Will they, won’t they? Who is going to be invited to the election debates ball?
Last week’s bombshell from the broadcasters blasted the cosy Westminster stitch-up to smithereens.
Back in 2010 it was all very simple. The three Westminster leaders were allowed to dominate the election coverage.
Gordon Brown became the first British Prime Minister to agree to a TV debate and therefore surrender a key advantage of incumbency.
The reason was that by the time of the election Brown was so far behind in the polls that he would have debated with Mickey Mouse to try to turn things around.
In 2010, David Cameron had spent so much time demanding a debate that he couldn’t back out just because he was in front.
However, the big winner was Nick Clegg, whose faltering campaign was delivered a lifeline which he seized with both hands.
Everyone else SNP, Plaid Cymru, Ukip, the Greens were carved up and carved out of the 2010 campaign.
This time around things just are very different.
There was no way that Cameron would agree to Ukip being in the debates and stealing his votes if the Greens weren’t also there nipping at Labour’s ankles.
The Greens could hardly be denied their place given that they have overtaken the Liberals in the English polls. And if the Greens were in then the SNP couldn’t be kept out.
The latest forecasts show the SNP likely to be the third biggest party in the Westminster parliament, already far and away the third biggest party across the UK in terms of membership. And putting the SNP in let in Plaid Cymru from Wales.
So now the TV companies have proposed seven leaders for two debates and two leaders for one debate.
Inevitably there are still moans and groans from the unlikely bedfellows of the Democratic Unionists and George Galloway.
However, the Northern Irish parties don’t really have a case since neither Labour or Tory stand in the province and so they suffer no electoral disadvantage.
Galloway doesn’t have a leg to stand on, particularly after his truly weird “man in a strange hat” performance in the Scottish referendum debates.
Some Westminster commentators say you can’t have a debate with seven people. What total rubbish.
The three new kids on the debating block, Nicola Sturgeon, Natalie Bennett of the Greens and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru, are all dynamic young women a refreshing change from the tired old boys’ club who represent the Westminster parties.
Indeed, the two big TV debates which acknowledge the reality and diversity of modern politics are fundamentally more interesting than another tedious tussle between Cameron and Miliband.
There is nothing wrong with the format of a two-way debate but what about the cast?
Every Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions, Cameron and Miliband turn off more TV viewers than the standby switch.
The old test card was more entertaining than this pair.
Of course the plans for debates may all still go up in smoke.
However, the threat from the broadcasters to “empty chair” leaders who refuse to turn up is a masterstroke.
No one is going to risk looking like a total chump and a feartie chump at that.
One more twist of the knife from the TV people could seal the deal.
Have I Got News for You once represented Roy Hattersley as a tub of lard on a chair when he didn’t turn up for a show.
That is the tactic which could be adopted for those leaders who refuse to turn out for the debate.
We know the women will all be there but what about the men?
Cameron could be replaced by a glass of champers, Clegg with his pledge card on student tuition fees, Farage substituted by a pint of beer and Miliband with a bacon sandwich.