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Oh what a lovely evening …!

The ITV Wales General Election Debate

Last evening, ITV Wales hosted the GE Debate of the Welsh Party Leaders. Yours truly had been invited to be part of the audience – an invitation which came out of the blue.

Many of you recall the various TV ‘debates’ during the 2015 GE, many recall the various other TV ‘debates’ such as BBC’s “Question Time”, and many have made their suspicions known that they must be rigged.

I’m now in the happy position to confirm these suspicions, certainly as far as last night’s debate was concerned, that suspicion having been confirmed from a source at ITV who has, of course, got to remain anonymous. 

The invitation came about because ITV asked the leaders to provide names for a list of audience participants. So, for starters, there was a large chunk of party activists of all parties. Confirmation was provided at the check-in, where we all had to give our names to be checked against the ITV list. ‘Are you in a Party?’, asked the nice young lady. ‘Yes’, I said, so she went to the back of her wodge of papers, where party-affiliated invitees were listed in colour-coded blocks. (Yes, it was purple for UKIP). That was half of the audience.

Next – the questions. I asked my branch chairman if there were any questions we should ask of Neil Hamilton. No, I was told – ITV had selected people to ask questions and no other questions were allowed. These ‘questions’ took the form of a brief little video clip, introducing both the questioner and illustrating the theme of the question. The selected questioner was then given the opportunity to ask that question live from the audience.

One can make the case that this was done to structure the debate into four segments. These were: First-time voters; Brexit; Immigration; Can we trust politicians.

This being Cardiff, the video clips had a definite taste of ‘Remain’, just as the majority of the unaffiliated invitees reflected the political attitude of the Welsh Capital: Labour, Left, Remain. The applause showed that clearly.

Astute UKIP Daily readers will have noted immediately that of course the leaders would have been told what was coming, and had had time to prepare their answers. No nasty traps here, and no opportunity for gaffes. Or so one would have thought …

Before I get to the nitty-gritty, here are the ‘dramatis personae’:

Adrian Masters (chairing the debate) – Carwyn Jones (Welsh Labour), Andrew R.T. Davies (Welsh Conservatives), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru), Mark Williams (Welsh Liberal Democrats) and Neil Hamilton (UKIP Wales). Allow me here to give praise to Mr Masters, who did ask the leaders needling questions showing up their inconsistencies.

Frankly, that lot was pitiful. One expects to hear the same slogans from leading politicians, all according to the hymn sheets provided by their central offices. One expects them not to answer questions directly but use them as an opportunity to show themselves off, like peacocks unfolding their tails. But one would have hoped to get logically consistent arguments – a forlorn hope last night. The leaders’ performances really took the proverbial …

So let me give you a flavour of the inanities: Mr Davies (T) went off on ‘strong and stable leadership’ and after the first use of that May slogan, the audience erupted in laughter every time he came up with it.

Mr Williams (LD) twisted himself into knots on immigration: all people are free to come, he said – but, of course, ‘we need strong border control’. Huh?

Mr Jones (L) kept on and on about how wonderfully well Wales has done under his leadership as First Minister, but: ‘Tory cuts!’

Ms Wood (PC), who seemed to think that as ‘woman’ she had the right to talk over the others, and to heckle them from her rostrum, told us that this GE was about Wales! How Wales had been ‘disregarded’, how insulting that was. Oh dear …

Neil Hamilton had to stand up to a hostile audience. Given the heckling, especially in the later part of the evening, he did as well as could be expected. I don’t need to bring his arguments: UKIPpers know them by heart.

In the first break, I was pleased to hear an unaffiliated member in the audience tell his neighbour that ‘Neil did very well – a surprise’ and ‘Mark (Williams, LD) hadn’t found his feet’. That good-will evaporated in the later part of the evening as the Labour/Left contingent had swallowed whole the inanities of Jones (L) and Wood (PC) and got behind their anti-Tory and anti-UKIP stance.

