First Election Debate: What Policies?
FIRST ELECTION DEBATE: Thursday 15th April, ITV1, 8.30pm ALERT ME
In terms of entertainment, tonight’s opening debate between the three prospective PMs will probably be as exciting as a night in the pub with Frank Pickles. However if treated as a landmark piece of political theatre, this evening’s session of catchphrases, statistics and clever uses of the word ‘Darling’ promises to be intriguing.
This will be the very first live election debate in Britain’s history, indeed several previous governments shied away from the unpredictable and combustible platform – ‘why take such a publicity risk when we are so far ahead in the polls?’ thought Thatcher, Major and Blair in recent years. It says something both for Gordon Brown’s mettle and political situation that he has stepped forward this time.
Leader of the Conservatives David Cameron and his rival from the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg will be looking to unsettle the Prime Minister in this first of three such programmes (the others will follow on SKY and BBC in the following weeks).
It is unlikely that they will be able to land a killer blow though, unfortunately thanks to a meticulously negotiated format, there will be no Jeremy Kyle-style showdown, as host Alistair Stewart has been forbidden from probing the politicians and will simply be fielding questions from the audience (who incidentally will not be allowed to boo or cheer any of the candidates). Shame. We say bring on the lie detector and DNA tests if need be!