British TV to adopt the American presidential debate system!

I got a press release the other day and, for once, it made me rather excited. It said this:

BBC, ITV and Sky have today written to the leaders of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties with a joint proposal for three live televised debates during the next general election campaign. The individual broadcasters would be responsible for producing and broadcasting one debate each between all three party leaders.

Each of the three debates would be transmitted live by the originating broadcaster in peak time and made available to all other British broadcasters subsequently. The broadcasters have formed a joint team to discuss detailed plans with the political parties. Each of the broadcasters will seek to make suitable arrangements for ensuring due impartiality across the UK.

Prime minister Gordon Brown has said he is game for these televised debates ahead of the general election. In a letter on the Labour party website Gordon Brown said he believed it was “important for the country” for party leaders to take part in a wide-ranging series of broadcast debates.

Tory chief David Cameron and the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg are also up for taking part in this live debate show(s).

The BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, said agreeing the detail could be “easier said than done”. In his blog, he wrote: “Brown does not mention the involvement of Nick Clegg but, as I wrote last week, he’s said to be keen to go head-to-head with Cameron and to be prepared to agree to debate with Clegg on his own in order to allow that to happen.”

Personally, I’m really excited about this. The American system of presidential debates is brilliantly crass (just look at all that Joe The Plumber business in the Obama/McCain face-off) and wonderfully entertaining.

The American way of doing things captures the attention of apathetic British people in a way we haven’t seen over here since the Labour Party was elected in the ’90s.

British politicians are increasingly becoming removed from the real world and this could be an excellent way of engaging people in politics again. Personally, I’m just looking forward to the gladiatorial aspect of it all… watching one politician lay the smack down on another and the tense beads of sweat on the face of the loser… fantastic!

About the author

I'm Mof Gimmers.

I've been writing about TV for a long time. I love it and loathe it in equal measures. I'm pretty sure the TV feels the same away about me too.
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