What struck me was the wilful obfuscation by Jones and Wood who on the one hand demanded ‘stuff for Wales’ from Central Government while never acknowledging that it was their policies in the Welsh Assembly which has made things so dire. Note to self: politicians are ‘the best’ and that’s why we must vote for them.

While it won’t come as a total surprise that LibLabPlaid blamed everything on the Tories, their arguments can be condensed to the following slogans, especially in regard to Brexit and Immigration:

‘Tory Cuts!’ ‘The NHS, the NHS!’ ‘Ireland, Ireland!’ ‘Stop the Tories’, ‘Wa-ales! Wa-ales!’

These are proper political arguments? Blimey!

Friends – halfway through the evening I lost the will to live. Ms Wood was the epitome for woolly thinking, trying to be the Top Hen, heckling and yes, even eating while on the podium. Mr Williams tried so hard to make a case for a second referendum (nobody bought it). Mr Jones had the gall to say that higher taxes means fairer taxes … yep, that’ll work! Mr Davies, once he stopped mentioning ‘strong and stable’, came up with a nice quip for Labour: “Corbyn Carwyn and Chaos”. Mr Hamilton changed UKIP’s “holding May’s feet to the fire” to ‘breathing down the Tories’ necks’ – much more applicable, I thought.

My verdict: it was yet another feast of political posturing, no substance, only another opportunity of slapping party slogans round each other’s heads. No question was really answered, a lot of squirming, and once the Labour/Left Cardiff audience got what they wanted: Labour/Left slogans, it was all over for the rest of the leaders.

My counsel: never attend as ‘audience’! These TV debates are better watched at home where one can at least throw things, shout at the screen and switch the whole thing off.  Yes, I did shout a few times ‘shut up, Leanne’, but she didn’t hear me …

Oh, it was a lovely evening – not!

(If you really really must, you can watch the whole thing here.)


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About Vivian Evans (324 Articles)
Vivian is a UKIP patron, Vice Chair of UKIP Cardiff and Editor in Chief of UKIP Daily

12 Comments on Oh what a lovely evening …!

  1. Mike FitzGerald // May 18, 2017 at 1:31 pm // Reply

    Painful as it was Viv, it is still of great value to have people there to tell the truth. Perhaps if we continue to engage with the biased MSM, then we should demand balanced audiences and questions. It will not change them but would give us a hammer to hit them with when they are so partisan. “We agreed to come on with a balanced audience, it is clearly not so, why have you broken your word?” It would set them on the back foot, rather than us.

  2. Well done Vivian.

    I medt Nathan Gill and he spent quite some time chatting with me a couple of years ago. I was dumbfounded that a Welshman was strung out with a tory exile pushed into his post.
    Strange thing..polics

  3. Viv, your nobility knows no bounds. Thank you for attending on behalf of us all, I’m guessing the only bit of fun you had was the odd spot of heckling! I’m afraid more than a few minutes of Carwyn Jones brings on a migraine So in the interests of my health I can’t watch the link you so thoughtfully provided!

    Neil Hamilton doesn’t do a bad job, but the trouble is he can’t I suppose help it but his demeanor screams Tory too obviously to be taken to heart by the Welsh. The lovely Welsh voice of Nathan Gill is what we need – for Welsh UKIPpers to return. Funny, because JR-E hasn’t a Welsh syllable about him, but somehow his earnest Patriotism shines through (or am I biased!)

    Off topic but important for any prospective candidate that might wander this way, and I will also post on,the Burka article – A male suicide bomber disguised in a Burka has killed 15 people in Chad, and Austria has just banned the Burka. Worth noting.

  4. I followed the link and tried to watch. I really tried, but it was truly awful, worse even than you described (though I appreciate that as E-i-C you have to moderate your language). Leanne Woods! Because of you I have just sat through several minutes of her before I woke up to what I was doing and managed to stop myself -hopefully in time to prevent the brain damage that must surely follow prolonged exposure to her. I couldn’t watch the whole thing I am afraid but, as ever, my admiration for the evidently strong sense of duty from UKIP Daily’s E-i-C that led to you staying for the whole duration.

