Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday, 18 October 2009

If leaders can't agree on TV debates, broadcasters should instead

Mike Smithson on Political Betting today is speculating that the TV debates may now not happen. He quotes reports of arguments going on with both Brown and Cameron stipulating different formats and numbers of debates. Nick Clegg of course also wants to be involved in all the debates which as I have stated before I think has to happen.

Mike thinks that Cameron is using the Blair playbook from 1997 on this which is agree the principle but allow the negotiations to get bogged down in the hope that it will all fall apart and not actually happen, after all as the front runner he probably feels he has most to lose. Mike thinks this ploy may actually work too.

I am not so sure. Back in July I called for a broadcaster to promise a televised debate for the 3 main leaders and threaten to "empty chair" any of them that refuse to attend. In early September, Sky News stepped in and did exactly that. At the time it seemed that Brown would be the one to bottle it, however if it turns out that Cameron is trying it on too then the same should apply to him. We are a bit further down the line now and the main broadcasters have agreed the principle of holding the debates with the minimum number I have seen mooted as 3. Therefore, if agreement from the party leaders cannot be reached soon, I think the broadcasters should again step in and say they will have 3 debates with all 3 main leaders and threaten to empty chair any of them who refuse to attend.

I know some people will think this is allowing the broadcasters too much power but I feel very strongly that political manouvering should not be able to rob the people of this country (yet again) of the chance to see proper televised debate between the party leaders.


Dippyness. said...

Agree. :-)
Enjoy holiday.

Letters From A Tory said...

Sounds fair enough. Brown has just tried to overload Cameron with calling for more and more debates, which is childish in the extreme. Brown knows he'd be crucified in a handful of debates.