Andrew Marr bids for record-breaking number of different topics in one interview

I wonder if somewhere deep in the BBC there is a target for how many different topics must be asked about in political interviews each month and someone woke up this morning to realise that January’s quota is about to be missed. Or perhaps there was a typo in Andrew Marr’s contract and his BBC salary is based on number of topics covered rather than number of minutes of screentime filled.

Whatever the reason, this morning’s interview with Nick Clegg saw a helter skelter tour around a huge number of topics, making for a  comprehensive tour of current political issues but also a degree of superficial Q+A that did not shed much light on any of them. The number of times Marr’s questions were no more than very superficial in their references suggests that this style, whatever its reason, rather over-stretched him.

I suspect Nick Clegg went into the interview wanting to talk in some detail about his vision of fairness in a time of economic austerity as each time he half got going on such a topic it sounded like there were well prepared answers starting to come out, but each time also Andrew Marr quickly cut him off.

What we did get was a brief pop at Labour for not having a clear, coherent policy for delivering fairness when there is a deficit to tackle and a repeated emphasis on the need to make the country fairer – especially via targeted public services, such as the pupil premium, and changes in the tax system, such as a mansion tax. Fairness was also used to defend the benefits cap, on which the House of Lords votes tomorrow, Nick Clegg backed the principle of a cap strongly but added. “Of course we need to look at transitional arrangements … and the place of children”.

One sound bite of note: “I would like to see David Laws back in government”.


* Mark Pack is Party President and is the editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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  • Michael Thomas 22nd Jan '12 - 11:50am

    First time I’ve watched Marr in a long time and was severely disappointed.

    Nick Cleggs interview sounded like something Smash Hits would ask a pop star. Short questions with no follow up.

    I want it to turn in to a party political broadcast for our party but some scrutiny and a real chance to answer in depth questions.

    I won’t be watching again if I ever have the TV on this early on Sundays again.

  • Michael Thomas 22nd Jan '12 - 12:05pm

    Sorry that’s “I don’t want a party politcial broadcast”

    Don’t write a Sunday morning after getting up so early. . Lesson learnt.

  • the other record broken was the number of times he interrupted his interviewee. Several times he interrupted before the end of the first sentence of an answer. Not sure what Marr is trying to prove, except of course that he doesn’t think LibDems should be in govt, but then we knew that! Maybe he’s on something?
    Despite it all Nick was as brilliant as ever.

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