"He didn't want to debate with Labour", said Jon Sopel of Michael Gove at the beginning of the main section of today's Politics Show. Both Sopel and Ed Balls made much of this, to Mr Gove's disadvantage. So Michael Gove and Ed 'Bully' Balls were interviewed separately. I strongly suspect that Mr Gove meant that he didn't want to debate with Balls specifically, as Balls always interrupts him relentlessly during such double-interviews (often questioning him in tandem with the BBC interviewer) whereas, being another of those nice Tories, Mr Gove is far too polite to respond in kind. (It didn't stop Balls from heckling though.)
As so often on the Politics Show Conservative policy came under close scrutiny whereas Labour policy was treated as secondary to personality issues. Also, as so often, the Labour attacks on the Tories were allowed to run on, but Tory attacks on Labour were stopped (here accompanied by a telling-off for Mr Gove). Balls for allowed to return after the close of the Gove interview for one last (uninterrupted) blast at the Conservatives.
As there was a delay on the link between Mr Gove and the studio many attempted interruptions by Jon Sopel went for nothing. Even so, he was still successfully interrupted more often that Ed Balls, who had by far the easier time of it in the studio (despite a momentary display of bravado from Sopel).
Although the polls suggest (and the popularity of Simon Cowell confirms) that lots of Brits clearly love a shit, I can't think that prolonged public exposure to Ed Balls could do Labour anything but harm, so Michael Gove really ought to be more masochistic and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous behaviour by engaging with him whenever possible. Yes, he won't be allowed to make any positive case because of Balls's deliberate tactic of sustained disruption, but he might (if he remains good-humoured) make a more favourable impression on the public - if that's all politics amounts to these days!!
Yet Another Cadwalladr Correction
21 minutes ago