Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Embarrassment of a Mayoral Debate

Another terribly unedifying London Mayoral debate, this time on Question Time tonight. To be honest it was a joke. Livingstone lied his way through it, Paddick was insufferable and Boris blustered. What a terrible advert for the political process. Compare this to the debates in the US primaries and I defy anyone to suggest that our system is any way superior. Thank God we only have to suffer this embarrassing charade for another seven days.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, they've just announced on BBC1 that Jody Marsh is the top guest on THIS WEEK now [reaches for the off button].


Anonymous said...

At least he was sober enough to lie.

Anonymous said...

Disagree. Thought it was the best debate so far. Boris has clearly grown as a candidate, Ken was rather endearing, almost as though he's resigned to his fate. Paddick was dreadful however.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Who is Jody Marsh ?

Anonymous said...

I actually thought that Ken and Boris did well - only in comparison to the insufferable spectacle of Brian Paddick.

He was atrocious, he's so wooden. But he also kept interrupting Ken and Boris to a very, very noticeable degree. And Dimblebum let him get away with it! (He didn't come out of it well either, very biased against Boris!)

Then Paddick had the audacity to score a cheap when Boris interrupted him!

Ken and Boris came out of it well - Paddick has damaged himself after that childish shrill performance.

I was considering voting giving second preference to Paddick, but certainly not after tonight.

Anonymous said...

GOSSIP: I'm told there is one particular staffer on This Week obsessed with getting on the most low-rent celebs possible. H from Steps has also been asked, but was dropped in favour of Rod Liddle!

Anonymous said...

Jodie Marsh's purpose on the show appears to be to read from autobiographies...

Charles Kennedy thinks Betty Boothroyd used to be a stripper...

Anonymous said...

I actually rather enjoyed this one. Why couldn't Boris answer the food question properly?!?! I despair. He's just not ready to leave this city and I speak as someone who would loved to have had a Tory Mayor.

Anonymous said...

I was disgusted with Paddick tonight - he made a really cheap shot about Boris' private life and his family...something even Ken wouldn't stoop too. If someone had done a similiar thing to him I'm sure Paddick would have had a hissy fit!

Paddick came across as childish. He's a poor debater, constantly interrupting Ken and Boris and incredibly wooden at times. He has absolutely zero charisma, and after his underhand and shrill performance tonight, he's lost one voter here.

I'd rather vote Ken in than that odious creature Paddick!

Anonymous said...

I agree that Paddick was insufferable.

Ken just shaded it over Boris, I thought.

Anonymous said...

This Week was dreadful. We had Matt Frei engaging in some sub-pantomime mugging for the camera. Worse, we had Diane Abbott claiming that the English middle classes "love austerity" and Rosie Millard asserting that people aren't really noticing the rise in food prices. Is this really the best level of analysis we can get? I don't want to sound like some sort of tub thumping populist, but the only thing it illuminated was the degree to which some politicians and members of the press are completely detached from what's going on outside the Westminster and Islington bubbles. Where I live people are most certainly noticing the surge in food prices (which has particularly effected staple goods, due to the problems with wheat supply and various vegetables), it's one of the main topics of discussion and a lot of people are feeling the pinch. There's no point in engaging in apocalyptic wailing and gnashing of teeth (and let's face it, things are far worse in other parts of the world), but it's nevertheless intensely irritating to see the problem so airily dismissed as not having an impact.

Note to the This Week's editors - by and large, newspaper columnists are not representative of the vast bulk of the British middle class outside of central London.

Anonymous said...

"He's just not ready to leave [lead I assume] this city and I speak as someone who would loved to have had a Tory Mayor."

I give Boris credit for doing as well as he is, but there's no getting away from the fact that whenever an interviewer starts to press him on policy specifics he's like a deer caught in headlights. Often he gets away with it because he's so likable, but it's not great. The impression one gets is that everything is on the fly.

I'd also note that while he's won some people over, I've met plenty of people who would have gone Tory because they're fed up of Ken, but who just can't get their head round the idea of Boris as a serious figure. At worst it pisses people off - they think nominating him shows a lack of seriousness. They might agree with the Tory critique of Ken, but the feeling is that, given the severity of that critique, they should have come up with someone with serious executive capabilities to go against him.

