UTV debate analysis: Nothing new in turgid fare

Yvette Shapiro hosted The Issue on UTV

Yvette Shapiro hosted The Issue on UTV

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By any objective criteria, last night’s UTV debate was wretched television, writes Sam McBride.

In a campaign which has been dreary, the broadcast never came close to revealing anything new.

In such situations it is easy to blame the politicians, but none of those taking part in last night’s debate were responsible for the lifeless format. Any time one tried to break out of the 20-second answer straitjacket imposed by the broadcaster, they were instantly halted by presenter Yvette Shapiro.

So turgid was the fare that no-one batted an eyelid when Martina Anderson nonsensically said, as she had on The View last week, that “there are thousands of farmers who get below the average single farm payment”, a comment which seemed to indicate she does not understand what an average is.

Tonight’s BBC debate is the last chance for a proper debate.