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When I was in university I sat on the committee for the debating society, and pretty early on we made the decision to not host debates about tactic. Not because we had some moral objection to it, but simply because we felt there was no point in holding an event and inviting an audience to watch a debate where the basic premise had already been agreed, and it was just two people on stage arguing over the details.
On 9 December Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will be doing exactly that. Rather than holding a debate of substance, a genuine discussion of an important topic featuring voices from all sides of the spectrum, we will instead watch two people attempt to disagree over two political stances that are, in many ways, exactly the same. They both believe we should leave the European Union, end freedom of movement and give up our political power on the continent. They obviously disagree on the technical issues of what our future relationship with Europe might look like, but the reality is that the general public are probably not going to tune in to watch two people bicker about fishing quotas.
The idea of a televised debate on Brexit isn’t a bad one, but if we’re going to do it we should do it properly. There should be more of an attempt to include a range of voices and opinions, and we should make sure it isn’t just restricted to talking about how we leave, but is instead a proper exploration of if, and why, we should leave. Otherwise it might as well happen in the committees and chambers of the Houses of Parliament, where debates of that nature are meant to be.
Failing that, I say we get Gary Lineker and Jacob Rees Mogg grease up and wrestle, because if we’re going to watch something pointless, it might as well be funny.
-Joe Cox, digital assistant
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