The British Prime Minister is doing all he can to avoid appearing in the televised election debates but seems destined to change his mind. Why has he been so reticent?
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, London’s boys in blue, has said he fears live coverage of terrorist situations in the capital by the news media could hamper the ability of the authorities to respond and could put people’s lives in danger. Broadly speaking this is probably true, and one has to be wary of what is put on television out of concern for what effect it might have on the audience, and indeed what uses might be made of these live events by people with an agenda.
This leaves me hopeful that come the first televised Election debate of this general election Police storm troopers will absail down from the lighting gantries of the studio and arrest all the party leaders for being a threat to national security and the country’s mental health. At least one of the party leaders probably wishes that’s precisely what happens because he’s tried everything else to sabotage the debate concept.
David Cameron, British Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party has been fretting about the debates ever since he was told it wouldn’t just be the three traditional parties invited to participate. The addition of UKIP, a populist party of little-englander xenophobes, would give publicity to a party almost certain to take votes away from the Conservatives. Displeased David thus said he wasn’t coming because the Green party hadn’t been invited.
When everyone stopped laughing at this ballsy piece of disingenuous wiggling, David Cameron cares about the Greens as much as fish do airport departure lounges instead merely wanting someone along who’d take votes off Ed Miliband’s Labour party in return for UKIP’s presence, the media actually shifted their position slightly and agreed that perhaps having UKIP along was unfair, so they invited some more to join the fun too.
Disingenuous Political Cynicism From Conservative Leader
Currently the media intend for seven parties to attend. Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the Scottish National Party, and Plaid Cymru (the Welsh nationalists) and have said quite clearly if David Cameron doesn’t wish to participate they’ll happily provide an empty podium on the stage to make sure a) he can change his mind at the last moment, and b) the public know how little he cares to inform them about what he’s doing and why.
Of course no sooner had the media outlined this new plan that David Cameron popped up again to say that he feels it unfair that the political parties of Northern Ireland weren’t represented, he particularly wanted the DUP (Democratic Ulster Unionists) along. His efforts now seemingly based around simply having so many people involved that the debate will descend into farcical sound-bites and possible fisticuffs.
His squirming to avoid the debate is understandable, incumbents have far more to lose than gain from such live events, but his fake concern for the smaller political parties has been truly disgusting for its cynical two-faced misdirection. This has draw much scorn from most quarters with Labour gleeful at his discomfort and even his coalition partners the Liberal Democrats being hugely scathing with their leader Nick Clegg being quite damning in his remarks.
“Having expressed this truly moving and touching dewy-eyed compassion for the fate of the Greens, David Cameron has said he is now equally worried about the fate of the DUP. “ Nick Clegg told a London radio station, “I suspect next week he will be worried about the fate of the Monster Raving Loony party and after that, when they are in, possibly the tea lady – why is she not in the debate as well?”
Tea Ladies Will Not Take Part, But Will Cameron?
Like the tea lady the DUP won’t really be involved. The major broadcasters have already written to their leaders to say so, the rest of the Irish parties likewise not invited, which means Cameron is left with that choice between facing off against his rivals or being empty-chaired. We all know which way he’ll go when push comes to shove, and we now merely await him finally agreeing to take part under the conditions laid down by others not his spin department.
of his climb down will be eclipsed by some other news event, he’ll time it so it is, David will almost certainly turn up and the debates will go ahead, their significance more important in a country facing the real chance of another hung parliament after the election in May. The further fragmentation of the vote that the debate will engender does not serve the interests of the well established parties and they all know it.
Those of you who like to bet on sport in the UK, and what is politics if not a sport, know this is the most unpredictable election the UK has yet faced, the pollsters and bookies equally at a loss to know precisely what is going to happen, Bet365 will, for instance, give you far better odds on “No Overall Majority” than on any particular party gaining one. This is almost unheard of in British politics and drags up all the wrangling over coalitions that was so unseemly after the last election, only this time it might not be as polite.
David Cameron is still favored to be the next prime minister 8/15 against Ed Milibands 11/8 but who will he be forming that government with? UK gambling laws allow you to bet on whomever you fancy, but rest assured the debates have taken on fresh importance as potential coalition partners are evaluated in the scorching crucible of the media’s spotlight, David Cameron might have lost the battle to control the debates, the question is now can he come out of them looking less gormless than Gordon Brown when stood next to Nigel Farage and will he want to retain the Liberal Democrats afterward?