Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cameron Gives Best Today Interview Yet

An absolute blinder of a performance on the Today Programme from David Cameron this morning. It was clear, human, responsive, authoratative. John Humphrys constantly interrupted him, but Cameron dealt with him well and deployed humour to deflect him. At one point he said "You are impossible" albeit with a smile on his face.

At the end of the interview Cameron confessed that he had failed to halt 'Punch & Judy politics'. He accepted that at PMQs he adopted a necessarily robust approach. Humphrys complained the Cameron called Brown a loser. Cameron said that PMQs could never be anything but robust.

35 comments:

Alex said...

I am afraid I switched off after the fast two questions. Cameron criticised Brown for his trickery over the reduction of the 20p rate/ abolition of the 10p tax rate in response to the first question, and then in the second question when asked what the Conservatives would do, he said that he would abolish some corporation tax allowances and use that to fund a reductoin in the headline corporation tax rate - essentially the same trick for a different tax.

The Conservative front bench really don't understand how inept they look in a country whose main industry is financial services, particularly in London where hundreds of thousands of City workers are not taken in by such vacuity.

Anonymous said...

"At one point he said "You are impossible" albeit with a smile on his face."

I thought the Today programme was on RADIO 4.

grin and bear it said...

how do you know he had "a smile on his face"? it was on the radio.

Desperate Dan said...

I thought Cameron was brilliant when he could get a word in edgeways.

Has anyone got a photograph of John Humphrys in his teens or twenties so that we can judge from it whether he is suitable to be a presenter of a BBC radio programme?

Anonymous said...

As a city worker, I distinguish between the fiscal incompetence Brown had demonstrated and the attractions of Cameron simplifying the Byzntine corporation tax laws. I also agree with Ian Dale that Radio 4's presenter does his Zanu Labour masters no favours by being so obviously a government toady

Iain Dale said...

I could tell he had a smile on his face because he was laughing as he said it. Difficult to laugh without smiling, wouldn't you say?

Disgruntled Licence Payer said...

A quick responce from alex shows they are worried.

I thought Cameron did well and Humphrys came across as a bully.

I would like some background info on which clubs/organisations Humphrys belonged to at uni, I would expect it to include the usual far left ones, as he does work for the BBC now.

Any investigative journalists left out there?

Albert M. Bankment said...

The best rebuff was:

"As I was going to say when you interrupted me, before I'd even started."

bergen said...

Is John Humphreys going to interview Brown?He is equally difficult with everyone and so I don't mind him giving Cameron a hard time.It would enrage me if I heard tomorrow Brown having a gentle chat with the ghastly Jim(when we've won the election)Naughtie.

Desperate Dan said...

I don't think Humphrys went to university which is one of the many reasons for the gigantic chip on his shoulder. His lack of learning or imagination was well illustrated yesterday when he couldn't understand why on earth anyone would want to see the Old Bailey archives.

Aristander of Telmissus said...

Dear Disgruntled

Humphrys didn't go to university. He left school at 15 and worked his way up [or possibly down!] from cub reporter on the local rag. More power and credit to him for that, but he does have a mighty big chip on his shoulder. I particularly resent his sanctimonious and hypocritical rants at 'the rich'.

I happen to know - 'cos I saw and marvelled at the supporting documents at the time - that 10-12 years ago he was earning a steady ~£750,000 a year. Since then he's increased his TV and radio work [with 'Mastermind', for example] and also written several popular books.

I hardly think he's likely to be earning any less these days, do you, if only because of inflation? If he is indeed a ZanuLabour man, it's only because he's one of the increasingly few who can afford to be.

Steven Harris said...

I thought Cameron did quite well and that Humphrys overstepped the mark between probing questions and petty word-twisting.

I understand that Cameron is keen not to make the Tories appear to be the "nasty" party but I do think that if he were a little more forthright and assertive about cutting taxes and using work rather than benefits as a way out of poverty people would actually support him more than he thinks.

Humphrys was a great advert for the idea that the BBC should lose its monopoly and be forced to share the publicly-funded airwaves with broadcasters who aren't all liberal-lefties.

Anyhow I've now just cast a vote for the Tories for the first time since I've been able to vote :)

Anonymous said...

humphrys and cam were good match for one another. to be fair i thought the opening was extraordinarily partisan but by the end he was just grilling him like anyone else. reanalysing the beginning he was in fact just being a grand inquisitor then too. we're just not used to it any more. agreed he ought to subject broon and cleggover to the same.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid i don't agree, Iain! I thought Cameron sounded quite aggressive! Didn't come across well at all...

Joe Powell said...

Didn't think Cameron was particularly good actually - I couldn't care less about Bullingdon but I do think that is it not unreasonable for us to hear some flesh on his tax policy. At what point is it no longer acceptable for him to say "I can't tell you yet"? Especially days before he expects people to put a X in the Conservative box.

Anonymous said...

Joe, I really don't see why people (and particularly the BBC) seem to demand financial plans from Cameron for what he'll do a couple of years from now, while at the same time refuse to press the on government on what they are going to do in the coming days, weeks and months.

Alex said...

@disgruntled licence payer: Who are "they"?

I am certainly not one of the "them", but I think Cameron and Osborne are both weak on financial matters, which should be an area where the Conservatives are strong.

@anonymous @10:28:

When have either Cameron or Osborne spoken seriously about reducing the complexity of corporation tax? This is a vague aspiration , not a policy. Meanwhile we have had Finance Bills running to over 500 pages for each of the last 10 years. Simplification isn't about having low headline rates, it is about having simple legislation.

