Friday, February 17, 2006

Any Questions, Stannington

An audience member in tonights episode of Any Questions, I feel oddly qualified to comment on it, although I heard nothing you listeners of the electric wireless didn't.

The most notable thing was that on most issues the whole panel seemed to agree, and nobody defended the government. Everybody agreed with Lord Turner on pensions before he even spoke. Ed Vaizey, even had the enormous cheek, for a Tory, to suggest (correctly) that any reformed pensions should be the property of the individual to stop the state raiding the kitty. (Again.)

Ming Campbell was excellent of course, on the question of C of E disinvestment in Caterpillar, which prompted the usual arguments about Israel and Palestine, which I dare not comment on. Vaizey seemed to endorse the ludicrous position that considering any policy of the Israeli government unethical was anti-Semitic. Frankly, if this is the case, most of the Jews I know are anti-Semitic. Ming pointed out that questioning the policies of the Israeli government does not make you anti-Semitic any more than questioning George Bush's policies makes you anti-American.

And on Guantanamo Bay, and on the glorification of terrorism Ming was excellent. Dimbleby attempted on occasion to challenge a panellist with the government's position on some issue, a noble effort. But with Diane Abbott representing Labour and largely opposing the government, the whole program was somewhat surreal. Much as I'd like to think that there is a popular consensus that the government is getting things wrong, we are not quite there yet. You would have thought that a program like Any Questions ought to have a pro-government voice on it - so that the government's best arguments can be defeated, of course.

Tag: Any Questions

1 comment:

Paul Leake said...

Having only listened to it on the radio two things about Ming really struck me:
a) That he really dominated on anything about foreign affairs and the law.
b) He was much less polished on issues such as pensions where he just parrotted out the party line on pensions aimed at old people rather than address (as the question did) young people - where the Lib Dems could point out how hard it is for young people to afford pensions when paying back tuition fees, inflated housing costs etc.

That's no reason not to elect him leader, but certainly something that would need work on once he became leader.