One new feature of the 2010 General Election campaign, and one which actually engaged voters, was the concept of the Leaders’ debates. And no participant pushed harder for these to take place than Young Dave. There were debates at other levels, too: financial spokesmen had their own, and other members of the cabinet debated with those who might occupy the same role after the election.
No Dave, there isn't a convenient way out of the debates over there
It’s all rather different this time round: Cameron clearly does not want to demean himself by debating with Mil The Younger, and certainly not Corporal Clegg. To this end, the PM has begun the deployment of a series of excuses aimed at undermining the debates so severely that they do not take place at all. There is one very good reason for this: he is, as Mrs T once said in the Commons, frit.
[UPDATE 1550 hours: Peter Oborne is also distinctly sceptical of Cameron's motives. Writing in the Telegraph, he tells "Mr Cameron’s excuse that he will not take part in a debate without the Greens looks like a transparent ruse. He is using the Greens as an excuse".
And his suggestion for moving the whole exercise forward? "I believe the other parties now have a priceless opportunity to call Mr Cameron’s bluff. Rival party leaders can make clear that they would be happy to involve Natalie Bennett, whatever Ofcom thinks".
His conclusion is then straightforward: "If the PM continues to refuse to take part, the broadcasters would then be entitled to call a debate of their own and to empty chair the Conservative leader".
That would mean Miliband doing the last debate unopposed, save for the moderator. Would Dave care to take that risk? It all depends how chicken he is]