Apparently, it is the prime minister's 'very strong opinion' that TV election debates cannot be held without the Greens. I'd like to express my admiration for him. I'm glad he's come to that view.
I don't believe that the makeup of the TV debates should be decided by an independent body like Ofcom, who ruled that the Greens hadn't made the leap towards becoming a major party. I'm certain that the only factor in the prime minister's mind when he made this announcement was the issue of fairness - not the tactical consideration that the Greens might take votes from the prime minister's rivals, or the fact that incumbents rarely do well in debates, or that he didn't do fantastically in them last time. I also believe that the whole notion of TV debates during one of the most significant elections in years should indeed hinge on the inclusion of a party commanding less than 10% of the vote in nationwide polling. I believe that the prime minister should absolutely have the right to veto TV election debates. If he doesn't want to be there, then they simply shouldn't happen. Leaving an empty chair where he would have been, to draw attention to the fact that he's the only leader unwilling to debate the others, would be, frankly, childish. I'm sure people don't want debates, anyway.
I also think it's good to hear the prime minister expressing his very strong opinions on the important issues before the election. I'd like to hear more of his very strong opinions. Perhaps he could tell us his very strong opinions on the EU, which seem to fluctuate depending on whether he's talking to Angela Merkel or his own backbenchers. Same goes for immigration. Perhaps he could also tell us how strongly he feels about the economy, which has been failing ordinary people across the country since he and his party took power. I've heard him say 'long term economic plan' a lot, but I'd love to hear some detail too. Perhaps he could tell us how he feels about environmental issues - he respects the Greens a lot, clearly, but does he agree with them? I remember him hugging huskies before the election, but I'm not sure if that's been the case since. How strong are his opinions on the NHS, as people wait hours on end for the services that their taxes pay for? I remember him talking about the NHS a lot before the election, but I'm not sure how he's followed that up. If he's got such strong opinions, we should hear them on all topics, right? Maybe via some sort of televised... forum? Event? I don't know.
I'd also like to congratulate the prime minister for the spectacular timing of his announcement regarding the TV election debates. First, for making his case with so little time left until the election. Some might say that was a shallow, calculated move by a pathetic coward. Not me. He clearly was too busy to make an announcement until now. He is the prime minister, after all. Furthermore, it was also good to see, as journalists lay dead in France for promoting free speech, that the prime minister wasn't afraid to restrict the British public's access to proper debate, and that he didn't have a problem with making the British government less accountable and less transparent, in order to further his own miserable little interests. I think that's a good parallel to draw.
Some of the prime minister's criticisms of the TV election debates were also very interesting and completely valid. I enjoyed hearing them immensely. After all, what are TV debates for, if not the tactical manipulation of the panel in order to shave vote share away from Labour and the Liberal Democrats? And what a shame that they can suck the life out of the campaign. You could suggest that any candidate who can't keep life in their campaign to run the country for a full six weeks doesn't deserve to be the prime minister - but again, that's rather childish. I did, however, hear some people suggest that the purpose of the TV debates is to hear the competing views of different parties about how the country should be run. That sounds a little unrealistic to me. And besides, surely we can trust the newspapers in this country to tell us all about what the parties are planning, fairly, impartially and truthfully? I'm sure that's what Mr Cameron thinks.
I'm sure that Mr Cameron thinks that democracy is important. He's a politician, after all. I'm sure he believes that political engagement of the population is a valuable commodity. Yet, at the end of the day, Mr Cameron is a Conservative, who thinks in terms of free market economics. Perhaps that explains it all, at the end of the day. It's simple demand and supply economics. If you increase the supply of political engagement in the country, it'll lose its value! Best to keep it limited.
It's good to see that the TV debates can't happen, in Mr Cameron's eyes, without the Greens. It's wrong they're not included, certainly. It's definitely worth calling the whole thing off for. I mean, the Greens are exactly as important as the Conservatives. The only difference between the two is that one of these parties - the one led by Mr Cameron - has been in government for five years, on a mandate they didn't properly win, putting through radical policies against a great deal of opposition, conceding ground to minority viewpoints on the right of their party, and making U-turns left, right and centre. Who on earth would want to hear someone trying to defend all of that?