    • Sadly, escaping was not an option, not being sat right in the middle of a row, together with a clutch of other Kippers.
      There were some incidents off-camera which happened during one of the breaks. I could not report them here – ’tis enough to say that they involved a woman screeching about their sister being pregnant whereupon the whole femininity started screeching. ‘Twas like being at a hen fight …

      • GEOFFREY CHARLES ELLIOTT. // May 20, 2017 at 11:56 pm // Reply

        Dear Viv,if I had known you had been invited,I would have done my utmost to dissuade you.I went last year,on the 20 th April 2016,I represented my UKIP Branch RCT,it was held at the Welsh College of Music and Drama.It was a lovely venue,and a most warm sunny evening,i felt elated,as this was the first time I had been allowed out on my own,after being quite ill with Angina,
        and having stents put in two of my main Arteries.I felt glad to be alive,sadly
        my euphoria was short lived.We went to our seats,I was accompanied by one of the members from our Caerphilly Branch,who was wearing a red check shirt,I had an isle seat at the highest level,there was no one sitting behind me.Last year,there for us was Nathan Gill,while the lib-demons had Kirsty
        Williams,whom I have described in the past,sounds just like an attack dog,whenever she opens her mouth to speak.We also had the same useless
        protagonists representing Liebore,the Con-Artists,and Leanne Wood,for no policy Plaid, I always call her Fishwife Wood,never Natalie Wood! Viv after just ten minutes,I was squirming in my seat,the programmes bias from Adrian Masters was obvious,it was First Minister (Jones) this,and First Minister that,
        perhaps I more than most,know that Adrian Masters,is a supporter of Welsh Liebore.The programme’s whole content I found sickening,Nathan Gill was cut short from answering,usually after the numerous interruptions from fishwife (Natalie) Wood.What made the whole debacle so total false was how
        could this be named The Welsh Parties Leaders debate,when it was the exact opposite,as we the audience,had to stay stum.I decided to leave that damn farce,and when the programme halted for the first commercial break,
        (adverts) I made my escape,thanks to having that highest aisle seat.
        When I got to the ground floor,I remember Sam Gould,asking me if I was ill, I replied that I was,I did not give my real reasons as the place was crawling with journalists.Sam who runs the Caerphilly Branch,and managed the Brexit campaign for us in Wales,and whom is suffering from Stage 4 Bowel Cancer.
        Sam is just 33 years old,and he and Caroline have 3 young daughters under 5.Check Sam out on:@GouldSam, and pray that Sam is going to beat this.
        When the programme ended,it was sickening to see Adrian Masters put his arm around the Welsh Labour Leader,Carwyn Jones,while the two were laughing their heads off.I had the strongest urge to give Masters a punch!
        That same week I was also invited to another Welsh Leaders Debate,this time run by The Bias Brainwashing Corporation (BBC) of course I turned it down.

  5. Many thanks Viv for your candid report and all your continued hard work for UKIP and the truth. Sorry but I can not post on this blogg more often as I have severe work pressures combined with trying to help in the UKIP campaign not far from where I live (no UKIP candidate in my constituency as the tory is a brexiteer – hopefully a good one)
    Good luck to all on this daily ukip site your efforts will be rewarded, I have at time felt pessimistic about the nuttall leadership but for the moment I guess we just rally round the flag

  6. What a pantomime. As for Hamilton, he should have been strung up after the release of his and his wife’s World Cup anthem, “England Are Jolly Dee”.

  7. When Hamilton joined UKIP I opposed it publicly, thinking he would be a nothing but a liability given aspects of his history, & the unfortunate circumstances in which his Westminster parliamentary career with the Tories ended. However, altho I still don’t trust him in that regard, I have to admit that he’s been a real asset to UKIP’s development in Wales.

    • He certainly is, Ajax.
      A great pity that Nigel Farage and he never got on – says rather more about Nigel alas.

  8. Russell Hicks // May 18, 2017 at 9:20 am // Reply

    MSM TV is a waste of time, there are better ways…

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