Debating Europe?

Nick Clegg has challenged UKIP’s Nigel Farage to a debate about the UK’s EU membership. I’m a bit apprehensive about this one. Debating anything with radical right winger’s 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 Nye’s (American TV’s “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-truth’s, myth’s and plane made up BS in rapid succession, but your opponent is never given sufficient time to counter this by pointing out that you’re either lying or don’t have a clue what you’re 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. Bush’s rendition policy, judges here tend not to trust the government when the promise people won’t 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 pay’s out much more and its not as if there aren’t 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 don’t barely 13,000 foreigners are currently claiming housing benefits) then given that the job’s 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 Farage’s inevitably outlandish claims it won’t be a fair debate.

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4 thoughts on “Debating Europe?

  1. Should be an interesting debate. Good points about ascertaining the truth in the middle of a heated argument. My dear mother reads The Daily Mail and every time I see her, I need to politely de-nazify some of the erroneous stuff she’s picked up from it.

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    • My gran was a lib dem supporter who oddly enough used to read the Daily Mail. Thus while expressing fairly liberal opinions she’d occasionally come out with the most outrageous right wing stuff!

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  2. Pingback: Tripping up Trump | daryanblog

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