Amid all the ceremony for tonight's TV debates, I'll wager than none of the participants will be introduced for what they are - prospective parliamentary candidates for their respective political parties, (in a constituency comprising less than 100,000 electors). Those lucky few are the only people who will get to vote for one of these three people on 6 May 2010 - not the UK's 40 million plus electorate.
Pound to a penny, there will be no 'health' warning for the hapless viewing public stating: Polite Notice - UK Prime Ministers are appointed NOT elected. The sub-text could elaborate: Unless you are registered to vote in a UK general election in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, Sheffield Hallam or Witney - you will NOT be able to vote for or against any one of these three individuals.
None of them are MPs at the moment. The Prime Minister remains the Prime Minister. I'm not sure about the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. As for the Liberal-Democrats, they must be laughing all the way to the ballot box.
It's all part of the onward march of the political class. The TV debates, are seductively billed as prime ministerial debates. All three participants, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg are lining up to deceive the public. Unless one of them has the courage to tear up the script and confess. "Viewers - you will not be electing a new prime minister on 6 May, you will be electing a new member of parliament."
"Just so there is no confusion, my party members elected me as their Leader, tonight we are debating the policies my party is proposing .......I'm one of a team - not a team of one.....I'm asking you to vote for the candidate my party has selected to stand in your constituency. If you, the electorate vote my party a majority in the House, we will be able to form the next government. If I succeed in that task, I hope my party will endorse me as its Leader. I will be submitting myself to annual re-election as Leader during the course of the next Parliament. So if you want to keep me on my toes, join my party now and take part in our annual leadership election."
For all the regulation of broadcasting, political parties, advertising, plus the public money poured into citizenship education, that simple proposition - "we don't elect prime ministers" will not even get a mention. As for the use of 'I' , if I can bear to stay the course, I'll be counting.