Leaders televised debate – game on!
Posted by Matt Walker on December 22, 2009
Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and Nick Clegg have all agreed to participate in three 90 minute sessions which will be broadcast by ITV, Sky, and BBC. The idea seems to be that half of each debate will be themed, with the remaining time on any topic.
But why is this happening now? Well it could be argued that in recent years more and more media attention has been given over to fewer and fewer politicians. This means that people increasingly feel that they are electing a prime minister and wish to have party leaders in particular scrutinised. This is despite the fact that in a general election people are electing a parliament, not a prime minister.
In recent years Blair declined such debates – he was ahead in the polls and could only lose. Brown probably thinks he now has nothing to lose, Cameron thinks he’ll win, whilst Clegg will take any publicity he can get.
It’s not without controversy though. The SNP, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, and Greens are already complaining at their lack of inclusion. If they have their way, the platform could get a bit crowded, defeating the purpose of the whole exercise.
Do you think this kind of debate is helpful in a parliamentary democracy? Should these smaller parties be included?