A heated debate
Occasionally phrases enter the political lexicon that start life in small isolated stories but then rapidly come to dominate.
Until recently it was "political correctness gone mad", but I would suggest that this has now been overtaken by politicians "calling for a debate". It is a useful phrase because it does not require the proposer to say what they think about the issue they want debated (as I write I am listening to Tony Blair's monthly news conference. He's just called for one on integration again, so I rest my case).
There is an irony in this current trend because in reality, despite a great tradition of parliamentary debate in this country, we sometimes find it very difficult to get politicians to debate issues.
On the radio "a debate" involves getting two or more people with different views to argue and discuss with each other. When we try to hold one with politicians we quickly find ourselves in a labyrinth of convention and unwritten rules. Cabinet ministers rarely agree to discussions with anyone, shadow cabinet ministers often do not like doing discussions with junior ministers, junior ministers do not like discussions with backbenchers and so it goes on.
I should point out there are many noble exceptions to these rules but they do regularly consume much producer effort.
When it comes to programmes like PM, politicians much prefer what we call a "one to one" where the presenter just asks questions and the politician answers. Although there does seem to be a new phenomenon in this type of interviewing too. Witness Peter Mandelson on PM this week asking himself a question and then answering it. I wonder if it will catch on.