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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    21 Dec '09 18:18
    After years of pressure, it seems that the UK is to have leaders debates for the next general election - and, one would expect, each election after that, for obvious reasons. (My £5 is on 25 March 2010 for the GE, but my political betting record has been poor this year, so I wouldn't take that as a tip )

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8425280.stm

    Personally, I'm against the idea, for a number of reasons:

    - unlike the US (the obvious comparison), the UK does not directly elect the Prime Minister. Rather, each party chooses its leader as it sees fit, the electorate elect constituency MPs and the party with the most MPs forms the government - with their leader as PM. It's not even as if the three party leaders will face one another in any way at the ballot box: all three are in (absurdly) safe seats and are guaranteed to be returned to parliament.

    - this cements in public consciousness the gradual centralisation of power in the executive and the office of PM in UK politics. Even accepting that the three leaders are suitable figureheads for their parties continues this trend.

    - such a debate does nothing much towards accountability for the leaders, let alone the constituency MPs they are supposed to represent.

    - the end result is that, inevitably, the trend towards choosing party leaders based at least as much on their televisual appeal and charm as on their abilities as competent administrators, radical reformers or whatever other attributes we might value.

    All that said, I'll bet they will be heaps of fun to watch...
  2. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    21 Dec '09 18:23
    About time.
  3. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    21 Dec '09 18:41
    Originally posted by Palynka
    About time.
    I just knew you'd say that...
  4. 21 Dec '09 18:54
    They have a tradition of extended televised debates with political leaders here (note: they are arguably in much safer seats, although a poor result is usually followed by a resignation). In general it's an improvement over the soundbite-based approach of news bulletins etc.
  5. 21 Dec '09 19:01
    Originally posted by DrKF
    After years of pressure, it seems that the UK is to have leaders debates for the next general election - and, one would expect, each election after that, for obvious reasons. (My £5 is on 25 March 2010 for the GE, but my political betting record has been poor this year, so I wouldn't take that as a tip )

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8425280.stm
    ...[text shortened]... attributes we might value.

    All that said, I'll bet they will be heaps of fun to watch...
    Given the highly undemocratic nature of the british political system, any improvement is welcome.

    I know it doesn't change anything (as you have pointed out yourself), but still, this debate can't do any harm.
  6. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    21 Dec '09 19:05
    Originally posted by DrKF
    I just knew you'd say that...
    I think it's important to hear the different of ideas unfiltered by media sources.

    Interestingly, it was a televised debate in 1975 that led to the loss of the Portuguese Communist party (PCP - aligned with the Soviets) in Portugal. Before the debate the PCP was ahead in the polls and that interview was a turning point where the leader of the Socialist party managed to expose the autocratic tendencies of the PCP and that led to a plunge in their popularity and their ultimate loss in the polls. Unfiltered by (Soviet funded) propaganda, and unable to accuse the media of distorting their words, suddenly the prospect didn't sound that appealing anymore...

    Most historians and politicians see that interview as a playing a pivotal role in avoiding our entrance into the Eastern bloc.

    But, I admit, this is just one example.