Thursday, March 09, 2006

Question Time: The Live Blog

Very odd that there isn't a LibDem on the panel - AGAIN! Either last week or the week before they didn't have anyone either. If I were them, I'd be furious. Panellists are Hazel Blears MP, Chris Grayling MP, Jean Lambert MEP, journalist Rod Liddle, and the Bishop of Rochester the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali. A bit biassed towards the left methinks. Jean Lambert was my next door neighbour in Walthamstow when I lived there in the late 1980s. A nice woman, if often deluded. Chris Grayling has shot up in my estimation in the last 6 months. And Rod Liddle is becoming one of my favourite columnists. And you all know of my soft spot for the little chipmunk that is the delectable Hazel Blears. I think this Bishop is a bit of a leftie. But aren't they all...

QUESTION 1 - NIGEL CRISP & NHS FUNDING

Hazel is grinning already. Her default setting. Liddle slags off government for bankrupting hospitals. Says it is sad that Labour has 'ballsed up' education and health. Says he voted for them. Blears hits back hard. Gets a minor clap for saying NHS has improved. She keeps saying 'right?' Sounds a bit odd for a government minister. Jean Lambert talks sense. Shock horror. Says expectations of NHS are too high and can never be met. Ritual slagging off of Tories. Chris Grayling agrees with Liddle. Bit of a weak answer but gets a good clap anyway. The Bish predictably comes to Blears rescue and mutters inanities about how wonderful the NHS is and it shouldn't be dismantled. Er, no one has suggested that actually. Blears in deep do do about the fact Crisp wanted to stay on but was sacked. She's denying it. Sounds like a robot. Albeit a robot chipmunk. Grayling needs to get in more.

QUESTION 2 - ON PM'S DIVINE GUIDANCE

Jean Lambert says you have to take responsibility for your own actions. She says Blair is trying to pass the buck to God. Incoherant ramble. She asks where is the line between religion and politics. Growing question in the world today. Bishop says faith cannot coerce in the politial arena. Says Blair was not claiming infallible divine guidance. Was seeking God's will through prayer. Bishop endorses removal of Saddam. Says rthere is a danger of the peace being lost. He's certainly right on that. Rod Liddle wants God expunged from the political process. Wants God replaced by rationality. Eh? What a boring programme so far. Grayling sayspeople in public life should be free to talk about their faith. But it's sensitive. Blair shouldn't have mixed religion with a sensitive international situation. Blears leaps to Blair's defence. Cabinet job must be in the offing!

QUESTION 3 - IS IT TIME FOR A MORE ROBUST STANCE TOWARDS IRAN?

Bishop says you must distinguish between Iranian people and Iranian regime. Can't believe how the Iranians could elect such a President and election must have been rigged. Grayling says situation has the potential to become a serious crisis. Says it should all be handled by the UN. Not sure that's the best argument he should be deploying. Liddle has a go mat the Bishop. They clearly don't like each other. Mad woman in a hat says 'y'know' about twenty times within one sentence. Liddle says decision on Iran is being affected by Iraq disaster. Seems to be saying we will have to do something. Blears echoes Grayling on the need to use multilateral international organisations. Jean Lambert says there are double standards being operated on this issue. France is talking to Libya about nuclear power. Bush is talking to India about expanding nuclear power in India. She understands why there is an adverse reaction in Iran. I think this is a reasonable argument to make. She gets the biggest applause of the programme so far. Grayling makes a good point about Iraq invading other countries and chemical weapons being used against its own people but then gets a little lost in another cul-de-sac. Grayling thinks there are no double standards.

QUESTION 4 - DOES TESSA JOWELL HAVE MORE QUESTIONS TO ANSWER?

Chris Grayling perks up. He's on comfortable territory. Says Blair should agree to have an Independent Adjudicator to look into issues like Tessa Jowell. Blers takes an onion out of her pocket. Dimbleby trashes her by saying the PM is the only one that's cleared her. Blears really is all over the place on this. Dimbleby asks he if she agrees with Alastair Graham's remarks today. Blears avoids the question. Grayling looks too pleased with himself when he catches her out. Lambert and the Bish agree on an independent investigator.

