Firstly, well done in the European Union debate with Nick Clegg where you more or less, held your own. However, I would only score your performance at about 7/10, so to improve your message for Wednesday’s second round here’s what I think you should consider.
Typically, after round one, both sides of a series of debates should evaluate and focus on what was not done well in order to improve for the next event. Nick Clegg will most certainly do that and the more critical you can be about your own performance the better the next one will be. The way to do this is to concentrate on your strengths, avoid the same mistakes and highlight your opponent’s weaknesses.
From my perspective the debate, whilst starting well, descended into a ‘my numbers are better than yours’ comparison. For the politicos and biased observers this has been spun as Clegg having good command of the figures but to most it comes across as a weakness because people generally have a mistrust of ‘plucked out of the air’ statistics and you should only use numbers that support that which people already believe to be true. To disrupt ‘Cleggstats’ you only need to puncture the outrageous claim that 3 million jobs will go if we leave the European Union which will build upon an existing mistrust of Nick Clegg’s honesty and integrity.
In any debate one can score a hit by emphasising those things that the audience, in this case the general public, already believe to have some truth.
This is not a format in which to change views so any excursion into the Ukranian issue is a dangerous move and way off topic. In our part of the world people firmly believe that Putin is the enemy (rightly or wrongly) and this debate isn’t the correct platform to try and change that. If it comes up, which it most probably will as it diverts attention from the real debate and may well be seen as a vulnerable point, you must get back to the core subject quickly by simply expressing a view that all you meant was that this is a complex issue that needs careful, collective action and will not be helped by EU political interference.
In addition to arguing that which is already held by many to be true any single debate can only expect to successfully make one or two main points. From the first debate it wasn’t entirely clear what they were as they seemed to merge into territory that people couldn’t verify for themselves. This is the real problem with quoting numbers and part of the strategy should be to use unsubstantiated numbers less and make more use of numbers that support things that people already know to be true.
The main message should be that the European Political experiment isn’t working and that the UK would be economically better off, not worse, with the freedom to trade worldwide as well as with Europe, but without the mountain of economically destructive legislation that bureaucrats, who never have to earn a penny in the real world, are so keen to impose on everyone else.
We have two Aces in this forthcoming debate.
1. Nick Clegg isn’t trusted. He is seen as duplicitous and self serving so anything he says is already perceived as suspect. You cannot directly refer to this on a personal basis because that would make you look like a bully and consequently be counter-productive but you can allude to it indirectly by focussing on the clearly untrue 3 million jobs scaremongering tactic and by suggesting that the statistics he is using are selective and unrepresentative but you need one (no more) good example of this (that Clegg used in the last debate) to make the point. That would cast doubt on any statistics he has used and will use in the next debate.
2. The real blow to be landed though is the undeniable fact that the EU as it stands isn’t working in both senses of the word and is a failed experiment (the word experiment is powerful in this context) suggesting uncertainty about the entire project. At this point it would be useful to remind viewers off the unemployment rates in the worst countries. These figures are already known and believed so should be used. People already know the EU finances are never approved by the auditors and this can be easily presented as corrupt and at the very least inefficient. We also know that the EU makes many of our laws but that most southern European countries just ignore the ones they don’t like. Not only has the political union failed but it is still failing. A hard hitting point is that most of the countries are drowning in debt with no sign of escape. That can hardly be trumpeted as any kind of success.
It is also worth postulating that were the UK to leave the political union of the EU other countries may well follow suit and that the restrictions of this self-serving bureaucracy actually hinder the UK in global trade rather than support it.
There are many ways to reinforce the above points but it is also important to clarify clear misunderstandings about UKIP policy.
Differentiate between anti-immigration and anti uncontrolled immigration. You must stop Clegg when he spins this to suggest that UKIP will stop all immigration, it’s a deliberate lie and must be exposed as such. Make the point that we aren’t against immigration but must have some control over it which ironically is a point already concede by the coalition so hard to argue against.
Also differentiate between the European political bureaucracy and the European states. We want to be trading partners with Europe and will continue to do so. We aren’t anti Europe only anti European politicization. We are an independent state and should make our own laws. We do not want to be a satellite state of a failed and still failing European political ideology.
Do not be swayed by Clegg’s patronising and nauseating use of questioner’s first names. You could use their title and surname as that is a respectful reference to an individual, or perhaps ‘sir’ or madam. Even using terms such as ‘the gentleman or ‘the lady’ is better than the dishonest representation of friendship purely for the benefit of the cameras. Personally, I normally only use the first names of friends, colleagues and acquaintances, I won’t pretend to be your friend on camera when I wouldn’t act the same way off it.
Even though this is a debate avoided by the two main parties is has stirred considerable media interest and is a great opportunity. The objective for the next debate should be to convert the undecided and we can do this by focussing on the fundamental reason for wanting to disentangle ourselves from this ever expanding bureaucracy is that the UK will be better off, have more freedom and greater trading opportunities than we would if restrained by a clearly crumbling experiment.
Go to it.
Photo by European Parliament
Photo by DonkeyHotey
Photo by PhotoAtelier