Saturday, 5 September 2009

Sky get it right

I wouldn't normally go out of my way to support any initiatives by Sky TV, but I was sitting near the television (4th Sept) and by chance I overheard an advertisement on Sky asking people to sign an online petition, one inviting party leaders to take part in a televised debate prior to the next election. I looked at their website for more details.

The initiative appears to be the brainchild of John Ryley, the head of Sky news. He has written to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg to invite them to take part in a debate. David Cameron and Nick Clegg have already accepted, so the purpose of the petition is presumably to shame Gordon Brown into following suit, although we are told that if he declines then he "will be represented by an empty chair", which might actually be more representative of the current Labour leadership.

I know that parties are not just their leaders. I don't think that the political system in Britain should become any more presidential than it is now. However, I believe that the party leaders are well positioned to represent their own parties' policies, and I think they should be required to do so in an atmosphere that is not completely stage -managed and spun by their own subordinates. They should be allowed to spar, to show up what they consider to be the flaws in opposition policies and get meaningful and honest answers.

According to Nick Clegg, "People are really in a state of despair after the expenses scandal. It's important to do something different." The petition is at

Change the world.


  1. This sounds like a really good idea, a shame it is going to be on Sky though, if /when it goes ahead.

  2. Since then I have heard Any Questions and there was a question on this point. The BBC and ITV are both bidding for this programme. Not surprisingly the Any Questions audience preferred a radio debate. This is not a bad idea as I do prefer substance over image.