QUESTION 5 - SHOULD WOMEN BE ABLE TO USE FROZEN EMBRYOS IF THEIR PARTNERS OBJECT

Blears says it's all very difficult. Says court has probably reached the right decision. Dimbleby says that the father has fertilised the egg so it's ending life. Bishop seems to disagree with that. Hmmm. Then contradicts himself saying that once conception has happened the parties should be committed to it. Says he doesn't know if the Court got it right. That's OK then - and this Bishop is on the Ethics Committee! Liddle makes a good point about what debate we would be having if it was the man who wanted to continue and the woman didn't. Lambert agrees with the Court, as does Grayling.

CONCLUSION

Extremely tedious edition. No one shone. They were all as boring as each other.

24 comments:

Antony Calvert said...

Ok here we go!! I think Grayling is effective but dull... lets see how he does!

Liddle is the MAN in the Speccy

Antony Calvert said...

Okay... first thoughts on the opening question.

* Hazel Blears is an odd lady. Trotting out the Labour line and snidely keeps patronising the panel "right, let me tell you this".

* Liddle is sound and articulating the majority of those who actually believed in New Labour

* Jean Lambert made sensible points until she mentioned the old left wing bigotted slating of drug company profits... neatly sidestepping the enormous amount of investment in progressive research!

* Chris Grayling... like him and he made a measured comment. Blatently not playing to the audience Lib Dem style.. that is a criticism as QT is little more than a hustings that needs rasping political vitriol.

* Unpronouncable vicar person... Neutral stuff but slightly sycophantic

Andrew Woodman said...

10 year plans. Sounds very Stalin like.

Cllr David Morton said...

it rips my guts out to say it but isn't blears right? If once an incompetant Civil servant gets the bullet I say hurray!

The Bishop is one of the few that isn't left wing. Thats why he didn't get York recently which he really should have done.

Antony Calvert said...

Next up... Blair's god-talk

* Lambert... blustering but fairly sensible... she gave the impression that she didn't really know what she wanted to say. Got a slagging off against GW Bush.

* Bishop... Well I expect a decent answer from this guy... he is articulate in this answer. Defending prayer is nothing new from a man of the cloth, though! Still playing up to the New Labour line about Iraq and getting rid of a "murderous dicator who deserved what he got". Curiously not the line taken before the invasion. Has to be said that this is what I actually was saying at the time!

* Liddle is funny but makes a serious point about seperating religion from politics. He has the upper hand in debating with the Bishop as the silly old man keeps butting in.

* Grayling.... umm, not sure I agree with the opening gambit. We shouldn't mix religion by promoting his beliefs to further a policy.

-- Audience *Just listen to the guy in the brown (yuk) suit. My views entirely. Seperate religion from politics.

* Blears gets another mid sentence applause... what's this all about! NOLS out in force? I expect her to be an apologist but she did a good job about doing this. Almost plausable!! Can't believe she doesn't believe that Blair didn't get advanced notice of the questions Parky was going to ask!!

Tim Montgomerie said...

I'm really warming to the Bishop. He still supports the removal of Saddam and is now making hawkish noises on Iran. An Anglican Bishop with backbone! Whatever next?

Chris Grayling keeps saying that every issue is very sensitive. Not impressive. WHAT DOES HE ACTUALLY BELIEVE?

Andrew Woodman said...

Liddle and the Bishop are heading for a fall out by the looks of it.

milly said...

The vicar is a prat
He and Hazel would make a lovely couple

Antony Calvert said...

Question 3 - Iran!

* Bishop... More Nu Lab craziness! Does this guy get Number 10 press releases? Even Dimbleby is getting annoyed with him!

* Grayling is advocating the UN line... which is sensible. Can't accuse him of being a hawk but I like the connection between Iran wanting civil nuclear facilities when other countries (like us!) are shamefully prevaricating.

* Liddle makes another good point attacking the Nu Lab mole (the bishop). The Bishop is being terribly condescending to Liddle... he probably doesn't realise that Rod outstrips many people intellectually!

-- audience * woman with silly hat has just pronounced 'nuclear' like GW Bush! 'Nucular'!! Great stuff.

