Monday, May 31, 2010

That's All We've Got Time For

I did an interview on the Today programme at 8.45 about the David Laws situation and the part homosexuality played in the story. I was on with Kelvin MacKenzie and Evan Davis was conducting the interview. He came to me for the first two questions and then asked Kelvin two, or was it three, questions. I assumed I'd then get another bite of the cherry but instead he sought to close down the interview. No doubt someone had whispered in his ear to do so. I audibly groaned so he then came back to me after all.

What is the point of being part of a double header interview if there isn't at least some discussion? Why close down an interview just when it is getting interesting? OK, it was near the end of the programme and they probably had two other items to get through, but I just feel that the listener is short-changed when this happens.


strapworld said...

It is not just your interview, which I listened to, but most on this awful programme.

Interesting discussions are cut short and boring ones appear to go on and on.

I thought Kelvin McKenzie was typical and did not take your line, on gays being concerned about informing their parients, indeed he was dismissive of it.

There again he is a rebid anti-gay former editor. Just what relevance is he today? What does he do apart from writing a ultra right wing sarcastic column for The Sun? He must have the biggest chip on his shoulder.

Still, the way The Telegraph is going one could open a book on the odds of McKenzie being that rags next editor!

Desperate Dan said...

The interview with you and Mackenzie was in stark contrast with the interview that preceded it. Humphreys behaved like a fond relative in his interview with John Prescott . He is clearly a fan and presumes we share his hail-fellow-well-met attitude to the new Peer. There were no questions about his squalid sex romps on government premises and why Prescott didn't resign. There were no questions about his expenses - £4,800 per month for food. £38,000 for repairs, furnishings and additions to his eight bedroomed house in Hull. No questions about why he had designated his house in Hull as his second home in order to maximise the Additional Cost Allowance. No questions about the value of his role as climate change spokesman or how much his trip to China cost or who paid for it.
You would think that as Humphreys has played such a shameful role in the public humiliation of David Laws that he might have felt some remorse but apparently not. Prescott was allowed to blow his own trumpet unimpeded by interruptions from the man who won't let any Conservative politician finish a sentence.

Tim F said...

Desperate Dan: if you're accusing Today presenters of playing favourites according to their own personal prejudices and inclinations, wouldn't Evan Davis (aka Tinsel Tits) have given nice gay Iain an easy ride and bitten chunks out of Mackenzie's homophobic throat?

Daniel said...

@Desperate Dan

Humphreys didn't ask Prescott about sex romps, expenses etc because it wasn't relevant to why he was being interviewed. He was asked to come on to talk about his elevation to the Lords.

Giles Marshall said...

I tend to agree with Desperate Dan about the Humphreys/Prescott love-in - utterly ridiculous. I thought you did well, putting the case you have been consistently putting over the Laws affair, and which I think has nailed it more effectively than most other commentators. A pity you weren't given more time. I do think Davis had Mackenzie on the hop when he relayed the emailed question about what, in fact, was particularly wrong about paying towards your partner's house if you live in it. But the bigger issue just resulted in a load of fulminations from an ever incandescent Mackenzie.

WCH said...

And yet, despite all this, we all keep on listening. How odd.

David Gregory said...

Iain, out of interest did you ask Evan or someone on the production team how long you had? Or even what Evan's first question was? I haven't listened to this interview but if you were keen to get to the debate perhaps you could have kept your initial points shorter?

Houdini said...

Well, of course, and obviously, to anyone but a blind and deaf man, it is an anti-homosexual conspiracy is it not? [sic]

JohnRS said...

Come on everyone, this is the biased BBC you're talking about. When was it ever going to cut short a NuLieBore trougher like Lord Prescott of All The Pies, or encourage a positive discussion about anything that might even vaguely support DemTories?

Henry Wood said...

Well said, Desperate Dan. I was foaming at the mouth and my blood pressure was 240/180 by the time Lord Prescott of 2 Jags, 5 Bellies and 6 Carnations had finished his self-serving spiel. And he had the nerve to complain about the Tories "flooding" the Lords! No mention from him or his toadying interviewer that this is necessary to counterbalance the years of nonentities being elevated there by his mob.

On a serious note, does anyone know of a listenable, fairly balanced radio news station to listen to at any time of day before BBC R4 is the death of me? I can access virtually any station as I use an Internet radio set. Any helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Henry Wood said...

@ Dan Brusca: If Prescott was asked on to talk about his elevation to the Lords, I would suggest sex romps, fiddled expenses etc., are more than relevant. Is there no level of dishonourable behaviour which would exclude someone from a peerage?

And Prescott had the nerve to decry the hereditaries! I wonder how a public vote would go if asked to choose between Prescott and one of the hereditaries for a vacant Lords seat?

Simon Gardner said...

I don't think many parents these days would disown or spurn a child who came out as gay. Now a child who came out as a Tory would be quite another matter. I’d certainly tell the kid never to darken my door again.

Desperate Dan said...

Dan Brusca
Prescott's past behaviour was completely relevant and any journalist worth his salt would have exploited the comparisons.
Prescott was a man who was exposed in the newspapers as a result of his private life - just like Laws. Prescott was a man who submitted questionable expenses claims.
If Humphreys hadn't been blinded by admiration for Prescott he might have asked if he had any sympathy for Laws being in the same position. He might have asked if he thought Laws should have resigned when Prescott did not. He might have asked him if we can expect to see Laws raised to the peerage like Prescott.
Unfortunately Humphreys failed to do his job properly.

