The Leaders TV Debate: Lies, Misinformation and Poor Politics

by Ray_North on January 14, 2015

Unknown-2I’m not very well. I have that most horrid of all ailments Maculinus Influenza – so I’m at home, which has given me the pure misfortune of being able to listen to PMQs on the wireless. Sigh. After ten minutes, the whole thing caused my condition to deteriorate and I had to take to the couch.

The 2015 General Election Campaign has started in earnest and already the level of bullshit is dangerously high. The first issue to be contaminated by lies, misinformation and piss poor politics is the issue of whether there should be a televised debate.

From my own personal point of view, I think that there should be a leaders debate, but, it’s not something I would mount the barricades for, and, if it does happen, I will probably watch it, but, I won’t shed tears if I can’t.

It appears though that the parties and broadcasters have got together and put forward a proposal for three debates to take place which will include in various guises the Tories, Labour, Lib-Dems, UKIP, and to a lesser role the SNP and Plaid – The Greens have been excluded – thus provoking the first phoney war of the 2015 campaign.

So, let’s, wade through the cobblers, and have a look at what each of the parties is saying, what they actually mean and what, perhaps they should say.

The Tories
What they are saying:
David Cameron is saying that unless the Greens are included then he won’t take part.

What they actually mean:
David Cameron doesn’t give a monkey’s arse about Caroline Lucas and the Greens, this is a complete smokescreen, because the reality is that Cameron doesn’t want to debate with either Farage or Miliband, as he knows it will probably end up badly for him. Indeed, the orthodox view in the Tory Party is that the debates prevented them from gaining a majority in 2010 (probably an erroneous view).

What I’d like him to say:
What would be refreshing would be for Cameron to tell the truth, in fact I’d be quite impressed if he said, ‘I’m the Prime Minister, I’m not going to debate on TV with those who want my job. I’m going to go about campaigning about what I’ve done.’

What they are saying:
The Prime Minister is chicken (the rather tired sound bite of choice, is that Cameron is ‘more chicken than KFC’), and will not debate with Miliband because he is scared. We are happy for the Greens to be involved, but, the broadcasters have made a decision not to include them.

What they really mean:
The Labour Party don’t want the Greens to be part of a live TV debate, because they know that The Greens are a threat to their vote; they are also very nervous about Ed Miliband’s performance in such a debate, knowing that it could either be making of him, or the final nail in his political coffin.

What I’d like them to say:
Without doubt, the Greens should be involved in TV debate, after all, they have an MP, Euro MPs and are polling at around 5% – it is only right that they are invited. As for the Prime Minister, we are happy to debate him on his terms.

The Lib-Dems
What they are saying:
The Lib-Dems think that the format should be the same as in 2010, that is 3-3-3 without the inclusion of either The Greens, UKIP or the Celtic Parties. They say that it should be debate between the 3 potential Prime Ministers.

What they actually mean:
They are shit scared that they will lose votes to everyone at the next election – they want to keep The Greens, UKIP and the SNP as far away from the public as they can. In the end, they would probably be happier if the debates don’t happen at all, rather than face the ignominy of having their record trashed by just about everyone in front of an audience of millions.

What I’d like them to say:
We are the party of pluralism and democracy, and as such we believe that it is only right that all the parties who are genuinely national or who are significant in the areas that they contest have the right to engage with the public in the biggest forum for debate.

What they are saying:
We’re happy to be involved, but we want to be involved in all of the debates.

What they mean:
We’re happy to be involved, but we want to be involved in all of the debates, because that will really piss off the other parties.

What I’d like them to say:
Well, I’d like them not to exist, but, as they do, I can’t criticise them for their honesty on this issue – Farage did ok against Clegg in the televised debate prior to the Euro Elections, and they know he’ll hold his own in a general election debate because those who support him will probably support him anyway.

The Greens
What they are saying:
Why aren’t we involved?

What they mean:
Hello – why are we involved?

What they should say:
Just as they are saying – ‘we’ve got an MP, we’re polling more than the Lib-Dems, we are contesting nearly every seat at the next election – why aren’t we involved?

I fear that the TV debate, debate will prove to be a big red-herring, and that when it doesn’t happen, Messrs Cameron, Miliband and Clegg will breath a sigh or relief, and that the next thing we will see will be the return of the Labour Chicken to follow Cameron about during the campaign. Yawn.

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