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Sorry SNP, Plaid, Kernow, Yorkshire Peoples Front…

13 Feb


How do! I’ve got a confession to make. I’m really looking forward to these leaders debates in the run up to the General Election later this year for, oh so many reasons, but the greatest single one is that I want to see very idea of leaders debates fall on its arse, and for it to never happen again.

As much as I see the interest in Cameron looking like a smug git, Brown looking like he hasn’t got a clue, and Clegg being entirely ignored by Dimbleby live on the national telly, I am a great believer in the idea that we, in the UK, vote for political parties, not political leaders, come election time. I have no great wish to see the leaders “personalities” on my telly screen, I’m more worried about what they’ll do when they get elected/re-elected. Dave went to Eton? Fantastic. Don’t care. Will I have more disposable income? Gordon’s only got one eye? Superb. So long as the schools and hospitals improve, he can have as many eyes as he likes.

This all said, the leaders debates have been pencilled in, and as soon as that election gets called, no doubt the BBC, ITV and Sky will all be quick off the blocks in letting us know when their particular debate will be on, no doubt plugging it more frequently than the Christmas Doctor Who AND the X-Factor final put together.

Now, I’m far from being the only person who’s upset with the upcoming debates. Word is that Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, wants to be in the debate as well, and because he’s not been invited, he’s rather hacked off. Some press reports went so far as to suggest he was looking to ban the broadcast in Scotland (something the SNP have been successful with before).

For the reasons I’ve mentioned before, taking into account that I live in Scotland, I would be delighted if they were. That said, I don’t believe Salmond should be invited to the debate, for these two very important reasons:

1) He’s not standing for re-election to (Westminster’s) Parliament at the upcoming election, and
2) Even if he was, the mere fact that the SNP are only fielding 59 candidates, his party cannot control a majority in the House of Commons. He would not be Prime Minister, even in the event of a coalition with a larger party seeing the SNP enter government*.

Of course, I take on board critisism from SNP supporters. In Scotland, electorally speaking, the SNP are the largest party in terms of votes at the last Scottish elections, and it would appear that they deserve representation more than Cameron or Clegg, who get comparitively little of the vote north of the Border. However, this does not equate a divine right for him to argue the toss to viewers in Cardiff, Nuneaton or St Ives.

Whilst it is only fair that the SNP (as a party) are given their fair share of airtime in Scotland in terms of appearences in Party Political Broadcasts and other media, they should not expect a seat at a debate between the UK party leaders because they are NOT a UK party.