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Editor’s blog Thurday 15 April 2010: What is that box blabbering about?


There I was, minding my own business, and that of everybody else in my local area.

There I was, just:
- deciding on a few planning applications;
- scrutinising the contracts for the local sub-contractors to the Crossrail project;
- assessing the cost-effectiveness of a digital interactive home schooling intiative versus sacking 45% of the local teachers;
- disciplining some council officials;
- and voting for the borough's top ten potholes, when ...

What do you mean, what was I doing?

I was accepting the Conservative Party's gracious invitation to join the government of Britain, of course!

Now I clearly wouldn't want to go joining the government of France. No, that is a country with working infrastructure, manufacturing industry, a media with sufficient good taste to keep its nose broadly out of unflaunted private lives, a respect for intellectuals. Gosh, why would you want to do something like that?

No, there I was, governing the country, when this ...  box in the corner of the room. And this thing called a debate, which wasn't a debate at all.

What did we learn? A senior-dominated audience properly and politely respected the rules of the debate. The politicians didn't, and some tougher moderation on over-running might have been apt. It might follow.

Accurately-recited tracts of party manifestos were trotted out in response to wholly unsuprising questions. There were odd effective moments for each party, but as a means of getting into proper issues, the traditional political interview knocks this into a cocked hat.

Will it engage? Do a Carlsberg, and refresh the parts of the electorate that other media initiatives can't reach?

Hmm. Not at all sure.

As a means of conveying complex ideas, this certainly sucks.

UPDATE: the BBC has helpfully produced a transcript, which can be accessed