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C4 wants to replace Sky News as 2015 election debate host

C4 arguing it should take over from Sky News in the roster (January 2013)

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EX
excel99
Stupid question, could they not just come up with a 4th thing to debate about? Or have three set subject debates and a viewer question debate?

Would be the easy solution, but do the politicians want 4 debates ....
DK
DanielK
Don't see the difference, they work their best and win all 4 and strengthen their profile, or mess them all up and lose? Just like it is with 3 debates.

Mod Edit: Swear filter is there for a reason...
DE
derek500
Remember in 2010 the digital switchover hadn't been completed and Sky News wasn't universially available


It's still not, it's on a COM DTT mux, and therefore only available (on DTT) to 90% of the population.

BBC, ITV, and C4 are available to 98-99%


Freesat's raison d'etre is to fill the gaps in DTT coverage and Sky News is on the EPG now, so it has virtually 100% UK coverage.
MA
Markymark
Remember in 2010 the digital switchover hadn't been completed and Sky News wasn't universially available


It's still not, it's on a COM DTT mux, and therefore only available (on DTT) to 90% of the population.

BBC, ITV, and C4 are available to 98-99%


Freesat's raison d'etre is to fill the gaps in DTT coverage and Sky News is on the EPG now, so it has virtually 100% UK coverage.


Well, assuming that the 10% of the population who can only receive the three PSB muxes, have all equipped themselves with satellite, then yes, but I doubt it's really 100% coverage, it'll be 90-something% though.
NG
noggin Founding member
Remember in 2010 the digital switchover hadn't been completed and Sky News wasn't universially available


It's still not, it's on a COM DTT mux, and therefore only available (on DTT) to 90% of the population.

BBC, ITV, and C4 are available to 98-99%


Freesat's raison d'etre is to fill the gaps in DTT coverage and Sky News is on the EPG now, so it has virtually 100% UK coverage.


That's not the same argument. Or are you saying that most people who live in areas that can only get the PSB DTT muxes (and can't get the COM muxes - one of which carries Sky News) also have Freesat?

If that is the case - why did Channel 5 get moved from a COM mux to a PSB mux?
EL
elmarko
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.


I have to say I sort-of disagree with this, do you seriously think that when people vote in the general elections they aren't giving at least a SMALL bit of thought about who they want to be prime minister. I reckon they vote for the party in their area based on that.

We may not officially be a presidential system, but we pretty much are. And that sucks.
IT
itsrobert Founding member
In answer to your question, no I don't seriously think that people vote without any regard to the party leaders' personalities. Clearly they play a part in voters' choices. But how much of that is whipped up by the media? They like to make elections into a personality contest when strictly speaking the only people who can vote for those actual party leaders are those people who live in their constituencies. And that's why I have a problem with the leadership debates - at least all Americans could vote directly for Obama or Romney (well, let's set the Electoral College aside, shall we, but you know what I mean). Most of us cannot vote for Messrs Cameron, Miliband or Clegg.

Another point is that once a US president has been elected, they can only be got rid of at an election or by impeachment. In contrast, the British party leaders could lose their job at any time, at the whim of the Party. That's why I think 2007 (and, indeed, 1990) is a case in point - everyone was annoyed that Gordon Brown was "unelected". That was utter nonsense, once again created by the media. Gordon Brown was as elected as any other Labour MP - it's just that the Party chose him as leader and so he became PM by default. That's why I think it's misleading to encourage people to vote based on the leaders' personalities because there's absolutely no guarantee that he or she will be in office until the next election.

I do think it's a good idea to debate the policies, but I don't think a leadership debate is the best way to do this. A leadership debate ends up being a personality contest - let's face it, the other parties jumped at the chance for a debate last time because they knew Gordon Brown would perform badly. I don't believe that leadership debates add any value to the election campaigns that have operated successfully for centuries. In fact, I think they just serve to confuse matters.
BR
Brekkie
Completely agree. The Gordon Brown thing annoyed me as all the media conveniently forgot that just two years earlier they'd been using the "Vote Blair - Get Brown" line and it was no secret Gordon Brown would take over before the next election.

I'd say people vote for the party first and foremost - technically Clegg, Milliband and Satan don't stand against each other - they stand against the respective candidates in their constituencies.
SW
Steve Williams
Although David Cameron has said he will take part in the debates (with hesitation) I can see a major stumbling block coming down the road regarding UKIP which may lead to having no debates. Im sure all three leaders Ed, Dave and Nick are very worried about the emergence of UKIP and having them involved in the debates which would be foreseeable given recent polls would give them a huge platform and as a result I believe eat significantly into The Conservative vote and less significantly into the two other establishment parties. So I wouldn't rule out NO debates taking place in two years time.


Given the Green Party (and Respect, come to that) actually have MPs, surely they are more likely to appear in the debates before UKIP do.

82 days later

JK
JK08
I am sorry for bringing up and old thread, although just reading down the pages again, I wondered. If Channel 4 were given a debate, without taking Sky's, what would happen to their 'Ask the Chancellor' debate? Would it be given to another broadcaster? Channel 5?
JO
Jon
JK08 posted:
I am sorry for bringing up and old thread, although just reading down the pages again, I wondered. If Channel 4 were given a debate, without taking Sky's, what would happen to their 'Ask the Chancellor' debate? Would it be given to another broadcaster? Channel 5?

I don't imagine it was the case Channel 4 were offered that debate. I imagine they instigated it themselves.

I'm sure Richard Desmond would love to have that lumbered upon him.
WW
WW Update
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.


This is not necessarily a case of Americanization -- or at least direct Americanization: Most European countries don't have presidential systems either, yet virtually all of them have televised political debates. In today's fragmented media environment, debates tend to reach relatively relatively large segments of the audience and are therefore an important part of the democratic process. If viewing figures are any indication, audiences tend to appreciate that they exist.

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