15th Apr 2010

First election TV debate

Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull…

Bring back Question Time! Sound-bites, stage management, pre-prepared waffle – and an audience gagged and handcuffed, made to appear like mindless, voice-less puppets.

Sky and the BBC need to learn from this that no one is going to turn on to politics when democracy is made to look like leaders speaking down to theĀ un-opinionated mob. Why are audience members not allowed to speak back, challenge, laugh, call out, make their views and biases clear? Of course, ITV et al have negotiated a format with the politicians that suits them by facilitating the facade of impartiality – BUT what’s wrong with letting loose a reasonably representative cross-section of the British public on Brown, Cameron and Clegg? Surely what matters is maximising the conditions for debate, NOT stifling debate for fear of unintentionally appearing to curry favour with any particular party.

So NO, this was not a momentous occasion in the history of British politics and British television – it was a stage-managed, points-scoring, 1980s Grandstand-backdrop-looking turn-off. (That’s why I listened to most of it on the radio – a medium better fit for such an event, it seemed to me)

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