That said, Boris might win. I hope he does. I was highly sceptical about giving him the mantle from the beginning but whatever the limitations of his candidacy, if he wins, a win is a win I suppose.

asquith said...

BoJo wouldn't run London, his puppeteers know he's not capable of that. It would be the Same Old Tories in control. People who do what Camoron used to do behind the scenes.

But they won't make Londoners like them, and all BoJo's lovable antics won't stop people waking up when they see the true face of the nasty party.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think the BBC should have had the normal QT format. They should have been sitting as this is more relaxing, The questions should have been about todays issues and not things from the past that have been fully dealt with before. At least one other candidate should have been there.
So its the BBCs fault.

Anonymous said...

"whenever an interviewer starts to press him on policy specifics he's like a deer caught in headlights"

Ah yes, the non-existent policies that Livingstone has still managed to steal (after rubbishing them first, of course).

You're being a bit harsh, Iain; the more neutral ground of Political Betting seems to suggest it was rather good, with both Livingstone and Boris giving a good showing.

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

I have to say I disagree Iain. It was a great improvement on the debate with Andrew Neill as the candidates were actually allowed to speak, and I thought it was a really good, passionate debate.

Anonymous said...

"Compare this to the debates in the US primaries and I defy anyone to suggest that our system is any way superior."

There can not be many people who would suggest such a thing.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was an excellent debate, full of interest and banter. Boris appeared engaging and more seious than many people would hae previously given him credit for. Ken looked rather forlorn and almost resigned to his fate. Paddick was forceful enough when talking but was perhaps a bit keen on himself. Often he was trying to butt into spats between Ken and Boris, to no great effect. "Listen to me!"

Chris Paul said...

Charles Kennedy was the top guest and Jodie was way down the list.

Ken won this hands down. Bry made some good points but essentially irrelevant and backtracked on his calls for no second preference (which I think threaten his chances of first preferences). Johnson was still a joke entry.

The idea that Boris can sort out the RMT is completely and utterly ridiculous. Ken has actually contained the brothers rather well. And the way he tried to turn the personal morality Q which came from the audience not from Bry on non-candidate Dimbleby also sad petty pathetic childish (enough of the adjectives already) evasion.

Anonymous said...

"BoJo wouldn't run London"
"The idea that Boris can sort out the RMT is completely and utterly ridiculous"

dont make me laugh!

Like, Red Ken has made a success out of the LDA ! He has turned it into a corrupt mess. My grandma's cat could make a better fist of running public transport in London. Any Trans Worlds Airways Tourist can nobble London traffic lights and spend someone elses money buying a load of bendy busses which just run arounf half empty - making up the deficit with CC Zone fines.

Come off it ... experience? We have had all the experience of Red Ken we can stand thank you very much. Say the words 'Lee Jasper' without throwing up - I defy you.

Experience? 6 months ago people were saying Brown was experienced. Big laugh. Both Red Ken and Brown - their 'experiences' are coming home to roost.

Anonymous said...

Paddick was so rude. The audience was so rude. It was the most unintelligent debate I've witnessed in ages. At least Ken and Boris both have some form of personal charm and charisma. But it was a pathetic debate...

Sad sad sad

Anonymous said...

A couple of things!
Ken lied his way through the debate like has through office and his attitude over the Jewish reporter was nothing but a disgrace
and he has the cheek to call Boris.
His comments over the Olympic Games beggers belief he described it as one big con on his part
Boris came across a lot more straight forward he tried to answer questions put to him but had Dumbleby trying to shoot him down and Ken throwing blatent lies in his direction.
How the BBC don't want a Tory Mayor or Government is really obvious.
Now getting on to Paddick i think the latter part of his surname summed him up at the debate his shout downs to Boris were dreadfull
No wonder this country is in a state if we have Senior Police officers like him.

Anonymous said...

"Say the words 'Lee Jasper' without throwing up - I defy you".

Funny that. That's exactly what thwe whole country saw Brian Paddick last night! Ken didn't need to say a word to defend Lee Jasper, Mr Paddick appears over the top keen to do it for him!!!!

