22 April 2010

Will the first leader to break down the 'ban' on applause be declared the night's winner?

OK, I give in: to those of you who seem to think you might have missed something on Newsnight last night - which is quite likely, as there was only 24 seconds of it - here my rather predictable comment to Michael Crick.

By way of background, I was astonished by the fact that the audience in the first debate conformed to rule 40 of the 76 rules of engagement: 'In order to maximise the time available for viewers to hear the leaders discussion election issues with each other, the studio audience will be asked not to applaud during the debate.'

Note that it's a request rather than a straight ban on applause. And similar bans have failed to hold in US presidential debates - for more on which, see HERE.

As for how to maximise the chances of triggering applause in political speeches, of course, all is revealed in the books at the top of this page.

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