One way to avoid legal repercussions from a head-to-head between John Major and Tony Blair would be to stage the debate in the House of Commons ("Major and Blair poised...", 2 March). Each could be allocated time to set out their plans and reply, with the Speaker taking the role of Dimbleby for the day. By asking the rest of the Members to vacate the House (with the incentive of the odd libation), the two would be presented as debating directly with each other. Mr Ashdown would surely opt out as he would continually be out of shot anyway.
The fixed cameras would eliminate extensive close-ups and neither man could blame the loss of the election on being sabotaged by make-up people, a la Nixon. Audience participation would be eliminated, as would the showbiz qualities associated with a studio debate, allowing ideas to champion over performances.
On the other hand, Mr Major could call a general election before we have to suffer further Americanisation of political debate. Surely that is the most credible option left to him.