Matt’s View: Why I tune out of televised political debates

UKIP leader Nigel Farage UKIP leader Nigel Farage

Sunday, March 9, 2014
8:47 AM

I don’t know about you, but I think the world hears more than enough from Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage.

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But now the leaders of the Liberal Democrats and UK Independence Party (UKIP) are set to face off in a live television debate about a subject dear to both their hearts: the European Union.

The debate, which will be broadcast live on BBC2 on April 2, will tackle Britain’s future in Europe.

It’s a subject worthy of discussion, but I don’t really like this X-Factor-risation of politics. We saw the three main party leaders face off three times before the 2010 General Election, and discussions are currently taking place as to whether the exercise will be repeated before we go to the polls in 2015.

The problem is the discussion becomes less about the issue at hand and more about individual’s performance in the debate itself: who looked most comfortable at the lectern; who delivered the most quotable line; who was wearing the least horrible tie; and so on.

Is this really how we want to classify the people leading our country?

Also, this debate will only last for an hour, which is obviously not long enough to get to grips with the vast subject that is Europe, and the pros and cons of EU membership.

Clegg and Farage will barely be able to scratch the surface, yet you can bet it will have a disproportionately large influence in the way some of the people who are watching vote.

The British public is notoriously apathetic when it comes to the European Elections, which are coming up in May, so I would imagine many voters will be easily influenced by a few soundbites.

Personally I would rather see our politicians concentrating on delivering meaningful policies, rather than indulging in cheap publicity stunts such as this televised debate.

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