When American-Style “Debate” Comes to Britain

I feel like we need to send an “I’m sorry” note to UK voters:

What happens when no-one can win an election? That’s the question Britain’s political leaders seem likely to have to answer when voters deliver their verdict on David Cameron’s coalition government next month. Few people believe Cameron can win an overall majority in the House of Commons; even fewer think his Labour opponent, Ed Miliband, can do so either.

Which means that this British general election is simultaneously desperately predictable and fundamentally unknowable. For months now, the opinion polls have suggested that neither the Conservatives nor Labour are capable of winning much more than 35 percent of the vote. That makes a hung parliament more likely than not and in such circumstances few things are certain save, perhaps, this: Britain’s traditional two party system is broken.

Recognizing this, voters were treated to a remarkable seven-way debate on Thursday night as the leaders of the traditional Westminster powers shared a platform with a host of fringe and regional parties never previously invited onto the national stage in this fashion. It was, in this sense, more like an American-style primary debate than a Presidential confrontation. And like most of those contests, it delivered more heat than clarity.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/british-elections-debate-116652.html#ixzz3WXdlyeZ0