You know how the Tories keep calling Brown a ‘bottler’ for not calling an election when he didn’t need to? Well now Dave Cameron has showed how much of a coward he is:
Cameron rejects televised debates
You see, Cameron is all in favour of one debate, held on Sky News, which he can bone up for and come out looking great. He’s not in favour of a series of debates held across the terrestrial broadcasters as well as Sky, to include the Cabinet/Shadow Cabinet/Lib Dem leadership team members for particular policy areas such as Foreign Affairs or (and this is the one that probably scares Dave the most) the Exchequer.
I can see why one debate is much easier to prepare for than a series of them. I mean, it allows for a bit more accountability, and gives voters more opportunity to see how the politicians perform. I can also see why Dave only wants a leader debate, because it’s all about ‘Dave’, and it may be that he doesn’t want Osborne making the Tories look like morons on what should be their strongest policy area*
But if the Tories really do think that they are the best party to run the country, they should have able to see through a proper series of debates – especially if, as they claim, it was their idea to hold the things.
* Of course, it’s my contention that while everyone thinks that the Tories are better at running the economy and the Treasury, they don’t actually understand capitalist economics and they can’t tell the difference between a government’s budget and that of the wider economy.
October 19, 2009 at 11:57
I don’t like the idea of TV debates. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great way to get policies out in the open, but TV debates don’t really give you a chance to do that properly. It’s all about how pretty you are and how well you can make soundbites.
Ignoring the principle that you are meant vote for a MP not the PM, i will tell you why.
Yes, this maybe something to do with the fact that Brown is not the best looking or charismatic leader in the world, but do we want to elect someone how looks good or someone who can a run a country well?
Unless the IMF decide to hold a Pres/PM/King World contest whereby the leader that wins gets his/hers countries debt payed off, I don’t see how looking good in a swim suit and being able to say that you want world peace and love puppies is going to much help.
Of course, even if they do, even Cameron hasn’t got a chance against Obama.
October 19, 2009 at 19:43
I agree that they are part of a trend towards personality politics, which ends up being more about a single person (and how they can control their media image) than it is about actual real politics. And I am not too happy about that trend. The US and France have a direct election for their chief executive. We do not.
Mind you, perhaps we could – remove the Government from the Houses of Parliament and elect them separately?
But seeing as the trend is happening, and there is a demand for debates in the run up to a General Election, then they should be fairly wide (I’m not sure that six, with three being between two of Brown/Cameron/Clegg then three with all of them) would be the best way. The more that you have – and the more where there are other front bench spokespeople for – the more likely that there will be some time for policy.
One thing is that in a single debate, charisma may well win out. But over time, over several debates, it would take more. Soundbites will not do so well when there’s time to ask “so what does that actually mean?”.
October 23, 2009 at 09:56
As long as Jack Straw isn’t one of them, he did not do a very good job at answering questions last night.
October 23, 2009 at 21:00
It doesn’t say much for him that he did better than I expected. He really fluffed the question on immigration. Should have said something like “No, it’s not our policies, it’s the lies about our policies. We have tightened up the rules, more people are being refused entry and immigration is declining. The Tory policy of setting quotas sounds good, but is impractical and can only apply to certain types of visa. The BNP exploit immigration and tap into people’s fears, but at the same time there is a problem that the media are also hyping up the issue and presenting a distorted picture to the public. There is also an automatic presumption for some that immigration is wrong, and that the ideal number is zero. In reality, part of the success of the UK is down to immigration. Churchill and Disraeli were the children of immigrants. Many entrepreneurs and business leaders were not born in the UK. Having a relatively free movement of people is part an parcel of having a free nation”
well, maybe my answer is a bit waffly, but Straw’s was evasive and stalled him.
However, Straw did start quite strongly. Mind you, I agree that if there’s a debate on the general policy area, the Home Secretary would be a better bet.