An unusually clear win for Remain in the NI EURef debate 

Some quick thoughts on last night’s debate on the NI EU Referendum debate. In general terms I’d say it was the reverse of the U.K. Debate last week, which Leave won hands down.

It’s not that Sammy Wilson and Dan Hannan didn’t have their scores. We all knew fishermen have been getting a raw deal from the EU for years, but judging from the farmers in the audience sentiment is moving against CAP as it fades out.

But I think the unremitting focus on the Leave battle bus spurious claims that the EU is costing the UK did the pair serious damage from the outset. 

The other element was their tendency to talk over not just their opponents, which passes as good practice in our neck of the woods, but each other, which does not.

By contrast, Alistair Campbell who was in the news room in London let Claire Hanna do much of the heavy lifting coming in to make useful if partisan points about the likelihood of a Conservative led government filling holes left by the withdrawal of the EU.

Quibbling with business editor John Campbell may have gone down well with the Brexit base (who according to the latest polling research don’t trust anyone but their own campaign), but not the broader middle.

It also has an unpleasant echo in Bernard Jenkins’ rather stupid attempt to intimidate the Bank of England out of the game by waving the Purdah card at them. 

Finally, this was the first time I’ve seen anyone from Leave take prisoners on the immigration issue. Much of that is to do with the fact that the promises being made by Leave are unsustainable on that for any prosperous growing economy.

Claire Hanna’s point that you don’t fuel any economy on a Labour shortage was grown up and to the point. But then again,/ we’re not England where immigration is higher and more pervasive.

I scored last week’s debates as an aggregate loss for Remain. This one was a clear win for them. Whether it makes a difference I have no idea, that will need to work its way through the system.

But the English Remainers should take a lesson from Hanna’s book and have some red meat with their low protein vegetarian diet every now and then.

  • Korhomme

    I tried watching this. I found that so many people were talking at the same time, talking over themselves and others, that I couldn’t really follow what was going on.

  • Dan

    With Nolan setting the tone with his faux hard man act, the so called’debate’ was a shouty embarrassing shambles from the start.
    The idea that Remain won it is ludicrous.
    Are you bought and paid for?

    (What was that one which Hanna came off with about Tesco?)

  • ted hagan

    Claire Hanna performed well, I thought. Sammy Wilson was, well er, Sammy Wilson, with a sun tan. DUP seem out of step on this one.

  • hgreen

    Yes Hanna performed well alongside Campbell. Such a complex topic was clearly beyond the very limited capabilities of Sammy. As for the smug NHS hating tory beside him we got the usual confidence of the privately educated delivering the same old britexit tropes.

  • John O’Connor

    Sigh – I didn’t even bother watching it. The thought of Nolan moderating it put me off and I had better things to do.

  • Msiegnaro

    This “debate” was nothing but a shouting match, there were no winners here and the only losers were those of us trying to get the facts.

  • Ryan A

    I have to say I thought Claire Hanna was the only person who didn’t let her manners go out the window during the debate. Hannan was rude and it seemed to escape Nolan that he actually failed to say anything about specifically NI; Campbell dialled in; perhaps a sign the Remain campaign views NI as safely in its column and Sammy was his usual self.

    Worth noting overall once you boil down what ever NI would get extra from a Brexit; it probably amounts to less than what came out of yesterday’s monitoring round.

  • Dan

    No she didn’t. She hadn’t a clue.
    She was out of her depth.

  • Colin Lamont

    I had the opposite impression actually, thought that Leave landed the most memorable blows.

  • Having a socialist coming on arguing that we should have a perpetual labour surplus doesnt really sit with me. Things may be ok for those in certain sectors where new migrants are essentially excluded due to language issues along with well organised collective bargaining.

    However, the vast oversupply of cheap, low skilled labour has effectively ensured millions at the bottom end of the pay scale have no collective bargaining as there will always be someone more desperate ready to fill their boots. You get what the law dictates and not a penny more as you are disposable.

    I suppose this suits middle class socialists as it keeps the price of all their consumables down. The labour movement is dead.

  • Nimn

    In surprised that Mick seriously analysed and scored this shouting match and mishmash of content as approaching any sort of meaningful debate on Brexit let alone something that would help fence sitters in NI make up their mind. Rather than any toe to toe verbal boxing match Nolan presided over a wild flailing of arms from both sides where blows connected by accident rather than skill.
    It was poor broadcasting and Nolan must take the blame as he struggled to bridge the gap between the usual Nolan show ‘ keep the pot boiling’ approach and a serious debate. His pitch to Claire Hanna on the SDLP’s position on entering the Eurozone from 2002 was embarrassing and Claire handled it well.
    My sense in the studio was that the Leave camp landed most of the popular messages and got the loudest applause. Poor Claire Hanna was for long parts of the debate marginalised by Nolan and ignored as he looked to work up the room with Dan Hannan and Alistair Campbell.
    I wasn’t surprised to see Hannan and Wilson for the Leave camp, ( Sammy has carefully built up an anti EU persona while avoiding overtly coming across as a DUP spokesperson on the issue) but I did wonder if Nolan and the BBC struggled to find commentators for the Remain camp. Hanna and Campbell were an odd pairing. Where were SF in the mix?
    My sympathy extends to John Campbell, the excellent BBC economic editor for allowing himself to be associated with this low point in televised debates on such an important issue.

  • Chingford Man

    “But I think the unremitting focus on the Leave battle bus spurious claims that the EU is costing the UK did the pair serious damage from the outset.”

    The EU is quite obviously costing the UK in extortionate membership fees whilst wrecking the quality of life for some of the poorest in society.

    “It also has an unpleasant echo in Bernard Jenkins’ rather stupid attempt to intimidate the Bank of England out of the game by waving the Purdah card at them.”

    So why do you think the Bank should even be in the game?

    Oh and, given the unemployment rate, does Northern Ireland really have a labour shortage? If Hanna was a Labour politician in England, Leave would be making hay with that comment.

  • notimetoshine

    The poor quality of debate and the awful moderating by Nolan really just typify the populist, light on facts nature of the whole EU referendum debate.