It was hardly a surprise that Prime Minister’s Questions today saw David Cameron and Ed Miliband trading blows over the proposed TV leaders’ debates in April. Both accused each other of being ‘frit’ with Cameron saying that he would not debate if the Greens are not included while Miliband using the well-worn chicken analogy to explain his resistance to the debates. Let’s be clear the decision of who should or should not be involved in the debates was not made by politicians. The result was that UKIP was in, but the Greens were not. The SMP, Plaid Cymru and the Northern Ireland parties were not included since they are seen a national not UK parties.
Why the broadcasters made its decision is really one of logistics. Imagine a debate between the leaders of all the political parties in the UK…it wouldn’t be a debate, more a series of statements…so you can understand why they took the decision. The debates are, or at least should be, a combination of spectacle as well as reasoned debate and simply a series of statements would not be that. The solution seems to me to be relatively simple.
- There should be a series of national debates including all of the UK political parties who have members of Parliament. This would include the Greens and end Cameron’s reluctance to debate.
- There should also be a national debates in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland involving the leaders of the political parties in each respective country who have members of Parliament.