Cameron is demanding that if UKIP are represented in the television debates, the Green Party should be too – or he won’t appear. For once he’s right: so why does Miliband want to press ahead and argue with his empty seat? Tania Edwards investigates.
Illustration by Louise Boulter
Ed Miliband couldn’t look more out of touch if he donned a curly wig and a handbag to do a tour of former mining towns. Has that fratricide gone to his head? Why does he imagine a debate between only Labour, the Lib Dems and UKIP is something that wouldn’t close down the national grid faster than a Big Brother special?
Yes, in case you missed it… Ed Miliband says that if Cameron won’t go head-to-head in a debate against coalition partner Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage and Ed himself, they should proceed without him. Without the Prime Minister and WITH Nigel Farage you ask (as you mentally remind yourself who is who) NIGE? Yes! Nige! Hot new thing on the political circuit (so outrageous, so free! He could be wearing a cucumber costume at an open mic night squeaking poo! poo! poo! Gently lulling punters into a false sense of security as they remember their own children sweetly beating the underdog in the playground), Farage is invited to this debate of *leaders* a debate that reminds us there are no decent leaders in the UK – just castrated top dogs who hope a limp fight can rouse the country’s interest.
Can’t the debate be a head-to-head with Ed and Dave? Well no, because Nick Clegg isn’t dead till May and is currently (believe it or not) Deputy Prime Minister, so he has to be included – even if UKIP and the Greens are more respected. UKIP has an MP (hoorah! Someone to hate!) and so do the Greens, but Ofcom forgot to invite the Green leader ____ ____ to the debate. Forgive the gaps, but I don’t know her name (and I’ve voted Green), because she hasn’t been given a publicity campaign worthy of an X Factor victor, à la Farage.
Maybe Ofcom forgot the name too and are just too embarrassed to admit their error. Maybe the BBC is still too busy high-fiving its “one woman must appear on a panel show policy” to find room for her on talk shows: but it’s blatantly unfair. And Miliband’s preparedness to exclude the Green leader from the debate reminds us all that he is Cameron’s best weapon. He’s making Cameron (awful, whiny, proud hater-of-the-poor) look like a damned hero in his firm insistence on ____’s presence. Clearly Cameron thinks out-eating Ed in a bacon sandwich-munching race is less relevant to the electorate than explaining to ____ on national television how much his solar panels have saved him and could save others if they would just stop banging on about the proliferation of food banks in the UK under his watch.
In these topsy turvy times, comedians call for revolution on news programmes and Nige is calling for well, he hasn’t finalised the manifesto yet, on comedy shows: and we’re supposed to take it all seriously. All we can do is demand that if they don’t include ____ in their stupid debate we will vote the Greens into power on principle. In fact that’s not a bad idea. If you want to: their leader’s name is Natalie Bennett. She can’t be worse than what we’ve got.
Tania Edwards is a standup comedian and writer.