Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why Plaid/SNP should be at the Leaders' Debates

Look at the picture. Only the big parties from the grey bit are going to be part of the televised Leaders' debates. That is unfair, writes Marcus Warner. And he's right.

I think Plaid/SNP should be present on the Prime Ministerial debates.

This is based on my view that many of the issues discussed are devolved. Not enough so far is done to offer the ‘England Only’ health warning.

‘Free Schools’, ‘Cancer Guarantee’ – are all meaningless to Welsh and Scottish voters.

It’s also worth remembering that:

* That voters in Wales and Scotland are often in seats whereby the fight does not include either Labour, or Tory or both.

* That the BBC has a right to be fair to other parties

* Plaid get 1000 votes in every single seat in Wales. Unlike the three major Westminster parties, who do not.

* We do not have an elected presidency – voters in Wales vote for an MP, and in places like Aberconwy, Ceredigion, Llanelli, Ynys Mon the battle is not between two westminster parties, but Plaid/Lib Dem, Plaid/Labour/Tory.

Secondly, from a liberal left perspective:
* English voters hearing about devolved policies is good for understanding the system, but also hearing different ideas. There is a westminster consensus on things, often teetering centre right at times.

* The Lib Dems are being asked about their views on a hung parliament, but it is just as valid for English voters to hear the SNP/Plaid views too.

The opposing arguments are also worth arguing against:
* That Plaid/SNP leaders cannot be PM. Nor will Nick Clegg.

* That you open the floodgates to other parties – which is not true, both those parties have elected westminster representatives. UKIP, Greens and the BNP do not.

Marcus Warner blogs at Plaid Panteg.
This article originally appeared on Liberal Conspiracy.


Anita said...

I hear this argument all the time and, why I understand the fascination, I think it wouldn't be fair on most of the country.

Let's face it. 5/6 of the electorate don't have either the SNP or Plaid Cymru on their ballot paper. However good or bad, their proposals would be 100% irrelevant to the greatest majority of British voters.

Most constituencies though have the Greens or UKIP so if anything those two parties would be better place to be given TV exposure than the SNP or Plaid. If the nationalists fielded candidates in most English constituencies then (and only then) theirs would be a good case.

Ceri said...

Plaid and the SNP are national parties, just not the 'nation' that the broadcasters are thinking of- from the point of view of that 1/6th of the population, we are not been give the chance to see national (and governing) party leaders in a leaders debate.

However, this highlights the stupidity of the debate- why shouldn't other parties get the chance to participate? Effectively because the Lab, Cons and LibDems are the established (establishment?)'proper' parties.
As such, they are the least in need of the publicity and platform that this debate gives- to those that have most shall be given, which is at least consistent with their policies.

Anyhow, does anyone actually care about this debate- a moronic, rehearsed, US inspired piece of fluff; is anyone masochistic enough to watch it?