One foot forward, other foot shot by self


This morning I read a BBC article about the revised seven party plan for the televised leadership debates.

Good news! Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru to be included in the televised debates. I had two issues with the article however.

1: It suggests this change is down to David Cameron’s ultimatum. No mention of the petitions, public outcry and the work of these three parties arguing their case. In reality Cameron hopped on the bandwagon so as to try and get Labour outflanked on the left. He joined something that already had a lot of momentum. Cameron is a canny opportunist.

It’s almost like the out of touch authority figures who put the original four party debate structure together would rather be corrected by another out of touch authority figure, than by the weight of progressive public opinion…

2: This bit of analysis from Iain Watson
“The broadcasters have gone out of their way – possibly at the expense of an engrossing spectacle for viewers – to accommodate Mr Cameron’s stated desire to include the Greens in any line-up.”

So Mr Watson thinks that a debate between four establishment figures (all male) who are mostly either privately educated, Oxbridge or both would be made less engrossing by the inclusion of three mostly publicly educated, all non Oxbridge, Welsh, Scottish and Australian women?

A predictable shouty rammy about immigration might actually touch on issues of social justice? Drawing on different cultural, social and philosophical backgrounds? It might be slower paced. There may be less hashtags. But less engrossing?

TV debates have limited impact (apart from on journalists who love the soap opera column fodder) but there is powerful symbolism tied up in it. For the Greens to be included offers valuable exposure to a vibrantly different political voice.

So I’m glad the BBC and others have come round. Just a shame they still don’t seem to get it.

Well done BBC.

Try better next time BBC.


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