Nick Clegg has challenged UKIPs Nigel Farage to a debate about the UKs EU membership. Im a bit apprehensive about this one. Debating anything with radical right wingers be it climate change, creationism or economics tends to be a bit like wrestling a pig. You both get dirty and the pig seems to enjoy it.
A good example of this can be seen by Bill Nyes (American TVs the science guy) recent debate with Young Earth Creationist Ken Ham. Ham employed a host of standard techniques the most notable of which is the so called Gish Gallop, whereby you fire off various half-truths, myths and plane made up BS in rapid succession, but your opponent is never given sufficient time to counter this by pointing out that youre either lying or dont have a clue what youre talking about. Indeed Ken Ham has his own Gish Gallop like technique often called the Ham Hightail.
E.g. no doubt Farage will bring up the issues the UK is having extraditing terrorist suspects, thanks to the human right act .but forgetting to mention that other EU countries have similar issues with terrorists and have found ways around this same human rights act (the problem for the UK is a lack of a UK constitution and ultimately the fact that, as the UK supported G. W. Bushs rendition policy, judges here tend not to trust the government when the promise people wont be tortured if sent abroad).
Or he might play the usual bigot card immigrants from the EU are only here to claim benefits. But of course the benefits system in other EU countries often pays out much more and its not as if there arent UK citizens living in Germany for example claiming benefits there. Also the official figures suggest that the cost to the UK of benefits claims from non UK citizens is tiny. Given that only 11% of the UK population is foreign born and even if the same number claim benefits as UK citizens (which they dont barely 13,000 foreigners are currently claiming housing benefits) then given that the jobs seekers is only 0.69% of the UK budget that means immigrants cost us 0.075% or 1/1312th of the UK budget (plus whatever those 13,000 housing benefits claims cost) at most. And such a figure is easily cancelled out by the taxes paid by migrants over here working.
I think you get the message. The point is its far easier to make cheap sound bites and spout BS than refute this with cold hard facts and unless this debate includes a mechanism for fact checking Nigel Farages inevitably outlandish claims it wont be a fair debate.