QUESTION 1: Should Charles Clake be deported from the Home Office? Lord Falconer says it's been a terrible period for the Government. There hasn't been an adequate system in place. We didn't deal with it quickly enough. Charles Clarke is an honest, honourable position of real ability. He is the best one to sort it out. David Davis: I didn't think he should resign at first, but it then became clear that Clarke knew about it 10 months ago. Since then the rate of release has increased. The names were only given to the Police 2 days ago. A major failure. Carol Thatcher: Nice to be back here. Was here to see Maggie the Musical! Weak answer, ranted a bit. Ed Davey: Why didn't PM accept Clarke's resignation. Total incompetence. PM told the country he would hound out criminals from the UK. Great irony. What does it take to get a Minister to resign? Falconer says he accepts complete responsibility on behalf of the government. Clarke will deal with it effectively. He has driven change - much later than we would have wished. Oh perlease... Dimbleby asks about reoffending rates. Falconer says he has no idea. Says there will be a statement by the end of tomorrow. Steve Richards: Says Clarke shouldn't resign. Idiot. Says if there was a scalp the story would go away. I think not. Home Office is not working properly. Needs to be sorted out. THIS HAS BEEN A VERY STERILE DEBATE SO FAR. NO SPARK. NO CONTROVERSY. COME ON, DAVID - HIT OUT! David Davis starts to hit back. Very calm, very effective. Sweet voice of reason. Says the Home Secretary has to take responsibility. Falconer says the test on Clarke resigning should be what would produce the best result. Dimbleby says if there are serious cases of murder and rape among those freed should he resign. Falconer says he doesn't think he would. SHOWS HOW OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY THE MAN IS. So far every audience member has been against Clarke.
QUESTION 2: Is Patricia right to say the NHS has had its best ever year? IS IT JUST ME OR DOES ED DAVEY APPEAR TO BE A COMPLETE WUSS? Ed Davey basically says no. Steve Richards says it was a presentational error but there is something in the substance of what she said. Hewitt is losing the support of key NHS audiences which could spell big trouble for her. Falconer says Government must listen to nurses as they patently didn't believe Hewitt. Shows there is a lot more to do. SPOUTING VACUOUS NONSENSE. Heart specialist has a good go at Falconer over heart disease and says improvements have nothing to do with Labour. David Davis says Hewitt was silly. Says Tories acceopt need for greater expenditure on NHS but it needs reforming. Too much centralised bureaucracy. Have to find a way of getting power back locally to GPs, doctors and nurses. Real issue is what she has done is lost her ability to take with her NHS employees who she will need to carry through reforms. You won't take them with you by insulting them. I'M BORED...
QUESTION 3: What did Tracey Temple see in John Prescott? Carol Thatcher says power. Two Jags becomes Two Shags. Prescott will have to eat his remarks about Tory sleaze. Falconer says "I don't know". David Davis says it should remain private. Says it's none of his business and that's the way it's going to stay. Steve Richards says you judge a politician on what they do in their political life, not what they do in the bedroom. Says it's legitimate for Tories to challenge him on hypocrisy and it's interesting that they have chosen not do so. HERE'S ONE THAT HAS CHOSEN TO -ME! Audience member says that if he was in the armed services he would be dismissed for having an affair with a subordinate. Why is this different?
QUESTION 4: Does manufacturing matter? Steve Richards says Govt has never had a manufacturing strategy. It doesn't matter anymore. Ed Davey says there isn't a problem with manufacturing per se, but the government has not invested in skills and training. Charlie Falconer says manufacturing does indeed matter. WELL THAT'S ALRIGHT THEN. Government does all it can to try to promote manufacturing but we have to cope with globalisation. In some respects out laws provide less long term protection than other countries. That leas to others investing in this country rather than in Europe. David Davis says it's too late to save Ryton and incurs the wrath of the audience. Says we're losing jobs because our competitiveness is going down. Carol Thatcher quotes her mother and says you can't buck the market.
QUESTION 5: Did David Cameron's trip to Norway justify the CO2 emissions? DD says WWF arrnaged carbon offset because they wanted it to happen. Drew attention of the subject to a huge British audience. Yes, it was worth doing, yes we do take it seriously. Steve Richards said it worked as a photo op. Test is when their review reports. People on it who are committed environmentalists. Symbolism is all very qell but the decisions have to be made with other countries. Audience geek says Tories will never be re-elected because people remember Margaret Thatcher. GOOFY TOSSER. Falconer says Cameron obviously looks marvellous standing on a sledge with huskies but what is he going to do. READ HIS SPEECH, CHARLIE. Ed Davey talks about Ming's visit to Winterton (careful, Ed...) to talk about coastal erosion. Says we should tax this, tax that, tax the other. Yawn.
In one of the most explosive political weeks I can remember we just had one of the most boring Question Times in living memory. Maybe Andrew Neil will liven things up a little.