6 Oct 2009

Will the great debate happen, and if so – where?

There is so little wiggle room.

Nothing so defines the current political contest as the contesting measures that have finally aired from both major parties for paying off the debt.

A pay freeze on higher public sector pay and and delay in the national age of retirement.

It doesn’t really matter now who says it because both measures will be deployed whoever wins the next election.

This is unsurprising perhaps, but the Tory party is under pressure. Not only caught in its own headlights but somehow unsure ahead of the vast challenge of actual power.

True confident Tory morning did not dawn on the Today Programme this morning..there was confusion about what would happen to women’s retirement age.

The Tory leader had to have his remarks ‘updated’ by subsequent off the record briefings.

David Cameron is not yet mobbed by his own members..maybe they are already too used to him….a victory of sorts, but a danger too.

This is a party that thinks it could, perhaps, will win.

It is also a party than cannot explain why, but thinks somehow it might also have the election stolen from it. By whom is unclear.

It is in this febrile environment that the great debate is stirring. Which combination of leaders will debate, which anchor person’s sense of self importance will prevail? Indeed which Channel?

One entrant is my own Channel 4. Look no further than last night’s Twinge on the fringe here, in which my colleague Krishnan conducted live debates with Conservative pols on twitter in a packed room…..hottest ticket since the same event at Labour last week.

I have no authority for saying this – but I hope Channel 4 will get into bed with YouTube and conduct a mass interactive debate..perhaps like CNN’s YouTube lash up with Obama last year.

It’s raining.

Even news agents in Manchester sell brollies – it rains so much.

We are awaiting Shadow Chancellor George Osborne’s keynote speech..it feels like Budget Day? Will he ever deliver one for real?

I shall be back to you later in the day.

Tweets by @jonsnowC4

18 reader comments

  1. the Richard-of-Nottingham says:

    “A pay freeze on higher public sector pay and and delay in the national age of retirement.

    It doesn’t really matter now who says it because both measures will be deployed whoever wins the next election.”

    Quite so Jon. And hats off to the conservatives for saying so. I hope you and Krish and the team will ram that point home the next time you grill any one of the jam today jam tomorrow jam forever government.

    I also hope you (C4) land one of the great debates. You’ll do it so much better than the others.

  2. Anthony Martin says:

    Let’s hope if channel 4 does air a debate as such, questions are not filtered as is the case most of the time with other broadcasters. Some of the Twinge questions seemed a bit selective in terms of avoiding the real issues in society. We rely on Channel 4 to be our moral crusader.

  3. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    Have just listened to Ken Clarke , who although he has many Tory traits I dislike in others, makes me warm to him.

    I agree that manufacturing , small business promotion is the best way forward.It always was, however the two main things which stand in our way in 2009/2010 are 1) the giants i.e the TESCO’s of the world who have thier fingers in all pies and
    2) the recession , wage cuts, job cuts , benefit cuts, means that people will not have the money to spend on anything else but the basics which only the giants can provide at a decent price.

    I have just had an e mail telling me to think about equity release. So they take my savings, take my equity, take my job, take my knowledge and experience, and then what, who is going to GIVE.?

    Ken goes on to criticise Mandy for hanging on to Brown. Come on Ken you as a Europhile know that a socialist government was required to create Europeaneconomic convergence.Even the man I respected most in the Tories ,John Major knew that.

  4. tom Mercer says:

    I have never seen a polititian answer a direct question. To suggest that listening and watching the current ‘leaders’ debating would somehow enlighten the public is some what ludicrous.
    We are so used to watching Gordon Brown lick his top lip, or strangely suck in a breath just before lying, that it is almosy normal.
    We dont need a debate but some accountabilty for the blatant and dangerous lies being told to the britian and the world.
    Since the leadership of Tony Blair confidence in palimentary integrity, basic honesty and above all accountabilty is at an all time low. I do not believe that a TV debate will do anythig but further impress this on all who watch.

  5. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    By the way you are trying to deport us to ‘ Twitter.’ I certainly would be able to relate meanings via the vehicle of condensed words . I fuse words together without even trying….. The influence of my poetic friends.

    The only problem is that it is difficult to access. I have joined via Krishnan ,my media hero , but cannot easily add a comment.

    A comment to fellow bloggers..Isn’t it embarrassing when you look at your comment and notice that clumsy fingers have got the better of the meaning and grammar and spelling is incorrect?

  6. M Glanville says:

    George Osborne lives in a different world. Past 49, it is difficult to get a job anyway due to age discrimination so raising the retirement age to 66 would just mean another year on the dole. Why not scrap road tax, raise fuel duty, think how many jobs that would save, how many policemen it would free to catch criminals. Why should we pay the price for the banking crisis, this problem was not of our making

  7. Peter Lloyd says:

    Hi Margaret,
    What have you said? Can you clarify?

  8. michael anderson says:

    Why is no politician asking the question: why should public services, and public servants, be made to suffer when the bankers who created the economic chaos are bailed out without any hint that their companies should compensate for the damage they have done? The banks were saved by us. There must be some mechanism found which allows the banks to provide this compensation over and above the normal corporation tax. Also the Tory proposals on public sector pay could endanger recovery by reducing demand.

