The importance of debate

I hope that over the course of my blogging, especially it must be said on the old blogs, I have made it clear that I feel debate is important. I feel frustrated when I see the media narrowing and diverting debate on major isssues. This is why I sometimes greatly enjoy the television show Question Time.*

The upcoming “young person’s” edition of the show will feature a member of the public who is not a journalist or politician as most guests are. There are videos on the BBC website from prospective candidates trying to sell themselves as the right person for the position. I was keen to see these videos, but have been disappointed by their content.

I want a panelist who broadly agrees with me. I don’t know if any of these candidates do. None of the people adequately outlines their own views. The videos are only a minute long so there is a limit to what can be said, but they mostly just tell us how interested they are in a range of issues and how they’ll represent young people. Which young people? This suggests that all young people are the same and hold the same views, which certainly has not been my experience.

  • Candidate Baker immediately made me think of David Cameron. He is comfortable in front of the camera and says what he thinks the audience want to hear – the obvious young person issues of higher education and property prices are his concerns.
  • Candidate Bell seems to hold the environment as a priority, and mentions the often overlooked issue of forcing undeveloped economies to stay that way because of climate change. The problem is he seems to imply that forcing millions to live in abject poverty so we can feel that we’re making an effort is a good thing. He is not clear on this point, I merely infer it from his tone of voice.
  • Candidate Kidson seems to think young people are unfairly criticised for their violent destructive behaviour, and that his role would be to defend the image of the youthful. I think young people are frightning and a threat to us all, so he won’t be getting my vote.
  • Candidate Mahiaini lives in Harrow (the people there being very popular here at I.D.) and tells us she is against forced religious conformism, but is pro-morality. That could be taken many ways, e.g. does she support banning abortion as an immoral act? She claims that her views may well differ from many of her peers (that’s the way to win elections voted for by one’s peers!), but she aims to demonstrate that young people do care about what happens.
  • Candidate Rasheed claims to represent 100,000 young people already. I wonder if the 100,000 in question know about this. I’m not sure I could back someone this loose with figures. She is clearly a natural politician and will probably by a govenment (or shadow) minister in about 15 years.
  • Candidate Van Emden is ‘the annoying one’. He’s the one playing My Generation in the background. He is also the only to have an edited video (the others each being a single shot of their respective monologue). He said nothing memorable.
  • Candidate Vikram claims to have “unique views” on a wide range of subjects. I find this very hard to believe. It is quite tough to hold a view not held by anyone else, (and how would one know anyway?) and if his views are unique he disagrees with me anyway!
  • Candidate Wright acknowledges the importance of the non-party panelists to the Question Time format. He shares my animosity for those politicians who simply spout their party’s official policy statement on the topic in question and should have sent a collection of press releases instead of turning up in person. He believe the success of the show rest on the other panelists to engage in actual debate, to challange the adopted positions and to know what they are on about. On the downside, this still doesn’t tell me his views on the issues and he is ginger.

I have not mentioned the other two candidates because they are so bland, even compared to some of those I have mentioned, that they simply made no impression upon me at all. If forced to lend my considerable weight behind a candidate I would be torn between Candidates Mahiaini and Wright. I believe I have explained my reservations above.

*I’m not sure I have any readers outside the UK (well, Molly comes along occasionally I suppose) but if anyone isn’t familiar with the show Question Time I will attempt an explanation. A panel of 5 guests debate questions put to them by a studio audience. 3 of the guests usually represent the 3 largest political parties. At any time there will be a question being discussed (It’s not a quick-fire free for all) but other related questions will be asked and possibly answered. The panel do not know in advance what will be aksed, but the focus is current affairs so anyone who follows the news shouldn’t be too surprised by the topics covered.


~ by yorksdevil on June 22, 2007.

2 Responses to “The importance of debate”

  1. And the fact that every single one of them hasn’t screamed aloud words like “disgusting way the government is destroying education in this country” just gets me shaking in their boots.

    Van Emden, by the sheer point of having made an effort with his video would get my vote… if forced… none of the others made even the slightest bit of effort, pointing the camera at yourself and rabbiting on about nothing (because they all say nothing) just smacks of unoriginality…

    Although the song My Generation hasn’t really spoken to a generation since the day it was written… Mind you what would be the song of these braindead scroats?

    Sigh… the youth of today etc etc… I feel old.

  2. Van Emden’s showing off that his computer has video editing software, and his unimaginative choice of music is precisely what put me off him as soon as the video started.

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