Will the Debates make a difference?
by Graham Davies
The televised Election Debates between the main party leaders will epitomise the way that our attention span for life in general and politics in particular is getting shorter and shorter.
It is likely that each debate will last 90 minutes. This is a long time on television….and I suspect that many people who are watching the beginning of each programme will not make it to the end. The novelty of the situation will not ncessarily generate enough magnetic adrenalin to keep thumbs away from remote controls.
The main problem for both Brown and Cameron is that they both have every incentive to play safe and almost no incentive to take presentational risks that really differentiate themselves and their policies.
Brown does not want to harm the solidity he gains by virtue of being the sitting Prime Minister. Cameron does not want to harm his own solid lead in the opinion polls. Only Nick Clegg can be a bit more edgey, because he is never going to lead a government himself.
The likely result is that even the viewers with the most stamina won’t feel any more enlightened about the real differences between a government led by Brown or Cameron.