Televised debates about televised debates really would be worth watching!

It was, I suppose, only to be expected that debates about the format and rules for the televised pre-election leaders' debates would hot up as the election draws nigh - no matter how pointless and unenforceable such rules are almost certain to be.

The Guardian is warning that the party leaders' election debates are in danger of 'being negotiated to death', and today's Times is reporting that Brown is calling in 'the Obama team for help with television debate'.

As readers of this blog will know, I'm fully expecting the 'debates' to be as boring as all the other interviews the media will be inflicting on us during the election.

But all this talk about the debates about the debates has given me an idea:

Why don't the BBC, ITN and Sky insist that all further negotiations with the main political parties about the rules and formats for the debates must be conducted in front of the cameras?

That would surely make for such riveting viewing that it wouldn't matter very much whether or not the actual 'debates' ever get to take place at all.



  1. There was a televised debate about the rules for debates in (I think from recollection) Mexico. Not sure what the viewing figures would be like, though I suspect you and I would be glued to the screen!

    Another approach would be swing arbitration.

  2. Thanks for this, Mark. Unfortunately, I don't speak Spanish, but I don't think we'd be alone if it happened here. Thanks also for drawing my attention to your 'swing arbitration' proposal, which is obviously far too sensible for any of the parties to agree with!

  3. Today's Times Leader makes an interesting point about audience reaction to televised debates.

    "Election TV debates should have a silent audience, if they have an audience at all"

    Read the article here:


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