BBC Leaders Debate – “Banter Central” with Mishal Husain.
So the first notable thing is the well-publicised and extremely conspicuous absence of Theresa May. Where was she? The general public cries! Who knows, general public, who the hell knows. Either way, she sent Home Secretary Amber Rudd, in her place which is pretty much the same thing, right?
Overall, the layout of this debate looked a bit like a shitty game show. Each party member stood behind their own stand with different coloured lights to represent them. *Game show host voice* In the red team we have Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour Party! In the blue team, Amber Rudd for the Conservatives! Holding yellow is Tim Farron for the Liberal Democrats! And the rest aren’t really relevant, but I’m sure you can guess which colour Green is. The debate is hosted by Mishal Husain, who I’m pretty sure is only there to look beautiful and cut off Caroline Lucas whenever she attempts to make a point.
Opening statements are strong from a number of parties. Though with that said, Amber Rudd came across a touch strange when she asked the country to put their trust in a leader who fails to show up for debates. Plaid Cymru were particularly impressive, with much of the focus on Wales but hey – if I lived there, I’d surely consider them. Paul Nuttall of UKIP makes a point of defending “British values”. I’m not entirely sure what that means but we thank him for showing up, at the very least.
The debate kicks off with a question regarding the economy. Rudd begins by making this astounding statement, “In order to have a strong economy, we need to make sure we have a strong economy”. Boy, the Tories really sent their best woman for the job. What a shocking revelation. Caroline Lucas receives a huge round of applause when she condemns the Tories as “downright insulting” to claim that they are a party who cares. And to be completely honest, this debate is just non-stop hilarity. Was British politics always this fun or did Twitter do this?
Meanwhile, Paul Nuttall is trying desperately to bring everything back to immigration, as that is basically his only policy. UKIP are so irrelevant that I have no idea why they are allowed on this debate, but I guess it gives us something to laugh at whenever things are taking a turn for the dull. Paul receives an enormous ‘boo’ when he decides to use one of Theresa May’s old sound bites, all the while saying that the Labour Party are trying to “take us back to the 1970’s”. Though the audience weren’t having any of it Paul. The thing is, we’ve all heard these statements so many times that we’ve had time to question them and I think most of us would much prefer the 1970’s policies to those we have now anyway.
Speaking of sound bites, it looks as though Amber Rudd is coining her own. She repeated multiple times that Corbyn has a “money tree wishlist!” At least this one is a little more exciting than the age old ‘strong and stable’. Ironically, she gets a bigger laugh when she asks the audience (completely sincerely) to “judge us by our record”.
Corbyn received many an applause throughout this particular debate. The audience seemed to agree with his policies and there’s no doubt that although the BBC claims this audience was hand picked with different views, UKIP and the Conservatives are not getting much of a look in. However, Jezza slightly loses his footing on a question regarding the Manchester attack. When asked “do you think more police officers could have prevented it?” he immediately answers “no”, but doesn’t seem to know how to back his argument up and for the first time during the debate, looks slightly uncomfortable. Though he does eventually give a decent answer to which Mishal moves on.
Conservatives pulled no punches, but don’t seem to have much of an argument throughout, except to attack the opposition and falling back time and time again regarding Brexit. Something that surprised me, was Caroline Lucas stating that they would “scrap trident to free up money for public services” getting a big cheer. It seemed to go somewhat against the consensus that we’ve been exposed to thus far regarding the general public, when it comes to nuclear deterrents, which does indicate that this audience is somewhat more left-leaning.
Closing arguments time:
We open the closing statements with Nuttall from UKIP, who is essentially a poor man’s Nigel Farage, and hardly impressive at all. The other parties say almost exactly what you’d expect them to, until we reach Lib Dems, Tim Farron who pulled the biggest shade at T-May, completely off guard. Which of course, sparked laughter and cheers in the audience. Tim’s exact words were, “Bake off is on BBC2 next, why not make yourself a brew? You are not worth Theresa May’s time. Don’t give her yours.” This drag is nothing short of iconic. Well done, Timothy.
So, who was the star of the show? For me personally, Caroline Lucas from the Green Party absolutely knocked it out of the park. Her arguments were well-reasoned and overall, she is a good party leader with excellent morals. In particular, the moment when she asked Amber Rudd how she sleeps at night was a corker. Between Caroline and Corbyn, whom received the best reception from audiences. Perhaps we could see a coalition government between the Labour and Green Party in the near future?
Follow Hayley on Twitter @hayleylbrown
(Artwork via @thepoopculture)