Faisal Islam, political editorThere is no fundamental reason why television leaders’ debates should not now be an utterly normal feature of elections and referendums going forward.The only reason they have not or might not in future is the perception of strategic interest in non-participation by one or more of the parties. That perception has not always been correct.The only way around this is to take the politics out of deciding these debates, and to do so well in advance of the timetable for the next election.There are models for doing this from other areas of running the country. Advertisement For example, the politics was taken out of maintaining the stability of how we manage our money by establishing an independent committee of experts.Likewise, competition policy and budgetary forecasting have benefited from independent expertise and the credibility that comes from political neutrality.Of course, the clearest direct precedent exists in the US where the commission on presidential debates was created in 1987 and the model has stood the test of time, three decades later.The point of the commission is “to ensure, for the benefit of the American electorate, that general election debates between or among the leading candidates for the offices of… Read full this story
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