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Political notes: the telly election

The British love a good competition—and the televised leaders’ debates triumphed by turning the election campaign into just that

By Anne McElvoy   May 2010

The winner of this election has been a branch of public life that, since the expenses scandal, has gained pariah status. Television debates have made politics interesting again, turning us from a nation crying a plague on all politicians, to enthusiasts for the spills (even I cannot claim many thrills) of televised argument. This is an achievement, given that our politicians were widely derided as a flop waiting to happen by wearier souls in Westminster and beyond.

Optimists among us can claim some triumph: who now would say such debates were not worth having, or that they trivialised the arguments?…

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