Politics’ male focus is excluding greens from tv debates

It’s the buildup to the 2015 general election and Big Questions are beginning to fly around. For me, one which particularly needs answering is this – why on earth has Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, been given a place to speak at the televised leaders debates before next year’s general election when Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, has not?

I am very aware that there are many people who believe feminism to be an outdated and unnecessary topic; who are bored of hearing ‘man-haters’ shouting about equality when they believe that equal rights have already been achieved.

I know we have come a long way from burning bras and the momentous achievement of gaining the right to vote; but total equality between men and women has still not been achieved, and this is exemplified in situations like this: politics has always traditionally been an ‘old boys club’. Evidently, despite many people’s assertion of a modern day equal society, there is no room in this old boys club for an intelligent and deserving woman.

I am particularly astounded by this particular situation because, to add insult to injury, it is UKIP of all groups who have been given a place to speak to the nation instead of the Greens, who are far more deserving for a plethora of reasons. To name a few:

1) The Green Party have had an MP for four years, whereas UKIP have only just gained their first.

2) UKIP claims that Farage should take part in the debates because UKIP has often outpolled the Lib-Dems, but this is equally true for the Greens.

3) The Greens also beat the Lib-Dems in the European Elections in 2014 and  currently have two more MEPs than them.

4) If, as David Cameron asserts, it is only those parties who would be able to compete for a majority in Westminster in 2015, then surely it should only be Labour and the Conservatives who are included in the debate.

5) Conversely, if he means that it is those parties who would be able to form a part of a coalition government in 2015, then surely not only both UKIP and the Greens should be included, but also the SNP as well.

I would suggest that UKIP may have been included because Nigel Farage and his arguably ridiculous and often somewhat fictitious responses make for good television, whether people agree with his views or not. This would of course encourage people to watch these debates, but reduces it to something resembling a farce, which detracts from the real issues at hand.

Moreover, it should not be forgotten that we are looking to elect a Prime Minister, not just a charismatic figurehead, and therefore turning these debates into a contest over who comes across best on television undermines the very political system we promote on Election Day.

Surely these debates would benefit more from involving a woman from a far more deserving party, rather than just another privileged middle-aged man who has very few constructive suggestions.

Natalia Deane

Image courtesy of Getty Images via the Guardian

Follow Impact on Twitter and Facebook

One Comment
  • Guy Williams
    21 October 2014 at 21:07
    Leave a Reply

    The decision to include Ukip but not the Greens has nothing to whatsoever to do with gender or feminism. To frame this issue in terms of gender betrays a very narrow agenda.

    Firstly who takes part in the debate is decided by the significance of the political parties, so regardless of how “intelligent and deserving” someone is they should not be included unless their party deserves to be included.

    Ukip are quite obviously going to play a much more important role than the Greens in the general election. Whether you like their politics or not, that is undeniable. Although the Lib Dems are polling very low, they are part of the coalition and hold a number of important posts, notably Deputy Prime Minister.

    Whether you agree with the decision to exclude the Greens or not, it is at least an understandable decision, and is in no way “astounding”. Moreover, the fact that the leader of the Greens is a woman has nothing to do with this whatsoever. Accordingly, the section about the relevance of feminism – although undoubtedly correct – has no relevance to this particular decision. The absence of any women in the debates is certainly a problem. However, the this is not the fault of those who chose which parties would be represented on the debate.

    Two very separate issues are being confused here.

  • Leave a Reply