Despite bringing down the tax rate, Labour has pushed up corporation tax receipts faster than the profitability of the private sector by adding in layers and layers of legislation to restrict reliefs and to grab more money from companies. A good example would be Shire and UBM who have both moved their headquarters to Ireland because of the way HMRC has amended the rules so they can assess tax on the UK companies in respect of income their subsidiaries, even though they are not remitting anything to a UK tax payer. We have always had those sorts of laws, but the government has tightened the rules to the point that those companies no longer believe it is worth keeping their head offices in the UK.

I could give dozens of similar examples, but it would bore the pants off you. Labour has always thought that companies (and the middle classes) are an infinite source of cash to be squeezed whenever the government is a bit short. Do we ever hear anything about this from Cameron or Osborne?

Anonymous said...

Humphrys accuses Cameron of aggressive Punch and Judy politics.
Now who epitomises that on radio?

Desperate Dan said...

In order for Humphrys to question Brown with the same rigour he'll have to ask, over and over and over and over again, what he's going to put in his next budget.

He'll also have to ask about picking his nose in public.

Alan Douglas said...

I wrote a complaint to the BBC - I would have like to hear WHO Humphries was interviewing, um, bullying. As it was, Humphries was all I heard, and was able to learn absolutely nothing from Cameron. I don't think he actulaly was allowed to finish one sentence.

Alan Douglas

Bill Quango MP said...

I just liked the last 2 minutes.
"you said Brown is a loser not a leader"
"a loser"
"you called the prime minister a loser"

Nicola Burdett crying into her Special K, as John Humphries repeatedly brings up the words Brown and Loser. Poor girl, imagine having THE GAFFER as your client.

Now all we need is Paxman doing his "did you threaten to call him a loser?" bit 28 times and the message may just sink in.

Anonymous said...

Humphrys is one of the few interviewers on the BBC worth stopping to listen too. This morning was a bit daft, but usually he is fair and prepared to grill about mad views of all types.

laugh cry whatev said...

always the one with the clever comeback Iain. You must have been insufferable as a child (not much change there then)

Anyway it could have been a kind of evil laugh and more of a smirk than a smile.

Adrian Yalland said...

Isn't the first rule of interviewing is not talking over people. Someone tell Humphries!

And what bloody relevance does the fact that Cameron was a bit of a twat at University - who wasn't? I know I was! Ask anyone who was there with me!

Actually, the fact that Cameron was a bit of a charlie-snorting, tux wearing toffy-nosed knob means that he was just doing what was normal for his peer group at Univerity - having 'a life'.

Where as Brown....well, he spent his University days rehearsing speeches in front of the mirror, and earnestly plotting for his time as our dear leader. Brown was even then polishing his sense of entitlement to power.

The contrast between the two men's uni careers tells you all you need to know about them.

Who would you rather have in No 10- a human being, or someone with the political equivalent of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Adrian Yalland said...

Alex - it isn't the greedy rich banks (who privatise profits, but like to try and nationalise their losses) who need help from the tax man, but small business men like me!

a different duncan said...

The reason Humphreys had to interrupt Cameron was because he was waffling on and on about nothing to do with the question asked.

Unsworth said...

@ a different duncan

Actually Cameron was trying quite hard to interrupt Humphrys.

Oscar Miller said...

As ever I think Cameron was very astute in announcing to the nation via Horrible Humphrys that P&J is back in favour at PMQs. How many times has the Bean twat resorted to bellowing "I thought the Hon. Gentleman wasn't going to resort to Punch & Joody" everytime the going got a bit rough for him. Can't do that anymore can he? The whole end to P&J thing was a well intentioned mistake by Cams people. Now Dave can say fair and square he's going to put in a "robust" performance when need be. Good. It also had the added benefit of wrong footing Humphrys.

judith said...

Adrian Yelland - suggest you read up on Cameron's time at University.

He went to Brasenose on an Exhibition, which was upgraded after one year to a Scholarship because he did so well.

One of his Professors, Vernon Bogdanor (a LibDem), is quoted as saying that Cameron was in the top 5% of brightest pupils he had ever taught.

Yak40 said...

I thought Cameron sounded quite aggressive!

About bloody time, especially when Humphrys is being his normal obnoxious self.

jafo said...

I heard David Cameron's interview yesterday and I too thought he did well - and yes, you could tell he was smiling when he spoke because it came over in his voice! I like John Humphreys' technique usually, but I did think he interrupted far too much when I wanted to hear DC speak, not him.

However, sadly, what a change this morning on "Today" when Gordon Brown was allegedly interviewed by John Humphreys. Brown just blathered on as he usually does and he was hardly interrupted at all. In fact, he was hardly "interviewed" - he just droned on and on and on.......snooze, snooze. Glad I wasn't driving or I might have nodded off, it was sooooooooo dull.

This wasn't your finest hour, Mr. Humphreys - virtually no questioning, no interruptions, no nothing. On the other hand, shouldn't think many voters were still tuned in by the end........

Roger Thornhill said...

Cameron won it hands down and came across as measured, mature but not stuffy. Humphries came across very badly, way way too eager to push the government line, interrupt.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Humphrys is one of the few interviewers on the BBC worth stopping to listen too. ... but usually he is fair and prepared to grill about mad views of all types."

You're just making jokes, right?

JJ said...

Jafo,

Isn't a publically funded news program likke Toady supposed to at least attempt impartiality?

They are seriously taking the Michael!

rn said...

The contrast between the ways in which the interview with David Cameron and the interview with Gordon Brown the next day were handled was so blatantly partisan that I have (for the first time in my life!) made a formal complaint to the BBC. I have suggested that they draw up a table showing the lengths of time Brown and Cameron were allowed to speak without interruption. It should make an interesting chart.

Mind you, my wife suggested that letting Brown bore on with his 'Tractor production is up 73.7% since the politburo introduced the five-year-plan" stuff was part of a secret BBC plot to help the Tories...