Anonymous said...

Jody Marsh came over as a lot more intelligent than Brian Paddick, who should not speak again until he learns some manners.

To his huge credit, Boris refused to sink to the low level of the other two candidates, as he has done thoughout the campaign, keeping his cool throughout. Some of the questions were an absolute disgrace.

The sight of a tight lipped, bespectacled Adrian Mole, whose experience of life is probably zero lecturing Boris Johnson on morality raised the biggest laugh of the evening at our house. Can't we once and for all accept that politicians, as we do, have the right to a private life?

Ken had the bare faced cheek to announce himself as a paragon of morality, having just lied to Londoners about rises in fares. On the radio today Ken blandly said "oh this happens every time!" INDEED IT DOES.

If he knew that it was unlikely that fares could be pegged to inflation, why didn't he say that at the time he made the promise? Because he wants to make grandiose promises before the election and in the unlikely event that he gets back in, the situation will immediately change. DISGUSTING.

Anonymous said...

Correct 18-point.

The issue of the Olympics 'con' should dish Red Kens chances - not to mention labours - he seems to think that Londoners will be grateful for the 'legacy'.

Well I have news for Londoners - the games developments will skew planning in East London and leave themselves with a disjointed transport system a load of slum ghetto housing and a wasteland of weird leisure venues.

Well done Ken, your ideas on regeneration are about on a par with Browns ideas on reducing poverty.

Anonymous said...

Now you all know what Paddick really learned and how he performed during his last 10 years or so in the MET! He is an arrogant tosser, useless as a borough commander, responsible for the most stupid initiative with cannabis (mind you Cap'n Beaujolais was as much to blame for allowing it) and further helped the Met and the police farce nationally to become even more discredited. Boris has got to become more 'responsible' sounding.

Anonymous said...

Brian's cheap shot about BoJo's private life was horrific. Can we now assume that Paddick thinks any Lib Dem who has had an affair can not be trusted? And if his private life is so perfect, maybe he can explain how it was possible he didn't realise he was gay when he married his ex wife? He has taken the debate to a new low with his desperate attempts to get noticed.

Also, it's a completely dishonest suggestion to say the Conservatives approached him to be their candidate. The Tories were already committed to holding a primary system, so someone may have suggested him as "a" candidate, but he was certainly not offered "the" candidacy.

Anonymous said...

Can criminal charges be brought against Ken as regards his Olympics con comments?
They have after-all cost every London resident a fist-full of loot, with the very serious possibility of future debt entrapment.
The other aspect is the day-light robbery of lottery monies destined for sports-people.
As for the debate lets be frank, the prejudices are open:-
Red Ken is a liar.
Boris is a buffoon.
Paddick is a worthless, useless,woodentop.
That is of course my humble personal opinion.

Anonymous said...

Disagree Iain,
Thought Boris gave it a good shot.

Anonymous said...

Ken also appeared on 5Live yesterday pm (Boris the day before.) They were both relaxed and good but Ken bluffed his way through (some might argue lied but not pushed enough!)

That said the most embarrassing interview I have heard from a political leader, in ages was on Victoria Derbyshire yesterday. Nick Clegg was all over the place at 9am. They even went a LD marginal to ask whether anyone had heard of him (gave up after 20 people had not - even mentioning the slept with 30 women!) He wasn’t that believable on many points about LD nationally and local government.

The worst part was being asked a direct question about joining Conservatives at Cambridge. His answer was I couldn't remember!! Vicky did take him to task saying it was not possible and inconsistent answer.

Just to show how stupid he made himself look, she went on after the 10 am news to ask all the News, Sports and Weather contributors what events they had failed to remember or chosen to forget!

PS Saw this week Jodie Marsh was only the last on and tried reading clips from Books!

Anonymous said...

Missed it. Damn!

Was it just the 3 main candidates or did the Greens, the Nazis and the Christian nutters get a look in?

Anonymous said...

There was one moment when Boris said something about involving in the voluntary sector and it looked for all the world as though he really was making it up on the spot. I thought he started out well but started to bark a bit towards the end.

