I am a bit of politics junkie, so I have been glued to the television tonight. Many people are worried (rightly, in my opinion) about the creeping Americanisation of British politics but, having watched both the chancellor's debate and tonight's Prime Ministerial debate, I don't think one need worry much.
The set up and form of the debate was quite similar to that of the American debates. The content and style were hardly anything like. In America, our major debate points the last time around were Joe the plumber, 'drill, baby, drill', and assorted personal remarks about the past lives of each of the candidates. We are also still debating the legality of abortion, whether same sex couples should be recognised in any way by local, state and federal authorities and whether everyone should have access to healthcare. In Britain, the major debate points were the relative validity of Keynesian economics and the contents of actual policies relevant to actual issues that actually exist, rather than ideological point-scoring.
However, I was disappointed in the quality of the oratory. On the whole, I would say that Britain's politicians are the better speakers. I love to watch parliament, especially question time while C-Span coverage of the House and Senate bore me to tears. It's not that any of them was particularly bad, more that none of them was particularly good. It would be good, before the next election, to consider finding a debate format that would better reflect the oratorical praxis of Great Britain. Then again, I've been a bit spoiled by watching this man speak*:
* I filmed this myself when Obama came to speak in Asheville. The shaky camera work comes courtesy of lithium.