Michael Crick, the totally neutral (of course) BBC Newsnight Political Editor notes (with unadulterated non partisan glee) that Plaid and the SNP will be excluded because The Debates are going to be renamed.:
I can report that the "Leaders' Debates" at the forthcoming election have now been cancelled.
Instead, over the past 2-3 weeks they've been quietly replaced with "Prime Ministerial Debates".
It's a cunning manoeuvre, agreed by the three main broadcasters (the BBC, ITV and Sky) and the three main parties, to exclude the SNP and Plaid Cymru leaders from the debates.
Since the SNP will only be fighting the 59 Scottish seats then Alex Salmond can't possibly become prime minister (nor Plaid's Elfyn Llwyd), so both are thereby disqualified from the TV debates.
I'd love to know who dreamt up this clever wheeze. A politician or a broadcaster? The latter, I bet.
Clever wheeze or not it doesn't actually hold water!
By allowing Nick Clegg to be part of the equation, the BBC has allowed the debate to go from psephology to possibility. So the question isn't is it likely that Elfyn Llwyd will be the next PM?, but is it remotely possible that Elfyn could be the next PM? And the answer to that question is Yes! it is possible (even if very, very , very, unlikely).
Let's start with the electoral arithmetic. Celtic Nationalists will be standing in 23% of the UK constituencies in the next General Election, it is unlikely – but "Lib Dem type possible" that they will win every seat that they contest. Every seat in England will be contested by four or five parties, so again we have a "possibility", although not likelihood that the Celtic Nationalist block COULD return more MPs than any other party, and make Elfyn PM. Bloody hell we could even throw a few English Nationalist MP's into the mix to muddy the waters further!
If Labour / Conservative is the biggest party, but not big enough to form a government, the potential coalition partners might say yes to a partnership with Labour / Conservative, but only if Elfyn has the post of PM!
Again I will reiterate this is highly unlikely to happen, if it was probable neither Elfyn nor Plaid would want it to happen, all I am saying that it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that it COULD happen, and if it could happen the BBC's wheeze to exclude Plaid, the SNP or others from a debate about democracy is flawed!