Being fourteen, I am unable to vote, but I'm into politics, and the upcoming election both intrigues and worries me. So on Thursday night, I sat down with a pad of paper, ready to sigh at some idiocy and wonder whether my generation will ever be safe.
Now, I have no "alliance" to any party - so there won't be any biasty, except against one party. I'm sure many will guess which. However, I am "left wing". We also must take into account that most of the things said during the debate are probably irrelevant, as at this point, they all just want votes.
DISCLAIMER: I don't claim any of these views are right, and yes, I am fourteen, which OBVIOUSLY means I don't know anything about politics, so feel free to huff and sigh.
The Opening Act
The debate opened with the opening speeches, Ms Wood from Plaid Cymru talking about wanting a post-austerity society and that she "won't apologise for speaking up about Wales". She was followed by Mr Farage, already banging on about immigration and the fact that "ONLY UKIP ARE PREPARED TO TALK STRAIGHT". No comment there. Mr Miliband, who it turns out can hold a stage pretty well, discussed mansion tax, the freezing of energy bills and putting working families first. Mrs Sturgeon of the SNP followed, with her talk of a higher minimum wage and NHS protection, as well as progressive change for ordinary people. Finally, we had Ms Bennett, Green, wanting to "challenge the establishment" and create a sustainable world.
The structure of this debate was to be simple: 5 questions, 1 minute uninterrupted on it each, 10 minutes or so of pleasant debate. Of course.
Debt and the Future Generations
So our first question was asking whether it was fair to increase government spending when we will be left paying it off. Ms Sturgeon and Ms Wood spoke of wanting to tackle the debt, and create an alternative. Ms Bennett also spoke of reducing or eradicating tuition fees. Mr Miliband wants to clamp down on tax avoiders and cut deficit, and ultimately raise standards of the working class. He also had a fair amount of digs at Mr Cameron (whom was not present, along with Mr Clegg). Do I even need to go into what Mr Farage spoke about? No prizes - CUTTING FOREIGN AID. So unpredictable.
On this one? I agreed with pretty much all of them, because they talked about cutting the debt. I also wouldn't complain at my uni fees being cut. The only thing I disagree on is the foreign aid being cut too much.
The Lack of Affordable Social Housing
By this point, I was sick of Mr Farage's voice already, but I battled on. Mr Miliband spoke first about this lack of social housing, and his want to build 20,000 homes. He would like a "use it or lose it" policy for large developers. Ms Wood, whom had been slightly quiet in the debate of the last question, spoke of tackling homelessness, building more council homes and putting on rent caps. Plaid Cymru would also like to double tax on holiday homes; which makes sense to me, because a lot of the time they aren't being used.
Next came the beautiful voice of one certain Mr Farage; blaming this lack of housing on only one set of people... Immigrants. HIS plan to tackle the demand of housing was not to build more houses, but to reduce immigration. Oh wait. He does want to build more homes... but only for UK nationals. Fabulous.
Ms Sturgeon said this was one of the biggest issues; and want to build 30k homes by 2016; as well as put on rent caps. She referenced to Mrs Thatcher and said Tory policies were wrong. I was also very happy when she then shot Mr Farage down slightly, telling him that he can't blame everything on immigrants. Thank goodness.
Trident and Nuclear Weapons
Admittedly, this isn't a topic I particularly understood before the debate, I looked it up afterwards; and there were only two main opinions really, so I won't go to into this one.
Surprisingly, UKIP and Labour actually agreed on something - that we can't afford to let go of Trident. They didn't agree about working with Europe, of course, but hey! They weren't completely biting each other's heads off. Oh wait. Then they did. About the idea of a "European army". It was nice whilst it lasted.
The SNP, Green and Plaid Cymru all spoke against Trident; calling it unnecessary and that we should just increase conventional defences.
As I said, I don't enough to comment too much, accurately - but I did get the point that the money could be spent elsewhere; and that the money for renewal can't really be justified in current economy.
Immigration and Putting Public Services at Risk
I was SO LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS TOPIC. Of course I was. Who wouldn't, with it being on the tip of one man's tongue for every sentence?
Ms Bennett opened; saying that everyone contributes to the British way of life and that it isn't immigration putting the services at risk, it's austerity and privatisation that have - this was met with a cheer from the audience, and me. Ms Wood later said this too. Ms Sturgeon also argued that we need to put more money into them, and pointed out that a lot of immigrants work - our society would probably collapse without them, also said by Ms Wood.
Mr Miliband didn't have much to say in his minute on this one, so we swiftly went on to the man himself. As soon as he opened his mouth, I knew I was in for a long minute. I don't need to go into what he spoke about - "fair and ethical" ways of choosing who comes into the country, that we shouldn't be in the EU, etc etc etc.
Ms Bennett - an immigrant from Australia herself - talked of wanting a fair, humane system, and saying that we don't treat refugees correctly. I agree. Mr Miliband also said that the NHS is going backwards; and Ms Sturgeon bought up the issue of the work visa, saying we deprive of economic contribution. These were all fair points. Mr Farage then decided to bring up HIV-Positive immigrants, as he did in the ITV debate. I think this is unbelievably unfair and disrespectful. British people can have HIV too and it isn't someone's fault if they unknowingly contract it.
This was the most interesting part of the debate. Every single party is very focused on getting the Tories out of parliament; but they had several opinions on how it should be done. Mr Miliband is very focused on believing that a mainly Labour government is what's right for the country - because that went so well last time - but the debate actually initiated a response from Ms Sturgeon saying that she would happily enter her party into a coalition with Labour. She was shot down with a laugh; because "we disagree on too much, Nicola".
Interestingly enough, earlier during the debate, I'd written down that if they mixed a few policies around and got off their high horses, the two parties could be okay-ish for the country.
Final Words From Me
Each party had a minute to sum up their argument, as is a normality during debates, and they didn't say much different to what had already been said.
It was interesting for me to see each party leader try to eloquently slander the others; particularly adding their little digs about Mr Cameron who wasn't there. I have a lot of respect for the three women in the debate for holding there own against very obviously sexist Mr Farage. I was also very surprised to see that Mr Miliband can actually hold the floor very well, which I didn't think he could.
I feel like Mr Farage needs to work on his skills in "How to Get People to Want to Vote For You 101". I don't think degrading your audience is the way to go. And he really needs to find some other policies that aren't about immigrants, because we can't blame everything on them, and they aren't the ultimate issue.
Thank you for reading my little summary with added opinions - I'm also very sorry if you're a UKIP supporter. But if you didn't realise that it was UKIP I was against in my introduction... well. Sorry.