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itsrobert5,944 posts since 23 Mar 2001
Granada North West Today
I agree that Channel 4 really ought to host a debate over and above Sky News. But I would question the very existence of the debates in the British political system. Unlike the US we are not a presidential system and contrary to popular opinion, we the electorate ought not to be voting for the personalities who lead the parties. In principle we should vote for our MP based on the party whose policies are the closest to our own political viewpoint. This was a case in point in 2007 - if people 'voted' for Tony Blair in 2005 because of personality they were duped in 2007 when Gordon Brown was elected Labour leader and thus Prime Minister. That was perfectly permissible under our system because we elected the party to office, not the person. Yet many went ballistic about how he was 'unelected', which was utter nonsense. He was no less elected than any other British prime minister. So, I find the debates totally surplus to requirements. We survived perfectly well without them for centuries and it's just another step to the Americanisation of Britain.
buster1,507 posts since 15 Mar 2006
London London
If C4 want adding to the roster, fair enough, but everyone should rotate IMO. Sky have invested a lot in their news operation and it seems discriminatory to me to single them out to loose their debate. If there are to be three debates then every four elections one off the BBC, ITV, C4 and Sky should not have one. Ratings and reach do matter for the debates, but broadcasters need to also be judged on their entire coverage of politics and their investment in news IMO

Also we aren't comparing like for like here. C4 is a former terrestrial channel, Sky News has historically had far less distribution, which puts Sky News at a disadvantage, of not fault of it's own, when it comes to ratings/reach. Remember in 2010 the digital switchover hadn't been completed and Sky News wasn't universially available


It still isn't, for those in Freeview Lite areas (as I am reminded every time I stay at my other half's parents - it's a depressingly slim selection of channels).
Cando1,265 posts since 8 Mar 2012
London London
. If there are to be three debates then every four elections one off the BBC, ITV, C4 and Sky should not have one.


Right so that would mean that one year the National Broadcaster would have none but Sky news with little viewership would Rolling Eyes

Considering Sky initiated the campaign for leaders debates I think it would be unfair for them to lose out to the hands of Channel 4. .


Nonsense as Tom Bradby said at the time, they (and their sister papers) have a habit of claiming credit and rewriting history! There was pretty much a behind the scenes deal agreed by all parties before Sky pulled their desperate stunt. Looks like it might be payback time!
Jon6,698 posts since 11 Apr 2005
Central (West) Midlands Today

Right so that would mean that one year the National Broadcaster would have none but Sky news with little viewership would Rolling Eyes

To be honest for making such a suggestion, I think Asa should be giving the poster a two week ban, I doubt this will happen though.

There is no room for sentiment towards Sky here, the interests of the British people need to served. Sky shouldn't get to keep it because it would be 'unfair' for them to lose out.

I think the only way Sky should have one over Channel 4 is if a deal can be arranged for one of the PSBs to air it at the same time. But then it becomes a glorified advert for Sky News.

There is little question in my mind given a straight choice between Channel 4 and Sky News, Channel 4 would have to have it, in terms of it being more beneficial to the British electorate as a whole.

I think there is also argument, that if it is given to Channel 4, they should do something vastly different in terms of presentation so it does indeed appeal to say a younger audience who wouldn't watch the Beeb or ITV debates.
Whataday7,499 posts since 13 Sep 2001
HTV Wales Wales Today
A Channel 4 spokesman said: “As a public service terrestrial broadcaster, with a strong reputation among younger viewers and an award-winning track record in news and current affairs, we believe C4 could play an important role in engaging the UK’s viewers in a televised debate.”


A spokesman that has been living under a rock for about 10 years?
excel991,397 posts since 3 Jan 2009
Yorkshire Look North (E.Yorks & Lincs)
A couple more points:

1. Why should the BBC have an automatic entitlement to a debate in every election cycle? They don't produce every Queen's Christmas Speech for example. It's on a rota. Why shouldn't election debates be on a rota? Sky News didn't demand exclusivity for their debate last time, so the BBC would still get to air at least one debate. If they simulcast it on BBC1 or BBC2 then the ratings/reach will still be very high.

You could demand the removal of exclusivity for all debates, but I can't see ITV agreeing to that

2. I appreciate C4 have a commitment to a varied schedule, but consider how much C4 invest in, and contribute to, news provision in the UK. They make an important contribution. But then look at the investment made by Sky. Does that really mean nothing?

EDIT - Also don't forget Sky News's contribution in terms of 'pressure' to getting the election debates in the first place. Sky, along with the BBC and ITV did a lot of 'legwork' to get the debates
www.airhumberside.cjb.net
Stuart6,577 posts since 13 Oct 2003
Westcountry Spotlight
Why should the BBC have an automatic entitlement to a debate in every election cycle? They don't produce every Queen's Christmas Speech for example. It's on a rota. Why shouldn't election debates be on a rota?

I strongly disagree with your analogy. You're comparing debates about the democratic electoral process with a 4 minute annual propaganda broadcast by an unelected 'pseudo-Head of State'. You may as well argue that airtime for adverts for Alton Towers are alternated between the commercial broadcasters on a 'fairness basis'.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mrs Windsor's pantomime contribution was done on a rota basis simply to prevent any single broadcaster having to permanently carry the cost. However, I suspect they all have to contribute equally, and the rota is to supposedly allow for different 'editorial control': although probably not a single frame of footage would be broadcast without the strict supervision of the Palace PR machine.

Although we don't have any direct 'Presidential style' electoral system: many people vote at General Elections for the person they want as PM. The 2010 debates were therefore important, and allowed us all to watch the 3 main UK party leaders in somewhere other than the playground atmosphere of PMQs.

I would suggest that 3 debates is sufficient, and it doesn't really matter who produces them as they were ultimately shown on all the other participating channels last time round. We have 'presumed political neutrality' amongst UK broadcasters (unlike in the US), so a rota system shouldn't really influence anything for the electorate.