Further Comment on Clegg v Farage
by Robert Henderson
Note: We have a mature oligarchy in Britain. As oligarchies mature they become more and more exclusive – the Venetian council in the Middle Ages is a classic example – and the quality of their members becomes less and less. This failure of generational renewal is disguised from the oligarchy members by the sealed nature of the oligarchy and they all go around discounting the views of anyone outside the oligarchy and praising the oligarchies’ members lavishly. Clegg demonstrated how limited our political elite are as individuals. He did not even have the wit not to tell easily revealed lies.
As for Farage, he missed quite a few obvious points in the debates and he is poor at explaining the detail of policies. Time and again he starts making a point or a reply strongly, then two or three sentences later he fades noticeably. Ideally you want him exposed in situations where he can make his point quickly and get out. I could seriously improve his performance by preparing him to anticipate and answer questions in detail a Q and A, whereby you put down all the likely questions your opponent will ask and all the responses he is likely to make and then follow that with anticipated secondary questions and answers. You can go on ad infinitum, but my experience of using them when working for the Inland Revenue and questioning someone under caution is that an initial question or reply and one supplementary is all you can usefully create. Lawyers who have to cross examine often use such Q and As.
The other advice I would give Farage is (1) cut out the jokes because they are generally poor and he is not a natural comic and (2) never but never make the mistake of whining about how hard his job is, as he did in the first debate when challenged over putting his wife on the EU funded payroll – the general public really do hate that sort of thing.
It is important to understand that while the general public detest the likes of Clegg, Cameron and Miliband and have a strong dislike of the EU, that does not mean they have any great liking for or trust in Ukip or Farage. There is also the inertia factor whereby it is the devil’s own job to get people to vote for a party in Britain which does not have a Westminster presence. Moreover, most people will not to vote in UK elections – the turnout in EU elections is generally in the 30 per cents and only in the 60 per cents in recent general elections.