I also have mixed feelings about Nick as leader. Sometimes I find myself in despair of the things that we have signed up to and think that Nick should show more backbone and stand up for what he/we believe in but then I see him speak at conference, the news or listen to Call Clegg and I'm immediately back on side, there is definitely something charismatic and down to earth about Nick when he talks unlike the seemingly out of touch Etonian Cameron (A bit harsh I know but the way he is portrayed) and the tainted Ed Miliband whose role in the Brown regime has been white washed over but not forgotten. There is a new guy on the scene and he is dangerous, it is Nigel Farage.
I don't agree with Nigel or his party on a lot of things and I think some of their reported views are dangerous for society and this country. I fear the demonising of immigrants can lead to all kinds problems and stoke fires, fires that like minded people in the BNP would enjoy starting. The problem is UKIP is a lot more mainstream.
When you hear BNP you are immediately reviled and even though some might agree that Europe is a problem and there is an open door for "Johnny Foreigner" coming into the country deep down you know that they are racist with links to street mobs. UKIP is a similar sounding voice but is more rational. Instead of saying Get the foreigners out it is saying that immigration is a problem that needs to dealing with. Same point, different approach.
Farage's appeal to the average bod on the street is that he is pointing out all the things that we know are problems. The EU has mass problems with the way it is run and is far from perfect, the people of this country need a referendum to finally put this issue to bed one way or the other, immigration has been a concern for almost a decade and none of the big three parties have successfully dealt with it. The people of this country have been bombarded by lies and exaggeration about the European Union by newspapers like the Express and Mail for decades including the infamous "Your Bananas are to curved" story. He comes over as a man of the people seemingly speaking the views of the majority or indeed ideas that they can get behind or understand from the media - much in the same way that Nick did back in 2010 before he seemingly sold his soul to Cameron (again as portrayed in the media.).
With Nick's record and the accusations of pledge breaking and being under hand he will never win when it comes to arguing with Farage over how many laws are made for this Country in Brussels. The nation fears the worse and who are they going to believe?
Is it the guy who is seemingly confirming your worse fears and the stuff you sorta knew already from what you read in the papers or the guy who broke his pledge to the Students and who got the Tories into power bringing us fraking, bedroom tax, cuts and job losses through the Public sector? Nick can twist and turn with Farage and present facts but you cannot argue with the image of a man who is portrayed as talking sense and of the people when you yourself are considered a career politician who hasn't had a real job and is considered to be fast and lose with the truth.
What makes it worse is that if you hit the Twitterverse you see fellow Libdems saying; Didn't Nick do well? Didn't Farage look awful and like a zealot?
This is true, I thought he looked out of his depth and struggling in the face of the facts that Nick was presenting and playing down the alarmist stories and suggestions of a new City the size of Manchester being needed by 2019 (that is approximately homes for 502,900 (in the city and metropolitan area in 2011) people from Europe according to the accusation). The polls don't lie though, people are more inclined to believe Nigel with him coming out on top both times.
He has confessed he doesn't want power merely to bring the people of the UK to a vote and that is attracting so much support for common people who feel they should have a say, a say their parents and Grandparents never got in the 70s.
I should reiterate that I do agree with Nick on Europe and that we are better off in and working to reform from within rather than being powerless and sitting on the fence complaining about it. I also dislike Farage, I personally don't trust him and disagree with a lot of what his party says about things and believe that a lot of what they are doing is scare mongering and stoking fears to achieve their own political machinations.
I also think that although to some extent the debate was needed and it was good to see the differing opinions, it was also a bad idea. It has given far too much air time to a man who represents a party that has members with somewhat out dated (at best) and dangerous (as extreme) views about things and society in this country, a party that has at last count - zero MPs in parliament. He should not have been indulged on National Television and radio like this. A lot more people will have been attracted to his cause or party based on his performances rather than actual belief's and politics.
I also think Nick was wrong to go on personally. Like I said, I have a lot of time and admiration for Nick and he was one of my main inspirations and indeed role models for getting into politics and joining the party but his public image is not a good one. There was a reason (albeit petty) that Ed Miliband would not share a platform with Nick on equal marriage, he has become a political pariah and is considered almost a bogey man, a living embodiment of a man who has sold out his morals and beliefs for a ministerial car and office - which I still believe is untrue, mostly, depending on the day. The public believe the worse and that has come out of these polls leaving Farage all the more stronger.
We've even had people on the doorstep in Gillingham (thankfully in a Labour street!!!) telling us they are going to vote UKIP in 2015 because they're tired of the other parties and that Farage talks a lot of sense!!!!
All I cling to is that with declining numbers of people turning out to vote means hopefully less votes for UKIP - or they divide the Tory vote allowing more Libdems on Medway Council!