Thursday, 15 April 2010
Watch out Manchester, the circus is in town!
I am easily riled. it does not take much to get my gander up. So you can imagine my mood this morning when I awoke to find that the Today programme was being broadcast from Manchester. I was a little blurry (I always am in the morning) and it took me a moment to understand why. Was this part of the BBC's mission to reflect the diversity of this country's nations and regions? No. It was because 12 hours after the programme has been broadcast, the first television debate between the party leaders will take place in the Granada studios in the city - ie a television programme being broadcast by a rival company. And the Today programme is not alone. It would seem that every single political journalist in the whole of the land is up north. It is preposterous. The debates themselves have been taken over, the 76 rules which will be applied mean that the chances of there being a proper debate are pretty slim so the media has done what it does in these circumstances and turned the whole thing into a media event. So we have Alistair Stewart being interviewed on what it will be like to host the first ever tv debate, vox pop from the streets about what the good burghers of Manchester feel about it (very little it would seem), all manner of punditry on what it will mean. Give me strength. I am sure the debates will be interesting for people like me but I seriously doubt that millions of people will be glued to their sets tonight. It will be tomorrow's reporting that will have an impact as will the YouTube clips of any terrible faux pas committed by Compo, Foggy or Clegg and the acres of write-throughs in the Sundays - God help us all.