With around a year until Britain leaves the European Union, Sir Vince Cable said a debate would be an ideal moment to update voters on the parties’ competing visions of Brexit…
Issuing the call for a televised debate, he said: “It’s the half-way point in the Brexit process. It would be quite useful to have a reality check on where the parties are.”
He added: “Because it’s not a general election, and there is less to lose, they might be willing to be more courageous and go out and debate their case.”
This reminds me of Nick Clegg’s previous challenge to Nigel Farage – a challenge taken up by Farage and which Farage then generally got the better of (e.g. see the polling at the end of my account of one of their debates).
However, that in part was due to Clegg’s overall unpopularity at the time and also a debate style which relied too much on recitation of facts – the sort of approach that hopes a set of bullet points containing a series of decimal figures will be persuasive. As I often commented during coalition, that’s only rarely how persuasion works.
Vince Cable has not only better poll ratings that Nick Clegg had, he also has the opportunity to learn from those messaging mistakes. If, of course, any such debates happen.
What do you think of this idea?