Electoral Hypocrisy (part 1 of goodness knows)
Will the TV companies “empty chair” the Prime Minister? Will the Greens be subject to the pressure of the leaders’ debates? Will they even take place?
It is all about ratings and political self-interest. Quelle Surprise!
The TV Companies like the “Prime Ministerial Debates” because they are (probably) good for ratings and they put the TV companies in the centre of the story. But are debates during election times like X-Factor type programmes – or are they something more serious. (What X-Factor is not serious?!)
It is generally acknowledged that incumbents have little to gain from allowing their challengers equal standing. So it is no surprise that the Prime Minister would not really mind if they don’t take place.
Parties outside the main two (Conservatives and Labour – for the avoidance of possible doubt) welcome being able to take part. The debates last time almost certainly gave Nick Clegg and his party a huge lift. UKIP, The Greens and the Nationalists (in Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland) would also welcome such an opportunity.
The “minor parties” certainly understandably resent being excluded. It is hard to be credible – even in constituencies where you are genuinely “in with a chance” of unseating one of the “main three” – if you are not covered but your immediate competitors are.
Labour probably welcomes UKIP getting a chance to chip away at the right flank of the Conservatives. The Conservatives probably see the Greens as offering a similar challenge to the left flank of the Labour Party. So Labour (and the Lib Dems) are probably quite happy to see the Greens excluded.
But what is the voters’ (our!) interest?