Let’s all mass debate…

What is going on with this leaders’ election debate? Seems to me that it’s going from the sublime to the plain bloody ridiculous…

Winding back a bit, it all started when the Limp Dumps got into a coalition and insisted that there would be a five year fixed term parliament. Presumably this was because it was the only way Clegg was going to hold on to his slice of power for anything longer than a few months by preventing the PM from deciding when to call an election. As a result we have ended up with the longest election campaign in British political history. Believe it or not – and from the shenanigans that have been going on since the New Year it’s hard to believe – the official election campaign period hasn’t even started yet!

So let’s wind back a bit further to the 2010 election and the introduction for the first time of head to head leaders’ debates. They might well have bored the arse off most of us, but it was at least a chance to see the three main party leaders putting their cases forward as to why you should vote for them. But that was then and this is now. You might well think it set a precedent and therefore it was a done deal that it would happen again this time around.

You’d be wrong, of course. I think that it’s the emergence of UKIP as the third party in the opinion polls that caused the problem. That and the total collapse in the Lib Dem support.

Cameron is using every trick in the book to avoid a debate. I’m guessing he’s doing that because he doesn’t want a repeat of the ‘I agree with Nick’ scenario coupled with the fact that under his lacklustre leadership the Tories have had to adopt some pretty unpopular measures to address the mess left behind by Gordon Brown.

I look at it this way : If you don’t field candidates in at least half of the constituencies in the UK then you have no prospect of being PM and therefore you don’t need to be included in the debate. When I heard that a seven way debate was proposed, I thought ‘That’s damned silly’ – partly because of what I just said and partly because it’s just plain unwieldy. And, frankly, I couldn’t name seven national parties. If you look at the picture above, can you honestly say you recognise every one of them.

And it gets worse. Downing Street is now saying that the DUP – the DUP FFS! – should be included  too. Well if that’s the case, let’s include Sinn Fein, the EDL, the BNP, the Monster Raving Loonies and Al Murray’s FUKP. At least it would improve the entertainment value.

Then I thought “It should be restricted to the top three parties in the opinion polls” but to be fair I suppose as Clegg is in government he should be allowed to defend his record, so that brings it to four. In my view this is the way forward : A four way debate Con/Lab/Lib/UKIP and then follow it up with a straight debate between Miliband and Cameron who are, let’s face it, the only two with any prospect of actually being PM after May.

Cameron is, of course, having none of this and his proposal for a ridiculous single 7 way debate even has the rider on it that it must take place before his manifesto is published. What the hell is he afraid of? I can only speculate that Labour will trash him on health, UKIP will trash him on immigration and the EU, and Clegg will trash him by saying everything he wanted to do was blocked by Cameron.

So my guess is that these debates will not happen at all because the PM is running scared – and I have to tell you, Dave, that running scared is not a good way to win an election…

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9 responses to “Let’s all mass debate…

  1. I disagree of course because the SNP should be involved. Scotland are still part of the UK at the moment. 🙂

  2. I have to agree because the SNP could hold the balance of power, this thought scares me rigid and is more troubling than a straight forward Labour win and as the English public knows very little of the SNP or Sturgeon exposing her on a national TV debate may well give the populace an insight into her parties communist tendencies, love of the EU and open boarder immigration and the SNP's state nannying proclivities. I have never been so concerned about the out come of a General Election.

  3. Thing is where do you stop? Remember that in 2010 the Tories were talking about a possible coalition with the DUP and they're only in Northern Ireland but they could have held the balance of power.

    Whilst I respect the electoral position in Scotland (see posts passim), you have to draw the line somewhere. OK my idea of 50% of the UK constituencies might wrangle with the Scots and Welsh national parties, but the fact is they are less significant (no offence!) when looked at from the point of view of the UK stage.

    I guess the easy answer is that there is no easy answer so maybe Cameron is right and we should forget the whole idea, although I wish he'd just come out and say that and stop messing around.

    Anyway, it's got you talking about it hasn't it?…

  4. I don't disagree with what you say D in any way. But for me this is the first time a party outside of England have proves significant threat to the English parliament.
    This is a series of unusual events, that all culminate in the current position, not least of which is the defeat in the referendum last year, that was hugely significant and the events afterwards with Salmond/Sturgeon showed they had a plan B all along. The public need to see this and for me the best way is to include Sturgeon in the debate. I would not normally suggest anyone else but the usual suspects be involved however this is not “usual” it's extraordinary and requires a different set of rules. (just in my humble view)

  5. I really couldn't care less – for one thing I don't watch TV or for that matter listen to the wireless. I find it very hard to believe that a singleTV debate would sway very many people as to which party they intend to vote for. I used to be very active in local politics which also involved canvassing at general election times. I was almost always convinced that despite what people on the doorsteps said, they had already (long before the election date had been announced) made up their minds how they were going to vote, and this was largely down to how their finances would be affected.
    However, my involvement was a long time ago – before I became totally disillusioned with politics and politicians. I fully agree with Kath, I think we're heading for a period of great instability, where the tail (or maybe even tails) will end up wagging the dog.

  6. I too have a long history of local involvement with politics (not now and not for a while) I like you became extremely disillusioned, I also don't watch TV (but do use some catch up services on the pc) or listen to the radio . For me it is not so much about one TV debate changing the way people vote but more about people seeing in a debating situation (Hopefully live) what these people are actually like and what they really stand for and how badly they stack up against each other and how badly they actually deal with being argued with. No it won't change how people vote per say but it will educate and inform people a bit more about people like Sturgeon and her hidden agenda.

  7. I have to disagree Subrosa. I'm sure there could be and should be Scotish debates, televised in Scotland, and including all parties in Scotland. Likewise in Wales. Possibly one with all. But we also need an English debate with only English parties because we can't vote for the SNP, DUP, Platted Curry etc.

  8. I think they should go with the electoral committee that there should be 4. Set it up, Invite them and leave a space for whoever doesn't turn up.

    The only thing we get out of the charade is entertainment and this is it now. Times have moved on.

    Leaders debate and the armchair TV watchers will use it to decide by who comes out the best..

  9. I have a suggestion for the broadcasters. Don't just leave an empty chair, put a chicken on it, or a block of lard, or a turd – something with some wit attached to it.

    You might even want to check if Boris Johnson is free… (I was going to suggest Neil Hamilton but apparently he's in UKIP now)