"GORDON Brown last night said he would "relish" head-to-head televised debates with his rivals ahead of the next general election.That is conditional, The Tartanissimo believes he should also have the chance to… eh.."strut" alongside the two potential Prime-Ministers of the UK and Nick Clegg:
The Prime Minister is the last of the Westminster party leaders to agree to what would be the first such event in UK electoral history."
But Brown may not be able to test his wits against David Cameron of the Conservatives and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats if the SNP succeeds in blocking any leaders' debate that did not feature Alex Salmond.And as always, where the SNP boldly go, Plaid Cymru won’t be far behind:
The SNP said yesterday that it would challenge the broadcasters' rights to go ahead with the debates without including the Scottish First Minister
Plaid Cymru has called on 3 major broadcasters rethink plans to exclude the party from pre-election TV debates.The DUP and TUV don’t make pronouncements on Sundays, but tomorrow we’ll, no doubt, see them making similar demands (for obvious reasons, more of a tricky ethical question for the Sinn Fein and SDLP).
The party’s Director of Elections Helen Mary Jones AM said that any such debates would have to be made relevant to audiences in Wales by including the leaders of all 4 parties. Ms Jones urged the broadcasters to consider the possible effects of their plans on the democratic process.
So theoretically then we’ll have Brown, Cameron, Clegg, Salmond, Robbo, Ieuan Wyn Jones and who else round the table? Griffin? Jim Allister? Farage? The leader of the Cornish Nats? The “Concerned Residents of Trumpton”’s top man? In a one hour *national* debate?
The whole point of this would be to ape the presidential television debates seen in the US. Even Salmond’s ambition doesn’t stretch to becoming the Prime Minister of the entire United Kingdom, so why on earth should he then be entitled to debate alongside those whose parties will form the next government of that entire nation?
A nationwide debate should involve only those leaders whose parties compete nationwide- the logical approach would then be to have a second tier of debates on a regional level, something along the lines suggested here by Jim Murphy:
Labour yesterday suggested a compromise that would involve a debate among Westminster MPs with Scottish seats. Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, said he had written to his shadow, Tory MP David Mundell, Angus Robertson of the SNP and Alistair Carmichael of the Liberal Democrats to ask whether they would be willing to take part. "I believe we too should take our debate to the people," Murphy said.