UKIP also box very cannily with the BBC. It is an organisation that is institutionally inimical to almost everything UKIP stands for.

When you sup with the Beeb you need a very long spoon…..

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18 September
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Those Free School Meals For Middle Class Kids…..

Millionaire Nick Clegg is going to use taxpayers money to pay for free school meals for all under sevens in state schools, all 1.5 million of them. Of course nearly 500,000 of them already get free meals as a benefit for low income families so this means that higher income parents will be getting a share of the gravy as well.

I bet those middle class mums at mumsnet will be delighted – an extra £400 to spend per child, all courtesy of £600m from  the hard pressed taxpayer

Naturally the teachers unions are delighted

The National Union of Teachers said pupils of all ages should qualify, adding: ‘Children do not stop being hungry at seven.’

Here’s an idea. Finance this boondoggle from money set aside for teachers salary increases. I’m sure they would be delighted to take one for the kids……

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31 May
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Believe Cameron On Europe? Clegg Assures Polish Minister UK Won’t Leave EU

Do you still believe David Cameron – or do you, like me, suspect a con?

Maybe this Polish politician has let the cat out of the bag and the European political elite has been given the inside story.

They really think we are stupid. They believe their own agitprop that the the surge of support for UKIP is just a nine day wonder, a brief blip of protest that will disappear as the spin merchants and their media pimps attempt to switch the narrative. Tory Chairman Grant Shapps, we are told, has written a letter to local activists. William Hague might soon be wheeled out to assure the doubtful that all is well. Samantha Cameron should make herself available to secure the female vote.

They hold us in contempt – but they are rattled. Keep up the pressure and we can beat  them.

 

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23 January
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Never Expected To Say This But Cameron’s EU Speech Was Absolutely Spot On….

There is a time in politics as well as in all things when one must eat one’s words (or some of them) and give credit where it is due. David Cameron’s speech was a good one, carefully crafted to bring out some home truths without sneering at our European partners as a bunch of Johnny Foreigners smelling of garlic and trying to seduce our women and steal our silver. By offering a straightforward in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in 2017 on the basis of a negotiated repatriation of certain powers he made a bold, and honest, commitment. There are none of the familiar weasel word which politicians conventionally use when making public promises – “almost certainly”, “certain circumstances”, subject to these conditions”.

There are always voices saying “don’t ask the difficult questions.”
But it’s essential for Europe – and for Britain – that we do because there are three major challenges confronting us today.
First, the problems in the Eurozone are driving fundamental change in Europe.
Second, there is a crisis of European competitiveness, as other nations across the world soar ahead. And third, there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain.

For once it was Cameron as Thatcher, not Cameron as Blair.

It‘s a canny move. It might well have for the moment shot the UKIP fox, which had been threatening to bite at Tory heels – though I suspect that puttting a bet on predicting Nigel Farage’s political demise would not be the wisest of moves.Indeed one could argue that Cameron’s offer has been forced on him by the impact of Farage And UKIP. However Dave has left Labour in complete disarray. As for the Liberal Democrats, who in 2007 were supporting a referendum, they are busily backpedalling, calling the idea unhelpful.

This must be sweet music to Tory ears – those champions of the “people” Clegg and Milliband boxing themselves into a corner and saying actually we, the great and the good, not the public, should decide these matters.

The fact that political has beens like Mandelson, Clarke and Heseltine are against a referendum is clearly a badge of honour considering that all three were once fervent advocates of joining the Euro. Add the French and President Obama to the mix and it must be drinks all round.

The only voice that matters in all this is the one that emanates from Berlin and Cameron must be pleased that Angela Merkel is not going negative on the idea of having a second look at the power relationship between the EU and member states.

Maybe, just maybe, Dave might have a bit of backbone after all……

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