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.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty