So, we had some news last night that Ed Miliband wants to bring in rules to organise and regulate General Election leaders’ debates. For the avoidance of doubt, here’s what the article says:
The Observer has learnt that a Labour government, in a significant constitutional move, would put the requirement to stage “fair and impartial leaders’ debates” on a statutory footing. The new system would work on similar lines to the current rules for planning the number, length and timing of party political broadcasts, under which parties are consulted but not given the power to stop them happening. This could be done by establishing the body which negotiates the terms of debates as a trust in statute with responsibility for determining the dates, format, volume and attendees.
Now, you may agree or disagree on whether we should have leaders’ debates, but I think the proposal is quite clear. It’s not proposing to compel anyone to attend – just as the current system doesn’t compel anyone to submit party political broadcasts – merely proposing an independent body (likely the Electoral Commission) oversee the format and organisation of debates.
Having read the article that seems pretty obvious to me, but maybe my reading comprehension skills are of an advanced level, because that understanding seems to be beyond some people:
Miliband wants a law to compel politicians to attend TVdebates. I want a law to stop politicians proposing silly laws pic.twitter.com/sb4BYPL30s
— Tim Montgomerie ? (@montie) March 7, 2015
Yes, this is a man who is paid to interpret and comment on the news completely failing to understand a simple proposal. ‘Compel’ (along wih ‘force’, ‘order’ and other similar words) isn’t anywhere in the proposal or the article, which makes me wonder just where he might have found it from, and if his editors ought to be having a word.
Of course, I could be misunderstanding things myself and mistaking an overpromoted Tory shill who’ll happily manipulate any piece of news to fit his preconceived ideas and propaganda aims for a serious and objective columnist. But then I might end up calling for my own law that stops columnists pretending that pushing their own agenda is somehow objective.