A Workable Compromise?

As I'm sure we'll remember—and if it's faded we can, as I have, refresh our memories here—the decision to hold three televised election debates between three of the party leaders was seen as unfair to both the SNP and Plaid, and open to legal challenge.

Obviously things have been going on behind the scenes since the announcement was made, and it is very welcome news that Sky now seems to be on the point of inviting Alex Salmond of the SNP to participate in their debate. Jeff Breslin of SNP Tactical Voting picked up the story from Techwatch, though I have to say that I'd be more comfortable if it were to be confirmed from the horse's mouth ... or even if the story carried some sort of quote or reference to back it up.

Nonetheless I hope it is true. It is a step in the right direction (though it would be even better for each participant to appear on equal terms) and may prove to be the basis for a workable compromise in the other two debates. The first debate on ITV and the third on the BBC could be similarly modified to address the concerns of other parties. I would suggest that Plaid Cymru—represented by either Elfyn Llwyd or Ieuan Wyn Jones—is invited to participate in one of these on the same terms as Alex Salmond. All it would take is for one of either ITV or the BBC to make the offer. Perhaps another party such as UKIP could be in the third, though that would be harder to justify because UKIP do not have any elected MPs (Bob Spink was elected as a Tory) if not, the third could be between the three larger parties as originally intended.

It would also be good if one of the debates was held in Wales, one in Scotland and one in England. That may seem hard on Northern Ireland, but politics there is rather too different for the model to fit.

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