Question Time – open thread, 28/05 #bbcqt

Question Time returns to its previous time slot of 2240 this evening, and the BBC website tells us the panel will be:

Europe Minister Caroline Flint, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesperson Jo Swinson, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and French businessman Pierre-Yves Gerbeau.

In the last week before the European elections, the programme is billed as a Euro special from London.  If the politicos can avoid being booed off stage merely for being politicos, there are loads of interesting ways the debate can go.  Caroline vs Caroline; Greens vs Lib Dems on who has the best environmental policy; Hannan vs Farage on whose european parliamentary party is antier than the other; and Dome running PY “Gerbil” Gerbeau on “why I’m here.”

If you’re tuning in, you can join the simultanous online Twitter debate here at #bbcqt, or the LDV debate in the thread below. Meanwhile Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson will be liveblogging events via CoverItLive at his own blog.

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13 Comments

  • Alex. Lose the beard.

  • Switched it off. I’m sick of this naval gazing

  • Grammar Police 28th May '09 - 11:30pm

    Hannan – you need to get rid of safe seats by . . . having open primaries!

    Er, no, you get rid of safe seats, by having a fairer voting system!!

  • Vic DeBacker 28th May '09 - 11:38pm

    Seeing as this is the last QT episode before the EP elections, it’s disappointing to see that no effort seems to have been made to get a reasonably balanced panel: Farage and Hannan are EU-withdrawalists of the foaming-at-the-mouth, ‘75 per cent of our laws…’ variety; Gerbeau too does his utmost to proliferate some myths (about over-regulation etc. Being an entrepreneur myself, it makes me wince to have to listen to that sort of nonsense); Lucas is reasonable – though the Green Party’s opposition to Lisbon and the euro have never been adequately explained; Flint is hardly a popular or effective advocate for a better engagement of the UK in the EU, which leaves Jo, who unfortunately made the ill-advised choice to use the term ‘gravy train’. While I would be the last to claim the EP is squeeky clean, I think ‘gravy train’ is neither an accurate description of the work done by conscientious MEPs, nor a constructive contribution to solving the existing problems.

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th May '09 - 12:11am

    We have seen what open primaries mean in the USA – rule by the rich, because they require you to run personal campaigns to win the primaries and only those with stonkingly large amounts of personal money can affordto do that.

    Open primaries effectively mean an end to freedom of association since it says that any group of people getting together to nominate one of their members for election to public office may be forcibly broken up by having to accept their association being swamped by whoever the state says they must accept, and the state’s people changing the association’s decision. Freedom to exclude is an essential part of freedom of association.

  • I like Jo Swinson. I want her to be party leader one day but I am sad we didn’t put up an MEP to appear on this programme.

    It was obvious that the audience found the three MEPs more credible than the MPs as interlocutors on European issues.

  • Matthew is partly right about open primaries. Yes, they favour people who are very rich. But they also favour people who have rich backers, and that is even more dangerous. If you want to have a say in who a party’s candidate is, then join that party.

    I have to say I am still to be convinced about recall of MPs. There is a risk that a tabloid newspaper could whip up a hate campaign about a particular MP who is obstructive to the interests of its proprietor and/or the US military-industrial-petro-chemical complex. That is something no tabloid could do at a general election because all MPs are elected at once.

    BTW, I watched the Jury Team’s PPB last night, and was left none the wiser as to what this group stands for – apart, perhaps, from not standing for anything other than having some rich guy I’ve never heard of putting up the money.

  • “I like Jo Swinson. I want her to be party leader one day but I am sad we didn’t put up an MEP to appear on this programme.”

    It really does need to be consistently pointed out – the parties don’t choose who goes on, Question Time does.

  • I thought the programme was appalling. I was expecting it to be about EU policies, but yet again there was hardly any mention of them.

    Are those really the best questions they could get from the audience? Even when there was a good question, most of the answers were dismal, and half of the comments from the audience were obviously from party stooges.

    A recurring complaint was that nobody knew who to vote for – couldn’t DD have pointed out that all the national and EP group manifestos are available on the European Movement’s UK website?

    If this had been a General Election QT, all of the panel members would have been saying, “if we’re elected, we will do x,y and z”. As it was, you were left with the impression that they were just as clueless about what the EP is for as the audience was.

    I was expecting an intelligent debate. What we got was more like a drunken argument in a pub by people who didn’t really know what they were talking about.

    /rant

  • The Labour person was terrible.

    The vibe I got was “we know we are in the wrong but we are not going to change”

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