Tonight’s leaders debates (sic) is the latest line in efforts to distort the electoral process reducing the imagined choice at the UK General Election. ITV1 will broadcast the show from 8.30 pm in Manchester. Sky and BBC One will host debates on successive Thursdays.

Bella Caledonia and others are combining to create a Twitter protest against this attack on democracy by big media.  To take part just Twitter your protest using #leadersdebates and #scotlandspeaks.

1. This is a deliberately false representation of the options available to people in Scotland and Wales. This is a media manipulation presented as ‘putting the politicians on the spot’ but which has actually been the result of months of careful negotiations from Tory & Labour spin-doctors.

2. This is a narrowing of the political choices to just three white men with virtually identical policies.

3. This excludes the leaders of Scotland and Wales, the vision of the Greens and others.

4. An English based UK debate critically confuses issues about what matters are devolved and what are retained at a Westminster level.  The ‘domestic issues’ which will be debated tonight – things like health, education and policing – are all controlled in Scotland by Holyrood.

5. This flawed and biased format must not be allowed to become the accepted norm for distorting political coverage.

6. This institutionalised media bias is a continutation of the failing Westminister democracy; corrupt, unaccountable, and lacking in transparency.

7. Alex Salmond was the only LEADER of a major political party NOT to be investigated under the expenses scandal.

8.This part of a wider media affect of trivialising and narrowing democracy to a celebrity politics of presidential image-making. Views that are outwith the Unionist model or beyond a certain cultural norm are treated with contempt. There are examples elsewhere (ie Canada) where a more complicated political structure can get better representation.

9. Each debate will have a different protest. Go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/homepage/ to complain directly to the BBC. Why should we be forced to pay for a service that excludes us?

10. To protest we suggest writing in English, Gaelic and Welsh or other minoritised or minority languages on Twitter using #tvdebates and #scotlandspeaks.

No TV without representation.

For more coverage on these issue see: Media Democracy –  Lesley Riddoch here – and for those issues you WON’T be hearing about tonight, Joan McAlpine here.

You can see the SNP’s rebuttal against this discrimation at these times:

BBC Scotland at 6.55 pm

STV at 6.25 pm

Channel 4 at 7.55 pm

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