Can’t remember this gameshow being on our screens in the Eighties Ed. On a serious note, the country needs a strong opposition at this time and Miliband and Co. seem to be unable to provide any coherent opposition at all currently.
Archive for ITV
The Pet Shop Boys scored a Christmas No.1 with this Elvis cover in 1987. This rarely seen music video is from an ITV special which commemorated the 10th anniversary of The King’s passing in the same year. Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year to you all:).
Everyone including even the staunchest of Labour supporters (of which there can’t be many left) would say that instead of “engagement” with the voters, an interview on ITV with Piers Morgan at this stage smacks of desperation from the Prime Minister.
The majority of the electorate by this point has made up it’s mind that Brown is an incredibly inept leader and communicator. A one hour interview with a man who is almost as hated as him isn’t going to magically going to turn around his and his party’s fortunes, it just leaves him open to yet further ridicule from both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats.
The interview is scheduled for the 14th February, and I could think of a worse gift for the one you love than sixty minutes with Gordon Brown and Piers Morgan.
The topics for the forty-five minute section of each of the debates are still undecided. What I suspect will happen is that Sky News, who got the worst deal of the second debate will get the first pick of the topics, ITV will get the second pick and the BBC will get the third pick. So going in the chronological order of the debates:-
ITV- International Affairs (Iraq/Afghanistan/Zimbabwe)
ITV would select international affairs as much of their news output does seem to focus on military stories. This topic is a very tricky one for Brown as he is linked (by some) to not equipping our troops in his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Brown would probably prefer International Affairs to be picked by the BBC for the last debate as not to kill his momentum at the start of the campaign.
Sky News- The Economy (The Deficit/Bankers Bonuses/Unemployment)
Sky News would select the economy as it looks to be the defining topic of the General Election campaign. If the economy has recovered sufficiently Brown should feel confident going into this debate. However, if the growth figures published just days before the debate does not show rapid growth then Brown could be in for a tough time from both Cameron and Clegg.
BBC- Home Affairs (NHS/Education/Immigration)
The BBC would therefore have to pick home affairs which is arguably the least attractive topic. The wide spectrum of home affairs has been the primary battleground in the majority of elections in the last thirty years, so there is little new ground for this debate to cover. That said, any topic in the last debate will be pivotal as the viewers will vote just days after it has been screened.
The second forty-five minute section of the debates may be random questions from a studio audience on a wide range of subjects although I would doubt Brown especially would agree to such spontaneity. A more likely scenario is direct questions from the moderator on set topics agreed by all three leaders beforehand.
With Sky News still pursuing a leadership debate between the major parties it is time to give my opinion at what type of format they would take, who would be involved and what channels they would be broadcast on. I would suggest that there are three main debates on three different channels, all on terrestrial television. All three major parties would take part, so this means Gordon Brown from Labour, David Cameron from the Conservatives and Nick Clegg from the Liberal Democrats. The reason for including Clegg is simple, like it or not his party hold nearly ten percent of parliamentary seats, run numerous councils throughout Britain and his party could influence (directly or indirectly) who wins the election. The scheduling of such debates would be quite easy, say three consecutive Wednesday evenings at 8pm.
I would propose that the first debate takes place on the BBC, is near live (to have a safety mechanism for libelous comments) and is ninety minutes in length. A town hall format would be applied, with each leader getting two minutes to answer a question from the audience, plus a chance for a short rebuttal once all three leaders have spoken. Each question would have a designated period of ten minutes as not to dwell on one question too long. This format is basically a modified version of what the BBC broadcasts every week for Question Time but I would favour Jeremy Paxman over David Dimbleby to host as Paxman would be better at getting the leaders to give answers to the questions asked.
For the second debate I would propose a simple three leader debate on Channel Four, which is live and lasts for two hours inclusive of commercials. This would be a closed debate not in front of an audience where the questions would be asked by the host. The two minute plus rebuttals format of the first debate would remain, however the debate would allow the ability for topics to be covered in greater detail (for example the economy), with multiple questions being asked on the same subject punctuated by the commercial breaks. That would mean a total of five or six topics would be covered in total, which would be enough for all three leaders to set out their policies on the most important election issues. Jon Snow would host the debate as he is the recognized face of news on the channel.
The final debate would be a live head to head debate hosted by Sky News but simulcast as well on Five. Again it would last two hours inclusive of commercials, and would be an closed debate in front of an audience where the questions would be asked by the host. The running theme of two minute plus rebuttals would carry on as to provide continuity between the debates. The leaders would pair off against each other in half hour sections, with Cameron taking on Clegg first, then Brown taking on Clegg, and finally Brown taking on Cameron. Three questions would be asked in each section, with the public seeing how the leaders directly contrasted on their policy and their communication skills. Adam Boulton could host the debate, but in light of Brown’s distain at his questioning the day after his conference speech I would draft in Sir David Frost if he was available to appease Labour. Another possible host would be Alistair Stewart if ITV/ITN were prepared for to release him for the one off event.
A debate between the smaller parties should happen as well, if only on the internet or a free to air satellite channel such as Current TV. I would limit the amount of parties to five as any more would interrupt the flow of the debate. Regional debates should be held in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and screened as Question Time specials by the BBC to allow for maximum exposure.
Labour have suggested that the leaders of various departments should have their own debates, but clearly this would just be a ploy to get Alistair Darling to face off against George Osborne. I don’t feel a public desire to see this and it would create five or six extra debates, many of which few would actually take the time to watch.
It’s my personal opinion that if Brown decides that he wants to answer Sky News’ invitation to take part in a debate he will do it soon, especially if Labour are heavily behind in the polls. If he doesn’t reply before the election is called (likely sometime in March) then there will be no debates on the terrestrial channels. Sky News may go ahead but a debate without Brown could be in breach of electoral broadcasting law.
Laughable documentary from the late Eighties featuring a very young Goldie:).