By coincidence I watched part of the live coverage of a political debate in the Dutch parliament yesterday (after reading a newspaper that provided a link). Here are some of the things I noticed:

  • Most of them are debating to each other, technocrats, rather than the general public and looking to score quick points on technical details. The audience for the live debate is probably pretty small, but news outlets tend to pick sound bites in their coverage later on.

  • All of the politicians want to have the last word: they quickly make an additional point, leaving no time to let the answer sink in, and move on to a completely different subject not to give the opportunity for additional intervention

  • The whole format of an open political debate about a very complex treaty without a clear agenda does not really work, people jump back and forth between totally different topics: fundamentals, practicality, interpretations of words, etc. etc.

  • Politicians like to stick to their hobby horses. Finally, someone makes a point that could be considered reasonable by the opposing party, open the way for a compromise or agreement, and boom, it is followed by the usual dogmas that will block any further changes of mind.

Maybe a good slide deck that breaks down the discussion in 2-3 tangible options what can be done next, with clearly grouped pros and cons can help structure this debate a bit :-).

Photo by Giovanni Gras on Unsplash

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