Alex Hern highlights the spectacle that was Nadine Dorries ‘debating’ Malcolm Rifkind on Newsnight.
Newsnight yesterday managed to have one of the liveliest debates it’s had in a very long time by giving up attempts at impartiality and simply having two Conservatives debating the Eurozone together. It helps that one of those two was Nadine Dorries.
Dorries’s first avenue of attack was eerily familiar:
Dorries: “I’m afraid Malcolm is falling into the trap of defending the outrageous claims, the worst case scenarios. Actually, Malcolm, all we need to do to defend the city from the transaction tax is to say no. That’s all we need to do.”
“So all this flim-flam about the prime minister’s going to, he’s going to defend – he’s going to come back on Friday waving a white flag with “prosperity in our time” on it, because he’s been and defended the city, and this will be the story which comes back. That the prime minister has been and he’s saved the city.”
Paxman: “Well, he’s done that hasn’t he?”
Dorries: “Well, there is no saving to be done, we just say no, we won’t have the transaction tax, so that’s not the issue.”
Where have we heard that before? Oh yes:
“If a stronger ‘just say no’ message was given to children in school then there might be an impact on sex abuse … if we imbued this message in school we’d probably have less sex abuse.”
Nadine Dorries’ staunch belief that everything bad in the world could be avoided if people just said no more often faltered when it came up against someone who actually knew a bit about what he was saying.
The unlikely good guy in this faceoff was Malcolm Rifkind, Margaret Thatcher’s Europe minister, who told Dorries that her complaints weren’t based on reality:
“There is a fundamental gap with the real world in what we’re being told.
“The reality is that no one country, whether it’s the United Kingdom or any other country, can simply dictate to all the rest, even the Germans can’t do that, they have to get agreement from their allies.
“So the idea that David Cameron goes to a summit and says ‘I am going to veto this summit, this agreement of everybody else we should go forward on, regardless of the implications for the European economy, regardless of the reactions of the markets, including our interest rates, as well as those in other countries unless you give me concessions on matters which are not relevant to this immediate European crisis’…
“You’ve got to be negotiating in a sensible, practical way, not just saying I demand this, I demand that, regardless of the consequences. That’s not the real world we live in.”
And if you were still under the impression that Dorries is worth listening to on the EU, bear in mind that she apparently thinks that the Eurozone is a new thing:
“The big issue is, which needs defending and debating, is whether or not there is going to be a Eurozone, a bloc of seventeen countries. If there are, and that’s what’s decided, and we are part of the twenty-seven, the outer ring, then that inner union will affect our economy and that will be bad for us…
“If there is a bloc of seventeen countries in a Union, that will impact on us and on our economy, and will bring about changes to our economy, and therefore we have to have a referendum.”
Other things which have brought about changes on us and our economy: the royal wedding, the Japanese tsunami, and snow. We await Nadine Dorries calling for a referendum on all of these as well.
You can watch the full video of their exchange below:
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• The costs and consequences of Dorries’s abortion proposals – Ashwin Kumar, August 31st 2011
• If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? – Shamik Das, August 31st 2011
• Cameron, Clarke, Dorries, Willetts… The Tories keep screwing up on gender equality – Daniel Elton, May 22nd 2011
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