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Leaders’ debate
I didn't watch the leaders’ debate on TV the other night. I feel uneasy about the debates for several reasons:

  • Multi-way interviews are a poor-way to express policies and for the interviewer to challenge the interviewee. I think politics is better served by one-on-one interviews, like Paxman’s Panorama specials.

  • The format includes a mixture of English-only and UK-wide issues. It doesn’t feel good for Scotland, Wales and NI to be told that the next question doesn’t apply to them.

  • A UK general election is about choosing a local representative. Many candidates are from smaller parties, or independent, who are ill-served by the national media concentrating on Lib/Lab/Con party politics.

If the debate was intended to provide an expression of the policies of the parties who could be providing the next Prime Minister, I was dubious about the inclusion of the Liberals in the process. If on the other hand it is about expressing the politics of parties through their leaders, I can’t fathom why other parties with significant support across the UK (like the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and UKIP) weren’t. And pity poor NI where, of the national parties, only the Conservatives seem to be making an effort to engage directly in the political process.

However the impact of the debate has been larger than perhaps its television audience of under 10m would suggest. The first debate was very good for Clegg, and as a result, I think very good for British politics. It will be interesting to see whether the surge in Liberal support is sustained over the coming weeks.

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Pretty much in agreement, except that I might have watched regardless, if I'd been at home.

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