Not so much David v Goliath as David v David
This was the battle of the political minnows. The debate on European Union membership that David Cameron and Ed Miliband were too busy to attend.
Last night Nick Clegg (the major victor from the TV debates prior to the 2010 election) met Nigel Farage UKIP leader in a debate on the pros and cons of Britain’s continued membership of the European Union.
The Lib Dems have been the 1/2 party in the UK’s 2 1/2 party system since the mid 1980s. Since 2010 they have been in government and with a hung parliament looking like the most likely outcome of the 2015 election Nick Clegg will be hoping for another term in office. In the opposing corner was Nigel Farage the somewhat populist leader of UKIP who has turned his party from an also ran to a significant political force looking on the Conseravtive’s right flank. UKIP were the second largest party in the last round of EU elections and will hope to increase their share of the vote from 4% in 2010- recent opinion polls have suggested that support could now stand at around 1:5 voters (comparable to the Liberal Democrats).
The general consensus was that Farage won the debate- with snap polling data suggesting around 60% of listeners supported his anti- European stance.
The battle over the EU is still an interesting political debate, but in many ways this debate was interesting electorally. With a hung parliament looking likely- the prospect of another coalition looms. This debate adds to the belief that if the Conservatives move too far to the centre there is now an effective challenge to them from the right as well as the left.