Richard Branson has declined Shanmugam’s invitation to debate the death penalty on national TV.
As a business magnate and PR expert, he knows that the debate is simply a tool for the government to convince the rest of the world of their stand on the country’s laws.
In his reply to Shanmugam, Richard Branson said the live TV debate is not going to facilitate a real dialogue.
Here is why: a television debate – limited in time and scope, always at risk of prioritising personalities over issues – cannot do the complexity of the death penalty any service. It reduces nuanced discourse to soundbites, turns serious debate into spectacle. I can’t imagine that is what you are looking for.Richard Branson
Branson is indirectly saying that the government isn’t actually interested in a debate but wants to turn it into propaganda. He hit the nail on the head. The Virgin tycoon isn’t going to allow himself to be a prop for the government.
The idea of inviting a billionaire over for a publicity stunt at the expense of taxpayer’s money is ridiculous as it is. Now that Branson has unravelled the ploy and rejected the offer, the government’s PR attempt just fell completely flat.
Did Shanmugam really think Branson was going to say yes?