Should There Be Debates in Parliament?

No, there shouldn't. For two reasons.

One, they're not really debates. I am not aware of any example from the history of democratic parliamentary debate in which a speaker said, "I was going to argue for X, but given that my colleague of the other party presented such good arguments for Y, I have changed my mind". Doesn't happen. The party line is decided on behind closed doors.

Two, hardly anybody follows them anyway. Very few people watch or listen to them. And although you can sometimes hear snippets in the news, these are usually uninformative. The vast majority of people get their information about what politicians think from talkshows or the papers. (The information in papers is usually based on press releases or interviews.)

The last paragraph implies that there is some use of parliamentary debates. Agreed. But there is such a thing as opportunity costs. I'd like to think that politicians spend a lot of time taking in information and making up their minds - after all, they deal with complicated topics. Their time had better be spent on that.

I say scrap the whole thing.

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