  9. Burlington B. says:

    Gooseberry is spelled with two ‘o’s. Cameron just the one.

  10. Tim Jones says:

    I was appalled at your comment about the “first gay fringe” meeting at a Tory conference.

    In the early 80’s David Starkey chaired and I served on the committee “Torche” Tories Campagaing for Homosexual Equality formley the rather boring CGHE.

    We had many fringe meetings and many powerful members so it is hardly a new “presence” at the party.

  11. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    Peter strange vibes of laterality are descending on me like voices from above.
    Am I forgetting that De Bono ever wrote about ‘crab like thinking’ , or am I merely being obtuse.?

    There again, are you being a pedant of the most serious type; the one who distinguishes between the written word and the spoken word.?

    Ah! another thought into my, dare I say, published ideas, Because I have written my perceptions down and they appear to be with other congruous perceptions , then they are not mine at all ?

    Is my thinking to in depth or just BOSH ?

    1. Peter Lloyd says:

      Hi Margaret,
      Yes.there is a chasm between the spoken, written and more importantly the understanding that the ‘guy or girl’ on the street places on those words.

      It changes by the second and moves and shakes..touch the moment Margaret.
      Peter

  12. James Marshall says:

    As a long term fan of C4 News , I hope you can participate in any debate. However, I was very concerned to read in my wife’s Telegraph last weekend in an article on Sarah Brown that you are described as “a close friend of both Gordon and Sarah.” If this is the case, does this not give you a problem with reporting/interviewing the Browns ?

  13. Steve Willis says:

    How about these for an immediate cost saving?

    1. All Members of Parliament to only use Standard Class rail travel warrants. It would also remove the situation I saw where two MP’s (1 Labour & the other Tory) hogged 2 seats each in 1st class on an overcrowded train.

    2. Consultants & Managers working on Public Sector projects to travel standard class. This will remove the situation I’ve witnessed where senior NHS managers were sitting in 1st Class discussing closing wards due to lack of budget. If there’s not enough money why are they in 1st class?

    3. No consultant working in the public sector to be paid more than £1000 per day. There are suitably qualified contractors out there who can do as good a job for much less. I know of current instances where the Government is paying consultants £1700 + per day when for role where a contractor could do the job for less than half that figure.

    4. Look at the impact of headcount targets set for the number of permanent employees in Government. Reductions in permanent headcount have led to an increase in contractor headcounts. I know of contractors who’ve been employed by the government for more than 8 years – at £500 plus per day, I question if this is truly cost effective.

  14. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    Stephen Fry looks good , a slimmer version of his former self.
    Come on Stephen , we can see your fears.. in this modern world GAY is fashionable.The far rights wont have influence.

    You say that it is cruel to anticipate a homosexual living in a loveless world, but that is what many of us do any way.

    You are lucky to have any partner, male or female. I have had to live in a loveless world for 25 years; so have many of us ,it is not my fault, and we get penalised for being single. The church doesn’t like single people , the politicans dont like single people and I am single and not keen on it myself.

    However I am not going to partner some jerk, because establishments don’t think that singles are, by their singularity, not doing anything to help the economy, by not pooling their resources and I would therefore rather live in that cruel loveless world.

  15. JimmyB says:

    No mention of capping the maximum an MP can earn from the public pocket and the pensions they recieve?

    They are focusing on the NHS and Schools are very simple, if you freeze these workers pay for a prolonged period it will help them unions to accept further privatisation plans as it’s the only way they will see pay raises.

    I know teachers and NHS workers and the entry wage is only a little over £18k for a most of the positions, so the Tory plan is to limit the earning potential of new staff who have already been crippled by uni costs (Thanks to the last Tory government).

    David Cameron is a power hungry Tory who uses his youthful charm and innocence to hide the fact that this isn’t a new Tory party but the same old Tory party with an former PR man at the helm. New Tory on the outside, same old Tories on the inside …

    Any debate will highlight one thing all three man of the major parties are inadequate and not fit to run this nation.

  16. the-Richard-of-Nottingham says:

    JimmyB : To be fair Osborne has said that NHS funding is ring fenced and won’t be cut. I’m not sure why we should believe him any less than NuLab. And he did talk of capping salaries in government and the civil service.

    Maybe you think a near bankrupt country can just print (money) its way back to financial stability. The Zimbabwe model hasn’t exactly worked has it ?

  17. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    I agree Jimmy. I was just listening to Shostakovich the ” Jazz Suite “and memories came flooding back. I remember going to the Conservative club dance with my Father and having to dance with him ( not that I didn’t want to he was a tall handsome man and I felt proud ) because mother would not go, she was a socialist.

    We lived next door to our Tory MP so that was all dad needed to show off along with his cultured accent. Mum read Aneurin Bevan and talked about new socialism and equality.

    Other kids did the Peter Kaye thing on the dusty, slippy floor.

    Funny though.. I didn’t ever go to the socialist club dances.

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