Daily View: TV election debate
The announcement that there will be a televised debates between party leaders for the first time gets political bloggers debating about who will benefit most.
Lord Toby Harris (Labour) thinks Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg should not be in the debate:
"The public will want to see a debate between the two individuals who may emerge as Prime Minister. They will want to hear exchanges between the two and get a clear understanding of what they would be like leading the nation. What possible relevance will there be to have a man there who stands absolutely no chance of being Prime Minister once the votes are counted?"
Rachel Sylvester in the Times says the parties have to be clear about if they are going to be "Santa or Scrooge":
"The next election, and the three televised debates announced yesterday, will boil down to a contest between optimism and pessimism. And the recession has blurred the natural dividing line between the two men."
David Hughes in the Telegraph says the debate will not improve democracy but that doesn't mean it shouldn't happen:
"It's ludicrous that we are still conducting elections as though it were the 1950s. But anyone expecting political fireworks will be disappointed. The party leaders will be prepped to death and will negotiate each encounter like a minefield."
Conservative MP John Redwood thinks England should have its own debate:
"As a sop to nationalist sentiment the broadcasters are offering Scotland and Wales their own national debates with their own local Leaders. That's fine by me, but what about England? It just reminds us how lopsided UK devolution is under Labour, and just how much the EU hates England, wishing to break it into unloved regional units."
Mike Smithson from the blog Political Betting thinks David Cameron has made a mistake by agreeing to the debate:
"When you are in as strong a position as he is then the last thing he should have agreed to is something that could be a game-changer. Anything could happen."
Gary Gibbon at Channel 4 News says this debate will benefit the Liberal Democrats most:
"It gives the Liberal Democrats one hell of a leg-up, and that's high in Labour's calculations (they want the Lib Dems to do well against the Tories to limit Tory gains) but not as high as the fundamental point: Labour strategists think Gordon Brown might just make David Cameron look naive, not versed in the ways of the world and not a man to hold the tiller in dangerous times."
Links in full
Lord Toby Harris | Why do we have to have Nick Clegg as well?
Rachel Sylvester | Times | Voters will always go for Santa, not Scrooge
David Hughes | Telegraph | TV debates? Far better than Ovaltine
John Redwood | Scotland and Wales get their own debates - what of England?
Mike Smithson | Political Betting | What this going to do to the campaign?
Gary Gibbon | Channel 4 News | Debates that will change all future elections
Jonathan Calder | Liberal England | Party leaders to debate on television: Bad for the Lib Dems?