‘What are you afraid of, boys?’ Greens poster demands inclusion in TV debates
The Green Party has turned up the heat on the TV election debates fiasco by releasing a poster, featuring Caroline Lucas MP and party leader Natalie Bennett directly challenging the decision not to include them.
The poster is captioned, “What are you afraid of, boys?” making a direct reference to a previous statement from Bennett, who called Westminster an “old boys club.”
A decision was made by Ofcom not to include “minor parties” such as the Greens in the debates, prompting PM David Cameron to refuse to take part unless the decision was overturned.
Sources claim, however, the move from Cameron is part of a series of decisions made by Tory representatives to halt the TV debates altogether, with critics claiming Cameron is strategically dodging the public grilling.
On January 14 the leaders of the Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP penned letters to Cameron saying they would push ahead with the debates, with or without his support or attendance.
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage said it would be “unacceptable” for the PM to avoid the debates because of “self-interest.”
In response to the letters, Bennett told the leaders that rather than malign Cameron, a better alternative would be to include the Greens, forcing the PM to take part.
She further confronted the Lib Dem leader on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, asking him and his “other two amigos” to protest Ofcom’s decision. Clegg said it was not his decision to make, claiming it was the responsibility of the BBC to suggest alternative plans.
"What are you afraid of, boys?" Greens launch new campaign to get involved in TV debates pic.twitter.com/qZ9vXja4F8
— Emily Ashton (@elashton) January 19, 2015
Barnett said the public were tired of hearing about the TV debates.
“I think we've spent most of the last week debating about the debates instead of talking about issues and I don't think the public is enjoying that or wants that to be happening.
“So Clegg, will you perhaps get together with your other two amigos, Farage and Miliband, and write to the broadcasters and say include the Greens as the public wants and then we can get on to debating the issues instead of debating debates?”
Clegg avoided backing such a move.
“The broadcasters need to come forward with other proposals because clearly the current one, which I am not wildly happy about because it excludes me as a leader of a governing party, so they need to come forward with proposals. I'll get my soapbox out any day of the week.”
But Bennett pressed the Deputy Prime Minister: “Will you say, ‘Invite the Greens?’”
In October, when the BBC first outlined debate plans, a petition calling for the inclusion of the Greens garnered the support of over 200,000 signatories.
“By excluding a party with a female leader, we are sending a clear message to the public – politics is still an old boys club,” said Bennett.