Thursday, September 17, 2009


As the date for the British General Election starts to approach Sky News TV has been pressing the leaders of the three main parties – Labour, Conservative and Liberal – to enter in to a live TV debate.

Sky News has even started an on-line petition and at the weekend they kept proclaiming it had received 10,000 signatures. I haven’t counted the UK population recently but let’s say it is 60 million plus so 10,000 is hardly a ringing endorsement for the TV extravaganza.

Of course trial by TV is established practice in the USA. However that nation is the size of a continent so TV is an important electoral tool but to be honest just being an observer of the debates surrounding the Primaries and then Presidential contest has left me talked-at to death.

In Spain there are TV debates, two I think, between the leaders of PSOE and the Partido Popular ahead of a general election. I know they cause a lot of excitement for the media but whether they sway voters one way or the other I have no idea. I suspect they don’t.

The German General Election is shortly with us. They had a TV debate last weekend and Sky News gave it ample coverage telling us this was how our elections should be conducted. In the event it was a damp squib, boring in a very German way – indeed you’d get more excitement watching a man dance in Lederhosen.

So Sky News (the sister station of Fox News in the USA) backed by the Murdoch media empire of The Sun, The Times and the Bromley Bugle (ok I made the last one up) is pushing for the first General Election TV debate in the UK.

My view on this is very simple.

Yes to the TV debate – No to it being aired on Sky.

The whole essence of the three political leaders – Brown, Cameron and Clegg - going to head-to-head is that the British voters can watch, judge and decide.

Therefore the debates should be on free to view services such as the BBC or ITV.

Democracy is too valuable for it to be assigned solely to Sky subscribers. Nor are our politics yet another tool in the Murdoch armoury for increasing his empire’s viewers and profits.


Mary said...

"Now look 'ere jimme... " "No, I will not break wind on national television" ..."hey! I´ve just got my gcse results.."

Lenox said...

Certainly Murdoch's effort in America - Fox News - is so biased and, well, waaaay beyond what we understand by 'right-wing' that he shouldn't have any more hooks on how to manipulate democracy in the US or the UK.

Pip said...

I know that we should all be interested in the future of our country, and to that end, keep in the know with what the Politicians have in mind. Such debates on television only serve to show how gullible we are to believe, that any carrot dangled before us, is any more tempting than an interview through any other medium.
When my children were younger, they would stare at a blank television in the hope that we would put on some entertainment. So one day when we were waiting in a car showroom, I said that I would allow them a film as a treat if they stayed quiet and watched the live television feed of Goverment proceedings.(more of a bet than an agreement) Not only did they fail to get their treat, but they also stated that the politician behaviour worse than theirs and of course it was so boring. I have to say that I agree with them. The politicians appear to have a tentative grip on reality and totally out of touch with the wishes of their electorate. They have shown that they are not to be trusted after their debacle over expenses claims, for which many a normal members of public would be prosecuted to the letter of the law for theft and fraud. They somehow evade the law by resigning their seat in Parliament and paying back their claim. Hey , why don´t the criminals get in on the act and evade prosecution by stating a wish to pay back their ill gotten claims to someone elses cash or property? Their behaviour in Parliament is tantamount to badly behaved juvenile delinquents, who we would punish for such behaviour. They are, quite frankly, are an embarrassment to Britain. I believe that televising politics is a good thing but, has not done Britain any favours at all. It will however, show us the who can best evade the questions, who can contradict the most and who can blame each other more for their own mistakes. So if someone wants to pay for any of the above reasons, then let them pay their subcription. I can find other more entertaing ways to utilise my money, which do not include politics or even television.