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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tories demand for a more interesting debate format

The Conservative party’s decision to end traditionally formatted political debate is a welcome one. And it’s strategically brilliant to boot.

Social media has brought many changes to many people. Certainly one of them is that even live performances tend to feel cumbersome and superfluous.

In an era in which everything is sliced, diced and parsed for its highlights within seconds of actually happening, live events now seem like an unnecessary evil. Why endure the whole thing when you can catch a recap of the highlights by waiting a short period of time?

That’s why the federal Conservatives’ strategy of effectively shutting down the tightly controlled, often-stultifying format of the election debates traditionally run by the major networks – CTV, CBC and Shaw Media, which owns Global – is so strategically clever.

For too long now, election debates have been run by a moderator juggling a series of arcane rules that often seemed designed to ensure any real exchanges ended before they got interesting. Monologues were the order of the day, interspersed with bouts of partisan heckling by opponents desperate to score points with viewers.

Now, that game is changing thanks to the Tory’s demand that debates be precisely that. And in doing so, they have also found a way to exploit the format to its greatest advantage and spicing up the drudgery of a lengthy, live event...

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