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One debate is not enough

September 2, 2009

The news that we may now well see a televised leaders debate in the run up to the general election is excellent. Too often on the campaign trail and when generally meeting people I think we all hear complaints from people that they don’t know what the parties stand for. To me there is great value in giving all three party leaders equal opportunity to set out their positions. I do however have two concerns when hearing this news.

The first seems to be assuaged by John Ryley’s piece in the Times. It is vital that the debate be available to everyone throughout the country, regardless of the system they use to watch tv. This must go further however and include proper streaming over the internet, although I do not doubt that this would be in place.

My second concern is that one debate misrepresents our political system. We elect a party, not a leader, and there is far more to a party in the commons than purely its leader. One debate will not by any means show all the differences in policy present, or allow focus on some of the issues which are of vital importance in this country. I would therefore like to see four debates. One debate each between the holders and ‘candidates for’ prime minister, chancellor, foreign secretary and home secretary. In this way not only could we increase the level of debate being held but I believe we could better represent our parliamentary system. What do you think?

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