Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Three Men in a Debate

As I stared in the shaving mirror this morning, Radio 4 announced that Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg AND Nigel Farage had written to David Cameron urging him to take part in the Leaders' TV debates without the Greens' participation, otherwise they would go ahead on their own without him. Aping Have I Got News For You's "tub of lard" wheeze some years ago on Roy Hattersley's non-appearance, they threatened him with asking the broadcasters to set up an "empty podium" to highlight the Prime Minister's absence.

Momentarily, I paused from assaulting my hirsuteness (just as Cleggie apparently did 5 years ago when he secretly converted to austerity during his morning shave after apparently confusing the UK with Greece). How coincidental, I naively thought, that these three rivals would write to Cameron on the same day.

But my naivete was short-lived. Was the write-to-Dave stunt co-ordinated? Well, yes. In fact, it was so co-ordinated that they all sent the same letter. Yep; "Red" Ed, whom Labour supporters keep claiming has put Blairite Nu-Labour behind him shacked up with that betrayer of progressive politics, Nick Clegg. And then they got new best mate to join in. Yes, former stockbroker and doyen of the populist right, Nigel Farage.

So, finally, all the claims from Labour and Lib dems over the months that their leaders had not refused to involve the Greens now stand naked and clear - these self-interested, anti-democratic trough-swillers are prepared to actively work with UKIP to exclude the fourth party of British politics, the Greens, in order to shore up their crumbling grasp on the political stage. All on the same day that the Greens' total paid up membership figures overtook those of UKIP and on current trends are likely to overtake the Lib Dems' by early next week - over 2,000 people joined the Greens today alone.

They may be right when they claim Cameron's stance on the Greens is rooted in his own self-interest; but what is even more evident is that their own stance is so completely self-centred and exclusivist that Miliband and Clegg are prepared to debate with Nigel Farage but not with Natalie Bennett, let alone Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP or Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru.

The only cold comfort in this most cynical of moves is that our electorate is somewhat more intelligent than these machine manipulators realise. And with 300,000 signatories to a petition calling for the Greens to be given a platform and 80% support for a Green speaker in opinion polls, the voters are infinitely fairer and more inclusive that the three men who audaciously refer to themselves are the "leaders" of the people.

Shame on them, then. And may they face a full reckoning on 7 May.

Nick's letter. And Ed's...And Nigel's.

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