Sunday 2 May 2010

Leaders' Debate 3

Again, I preferred humilation in our local pub quiz to watching the debate, and again caught up on the impressions afterwards.

My sense was that:
- It was even more boring than the others;
- Cameron won;
- Brown was strong but negative;
- There was less clarity about Clegg; I've heard two views from non Lib-Dem supporters; one that he continued to be the most likeable, the other that we was just irritating because he had nothing to offer except being rude to the other two.

Now that Cameron has finally won a debate, I feel free to express my concerns about the whole exercise. The idea was heavily pushed by Sky (although lots of broadcasters wanted to do something) and I suppose Brown and Cameron didn't want to let Murdoch down. But it was the wrong thing to do:
- It has dominated media coverage to the extent that the 6,000+ candidates dotted around the country trying to get elected have almost become an irrelevance;
- We do not have a presidential system of government; one of our problems is that Prime Ministers have bceome more presidential without the checks and balances needed to control them. This debate has reinfoced the improtance of the Prime Minsiter's office over everything else;
- It trivialises. From doorstep conversations, I don't think it has sparked much interest in the public, but the media have focused on this to the exclusion of much else.

The Daily Politics has held a series of debates on different topics - Business, the Environment and so on. These are available on iplayer and are much better that the Prime Ministerial debates because they are straightforward debates with an intelligent questioner/moderator - Andrew Neil. They have hardly been reported despite being more informative.

So I hope the leader debates don't happen again - although I'm sure they will! If they do, they need to be shorter and have less rules. And better moderators.

No comments: