The televised election debates, which have now been confirmed, are good news for democratic engagement.
It is to the credit of both Gordon Brown and David Cameron that they will take place. Once they happen the first time, I expect they will become routinely part of election campaigns.
Parochial partisan concerns that they could (mildly) boost the Liberal Democrats are a poor reason to refuse to join the large number of Parliamentary democracies who regularly hold such debates, as Jonathan Isaby argues well on ConservativeHome.
What is much less likely is that they will prove game-changers in the campaign. As I noted in a previous post. Even a (rare) clear points victory may not mean that much on election day, as Germany's Frank Walter Steinmeier found out in last Autumn's German campaign.
But nor is the common concern that they dumb down political debate from where we are now convincing. In fact, we will see ten to fifteen million people watching some of the straightest "talking head TV" since the black and white age of AJP Taylor. Simon Cowell's production advice will not be needed.
The broadcasters may be thinking about what they can do with audience participation to liven this up.
Here's an idea: don't!