* Blears is promoting the UN now... despite the Iraq connection! How can she say what she is about the UN when Blair didn't listen the the UN??! That strange hatted woman has just made that point!

Antony Calvert said...

Is it just me or has Chris Grayling got a shocking suit on?

Jean Lambert has just made the ultimate left wing environmentalist point about Bush and nuclear proliferation masking his oil grabbing intentions.

Nonsense

Andrew Woodman said...

Hazel Blears defending the indefensible is fun.

Antony Calvert said...

Ok.. question 3 about Jowell.

* Grayling... want him to go in for the kill about this disgraceful corruption... shame Hague or Tebbit isn't on!

* Blears is doing the holding job. Just been slaughtered by Liddle who is gaining the audience! PM responsible to parliament! When did that happen??

I love it how Nu Lab ministers now defend Livingstone against the Standards Board! Didn't happen when old cart horse Dobson went for the Labour nomination in '99!

* Green woman with the unkempt hair (apart from needing a good hairdresser) moans about a Green councillor being suspended for 3 months and asks what they could do without her! What would be the difference!?!

* Bishop bloke... dumping the blame on the husband (rightly) but what on earth do the Mills' talk about over the cornflakes!? How on earth can the woman be a minister without having the intelligence to ask about a third of a million quid!

* Liddle... need to sort his microphone out.. irritating feedback. No real substance with the answer.

Antony Calvert said...

Last question about embryoes

* Blears... I agree with her on this, actually. She is asking for fertility rape by not agreeing his consent to create a child outside a relationship.

* Bishop bloke... again I agree.. a good bit of social conservatism from the two Nu Lab'ers at the end!

* Liddle... agrees with the sensible view of the first two. Oh come on, Chris, be sensible on this!!

* Lambert again treading the others' line. Like the point about not forcing someone to be a parent.

* mmmm Chris started conciliatorily but got better. He was pretty well rounded actually. Don't agree with the young lad in the audience... adopted or fostered kids never (as a rule) have a more stable upbringing than those raised in a stable family environment.

Andrew Woodman said...

Thought Grayling was disappointing to be honest

Antony Calvert said...

My conclusion of tonight;s encounter...

It didn't really capture my imagination at all. The most impressive panellist was, again, the non-political representative, Rod Liddle.

I need to take the dog out now to keep me awake for This Week.

Biodun said...

Hazel Blears must be either an incompetent and ignorant minister, or an under-estimated spinmeister.

She knows very well that an independent advisory board cannot remove Tessa Jowell from parliament. They should however be able to have her removed from the cabinet.

No one is elected to the cabinet, so her comparison to the Ken Livinstone case is disingenuous at best, and a classic example of NuLab deliberately mis-representing a case to confuse the public.

Andrew Woodman said...

Is that a euphemism Antony?

Daniel Vince-Archer said...

Question Time was dire yet again. Rod Liddle was the only panellist worth his salt tonight, although Jean Lambert did perk up towards the end.

Chris Palmer said...

Oh good, I didn't watch it and saved myself an hour.

Matt said...

Ahh Iain if you lived next door to Jean Lambert then that must mean you lived in Howard Road which, it may entertain you to know, now contains 3 Labour Councillors and the Chair of the Local CLP as well as Jean still. This is mildly balanced by me living in Aubrey Rd, at the rear of Howard, and I'm a Tory Councillor.However you got out of Walthamstow at the right time, it is disintegrating rapidly after 18 tears of Labour mismanagement.How comes we never ever saw you at the Walthamstow Conservative Assoc then?

Iain Dale said...

Matt - I certainly ws involved in Walthamstow Conservatives! I lived there 1988 to 1994. I stgood for ther Council in Hoe Street in 1990. Yes, I lived in Howard Rd - Number 70. Hated it.

Paul Linford said...

I admire your dedication, Iain, and glad see it's been rewarded with 21 posts so far. As for me, I'm afraid I fell asleep after the first five minutes and didn't wake up until the dulcet tones of Andrew Neil were on air.

Edward said...

Wasn't Teather meant to be on last week?

Noel Slevin said...

She was on last week. I thought she was a bit of a prat, too.