Thursday, April 27, 2006

Question Time Live Blog

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.


Anonymous said...

local party activists always try very hard to get in the audiences...

Anonymous said...

Yet another hand-picked audience of lefies?.

Anonymous said...

So far so dull... I'm surprised Davis hasn't totally blown Falconer away. Credit to Charlie F, he is playing it the right way by not being aloof and machine-like.

Anonymous said...

The most telling and, quite honestly, most effective intervention has come from the asian chap who destroyed the Labour myth that it is the government who has precipitated the decline in heart mortality rates.

Come on DD make me with that I's have voted for you last year!!

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Davis is certainly shooting up in my regard. I didn't endorse his leadership bid at all, but his performance as Shadow Home Secretary has been fantastic this week. I hope he is not reshuffled sideways out of a post that he is well suited for.

Bob Piper said...

Boring Question Time... David Davis... is anyone surprised? Cameron has been flip-floppy, but God, is there a single Labour member who wasn't praying in their boots that David Davis would win? Of course not. Given a massive open goal... the Shadow Home Secretary shows he couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo.

Iain Dale said...

Bob, I suspect you'd rather have a pint with DD than Charlie Falxconer though. Go on, admit it.

Anonymous said...

Yeh I agree with you, Iain. David Dimbleby is not the chairman he used to be. He should let panelists debate and get shirty with each other, not be all egotistical and try and debate with them himself.

Chris Palmer said...

"At least 20 people clapped Falconer - are they mad?"

They are Labour party supporters...

"Yet another hand-picked audience of lefties?"

Yes, aren't they all.

Incredible. David Davis had a number of opportunities to lay into the Government and their sheer incompetence, but he missed the best of them.

These are my thoughts:

1. Why do they always allow one (or more moron) to discredit Thatcher openly. Had it not been for the economic reforms she and her Government introduced, Britain would be nowhere near as prosperous and competitive as it is (though Gordon Brown putting in a good effort to reverse that,) though, I suppose judging by the look of the guy, he probably voted Labour all his life, and wishes that the country was still controlled by the Unions with constant strikes and rubbish uncollected in the streets. Actually, it was a silly question on my part really. This is the BBC after all.

2. Does anyone else agree that Carol Thatcher should be shut away? Forever. Her posh(ish) upper-class air, with her appalling dress sense (actually made me feel ill) and her ridiculous dyed hair do no favours for the Conservative party, or indeed the legacy of her mother. Though, again, the BBC probably added her in for that very reason.

3. David Davis, what are you doing?! Bloated hypocrite Prescott has been bashing you and the Conservative party for years, and finally you have a chance to get your own back and expose him for the lying, deceitful, snivelling, grotesque monstrosity that he is… and you say ‘it’s none of my business.’ Of course it’s your business Mr Davis. Not the affair itself, but certainly the consequences of it. Prescott has been ferrying his b*tches around at public expense with flagrant disregard for rules – and you say it’s ‘none of your business’?!

4. This seemingly perpetual myth of increased spending = better must be put right – but did Mr Davis (didn’t really expect Carol to put up a fight) say otherwise. No. On the one hand, he didn’t have much of a chance to speak, but when he did, he actually agreed with Falconer. We have seen this Government pour taxpayer’s money down drains with little regard for if it has an effect or no. Yet, now the Conservative believe that increased spending is the way forward?

5. Lord Falconer comes up with a blinder of a comment claiming that David Cameron opposes the climate change levy, but does not advocate what he is going to do instead. (i) that’s what the review is for, and (ii) that pork chop of a politicians own party has just released to negative party political broadcasts detailing that they are against Mr Cameron and the Conservatives, but proposing nothing themselves. How hypocritical and obtuse.

6. Are all students thick? People should realise by now that the only reason students care about the environment is because they haven’t lived a real life yet. In their small and insignificant current lives, they haven’t had to pay taxes, raise a family, go out to work (or in fact do any work altogether – my word aren’t exams tough. Boo hoo, poor students, my heart bleeds.)

7. Excellent point made by the coloured NHS doctor/worker (?) Labour and Tony Blair love to claim the credit when things go right – but when things go wrong (as they frequently do under this increasingly incompetent administration) then it’s time for the blame game. Technological advances rather than government intervention is responsible for medical gains and improvements.

8. Some people in the audience need a basic lesson in economics. Ok, so I’m not too great myself, but I know basic supply and demand. One guy blamed the ‘greedy shareholders’ for wanting to make more money. Had he been in the same situation (though he would of course claim otherwise,) he would have done the same thing. If manufacturing does or is declining in this country, that is economics for you, and for some, a sad fact of life. However, I would lay part of the blame on the workers themselves. Labour is cheaper in Eastern Europe. Guess why? I’ll tell you why. Because in the 1970’s their workers through unions didn’t demand enormous wages far higher than they deserved. The reason why there are no real British owned car firms left anymore is because of worker greed. No guy who puts bolts in cars all day deserves fantastical sums such as £40,000 a year. That’s not just my opinion – the market proves such.

9. The Lib Dem, whoever he was, needs a good kick in the teeth. Air travel is one of the most efficient forms of transport there is. We should be encouraging more efficient forms of travel, not doing the old socialist, ooh lets tax everything (but re-label it as fair) approach.

I was disappointed in David Davis. He should, in my mind, have done far better. However, this is one Question Time, and his other performances lately have been much better, so perhaps it was only a blip. We shall wait and see.

Ranting Guttersnipe said...

Considering what an outstanding week for Labour screw ups this has been I was expecting better than what QT offered.

My evening was then further ruined by "This Week" giving Jo Brand airtime... eugh

However the sight of Quentin Letts dressed as a squirrel must rank as one of the most surreal things on TV and frankly well worth the licence fee.

Bob Piper said...

A pint with Dimbleby seems infinitely more interesting than Chas Iain, you're right.

dizzy said...

I didn't manage to keep my eyes open for it all but the wife murmured a "you tit, that's outrageous" when Falconer said he didn't think Clarke should resign if any of the released were found to have re-offended. I couldn't have agreed with her more.

the important thing here though is that if my wife agrees with me on political issues then I must be right surely?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry guys, but after this I can only come to one conclusion. Britain is fucked.

Three serious political events in a week (Health minister barracked by nurses, DPM caught shagging at least one woman not his wife and the Home Office releasing armies of foreign criminals back onto the streets instead of deporting them). We've also got the potential scandal of Hewitt and Winterton lying about the birthday of the NHS (a pathetic attempt to spin some good news in a very bad week) and the ongoing pounds for peerages corruption investigation.

Any opposition worthy of the name would be making capital out of any one of these. To have five open goals presented simultaneously is almost unprecedented.

But what does Her Majesty's Official Opposition do? Attack like a rottweiler on steroids? Not a chuff. They behave more like an aging maltese poodle pissing on the carpet when the doorbell rings. And I won't even mention the behaviour the so-called fifth estate.

Politicians and commentators wring their hands and whine about the lack of public interest in political affairs. Is it surprising when they all seem to be failing to do their jobs?

Sure part of the fun of political argy bargy is the old desire for bloody entertainment. But, "punch and Judy politics" at a time like this also shows us peons that our representatives are worthy of our trust, and our pennies.

Great Wodin's Beard! Even a two year old can see this a government is failing on many fronts. Why can't our opposition or the press bring them to account?


Anonymous said...

I've been living overseas for the past three years and thanks to the internet have kept pretty much up to date with what's happening back in Blighty. The one thing I certainly haven't missed is the apalling "Question Time". Judging by Iain's summary, not much has changed since I last saw it.

I can only agree with the Remittance Man - the country is fucked... *sigh*