by John Ward
The Sky-promoted campaign for televised general election debates is an example of thinly veiled corporate interests coaching a constitutionally unthinking underclass into empowering their bid for absolute rule. It is a clear threat to freedoms and a catalyst for mob rule by bread and circuses. It should be resisted by all thinking people.
It’s probably true that a sure sign of getting old is when you disagree with almost everything the young think. But then, the observe side of that coin is that the young are wrong about an awful lot of things, and often don’t realise that fact until they’re old. I am no exception to that rule.
I fear for the health of civilised debate and policy direction in the future, when so many things in the present pass into law with so few genuinely interrogated reasons for being on the Statute.
The current ‘discussion’ of having obligatory televised debates is one such. It’s not just a bad idea, it’s an idea that misses the point of constructive reform….and far too few are asking the obvious question, “Cui bono?”
Having televised debates built into the constitution will deliver great commercial and prestige benefits to TV broadcasters….especially those using advertising rates as their business model. The petitition to have a Parliamentary debate was created, marketed and publicised by Sky television. Just fancy that.
A better starting point would be a written constitution in the first place. However, here’s the irony that shows the error of the TV-debates case: like the invention of the public petition, the TV debate is put forward as a way to “force the legislature to pay attention to public concerns”. So Sky got its signatures, and its debate – but look what happened: it took place in a sideshow committee room, hardly any MPs turned up, and the standard of rationales presented for the Debate Law to pass was profoundly abysmal.
Public pressure from Waspi women (and the sterling work of Mhairi Black) forced a full Commons debate on the SPA embezzlement scandal. The debate unanimously voted for the Government to rethink its policy and rectify the situation. The Government ignored the vote.
This is at the core of my opposition to not just petitions but also TV debates. They are not so much red herrings as beautifully smoked smorgasbord designed to distract attention away from the heavily salted junk offal we are asked to eat year in year out (at inflated prices) in that infamous Westminster eaterie Where’s the Beef?
Promoting the idea of obligatory televised General Election debates is a bit like King John giving Robin Hood his own syndicated talk show 700 years before the invention of television.
The fundamental problem with the UK’s political process is that it has a talent for window dressing, but no idea at all about what should be on display in that window.
Televised debates (and online petitions) are pointless in a political system where an élite is under no duress at all to act on the outcome of such things. The sting in that tail is that such mass democracy could very quickly – given the technology now available – lead to a dictatorship of the dumbed down and emotionally unintelligent proletariat.
As Plato correctly divined, “the fastest road to fascism is an ignorant and uncivilised electorate offered democracy”.
On Sky News this morning, I watched in amazed horror as talking head after opining foot came up with this as the reason for obligatory televised debates:
“Look, the fact is that these debates are part of contemporary life and it is time our political system fell into line”
Ah, right – now I get it: I exist therefore I am A Good Thing. Well hey, why not?
So then, that’s murder, Antifa, Kim Jong Un, Amazon, Globalism, Communism, the Cintons and Islamism in the clear.
With respect M’lud, I offer the case for the prosecution.
Televised debates are about advertising promises. As citizens, we have no redress when these promises are evaded and denied.
The televised debates of 2010 gave us a Cameron-Clegg Coalition. My, didn’t that go well?
Televised debates are really leader debates. There is no correlation at all between performing well in such debates and an ability to be an effective, truthful or democratic national leader. (See Reagan, Blair, Macron etc)
Televised debates are designed for Presidential systems. The British system is not a Presidential one.
Television (indeed, all live moving media) are an appeal to the emotional, the fantastic, and the ill-thought-through response. They do not lend themselves to reasoned, researched detail: they instead encourage back-of-envelope promises.
Bringing in such debates would inevitably exacerbate an already woefully dumbed-down political process. They would also represent the thin end of the wedge whereby cunning media manipulators would move things on to instant response participation. Imagine an audience (whipped into a frenzy of bigotry by Hitler) given the chance, at the press of a button, to deny all citizen rights to property and even life for one culturo-religious-racial group: what took the Fuhrer ten years could have been turning into a policy within days. Imagine an Islamist or Israeli fanatic given such tools.
The likes of Murdoch, Juncker, Macron, Merkel, May and Draghi gaining proxy access to such power would be the end of anything remotely representing real liberal democracy. We have already seen what the maverick Trump can achieve via the use of social media appealing to the lowest common denominator. But Donald Trump is far from being an Alt State psychopath. What we should do is imagine someone like McMasters or Lloyd Blankfein with such power.
You don’t improve Benathamite majority mutual democracy by giving better and better weapons to minority control freaks. You do that by reducing their power, and devolving the residue back to an educated and informed People.
Imposing TV leadership debates on a culture where individual privacy, citizen rights, the Rule of Law, civic education, media freedoms and social mobility are already under threat really is running in the wrong direction before knowing the right direction in which to tread carefully.
The puerile nature of the debate that has been created by the Sky ruse should be more than enough evidence to condemn it as an idea.
I rest my case. What do you think?