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3:15pm on Sunday, 8th March, 2015:
The announcement today by Ed Milliband that he'd put TV debates between party leaders into law is just another example of why I believe this man would be a disaster for the UK if he ever got his hands on the levers of power.
It's clearly a move designed for one purpose only: to keep in the news the fact that David Cameron isn't going to go head-to-head with him in a TV debate. It's a tactic, not a policy, and (worse) it's aimed squarely at people who weren't going to vote for Cameron anyway. It's just a stunt that he's pulled not because he actually feels that the constitution needs to be ridden roughshod over, but because he thinks he'll get some Lib Dem switch votes in the upcoming general election as a result of it.
The way elections work under the UK's system, people don't vote for the PM: they vote for their constituency MP. By mandating TV debates, Milliband is asserting the opposite, which would lead to exactly the kind of Tony Blair, presidential style of government that causes PMs to lead us into unjust wars. Party leaders didn't always have the kind of power Milliband seems to think they should have, indeed some far left parties didn't even have leaders per se, they were run by committee. By enshrining in law the idea of a TV debate between leaders, some of the flexibility to change the way parties operate will go. Their hands will be tied.
Milliband has performed this short-term, populist trickery so many times before that it looks to be part of his political make-up. I can see him going into a post-election coalition with the SNP knowing that it would ultimately mean Scotland would leave the UK and cost his own party dear — but not caring because for a few, short years he'd get to be Prime Minister. I''m therefore hoping for a hung parliament, followed by a blood-letting among leaders that replaced Milliband with someone less of a liability. The Labour high-ups will have noted that if he hadn't shafted his brother they would be coasting to victory right now.
The irony is, if Cameron did go head to head with Milliband, he'd probably increase his lead over him even more...
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