Election Debates: Maybe Better Left
I watched the election debate between Corbyn and Johnson on ITV. It was unedifying, and not very revealing. Corbyn was, predictably, calmer, more sensible, and less blustering. He needed to answer the “What way would you campaign in a second referendum” question that Johnson kept going back to, but otherwise he handled it pretty well.
Johnson, of course, is the epitome of bluster, barely gave a straight answer to anything, and went over his allotted time on every question, as well as his opening and closing statements.
I criticise him for that since he was violating the agreed-upon format. But the time-limited questions may have been the worst part of the event. The purpose is to limit bloviation, I suppose, but it seemed like often the chair was cutting the speaker off while they were still trying to make a point. I saw a tweet while it was going on, to the effect that part of the problem in politics is that everything is reduced to soundbites, with no opportunity to go into details. I’m inclined to agree.
However, much more interesting, and a bettter format, was the interviews, an hour later, with the leaders of the some of the other parties: Jo Swinson, Nicola Sturgeon, Siân Berry of the Greens, and, unfortunately, Nigel Farage.
One interviewer, one interviewee at a time, and it was all much more sensible. That is, in part, because of the people involved, of course. The three women were all good, especially Wee Nicola, as we like to call her. But perhaps it wouldn’t have worked so well if Johnson had been in the interviewee’s chair. He’d have been havering and talking over the interviewer, no doubt. Though to be fair, Farage managed not to do that, so who knows.
But overall, I think that the debate format is not the best way to present your ideas.