Boris and Ken both came across better than they have previously, but Paddick was an embarrassment. I find myself wanting to like him but unable to.

Mulligan said...

To be honest wasn't impressed with any of the candidates, although agree wholeheartedly with the comments about Paddick and his utter lack of manners. Boris made a complete pig's ear of the strike question (which is probably exactly why the biased Dimbleby got him to address the planted question first), other than that he probably did as well as expected. How surprising to see the BBC managed to get such a contingent of Young Socialist Activists into the audience though. no doubt many a future Labour Councillor or MP in that particular angry mob, with as much clue of the real world as the current mob in power.

Anonymous said...

After last night's performance Brian Paddick has lost my second preference vote!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a great debate. Great personality Superb. I do not see how you thought it was a bad debate. It was fun. :::

Giles said...

The debate, like so many others, reminded me that this contest can be summed up by a Hollywood-style tagline:

"Whoever wins, London loses".

Anonymous said...

I saw this debate and was quite appalled.

Firstly, I thought Paddick's treatment of Johnson was totally wrong. Yes, I know about knockabout politics, but some of the words spewed out byPaddick was disgusting. I assume that Johnsons family were viewing also.

I wouldn't vote for Paddick even if I was paid to do so.

Johnson was incorrect on a number of issues and I feel he was junior to Ken, who appeared to be in control at all times.

Biggest revelation of the night came from Andrew Gilligan who professed (confessed) to supporting the Conservatives.

I hereby find Tony Blair NOT GUILTY of anything this man says about him or my Party.
What a cheat Gilligan actually is.


Anonymous said...

I'm a paddick supporter but I thought the most real reaction last night was when Boris said: "oh man" after the Paddick bit about his family.

It showed a real inexperience from Brian. He came up with a good knock-about first point about transparency, but as soon as he had to back it up he came unstuck and made a real mistake. I hope he is embarrased by it.

Anonymous said...

Thinking about Question Time some more, I am convinced it was a stitchup. Why did Boris Johnson have to suffer questions that were just insults, that he could not possibly reply to, particularly at the end?

But when forced to discuss "morality" ruddy nerve, why did DD cut him off when Boris tried to raise the point about Ken lying about fares? That point was very relevant to the debate, until the shite stuff about watermelons and such that we have heard a thousand times. All that has been dealt with and explained months ago, why bring it all up now when there was so much else to discuss?

David Dimbleby was a disgrace, he should ring Alastair Stewart on how to handle such situations in a balanced way, I would sack him.

Bringing in the tight lipped spotty faced youth to lecture them all on morality was a masterstroke is you are campaigning for the Amish. His experience of life was obviously absolutely nil, hence his unhealthy interest in Boris's sex life.

When Brian Paddick got started on his own sex life, I remembered how he bared the lot in the Mail on Sunday. I read a paragraph without meaning to and screamed "Too much information!"

what can possibly be admirable in all this soul baring and baring of sexual shenanigans, I'm fine with it, but keep it to yourself Brian.

Since he was pointing the finger. DD's private life is hardly spotless if you judge people by that yardstick which I actually don't.

The whole thing was slanted to present BJ in the worst possible light and he did really well to keep his temper and maintain a calm demeanour.

BBC1 you get 0 out of 10 for that little bit of back stabbing, no wonder Ken hyocritically embraced Boris as they all walked off.

Anonymous said...

BoJo may be (or may not be according to your opinion) a great thinker, but not the worlds greatest articulator. If you tune into his style you will 'get it' but its a moot point as to how it comes across on TV.

Neither Boris or Paddick have a record to defend, only Ken and if he can get away with lying about it he is laughing. Just how well tuned to the facts are Londoners, will they be fooled?

We have seen how flawed Red Kens judgement has been over appointing advisers - its BoJos judgement Londoners have to take a punt on in respect who HE appoints. 'Experience' really is a red herring. Tories really should make more of this.

Anonymous said...

"After last night's performance Brian Paddick has lost my second preference vote!"

Although to be fair, the only second preference votes which will even be counted are the ones for Boris and Ken as they will be in a run off if no clear winner on first preferences.

So any second preference vote which isn't for them has no relevance anyway.

