The TV Debates debate

Much has been made of the various arguments surrounding the TV debates for the UK General Election in the last few weeks. This brings together some of the key themes:

– the role of OFCOM: an independent regulatory body, it is interesting that OFCOM decided that the Green Party were not a ‘major’ party, hence the lack of invitation to the debates. Having studied ‘party systems’, students should be aware that the number of parties in a ‘party system’ is defined as the number of parties with a realistic chance of forming government…by this definition, it could be argued that UKIP are not a major party yet they have an invite.

– the Green Party: following a surge in membership on the back of all the debate publicity, the Green Party had a surge in membership and claims now to have more members than UKIP. Not only does this add to the TV Debates discussion, it also suggests that perhaps people are less apathetic towards politics than once they were, or that they are more willing to look beyond the two major parties that have dominated UK politics for so long.

– PMQs: The row over TV debates was escalated to PMQs and made for exciting viewing…but this does serve perhaps to underline a point about PMQs that is already well-established – just how effective is it? It was entertaining to watch the two leaders accusing each other of running scared, but did it really achieve anything? Did HM Loyal Opposition hold HM Government to account, or was it just good showmanship?

– the Debate itself: this excellent article from the BBC tries to evaluate all the questions raised by this issue and have condensed them into a handy idiot’s guide!