Bill Quango MP said...

I stopped being a lifelong Today listener about 4 years ago and found it one of the easiest addictions to break.
My doctor tells me that my blood pressure is down, my stress level is reduced and my sense of humour has returned.

If you need help weaning yourself off this harmful addiction then go to
"If more state spending is the answer then I must be listening to Today"

We are here to help. A course of LBC97.3 can be prescribed to help wean long term addicts off the Today program slowly and there are special help groups such as injections of SKY news,alternative blog therapies and even a course of radio 5.


Desperate Dan said...

Tim Footman
I was talking about John Humphreys interviewing John Prescott. What's Evan Davis got to do with it?

Robert said...

Paying your partner for living in your partner's house has been against House of Commons rules since 2006.

David Laws is not resigning because of his sexuality, but because he broke the rules.

I would point out that Prescott came in for a lot of abuse for his extra -curricular activities at the time. Far more than David Laws has endured. I think Prescott is loathsome. Laws is just stupid.

javelin said...

Sadly dumbing down through sins of ommission rather than sins of commission.

So often in life people miss, ommit, forget or ignore things and it's so difficult to prove negligence.

I guess the tick is to turn a sin of ommission into a sin of commission by agreeing beforehand to do something.

Agree to have a discussion before hand. AND don't get annoyed when it doesn't happen FIRST time because they will claim an exceptional circumstance. So on the second occassion mention the exception on the first occassion and say how PLEASED you are (set yourself up for a fall).

Wait until a pattern develops. Then on the second or third occassion when it's clear it's not an exception them you can act let down.

Unfortunately this is the nature of interpersonal politics. Girls practice this in the playground for years.

Being reasonable is the weakness of a reasonable man.

jon dee said...

When Today has the opportunity to be hawkish towards Israel,their bandwagon rolls and running order is adjusted to give it plenty of time.

Throw in the odd sychophantic filler like buffoon Prescott, then their morning panto is complete.

Remember Humphrys helped Laws on his way with a loud attack, defended admirably by Jeremy Browne.

Mackenzie only reinforced their view this morning - more sympathetic and human responses not required.

Anonymous said...

The College of Arms has been asked to design a Coat of Arms for Lord Prescott, which reflects his contribution to political life in Britain.

You can see it here

Unknown said...

He was asked to come on to talk about his elevation to the Lords.

But isn't the first question most people have asked regarding the newly enlorded prescott, that how on earth is it justified given his history: punching and brawling with an egg-thrower; shagging a secretary and blow-jobs under the desk at work; dubious use of ministerial car; excessive and inappropriate expense claims - Meanwhile, what has he actually achieved for the good of the country?

William said...

Wasn't the Today fiasco a case where two interviewees had been lined up because of what were assumed to be their opposing views? This situation often blows up in the interviewer's face, especially with someone like McKenzie who cares little for argument. It suprises me that Evan Davies is often so badly prepared. I guess that, having lit KM's touchpaper, he could not think of a way of returning to ID.

Claire Khaw said...

Look, guys, David Laws didn't have to go. He could have stayed if he wanted to tough it out and if that shit of a wimp Cameron had decided to tough it out or even that wimp of a shit Clegg had the guts to tough it out. But they didn't. So he goes because the British political establishment is full of gutless little wimps afraid of envious little sheeple baaing over MPs' expenses claims.

Claire Khaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claire Khaw said...

Laws paid £40,000 to his landlord and lover James Lundie for renting accommodation through him in London. Laws needed to do this because his home is in Yeovil in Somerset.

If he hadn't had sex with Lundie it would have been within the rules, apparently.

So if you are an MP you are not allowed to have sex with your landlord or the landlady whose B&B it is you are staying at, or it would cost you? Where is the logic of that, I wonder. But then logic is not this nation's strong suit.

Crazy rules, which no one thinks to revise, and which brings the law into general contempt generally. A dangerous state of affairs, I would have thought, but our political classes are too thick to see this or if they are, too cowardly to say or do anything.

If you are a London MP then you aren't entitled to claim for your accommodation because you already live in London, which is fair enough.

Why doesn't the government provide accommodation for these out-of-town MPs then?

The Japanese do this for their MPs so why can't we?

So he goes because the British political establishment is full of gutless little wimps afraid of envious little sheeple baaing over MPs' expenses claims.

These sheeple will soon forget what they are baaing about and start baaing about something else. It is well-known that sheeple have the memory of golfish, but our political classes are afraid even of goldfish, as well as of slut and slapper verminous single mums breeding the next generation of vermin.

How about MPs' accommodation near the House courtesy of the taxpayer for out-of-town MPs then? This seems obvious to me.

Are they really that gutless and thick they can't even organise a piss-up in a brewery?

If this is the case they shouldn't be running the country then, should they?

Osama the Nazarene said...

Agree so much with you about the Today programme's continuous dumbing down, by artificially cutting off discussions to bring in other frequently frivolous topics. It really is infuriating. Despite that I have moved back to the Today programme as the 5-live morning programme has become a stream of frivolity totally lacking gravitas.

They've even got rid of Micky Clarke who provided valuable financial insights into the business world.

Curmy said...

I don't listen to Today any more.