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Feb 11th, 2010

Election TV Debates: let us ask the questions

By Hannah Lownsbrough

Party leaders will debate before the election

Party leaders will debate before the election

With the 38 Degrees’ general election consultation in its final phase, one of the ideas that has emerged has already become a campaign. Several people suggested that the TV leadership debates in the run-up to the general election would be a good way for us to get involved: it’s a chance to make sure that ordinary voters get heard, rather than just the usual suspects.

So, we were concerned when we saw the news that politicians and their spin doctors are already squabbling about how to make the debates work. There’s a danger that it will become another opportunity for polished political performances, without putting our would-be leaders on the spot about the issues that we care about.

At first, these debates seemed like a step in the right direction. But there can’t be open debate if the people that count – the voters – are left out. The party leaders and their teams want to control everything about the debates, so that nothing will be able to spoil their image. That means no questions from the audience and no real debate.

Now, we’re taking action to call on the party leaders to let voters choose and ask the majority of questions during the TV debates. We want to quiz the party leaders directly on the issues that matter to us, like climate change, public services and bankers’ bonuses.

Click here to join the campaign for real debates between the party leaders at election time, so we can get the answers we need to decide who to vote for on polling day: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/open-up-election-debates

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