Is this the first skirmish of the new political era?
In a move designed to seize the media initiative Tory leader, David Cameron, has challenged the PM in waiting, Gordon Brown, to a series of TV debates to, as he puts it, “revive interest in politics”.
Such debates played a key part in Cameron’s own election as leader in 2005 and if the left-wing challenger, John McDonnell, had found enough MPs to support his bid on Thursday then there would have been pressure on Brown to take part in similar events.
Clearly Brown is going to reject the suggestion but how can he do this in a manner that doesn’t do him damage?
According to the Independent this morning Cameron is saying that what happened in 2005 “.. showed they work, they can address serious policy issues and that they’re genuinely informative”. And and as Andrew Grice notes the “..move will create a dilemma for the Chancellor, who has pledged more openness and a ‘different kind of politics’ which engages the public in an attempt to restore trust in politics”.
For a problem is that we’ve come to associate leadership contests with such events and Cameron’s move sounds reasonable especially as Brown is getting the job without a party contest. Also media interest in the Labour succession went into an inevitable decline the moment Gordon’s victory became assured and however hard the party tries the fight over the deputy job is never going to look anything more than a mere side-show.
Assuming that Gordon does not respond then the first face to face clash between the two men will be at Brown’s first PMQs on Wednesday
June 30th July 4th . I don’t know about you but I can’t wait.