Dr Alf brings us this powerful and well considered response from Rodney Willett, for which in many ways I have sympathy.
Sadly, we live in a tele-visual age and the UK population does not perhaps have the ability as a whole to think as carefully and thoroughly as Rodney Willett, nor do they have much capacity for hearing the truth even though they constantly demand it.
The debates I think are here to stay because having come from America; they have now become part of people’s psyches and part of our culture.
We live in a very dangerous world where like Julius Caesar who said that he “Judged the brains of a man by the brains of those around him”, foreign leaders are evaluating what passes for leadership in the country. From our adversaries and strategic competitors that judgement is harsh. The Chinese say privately that Western leaders, with the exception of Angela Merkel, are “Children playing in a sandpit”; Vladimir Putin, the old cold warrior and chess player wrong-foots us at every turn by masking his true intentions and testing NATO’s willingness to go the distance.
The Debates offer the great unwashed and the more discerning an opportunity to see our supposed future leaders in action within the context of a controlled debate.
This will be infinitely less challenging than dealing with Xi and Vladimir Putin, who between them have 7 million cyber warriors to our 8000, and are increasing military spending by 11% a year, while we are cutting our Tri-Forces down to the size of the Papal Guard.
Militarily we are weak, we have just 3% energy generation capacity with a rising population, insufficient exports and a balance of payments situation of substantial deficit (£30 billion gbp a year) since 1981. We have a problem in dealing effectively with radicalized Islam. In addition, we are not self-sufficient in food and are presiding over a situation under which the City of London will be 4th in the world by 2016, once Hong Kong and Singapore overtake New York in 2016.
If our leaders, actual and prospective, cannot handle a simple debate and answer questions enabling viewers to evaluate economic and strategic competence based on controlled questions, then when faced with tough leaders, like Xi and Putin, they will to quote the “Donald”, find that the Chinese and the Russians have “eaten their lunch”.
We have already seen Natalie Bennett fail to answer questions about housing put by Nick Ferrari on LBC and we have the economically illiterate Ed Miliband fail to mention the deficit and fail to understand that controls on landlords would not create more housing.
A debate would unearth more issues and demonstrate who was most out of touch with reality and who had at least SOME answers. It would also show who could answer questions under controlled pressure.