The leaders' debates confirmed how much most people dislike argument. The little approval worms that tracked the audiences' responses always headed downwards when hammer and tongs were produced. 'Argument' appears to have taken on some of the unseemly connotations of 'row'. I've seen it reported that this dislike of argument is particularly strong when the politicians are perceived to be arguing 'for the sake of it'.
But arguing for the sake of it is the main way policies are examined and tested in our adversarial political system. Oppositions have a duty to oppose, as the old political saw has it. The idea is that it's only through rigorous questioning that truths will be revealed and propositions tested.
It's a mode of enquiry that's deeply engrained in English life. Our court system, for instance, is based around adversarially competing positions between which a jury (or a judge) is required to choose. But I don't think people complain about that - it's seen as a fair way to get to the bottom of things, even though everyone knows that the barristers are engaging in what is something of a charade.
Avoiding 'pointless' argument seems on the face of it very reasonable, not to say rational. But I favour our adversarial approach. Experience tells me - along with philosophers of the Open Society - that it's always better to debate openly and vigorously an issue before deciding the best path. It makes it more likely that good objections or better alternatives will be brought to light. And sometimes debate needs to be stimulated artificially, by someone playing devil's advocate.
This issue provides another instance of how the British constitution's seeming irrationalities contain deeper wisdoms. 'Ya boo' politics serves a purpose and, if the election result does bring forth constitutional change, we should be wary of shallow rationalisations.