David Cameron and the televised election debates

Dr Matthew AshtonHere’s what Dr Matthew Ashton, an expert in politics and the media at Nottingham Trent University, feels about David Cameron’s handling of the TV election debates.

“The handling of the TV debates has been a perfect lesson in how not to manage the media. Cameron’s inability to commit, along with his constant shifting of the goal-posts has just served to alienate the major broadcasters and exasperate the public.

“Cameron would have been better advised to have refused the idea of debates either late last year, or in early 2015. While this would have run the risk of having him followed everywhere for a couple of weeks by a giant chicken, it might have been better in the short-term than this torturous process and demand and counter-demand.

“He’s also been haunted by his statements from 2010 about the importance of debates to the democratic process. Nothing significant has changed between then and now apart from the fact that he perceived the debates to be electorally advantageous to him then, but not now. What he really seems to fear is some new version of Cleggmania (Mili-mania) where Miliband reveals hitherto unexpected reserves of charisma and verbal dexterity.”