Following the confirmation that there will be a “Leaders’ Debate” in the Election campaign, we are today asking why there are no plans for policy debates.
Following the confirmation last night that there will be a “Leaders’ Debate” in the General Election campaign, Left Foot Forward is today asking why there are no plans for Departmental head-to-heads between Ministers and their shadows.
In the United States, the Vice Presidential nominees square up in live tv debates, yet no such plans are in place here, with only three shows between the three main party leaders, on ITV, Sky and the BBC – though the SNP and Plaid Cymru are reportedly considering legal action if they aren’t involved.
If, then, debates are to be held in Cardiff and Edinburgh, it seems fair to ask of the broadcasters to at least consider hosting debates between the Cabinet and their Tory and Lib Dem shadows, giving the public the opportunity to compare the strenghts, statures and intellects of those seeking to govern.
As important as character, it will also enable the public to examine, and contrast, the policies of the parties in the key areas of the economy, health, education, law & order, foreign affairs etc. the details of which are likely to be lost in the heated exchanges between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.
Here’s how the debates could shape up:
|BUSINESS||Lord Mandelson||Ken Clarke||John Thurso|
|LDR. OF THE HOUSE||Harriet Harman||Sir George Young||David Heath|
|TREASURY||Alistair Darling||George Osborne||Vince Cable|
|CHIEF SECRETARY||Liam Byrne||Philip Hammond||Jeremy Browne|
|FOREIGN OFFICE||David Miliband||William Hague||Ed Davey|
|JUSTICE||Jack Straw||Dominic Grieve||David Howarth|
|HOME OFFICE||Alan Johnson||Chris Grayling||Chris Huhne|
|ENVIRONMENT||Hilary Benn||Nick Herbert||Tim Farron|
|DEVELOPMENT||Douglas Alexander||Andrew Mitchell||Michael Moore|
|COMMUNITIES||John Denham||Caroline Spelman||Julia Goldsworthy|
|SCHOOLS||Ed Balls||Michael Gove||David Laws|
|CLIMATE CHANGE||Ed Miliband||Greg Clark||Simon Hughes|
|HEALTH||Andy Burnham||Andrew Lansley||Norman Lamb|
|WORK & PENSIONS||Yvette Cooper||Theresa May||Steve Webb|
|DEFENCE||Bob Ainsworth||Liam Fox||Nick Harvey|
|TRANSPORT||Lord Adonis||Theresa Villiers||Norman Baker|
|CULTURE||Ben Bradshaw||Jeremy Hunt||Don Foster|
In April, speaking in support of the principle of a leaders’ debate, the Leader of the Opposition said:
“Any time, any place, anywhere.”
Left Foot Forward wonders whether he’d be as keen on our idea.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.