I have to confess that I was not able to watch the Election TV debate last night (31st May) as I was travelling back home. However, I have watched some edited highlights, and a major part of me is relieved I didn’t sit through it. I would have developed a headache.
For those not in the know, Theresa May refused to appear on the TV debate with the other political leaders as she had ‘Too much to do’. Initially Jeremy Corbyn: the Labour leader and main opposition leader refused to appear but at the last minute, changed his mind.
So how did this debate go? Given that the present Prime Minister wasn’t there; or available. Whatever?
Profile and branding This was a brilliant opportunity for the smaller parties to raise their profile and of course for individual leaders to be noticed as spokespeople if they lose their seat in the election next week. Forward planning is always a good idea. The challenge for a large debate like this is being heard; being able to put across a message with clarity; not to lose your cool and to maintain focus when you are being heckled by others. Add to the fact one person, Amber Rudd, was representing Theresa May, plus, poor lady, she had just lost her father, this was an interesting dynamic.
Listening For the excerpts I watched, there was little listening going on. Perhaps all of the candidates had already heard the messages and arguments of the other candidates, so in their minds they were considering their response, or counter argument. At times it had a feel of a family squabble rather than an intelligent, considered debate.
One argument: why wasn’t May there? Yawn, Yawn. We didn’t need to be reminded of this throughout the debate. It all got rather boring and repetitive. Was there nothing else to discuss? Was this hiding a lack of policy on the other leaders’ messaging?
Projection of competence to the world I have absolutely no doubt we, as a nation, did not show competence in being able to make decisions or work together. As a country we are negotiating leaving the EU and this chimpanzee party of a debate – for this is what it was, must have played into the hands of the EU negotiators. Really.