Sky News in the UK are petitioning to have a televised live debate with the leaders of the main political parties. Cameron and Clegg have agreed, with Brown reluctant - although Sky say that he would be represented by an empty chair if he does not agree. Sky have a petition on there website you can sign, but given that need for balance, I have decided to create a petition for this debate NOT to go ahead. Here are the reasons why: First and most importantly, it cheapens and dumb downs political debate. Supporters of the debate say that it will invigorate the political apathy which is widespread in the UK which I agree needs to be addressed. However, a live TV debate (particularly at the glossy, showy, wafer-thin veneer that is Sky News) is not the way to reduce apathy. Political debate needs to be grounded in an intellectualism with informed participants with the content meaningful. Spin is all too rampant in politics and a TV debate only serves to increase the importance of this spin and how a politician looks how many buzz words he/she can fit into one sentence. Second, Sky is a commercial operation. The links between Murdoch's News International (who own BSkyB) and the realms of politics are widely known, and as such impartiality cannot be guaranteed. This is not an argument to have the debate on another more impartial channel, such as the BBC, as even they are not completely immune to political persuasion. But Sky are overtly meretricious and liable to ideological sway dependent on financial gain. Third, why just the 'big 3' parties Democracy is such that is we have elected a number of different people and parties that occupy, albeit peripheral, parliament. The centralising tendencies of our political process means that fundamental ideologies will be more or less the same, with only charisma and personality differing the leaders. This will cheapen and lessen any debate and not offer the more marginalised a voice which they, and this country so desperately need. In short, a live televised leadership debate on Sky News will be nothing more than a PR stunt; spin doctors will earn their extortionate wages, SkyNews' war on common sense will gain another victim, and the public will get their pound of flesh. Our society needs to get away a bearpit culture to one more based on dialogue and informed debate, not bite-sized, pre-packaged hot air. Please sign this petition if you don't want our political landscape to be 'Amercianised', which a live TV debate leads us to. Say 'No' to SkyNews!
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