UKIP leader Nigel Farage has swept the second European Union Referendum debate, defeating the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister by a poll result of 68 percent to 27 percent.
The YouGov poll was echoed even by the Guardian newspaper’s ratings, which suggested that 69 percent of Brits thought that Farage was the stronger of the two contestants.
While Nick Clegg landed a few early cheap blows, especially with regards to Farage’s point on Russia and Syria, a war-weary British public didn’t put as much weight on the issue as Clegg would have liked. Instead, the debate continued on the lines of Britain’s role with the EU, the number of jobs ‘created’ by the membership, and how mass immigration has affected UK society.
Farage took chances in stating that immigration “has left the white working class effectively as an underclass” and claiming that it was “a disaster for our society”. Clegg hit back, ratcheting up his attacks from last week’s debate, saying Farage did not “like modern Britain” and claiming he wanted a return to a bygone era.
But Clegg’s punches failed to make an impact, and Farage doubled-down on his working-class Conservative rhetoric. Even conservative Members of Parliament were rumoured to be in the building, nodding along with the UKIP leader’s points.
Farage’s hammer blow, and headline moment, came when he accused the Deputy Prime Minister of “wilfully lying” to the British public. Clegg never really recovered from this moment, getting bogged down on issues like climate change and the number of people employed by the European Union.
In any case, even without two resounding wins, these debates would have been described as a coup for Nigel Farage. UKIP has increased its membership, online following, and national media presence, and Clegg’s folly in challenging Farage to these debates is palpable for all to see.
There have been major spikes in UKIP news coverage in recent weeks, as seen from the TVEyes analysis below. In all respects, debating Nigel Farage has been a disaster for the Deputy Prime Minister. And if I may say; a genuine victory for Britain.
Nigel Farage media spikes: