Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two Wrongs at Number Ten

What a ridiculous decision by Number Ten to withdraw a panellist from Question Time because Alastair Campbell was representing Labour rather than a Labour frontbencher. It makes them look petty and small minded. The Question Time production team were quite right to tell them to bugger off. It's for Question Time to invite guests onto their programme, not the government.

And while I am on about it, I would love to know why Mark Flanagan has been retained as Director of Strategic Communications in Downing Street. I know Mark and like him. But he is a Labour supporter through and through. What on earth is he doing still there? I suspect he is as surprised as I am. I find it incredible that the Strategic Communications of a Conservative/LibDem government is in the hands of a man who has spent the last two years helping to prevent it from being elected. Bizarre.

73 comments:

Moriarty said...

It is true that the producers of Question Time are free to choose panellists as they see fit. It is also true that Downing St is free to decline to offer a government participant. Question Time is not, as far as I am aware, part of the constitution; even if its chairman is.

Fantana said...

Good point Iain, but it's nice to see the excellent John Redwood on TV. Nanu nanu!

Tom said...

Sack Andy Coulson.

To add a third wrong onto your list, have you heard the rumour about Gove being forced to give up his Chief of Staff because of Coulson's infantile objections?

There is a lot of nonsense in no.10 at the moment

Jess The Dog said...

So why didn't Labour put up anyone of standing? Fair enough to refuse. Campbell won't be so keen on public appearances post-Chilcot when he will officially be labelled 'liar'.

James said...

Are you going to phone Boris and try to get him sacked?

PoliticalHack said...

Of course the government is free not to put up a spokesman, but it is odd that they decline the chance to defend their Queen's Speech on one of the most-watched political programmes. It is downright unpleasant that they try to interfere in the editorial processes of an independent broadcaster. This isn't Sky. The public are entitled to draw their own conclusions as to their motivations.

Francis Irving said...

I don't get the BBC's objection here.

The opposition refused to send a frontbench spokesman, and so did the Government.

Instead we got Alistair Campbell and John Redwood. They seem comparable in stature to me.

John R said...

The government can last a lot longer without Question TIme than Question Time can last without the government. It's a great shame that cutting the BBC down to size is not part of the coalitions plan.

If the Bigotted Broadcasting Corpse wishes to carry on with the program it shout realise that it is the tail and not the dog.

Nick said...

Francis

The BBC don't have an objection to the Government not putting up a spokesman. They only have a problem with being told they couldn't have Campbell on!

Bill Quango MP said...

The BBC was right. Question time always chooses the panel, sometimes from just a position, such as cabinet minister. But it is their decision who they ask.
For a change it was actually entertaining.

Ray said...

Frances Irving, how can you say that Cambell and John Redwood are of equal stature. In an age where glam and glitz, and presentational skills were of no account John Redwood would be at the top of any government. Cambell is a journalist, and not a good one because he lacks any integrity. Redwoods only failure is his inability to come across in the same fashion as the more showmanlike politicians we have become accustomed to, Cambell is consistently and blatantly a liar, and it beggers belief that anybody is still thinking of using people like him and Charlie Whelan as commentators, they quite clearly have agendas. On the other hand that makes them very employable by the BBC

Johnny Norfolk said...

Its also the governments choice not to attend. I think they did the right thing as Campbell and Morgan were allowed to dominate the whole show with a Labour supporting audience. I think the government smelt a rat and it was a set up. You need to think things through befoe you comment Iain.

Mrs Rigby said...

What Francis Irving said.

If Labour couldn't be bothered to put forward an MP, of any standing, the BBC should be very grateful to John Redwood for being willing to share the platform with Campbell - who has never been a politician.

Declining an invitation should always be an option, something the BBC perhaps needs to learn.

IvorBiggun said...

Typical BBC hypocrisy to:

a) invite Campbell on rather than insist on a Labour frontbencher;

b) big it up in the way that they are.

Typical CCHQ stupidity too to allow al-JaBeeba this opportunity.

P.S. I see your still holding out for a Question Time invite Mr. Dale - and long may you continue to hold out - we hear quite enough of your short-sighted Little Englander views on the box as it is :-)

P.P.S. Hazel Blares is on her usual nauseating form alongside that David Davis, another self-centred self-publicist. Also, either they've got a bigger sofa this week or Abbott and Portillo like cosying up to each other.

Don Collier said...

I recall when the BBC used to bend over backwards to suck up/not be bullied by the labour government.

The tweddle dum & dee of labour (Campbel & Morgan) could only mean one thing. BBC bias. No government minister of either party could expect a fair or reasoned hearing. Witness the gratuitously rude pre prepared and allowed bullying by Campbel when he magically produced a photon of laws in a silver frame and abused him shamefully. Dimbelby offered no opportunity for lib dem rep to respond.

Don Collier said...

I recall when the BBC used to bend over backwards to suck up/not be bullied by the labour government.

The tweddle dum & dee of labour (Campbel & Morgan) could only mean one thing. BBC bias. No government minister of either party could expect a fair or reasoned hearing. Witness the gratuitously rude pre prepared and allowed bullying by Campbel when he magically produced a photo of laws in a silver frame and abused him shamefully. Dimbelby offered no opportunity for lib dem rep to respond.

Delilah said...

I disagree Iain. The opposition couldn't be bothered to put up a legitimate (elected or lords) representative. So why should the government?

Plus, there is something inherently deplorable about giving the unelected, unaccountable alasdair cameron any further publicity or stage at all, given he represents no-one and his deplorable behaviour over the Iraq dossier and David Kelly for which he has offered no remorse. The airwaves are better off without him.

Will said...

"I find it incredible that the Strategic Communications of a Conservative/LibDem government is in the hands of a man who has spent the last two years helping to prevent it from being elected. Bizarre."

Perhaps DC thinks he's been quite useful so far...

Mark Yoxon said...

I'm afraid I support Number 10's decision. Campbell's a fucker and QT tonight was a brawl. If the elected opposition isn't there, I can't see why the goverment should be.

Wolfie GBM said...

PoliticalHack needs to get their facts straight. The Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation isn't an "independent broadcaster"! Hasn’t PoliticalHack noticed that they would be prosecuted if they didn’t pay an annual television tax? Moreover, the BBC is in constant contravention of its Charter as they are supposed to be politically neutral yet we are fed a continuous stream of Lefty propaganda – and that includes their arts programming on both radio, and TV.

More to the point about this week’s QT, what on earth was defeated Liberal MP Susan Kramer doing on there?! I hope the BBC isn’t going to dredge up every failed Lefty MP as many of us rejoiced to see them kicked out of office, and are hoping they will fade out of public life.

Gareth said...

Nick,

Were Question Time told they couldn't have Campbell on?

Terry said...

QT was fine as it happens. 2 idiots/liars on one side and Max Hastings with 2 politicians on the other. Result.
This Week was much funnier. As opposed to the Michael/Diane love-in, Dave and Haze couldn't have been farther apart. Then there was the contest between Brillo's hair and Gorgeous George Galloway's beard. What is it with Glaswegians and follicles?

alastair said...

Iain, I know you are a fan of Alastair Campbell BUT a man who has the blood and maiming of so many British and Allied troops (as well as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis) on his hands - should have the decency to go back to the rock from whence he came and not be seen in public again.

Jimmy said...

They should have put up Boulton instead.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Actually I disagree. QT is a travesty of free speech; the audience is fixed, the panelists are unevenly balanced, the questions are selected by the producers, and on a point of order, Labour was forever cancelling at the last minute.

If I was running Number Ten, I would suggest to all of my Cabinet colleagues that they give QT the bum's rush until the BBC learns to stop fiddling it in favour of left-leaning liberals.

PIENOMICS said...

Campbell is a nasty spot on the body politic.

Instead of sniping from a highly paid, and unelected position on the frontline, he should stand for election and be tested by the voters.

Iain, what is your fascination with Campbell? He is an overpaid spin doctor interested in nothing but headlines, and to hell with the facts.

He is largely responsible for the debasement of the political process. He, Whelan, McBride, and all the other Labour nasties, have reduced politics to nothing more than a 'game show' of who can tell the bigger lie.

I hope DC does not fall into the same trap of celebrity politics, where the messenger or the message, takes precedence over the content.

After 13 years of Labour we now see the real content . The UK is broke. That is the legacy of Blair, Campbell, Brown and their crazy socialist messages.

It's time to get back to a simpler form of doing business, where both good and bad are reported. The electorate are not stupid. We can separate fact from fiction.

We've had 13 years of fiction. Let's have 13 years of fact, and allow the electorate to judge the Government and its Ministers on the real content of their work.

Campbell and his acolytes have had their 15 minutes of fame. Good bye and good riddance.

Snowdon said...

I don't agree with you on this one, Iain. None of the other parties so much as put forward a sitting MP, so I don't blame the Tories for not bringing on a front-bencher. It was one MP versus the rest of the world as it was.

Dual Citizen said...

Funny how it's Aljabeeba that breaks it's own story that the Tory government snubbed them. It's up to No. 10 whether to send anyone and if not for Aljabeeb to invite their own guests.

And how balanced us the panel with 2 unelected left wing ex Mirror hacks - both BadAl and Moron? They should have invited Macguire for a full house!

pete-s said...

I am with those who said, if the opposition are not going to put up a spokesman, then why should the gov.

Either spokesman would be held accountable to what view they put forward. Would AC be accountable? The editor of a document that was deliberately biased to take the country to war! You can rely on everything he says then?

cherami said...

Good move by Number 10. Perhaps it should go further and refuse invitations to Newsnight/Today until Paxman and Humphries learn to interview properly and not simply exercise their egos.
Politicians can never win against them. They should give up even trying.

strapworld said...

Wrinkled Weasel hits the nail on the head.

The audience, yet again, did not reflect the 60+% of people that support the coalition. To have two disgraced hacks and one out of touch hack on one panel plus a hack as a chairman gave the fourth estate far too much say.

One whom Chilcott will call a liar, One who was sacked for lying about our military in a front page 'scoop' for that bastion of free speech 'The Daily Mirror'. the other who would be best locked in a Pall Mall Club! and the Chairman,from the family dynasty of the BBC, the only man to be considered for the general election night programme, plus historical programmes and almost everything else.

The time has come for a new political programme based on Question Time, but with a panel made up of academics, business leaders,military top brass, i.e. people who actually achieved something. Perhaps a return to the old Brains Trust format. Raise the game and make people think rather than a baying mob approach towards almost everything.

Question Time under 'I ask the questions'Dimbleby is fourth rate compared with the original shows.

The Government should request all its MP's of both parties to boycott this shoddy show until the BBC ensure balance within the audience and an assurance that a new IMPARTIAL chairman - You Mr Dale would be ideal!- is appointed.

Time for this tired, shoddy programme to be scrapped.

Jess The Dog said...

This orchestrated storm in a tea cup appears to have sunk without a trace of coverage today.

John Moss said...

I have it on good authority that in May 1997, Campbell issued an edict to BBC, ITV and SKy that if they wanted a Government minister, then it would only be on a 1-2-1 basis and never if an opposition spokesman was interviewed at the same time.

Thus began the fawning of Naughtie and others over every Labour utterance, unchallenged by immediate opposition rebuttal and the obvious damage that this caused to political debate in this country.

Think back to the Toady Prog when Major was PM and the repeated, heated exchnages between ministers and shadows, with Naughtie and Humphreys relegated to their, rightful, place as facilitators rather than leaders of the debate. How refreshing we have a Government which wants to be on platforms with its opponents and not with their unelected, unaccountable mouthpieces!

Desperate Dan said...

I think they were perfectly justified in not accepting the invitation to appear. QT isn't a very serious or balanced programme any more and I long for ITV, Channel 4 or Sky to come up with a programme where normal well-balanced knowledgeable people could discuss the affairs of the day with an interested audience. There's also a gap in the market for a replacement for Any Questions.
Anyone who has worked anywhere near the BBC knows full well that Lord Mandelson and Alastair Campbell have been telling them what to broadcast for years. The QT Editor's claims of independence are utterly ludicrous.

DeeDee99 said...

We do only have Dimbleby's explanation for why a Cabinet Minister wasn't present. I'm not accusing him of lying, but there are obviously ways of explaining something and he isn't known for impartiality, is he!

Anyway, the Conservatives were invited to attend and a Conservative did. If Labour didn't feel the programme worthy of a Shadow Cabinet Member, why should the Government provide a Cabinet Member.

I don't care whether Campbell is a senior person within the Labour organisation - he isn't elected and never has been. It was good of John Redwood to attend, but it would have been even better if the Conservatives had proposed someone from the Tory Party who also isn't elected ..... like you.

Michael Heaver said...

Utter pathetic stuff from "Number 10". What were they thinking?

The Purpleline said...

I believe the government were quite correct to look at the make up of the panel and say Morgan + Campbell + Dimbleby = Biased TV.

I would support the government doing an Alex Ferguson and simply ignoring BBC Question Time.

How can you share a panel with a man responsible for a coup attempt to keep Brown in unelected power until September, where another unelected Labour politician would take over.
Also responsible for the death of Dr Kelly, whether by hand or bullying, he surely contributed to the death.

Morgan a man who used fake pictures of Brit soldiers abusing Iraq's on the front page of his paper. How many lives did that cause to be lost? It must have been a rallying call to jihadists.

Finally, when is the BBC going to learn that their total biased approach in support of Labour is an attack on our democracy. Please David or CCHQ if you read Mr Dales blog cut the BBC down to size, sell off the I player platform, cut salaries by 50% and phase out the Tax giving us a choice if we go for an alternative we pay subscription but not the Tax. Lets see how the leftist propaganda machine business model survives against true competition.

Richard Wells said...

I can see why the government didn't send anyone. They would have to defend a position whereas Campbell, being unelected, does not have to do that.

It was entertaining enough and Redwood came across well but on the face of it I have never seen a more anti-govt appearing panel!

2 Labour journalists, a LD who lost her seat and therefore does not have to defend the coalition, and a Tory who has been critical of government policy this week!

Tony_E said...

I rather think this might be the opening salvo against the BBC's desperate leftyism. If the government just gives QT a wide steer, it soon becomes irrelevent as it then tends towards being an hour of out of office lefties talking to themselves with nobody in particular to attack.

Backbench Conservatives are a better bet for this as they can say pretty much what they like (Redwood did well when infrequently allowed to speak), with very little chance of Labour/BBC getting their scalp.

DespairingLiberal said...

Alistair Campbell was in charge of planning the war in Iraq, so he is a personage.

John Redwood, as an off-worlder, is also exceptionally interesting.

I found it laughably accurate, as the two are so raving at times that the programme neatly encapsulated the current state of British politics.

Houdini said...

The Government was right and should do this every time the BBC shows bias, which is nearly always. It's about time the Tories stood up to the BBC. Why should a Government Minister, paid for by ME, appear on a panel filled with lefty never elected known and proven liars?

Cameron played this one perfectly and showed the BBC and Labour as the biased and manipulative bastards they are. You think the Labour party didn't know they were causing trouble? You think they didn't do it deliberately? Campbell, and Morgan, can lie, prevaricate and change history all they like and no-one will think twice, or can, but a Labour MP? This was all a set up, designed to elicit a response, or at least to get a Tory on QT for Morgan and Campbell to skewer, and the BBC and Labour knew it and contrived to make it so.

Well done Cameron...in this instance.

trevorsden said...

Its good we are a broad church - I disagree with Mr Quango this time.

I do agree with Mr Weasel and Alastair.

Why should cabinet ministers put themselves out after a long day when there is no labour front bencher? why should they give house room to publicising Campbell's new book? why butter up to media celebrity Morgan?

Above all why should the BBC give respectability to the odious Campbell.

Re the This Week sofa - if you had looked previously the sofa was quite big and for some reason (encouragement by the producers?) Portillo did cosy up to his old school chum Abbott.

tapestry said...

Cameron needs to learn to love democracy or give way.

He tried to hamstring his own backbench MPs in the 1922 negotiations. Now he won’t go into live TV or permit his MPs to do so. By trying to suppress debate and opposition, he is actually making it worse.

He hoped to line the party with cloned A List MPs, and set them up in the top 100 target seats.

Due to Labour’s postal vote scams these candidates lost and Labour held the marginals.

As a result, Cameron has a different bunch altogether from the MPs he planned. The current lot are the independent-minded from outlier target seats, who were not expected to win, where Labour thought they were safe, and didn’t run enough postal voting scams.

Cameron s obviously not feeling comfortable with his own Parliamentary Party and is trying to scotch debate and opposition. The Euro crisis is close to bursting. Maybe he’s mindful of events about to break, but his whole approach is wrong, as is Europe’s.

The EU has to admit the PIIGS are bust, let them default, withdraw from the Euro and relaunch their national currencies, writing off most of their debts. This is sovereign default time. The longer it is put off, the worse it will get. I am not surprised Cameron is shitting himself, but the situation has to be dealt with.

Someone has to be the first to say it – The Emperor’s Got No Clothes.

With the Euro collapsing, what better person than to come in to pick up the pieces in Britain but Ken Clarke. The Osborne/Cable axis will be overwhelmed. Plus John Redwood.

Curbishlyauto said...

WW. Completely agree why should this elected government give legitimacy to a BBC/Labour stooge such as Campbell?

p smith said...

Amazing how uninformed people are. The BBC invited Campbell. Labour did not "put him up". The Tories sought to interfere with the BBC's selection by pulling Laws who the BB had also invited. That's their choice but the attempt to have Campbell removed was yet another misguided instance of the authoritarianism that has been all too prevalent since the coalition assumed power.

The idea that Campbell and Morgan represent a stitch up is frankly bunkum. If Laws had turned up, you would have had him and another member of the coalition parties, and Max Hastings who leans heavily to the Tories albeit in a non partisan fashion. If that is too tough for the poor ickle coalition, it doesn't bode well for the future.

I don't particularly like Campbell, I'd rather the BBC had invited one of the Labour leadership candidates but number 10 clearly allowed its personal bitterness to get in the way of good judgment and presented their opponents with a PR gift.

Mind you, at least with Redwood there, they actually had a conservative there and it was a more refreshing debate because of it.

Roger Thornhill said...

The BBC were either deeply mischievous or had been struggling to find anyone from Labour willing to come forward.

The BBC can insist on control of their panel, and the Coalition can likewise control who appears. It is not a Supreme Court appearance, now, is it?

What next? Dimbles banging a gavel yelling "THATS NOT THE QUESTION! THATS NOT THE QUESTION!"

Actually, given the evasiveness of some panelists, that might not be a bad idea.

Ralph said...

Iain,

Perhaps you could enlighten us on what positives you can see from having a minister shouted down and talked over as Morgan and Campbell did to Redwood et al.

Liz said...

Campbell is unelected so I see no reason why No 10 should have put up anyone. John Redwood was there for the Conservatives. No. 10 is quite right not to let itself be bullied by the leftie BBC

Unsworth said...

Nonsense. Why does the Government have to put anyone up at all? Who the hell is Campbell? Is he some sort of Labour Party Official Spokesman? Is he an elected MP? No, he's just a has been. A mediocre writer of poor quality porn, a former unelected Downing Street operative and a proven congenital liar. Why should the Government of the day give this irrelevant pillock a platform to spout his claptrap?

Question Time itself is a graphic example of naked BBC bias - and has been so for some time. In my view the Government would be wise to withdraw all contact with the BBC until such time as the BBC proves that it is entirely politically unbiased.

Maybe the Government is more interested in getting on with the job that spending time and effort on garbage programmes such as QT, anyway. If that is so, then it is no bad thing. Altogether less chat and much more action is needed. By now we should have learned how dangerous it is for Governments to be so involved with - and obsesed by - the media.

In any event it's high time that these parasitic media cretins got sorted. What do they actually do with our money? As far as I can see the BBC spends the whole of its time desperately chasing ratings and spending my cash on lavish junkets and massive salaries. When are they going to take a step back from actually being the political front and start providing balanced, in depth, unbiased insight?

RJF said...

Very true Wrinkled Weasel. In the 1980s Question Time was essential viewing in much the same way that the Sunday Times was once essential reading. Both are now shadows of their former selves. QT now resembles Jonathan Ross - it promises much at the beginning but ultimately it wears you down with its infantile meanderings, is deeply unsatisfying and makes you wish you had gone to your bed an hour earlier.

And is it just me, but when I see the Chipmunk voicing opinions on anything in a public forum why is it I get an awful feeling of civilisation's impending collapse?

matterhorn said...

Mr Dale - soemtimes you're too busy to analyse things properly. The Conservatives just said "if you choose to have Mr Campbell on we choose not to put up a government minister". Indeed, I would hope that all our government ministers are too busy to waste time responding to people like Campbell and Morgan - the Statler and Waldorf of last night's New Labour muppet show.

Eddie Strange said...

Wrinkled Weasel is right. This sad programme is a joke. Any right of centre panellist gets crucified unless they slavishly play to the largely left wing gallery. If the gallery fial to land a punch the Dimblebore steps in. That is, if he hasn`t already cut in. Having once been in the audience, I know that, naturally, the questions are not only selected from those submitted, but also suggested by members of the production team passing among the audience as they wait to get in.I`ve stopped watcing it long since.

The other interesting point is how many times has an argument on panel representation happened under the Labour regime but was never publicised by the BBC?

FX Man said...

Surely the main point here is the actual state of Harriett Harman's "robust oppostion": can't even muster a front bench spokesman for QT. There are SIX leadership contenders, for heaven's sake!

http://fxbites.blogspot.com/2010/05/spinning-in-his-grave.html

Londonerr said...

Iain, I disagree.

I think the govt gave the BBC a lesson in manners. They sent the BBC a message, recognise and acknowledge our status.

That means like-for-like billing on programmes like this. Putting a cabinet minister up against Campbell would have been a humiliation for the minister before even opening their mouth, and would have accorded Campbell a status he doesn't deserve.

Long may the govt ride against the tide of accepted media-commentator opinion.

Where's the outpouring of opinion about Labour's lack of shadow cabinet presence?

The BBC made a mistake, they have misread the govt's position. The BBC are spinning away to try and save face by assuming the moral high ground. Using the same argument as Campbell, no surprise.

BBC have not made any friends with the new govt over this, and I hope they get put in their place when the BBC gets to have its meeting with the new Culture minister.

Evsie said...

It was absurd, to say the least. I would love to know who was behind the decision, and their reasoning for it.

I would also like to know who decides to schedule Question Time and Newsnight at the same time. The audience demographic for both must be nearly identical, and we can only watch one at a time.

Fiale said...

So the Conservatives should put an elected accountable MP or minister on a show against 2 unaccountable left wing spin doctors and another Journalist. With the opposition having no one to speak for them.

I would suggest that it is the BBC at fault here making the show more of a commentators talking shop as opposed to the show it once was, questions and answers to MPs and political party policies.

Irene said...

I hope this means the new Government will be behaving a lot differently to the last shower.

Why on earth do the BBC and others give oxygen to the likes of Campbell who is a nonentity IMO.

I am not remotely interested in what he has to say.

People not appearing happened under the last government as well but the BBC now want transparency apparently so decided to announce it - odd that isn't it.

Steve H said...

***To add a third wrong onto your list, have you heard the rumour about Gove being forced to give up his Chief of Staff because of Coulson's infantile objections?***

They don't need chiefs of staff and only want them as part of some maturbatory fantasy that they're on the West Wing.

FF said...

The Government declined the opportunity to take part in the debate. That's their perogative. Viewers will make of it what they will.

The real issue is whether the BBC should have gone out of its way to highlight the Government's refusal. The BBC's tendency to make themselves the news can be irritating. But holding politicians to account is one of their tasks. They might be justified in pointing out times when politicians refuse to be held to account.

Jimmy said...

Two thoughts:

1. On the Griffin edition the tories did not see fit to put forward an elected representative. I doubt recall this whingeing then.

2. The panel had two government pols and one opposition and you still whine that it's biased against you.

I understand the tories have always been afraid of Alistair but this does make them look rather cowardly.

Twig said...

Anyone remember the time the BBC dropped Nigel Farage at v.short notice?
...
"UKIP’s leader in the EU’s “parliament”, Nigel Farage, revealed this data in a speech at Strasbourg, on 10th February, and was due to appear in the BBC’s “Question-Time” programme, from Middlesbrough, on 18th February, where the closure of the Redcar-plant was inevitably discussed. Almost at the last minute, his invitation to join the “Question-Time” panel was cancelled, without explanation."

See link

Who's decision was that I wonder?
Surely not No.10?
...

The Purpleline said...

Interesting Mr Pisani ex producer of Question time show 2002-2006 stated on 5live that Campbell often pulled Labour ministers & MP's and more importantly stopped any labour minister appearing for 6 weeks during the start of the Iraq war.

Looks to me like this is another of Campbell's little games in cooperation with the left leaning dumbleby and bbc,

Patrick said...

John Redwood - has been on the BBC more in the last couple weeks than the last 13 years !!

DespairingLiberal said...

Irene, how could you say that Alastair Campbell is a nonentity??

He has:

1/ Led the planning for the war in Iraq.

2/ Supervised British intelligence services with his secretary, a Mr Scarlett. (Quite rightly).

3/ Had control of the BBC for extended periods. Sacked a DG and a journalist or two.

4/ Created the Truth as We Know It about Blair and Brown. All of it so very true, oh yes.

5/ Been a star of stage and screen.

6/ Inspired a flattering theatrical representation of himself by a Mr Malcolm Tucker.

I could go on. This is truly one of the Great Men. We are scarcely worthy to be porn er I mean born to see such times as have him in them!

My word verification was tessicle.

Simon Gardner said...

I perforce have to believe there are people who watch QT. I perforce have to believe some people care.

But I have no idea why.

Moriarty said...

Jimmy is being even more preposterous than normal in suggesting that Tories are scared of this alcoholic pornographer. I can only assume he hasn't seen the footage of Campbell being punked by Michael Howard on Newsnight.

It was always Labour, not Tory, MPs who feared Campbell - like all bullies he has channelled his energies over the years at those over whom he had the most power.

That Blair and Brown embraced the "talents" of the man who drove a government official to suicide shows just who the real "nasty party" is.

Twig said...

@Don Collier
"...he magically produced a photo of Laws in a silver frame and abused him shamefully..."

Nick Griffin tried to take a fragment of a desecrated gravestone onto QT but it was confiscated by BBC staff and they told him that there was a "no props" rule (unless perhaps your name is Alistair Campbell).
...

Weygand said...

No 10 got it right.

Campbell has no standing whatsoever in the Shadow cabinet and if the BBC were unwilling or unable to find a member of it, then there was no need for the government to send a cabinet minister.

The only standing Campbell ever had was as a Court favourite. Now that court is no more, he will (after a few mutually exploitative appearances on BBC and Total Politics) drift into the wilderness.

No doubt part of the thinking behind No 10's decision was to hasten this journey.

privatefrazer said...

With comments like that Iain it is difficult not to conclude that you are in the pay of the bbc. You must be. Are you?

david kendrick said...

Spot on, Iain. The tory position was absurd. Campbell is an approved socialist party spokesman. Can the Greens only be represented by Lucas, or UKIP by an MEP?

The no 10 machine appears to be leaden-footed and clumsy. Will you confidence in them when something important crops up? Me neither.

Unsworth said...

Maybe they need Flanagan to point out the graves.

Gerry57 said...

I was amazed how popular Campbell was with the audience. Were they bussed in from the Burnley FC supporters club ?

norman said...

Campbell is a lying creep and no one should share a platform with him. As for BBC, it is still the Brown and Blair Broadcasting Corporation and like the Japanese soldier lost in a jungle and discovered some decades later was still thinking that Japan is at war with USA, BBC has not got over its role as the mouth piece for Labour. It never forgets to lick the shoes of Campbell. Shameless Establishment, the BBC is. I would have put Andrew Gilligan in the panel with the odious Campbell.
I support No 10 in this. Like Nixon's minions Haldeman and Ehrlichmann, this nasty person should have been shunned. But this is Britain. BBC should have been privatised long ago and the license fee needs cutting. As for Dimbleby, he should be quietly retired, in favour of Andrew Neil.