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Leader debates make cheap peak time TV. But there are bigger fish to fry and these 3 Leaders haven’t even worked out how to operate a net

November 6, 2019 Leave a comment

Should we be more interested in what politicians say or in what they do?

It’s the answer to that question we should perhaps now be focusing on – at the beginning of a General Election Campaign – rather than what they say or how they say it.

The dissolution of Parliament – which formally took place at 12.01 am today apparently, rather than the rather fitting and accurate last sitting on Bonfire Night – isn’t the act of wiping the slate clean that politicians are now trying to tell us has taken place, or – and more importantly – that we as a Nation with a political crisis actually need.

The issue, debate or whatever else you might want to call it – about Leader Debates, is therefore rather a moot point.

Do we really want to see Corbyn, Johnson and Swinson grand standing their new approach to solving the UKs problems on primetime TV when all three of them are bringing nothing new to the table other than a rewrapped version of their previous form?

The sensationalism that now drives politics is fuelled by the mainstream media. It does nothing to help resolve the problems that we have with the quality, motivation and ability of our politicians. In fact, it is helping to develop the problem rather than doing anything at all to target the cause.

Whilst there might be times when it would be appropriate to consider the benefit of holding televised debates that will include all Political Party Leaders, after 3 years of parliamentary stalemate caused by the very same people who are seeking reelection, this General Election Campaign is arguably not one.

Until such time that British Politics and the Party Political System that currently monopolises it has been fully and comprehensively reformed, the only thing that UK Voters can be sure of is that they are going to receive the same contempt from those we elect as MPs – and if anything, probably a lot more.

Nothing that the three Leaders can tell us will become of any benefit to any of us just because of the way it has been transmitted.

Words and presentation are meaningless if the actions and results don’t reflect genuine attempts to address real problems and their cause.

What we actually need in Parliament and Government now are politicians who aren’t driven solely by how everything looks.

Genuine Leaders who take their responsibility to the Electorate seriously, consider the consequences of all their actions and are driven to deliver the right results no matter what anyone else or the media says.

As far as politicians focusing on their time in the public eye is concerned, it’s not the priority and its time to press pause.

Televised Debates for the 2015 General Election: Shouldn’t we hear from all those who could have power after 7th May, rather than just those who have won an Election before?

January 12, 2015 1 comment

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Just a week ago, the odds on Ofcom giving David Cameron an excuse not to enter the pre-General Election TV debates may well have looked pretty remote. Seven days on; one pull of the Green flush in the rules-room of the communications regulator and to some people, that is exactly what seems to have happened.

But however hard the PM might argue the moral justification of his apparent support for the Greens, few are buying into the apparent magnanimity of this gesture, even if for other reasons, he may unwittingly have a significant point.

The reasoning behind the decision to preclude the Greens and the smaller Parties has been based upon polling and previous electoral performance. It is a decision that would work favourably well if we were all looking to maintain the status quo, and only concentrate on the ‘establishment’, which itself now apparently includes UKIP, a Party that will arguably be assisted in fighting this Parliamentary Election on the basis of their electoral successes in Europe alone.

Polling does indeed seem to have become a science and dismissing this branch of statistics and the benefits of its use would be foolish however you might feel about it. However, polling is based upon people’s responses to questions regarding information that those people have about a situation, circumstances or what they are experiencing at that exact moment in time. It is little more than a snapshot and not one which can accurately predict how those same people would behave or react if they are given what they genuinely consider to be different options, or they find themselves having had an experience following the poll which would change their mind about the choices that they have.

All well and good if you are a ‘national-election-winning’ political party. But we are reaching the end of a 5 year Coalition Government, which came into being simply because none of the Parties running in 2010 with a chance of winning offered a platform which gained a decisive response from the public.

So when polling itself suggests that we are on course for the same, or perhaps an even greater dispersal of Parliamentary Seats amongst Parties, should it only be those same Parties, that by default then become the predominant members of the planned political telethon which could well influence the outcomes for our future?

The elephant in the room that political expedience fails to recognise was that in 2010, people didn’t feel convinced by the choices that they had. Voters didn’t anticipate a ‘hung parliament’ and very few would have been hoping for the final outcome, even if those who follow politics more closely will have seriously considered its probability as an outcome.

Whilst the Liberal Democrats paint this as being a choice, the unintended selection of indecisive Government burdened by compromise, arguably just because it suits the interests of the Political Parties who have most to gain, doesn’t really reflect upon putting the best interests of the Voting Electorate first.

Further compounding the ineptness and arguably self-serving nature of the decision by then introducing minimum 5 year Parliamentary Terms has not exactly given anybody else the feeling of legitimacy that was obviously intended either.

People want change. Voters want choice. The Electorate wants to see and understand the differences between ALL of the choices that are on offer.

With this in mind, it would perhaps be the case that the fairest way to select candidates for a televised debate would be to wait and see how many candidates have been accepted to represent each Party within Constituencies, and then in turn whether the number seeking election could form a majority Government if they were all elected.

In 1992, the Natural Law Party gained national exposure by fielding enough candidates across the Country to trigger access to Election Broadcasts. Yogic Flying may well have added an element of intrigue for some and outright comedy for others. But it certainly gave a televised forum to a Party that at the time could have painted a very different picture of Nineties Britain if they had collectively been elected to a position where they either held, or could influence power.

It’s a bit of a stretch in terms of what we might consider a likely outcome to view small Parties as contenders to form a majority Government on May 8th. But on the other side of this two-edged electoral sword, UKIP were of course never supposed to have won 2 Seats last Autumn, and the numerical requirement to get David Cameron or Labour‘s Ed Milliband in to No. 10 could turn out to be a lot less than the 57 Seats that the Lib Dems added to the Conservatives biggest-party-with minority-status last time around.

The truth of the peculiar political reality which may follow this General Election is more likely to rest in the hands of Nigel Farage (UKIP), Alex Salmond (SNP), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru), Natalie Bennett (The Greens) or perhaps even them all, than it is with the existing mainstream Parties who are not even trying to sound different in the way that some of their smaller competitors certainly are.

On this basis alone, and knowing the havoc that could be inflicted by the trade-offs that might include a black and white, in-out referendum on Europe; greater steps towards the independence of Scotland, or even the scrapping of the Nuclear Deterrent at a time when World stability is far from secure, should we not really have the opportunity to listen to what the potential kingmakers really have to say?

image: theguardian.com

 

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