[email protected]… Nick Clegg: Don’t leave the Liberal Democrats out of it

Over at The Independent, Nick Clegg (under a slightly unfortunately whiny headline not of his creating) puts the case for a televised debate between the leaders of the main political parties. Here’s an excerpt:

A debate wouldn’t advantage a party; it would advantage the people. It would be the voters’ opportunity to see the leaders competing to be Prime Minister promoting their policies and answering difficult questions about how they’d change the country. It would bring in a wider audience than leaders could reach otherwise, giving more people the opportunity to make up their own minds based on the facts.

If Gordon Brown believed in the Labour party and his own record, he would be champing at the bit to hold this debate. I’m eager because I want people to know about Liberal Democrat policies, and I want the opportunity to explain why Labour and the Conservatives would take us in the wrong direction.

You can read the article in full HERE.

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  • Purlease. This would be a debate between the two men up to be Prime Minister of the country in a crucial election that will probably will decide how the country goes for the next decade. On-the-one-hand-on-the-other bleatings about PR from some lightweight who will be lucky to lead 40 MPs in the next Parliament would be a frippery at such a time.

  • Painfully Liberal 31st Jul '09 - 8:06pm

    Parasite’s infantile bleatings do sort of inadvertantly skirt across some thorny issues regarding the idea of a televised debate. How do we decide who gets to participate? Why not the Greens or Ukip? Are we going to say it’s just for the x largest parties? Only for parties with a certain number of parliamentary seats, or vote share or membership? It’s not like in the US where it’s pretty much accepted that there will only be two candidates in contention, this is new to us and we’d have to decide where to draw the line. Christ knows the present system is plenty skewed in favour of the larger parties as it is, do we really want to introduce what would effectively amount to another piece of free election time publicity for a favoured few?

  • Roger Shade 31st Jul '09 - 8:31pm

    The fact that it is a crucial election reinforces the view that others should be represented. The leading Party at the moment, ie the Conservatives, are at present only likely to receive 40% of the vote, and from that wholly inadequate mandate will dictate the course of policy in this country for next decade. I think it is vital that electorate should hear what alternatives there are, I am damn sure they will not hear from the Tory leaning press.

  • I think a sensible solution might be to include only those leaders whose parties are standing in enough seats to win. That would mean the three main parties and probably UKIP and the Greens. Or use the same formula used to determine PPBs.

  • Herbert Brown 1st Aug '09 - 12:09am

    “I think a sensible solution might be to include only those leaders whose parties are standing in enough seats to win.”

    Perhaps you could add on to that the condition that they have had an MP elected under their own colours. It would be rather ridiculous to have a prime ministerial debate involving the leaders of parties whose aspirations were at the very best one or two MPs. Maybe it could also be argued that there was no realistic chance of Nick Clegg becoming prime minister, but the tradition of election coverage in the UK is definitely tri-partisan, and excluding the third party would be a major break with precedent.

  • A debate is very unlikely: Cameron would like it limited to himself and Brown, but apart from Nick Clegg there are the Scot Nats and the Northern Irish parties. With the SNP so dominant in Scotland, how could they be denied participation?

    How could any broadcast of such a debate not contravene electoral law?

  • Why not have a series of debates? British politics is rarely about leaders and much more to do with parties, so why not have 4 debates: one between leaders of the 5 main parties (the big three plus UKIP and the Greens), one between the chancellor/shadows, one between Home Sec/shadows, one between Foreign Sec/shadows? It will be more like University Challenge than any US presidential TV debate.

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