UK election leaders’ debates to go ahead

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We’re doing it with or without you is the threat from the broadcasters.

ITV, BBC, Sky and Channel 4 have offered a new formula for the televised leaders’ debates.¬†One debate with the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition alone; and two debates with the leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the SNP, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru.

The debates would take place during the General Election campaign – with proposed dates of 2,16 and 30 April.

That sounds like a tough couple of programmes to produce. Presumably we’re now into the formal realms of “You have a minute to state your position on the NHS”.

But equally, it’s very hard to see how David Cameron can continue to refuse to take part without the “frit” allegation sticking. He wanted the minor parties, he’s got the minor parties.

Expect complaints from the DUP, Respect and others though.

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Ed Miliband’s media training

I read during the summer that Labour had finally got around to hiring someone to advise Ed Miliband on broadcasting.

Former BBC producer Matt Laza got the job, which the party had apparently had some difficulty filling.

You can see the results on yesterday’s Channel 4 News. Shirt-sleeves rolled up, voice pitched lower, speaking more slowly, falling over fewer words. Until Jon Snow starts to press him, at which point there’s a return to normal.

But who on earth agreed to the interview taking place next to a hospital bed! Was he in intensive care following a beating from Ed Balls for forgetting the deficit? Back-drops matter on TV and the subliminal message this delivered wasn’t positive.