9 April 2015

Dear Westminster (part two)

Reflecting a week on from the seven-way debate, here are my letters to the phile and phobe of Europe - Nigel and Nick. As stated in part one of this series, all views are my own.

Dear Nigel Farage

You are a first-class racist, sexist, xenophobic imbecile.

So ends the obliging statement of a green-loving Exeter student. Now onto Sophie's response. I don't think you are an imbecile, contrary to popular opinion, and I don't really see the purpose in splurging out yet another Nigel-bash - students alone give us enough of those. I don't worship you - my satire, at your expense, is enough to prove that. 

My Photoshop skills are almost as strong as UKIP's love for Europe…

Yet your "get real"quote was true. You are prepared to go where other politicians won't, which is refreshing. I do agree with you on many stances. We have maxed out our credit cards! We are giving aid to countries that are prospering more economically, than us (India), when our health service is nearly falling apart. There are merits to leaving the EU, and at the very least we need re-nogotiation. 

On the other hand, you are a bit of a one-trick pony Nigel. When the topic eventually came onto immigration, I was momentarily confused - hadn't that issue already been covered? Not specifically; rather, it was your calling card for every Tom, Dick and Johnny - you guys sure all loved Johnny. Budget savings? Cut foreign aid! NHS funding? Cut foreign aid! The hedge-jump is only impressive so many times, Nigel.  

You brought the room's elephant for the night. Next to your cantering antics, it made for quite a full ark... perhaps we should close the door? This trunk-raising subject was, of course, HIV. That was certainly a bid to secure the front page - the hooves were out on this one. Sadly, you didn't quite anticipate the rise of the Queen of Scots. You tried though. You certainly tried. Where am I on this? Well, I don't think it did much to revamp the "racist" persona the left have so delicately bestowed upon you. Yet if you siphon through the rhetoric, there is some argument for your statement. Mother of Dragons Leanne responded that it places a "stigma on people who are ill", but I disagree with this. You were not universally condemning people with HIV. What you were saying is, ultimately, true.

The NHS demand is severely outstripping demand. People who have paid into the system for decades might not have access to the treatment they need. People in Wales don't have access to insulin pumps. Mental health services are in dire straits nationally. In YouGov poll, 50% of 2000 adults answered yes to the question "would you support or oppose people coming to live in the UK being banned from receiving treatment on the NHS, for a period of five years?" Getting out what you pay in. I do think five years is potentially too long a period; however, I also agree that receiving treatment, having paid nothing into the system, is wrong, when others have done so for decades and face barriers to medication. This is the National Health Service, not the International Health Service. The NHS Nightingale Song can only reach so far - given the dire straits it is in, Florence would certainly be stretching it. 

Your views on immigration are blinkered. You don't acknowledge the true benefits brought to us by international cooperation. I realise I sound a bit like Hermione Granger here, but can't we take a lesson from JK that we are stronger united than we are apart? You and Nicola could both learn something from this. Nonetheless, our country is under-resourced and immigration is an issue worth discussing. It needs to be discussed.

Haters gonna hate. I'm sure you can shake them swiftly off - the haters, that is, not the immigrants, although on that front you will certainly try.  

Dear Nick Clegg 

Oh Nick. Why have you been forgotten? Five years ago, they all agreed with Nick. Now? They all agree with Nicola. Goodness knows why. I, for one, still agree with you Nick. Not on everything. Your love of the Brussels' Sprout is somewhat questionable - I always give them a miss on Christmas day. Then again, I give the great British pies a miss too, which pretty much sums up my views on politics. My head is in continual conflict, and my tweet at the end of the debate would certainly reflect this…

Nonetheless, I feel you have been done a disservice by the media. People do need to get over tuition-gate. You did what had to be done. You are the case in point for how minority parties can promise the world, because they won't be held accountable. It did therefore irk me a bit that Nicola was given a gold tiara, and along with Natalie hailed social pariah… it's very easy to call for anti-austerity when you're not the one faced with the desk memo "there's no money left"! 

You were used by the tories as a scapegoat, and Miriam's defence that you put "country over party" continually rings true. You did. I hope you win your seat. You were the only leader on that panel to raise the subject of mental health, and you have advocated for that. 

You strike the balance - the true middle ground - and I do believe the liberal presence in government has been a sound one. It has humanised grass-root Tory thinking. You were not perfect; you did go back on your word. But you have implemented many good policies, not least of all raising the tax threshold minimum from £6000 to £10000. Three years ago, I hated you. Sitting here now, I respect you. When I watched that debate last week, the opening speech that convinced me was yours. You are a great orator - you connect to your audience, you know your audience. But the media have rubbed you out of print, relegating the Lib Dems to a paragraph in a history book. I think you deserve more than that.

The Channel 4 Drama, Coalition, did offer a long overdue redemption of your character. Yes, the honourable - almost heroic - portrait was somewhat idealistic. You are still a politician! But it is in the face of such media vilification, for five years now. You were the Tory scapegoat.  

For what it's worth, on Thursday I largely agreed with you Nick, except on Europe. Fancy ringing Nigel on the 8th? 


My last letters to Westminster will be posted to Messrs Call-me-Dave and "I get it" Eddie. The big cheeses, currently saying cheese across the country for the cameras. For now, the Ns have it.  

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