Agree with the comments above. Paddick was a disgrace. Funny to see an alleged Lib Dem following a line on morality which would probably be more at home in the Daily Mail.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that some supposedly intelligent(asquith et al) people believe in "nasty" and "nice". This is tragically infantile and what holds most societies back. If you consider yourself a free thinker then read Rod Liddle. Last night's debate was very poor. Ken will win by default; as the only candidate standing. Boris can never be sensible in public, it is not in his DNA. Like most journalists, contrary to popular belief he is not fantastic at thinking on the hoof and is bad at public speaking. We should surely have had enough of great communicators by now! It would be great to have a "Tory" ( i.e. pre-thatcherite) but we are an endanagered species. The "debate" made me feel respectful towards the USA more and more. How hypocritical of Europeans to berate Americans for their stupidity. We do not even know the concept of public debate.

John M Ward said...

I remain convinced that the main reason we keep having these three in this kind of situation on the BBC is because the Beeb knows that it isn't Boris's best style of forum, their preferred man Ken is very smooth in such scenarios and all they have to do is let him get away with claiming anything he likes.

How many of these events did we need on the Beeb anyway? We've had Paxman, Neil, Sopel and now Dimbleby (with an audience) -- at least that's the end of them!

Notwithstanding all that, it was clear that Paddick really isn't capable of handling these situations at all well, and Boris did do well on the whole.

The Beeb's bias was as any of us here would have expected: it is their way, as we all know (and most now admit), so I for one was not one bit surprised at how it was handled by David D.

As has been explained (I think here, but it might have been on one of the "BBC is Biased" sites) by someone in the know, the questions are carefully selected to appear balanced on the surface, but overall slanted to suit their agenda. The same goes for picking the audience, apparently.

Scipio said...

Paddick was insufferable. He was also rude, petulant, and childish and consistently interrupted - but in a way which lacked humour and the ability to make a point. He came across as a charismaless boring twat - with his faux anger.

Boris was charming, but vague. He is clearly miffed at Ken's lies (fair enough - who wouldn't be).

Ken, actually, came across as OK. I don't like the man, but I feel he has resigned to himself that he is likely to be out of a job next week - and he is slightly demob happy!

I wouldn't vote for Ken on principle. I wouldn't vote for Paddick because he is a pillok. I'd vote for Boris cos he is the Tory candidate. But I have real concerns that he might not be up to the job.

I hope to God he is surrounded by good people, and that Boris lets them run the show.

But maybe he has hidden depth!

The kind of mayor we need is someone who understand both business and wider societal issues. I think that, regardless of what kind of candidate he makes, Steve Norris would be a great potential CEO of London!

Anonymous said...

angelneptunestar said...

"Thinking about Question Time some more, I am convinced it was a stitchup. Why did Boris Johnson have to suffer questions that were just insults, that he could not possibly reply to, particularly at the end?"

It's a programme on the bbc. What did you expect?

"David Dimbleby was a disgrace"

What's new?

Anonymous said...

Disagree Iain....

Boris did very well...Livingstone was caught out more than once for the lying slime he is...but he did come across with some charm. As for that LibDem guy...what possessed thwe LibDems to select him!?

Sure the presenter was trying to set up Boris...sure the audience was loaded with Labour workers.It did not stop Boris winning comfortably however. I enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Incredible that you can claim it is the BBC's fault that Boris cannot perform in front of the media at these debates! All it does is suggest Boris just can't cope with his campaign when his team aren't holding his hands. That isn't a good look.

The key recurring theme was that Boris could not answer the questions.
"How are you going to get the RMT to agree to a no-strike rule?"

"Errr...bleuugh..err I'm sure there are moderate people in the RMT who will want to sign up to an independent arbitrator...err"

And then Ken gives his direct answer with a sample of statistics to back it up. Like it or loathe it, the other two are not able to provide any substance and these debates demonstrate it.

One can't help feeling that Steve Norris would have done a much more convincing and conventional job than Boris Johnson at this stage. Boris just isn't good enough to offer a serious alternative for the complexities involved.

Anonymous said...

"And then Ken gives his direct answer"

Vote for honest Ken (or not).