STV say they won’t let the Greens take part in their “leader’s debate” on 24th May. They’ve made an editorial decision, they say, and it’s permitted by the Ofcom rules.
Well, their ‘editorial decision’ is cackhanded and also balls. They’ll have to change it.
It’s a UK general election and none of those taking part are standing for election. So why not have Scottish leaders at Westminster to debate? The STV might say that the folk they’ve invited speakers on the basis of being leaders of Scottish parties, but of course that isn’t true because Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of the Labour Party. The simple reality is of course that all of the speakers have been invited because they are leaders of parties within the Scottish parliament. There’s a bit of a disjunction there, but so what? We all understand the way it is in Scotland today.
The mistake for STV is to think it right to have a debate in which one pro-independence participant tries to talk about various policies and all the others have the same game plan – gang up on the first one and obsess about independence. This so perfectly reflects the electoral gameplan of Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems – i.e. vote for whichever one of us can beat the SNP – that it’s a ridiculous proposition.
STV wants to prevent the viewer boredom which comes from having too large a panel. Tough – it’s their choice to put the debate on; no-one’s forcing them to. It’s up to them to ensure that their decision to intervene in the UK election in this way is executed fairly.
The Greens are every bit as much a part of Scottish politics as the Lib Dems. And their presence is essential to respect the Scottish parliament’s decision to call for a referendum. Moreover, almost all sitting Scottish MPs favour independence and we all know that after the election most still will. Yet the STV say they would run a debate which be entirely tilted against the notion of an independence referendum. It’s nonsense.
Finally, though, the debate can’t go ahead if the participants refuse to take part unless the Greens are included……