Tonight there’ll be the second ‘live debate‘ between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage. I didn’t watch the first one, and I have no intention of watching tonight’s. What I do wonder, though, is why they’re getting all this media exposure at all. On the one side we have the leader of the supporting party of the current coalition; a man who through the utter betrayal of his word will never see power again. On the other the ‘nice bloke in a pub but a bit scary behind the eyes’ right-wing anti-EU single issue spokesman. Why these two? I know it came about on the back of a spurious bet whose bluff was called, and of course the membership of Europe has (like that of Scotland with England) been hotly debated over decades… but how much is it a diversion from the real issues?
This a time when we are mopping ourselves off, metaphorically and literally, after a significantly wet winter, and coughing our way through a pollution smog mixed with Sahara sandstorm. A time when the IPCC releases a report that states with no uncertainty that the effects of climate change are going to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible”. And a time when knowledgable journalists are driven to say “loss adjustment… could describe what all of us who love this world are going through, as we begin to recognise that governments, the media and most businesses have no intention of seeking to avert the coming tragedies.” It is a time when I’ve almost stopped relying on BBC News because of rampant right-wing bias in the reportage.
Remember. The Green Party actually have an MP, unlike UKIP. Where are the debates with parties that have elected Members of Parliament? (I’m yet to set my flag for the Green Party, so I don’t feel I’m evangelising. In the event of an election, it’s currently a toss up between spoiling the ballot paper or voting Green. There is no possibility, however, of my not making my mark on the ballot paper; that right was too hard won to be ignored.) At the same time we are ‘entertained’ by the “Ed&Dave Show“, yet another reality TV nonsense with which to dull the senses of the electorate and dampen any interest in politics as a serious career whose aim is to improve the lot of the many, instead of what it is now on all sides of the parliamentary divide, to improve the lot of the very, very few.
There is a debate needed, and soon. But it’s not about the membership of Europe or whether Putin was clever or reckless. It’s about whether we intend to pass this planet on to our grandchildren in a habitable state, with a biodiversity that exists for reasons beyond its usefulness to man, with any possibility of their own grandchildren not merely thriving but having an opportunity to be born. It’s about energy reduction, it’s about population control, it’s about sharing and protecting in equal measure. It seems to be a debate no-one with the direct power to affect these things wants to have. But to quote a senior UK politician, we can’t afford not to go green.