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So Nick versus Nigel is on but it should be on national TV not LBC

February 21st, 2014

Ladbrokes open debate betting to be settled on a voodoo poll!!

Well done to Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage for agreeing to a debate ahead of the European elections. This will certainly add fizz to the Euro Elections and could boost turnout beyond the 35% of last time.

Given Nick Clegg’s position and his party’s numbers in the polls the challenge was a smart move and will help the LDs in its efforts to position itself as the party of IN.

For Farage this is also a bonus and he’s been right to seize on it. Battling against the leader with the worst personal ratings should present him with plenty of opportunities.

    Isabel Hardman in the Speccie has this right: “Farage and Clegg are pitching to completely different voters, so both will come away from the debate feeling as though they’ve got what they wanted from it.”

There’s already talk that even Eurosceptic Tory ministers will be cheering Clegg on in the hope that he’ll be able to burst the UKIP balloon.

Inevitably LBC has tried to take ownership of the debate given that Clegg proposed it and Farage accepted while broadcasting on the London news station. But that is a poor platform and will diminish the event. It needs to be on national TV.

Meanwhile Ladbrokes are offering 5/6 on both Farage and Clegg winning the debate – this to be deduced from the LBS “poll” afterwards. Having a market is fine – using a voodoo poll as the settlement mechanism is utter garbage. Ladbrokes can do better.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble