Tag Archives: any questions

LISTEN: Ming Campbell on North Korea, an anti-Brexit party, gender equality and what he ate before a big race

When something goes awry in the world, I always want to hear what two people think of it – Paddy and Ming. I don’t always agree with them, but what they have to say is always worth hearing.

Last night Ming Campbell was on Any Questions. He had his own alliterative response to Trump’s “fire and fury” and “locked and loaded” – inexperienced, incompetent and incoherent. He said that the UK should work with the UN to sort this situation out and warned against any sort of military engagement. He said that the world was in a very dangerous situation.

Other issues raised included whether there should be a new centrist anti-Brexit party. Ming said, quite correctly, that there was one and there was no time to faff about creating another. The fallout from the Google memo was also discussed.

But you’ll have to listen to the end to find out what Ming used to eat before a big race in his running days when he held British records and stuff. It certainly wasn’t the sort of tailored, scientific approach we see with elite athletes today.

I was also surprised that he came out in favour of the sacking of James Damore from Google. He was pretty clear. What he’d said was wholly inappropriate and he had to go. I kind of agree with him – but on the other hand, I am very aware that Damore worked for a company in a country which has next to no employment rights. I suspect that firing him will make him a vast amount of money and will make him a bit of a celeb in alt-right circles. A disciplinary process that told him off might have been a better way of dealing with the situation.

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Now we must stand firm, and proclaim our own powerful vision.

So we come to the crunch. We have voted against triggering Article 50 in both the Commons and the Lords. We are being attacked, as Tim Farron was on Radio 4’s Any Questions last Friday night, for being anti-democratic.

I have read this accusation many times here on Liberal Democrat Voice. I have occasionally heard it on Copeland doorsteps too, during the recent by-election. No amount of pointing out, as Tim did again that night, that the people who voted Leave in the Referendum had not voted to leave the EU Single Market has cut much ice with those voters who simply demand, ‘We voted to leave – get on with it!’  Theresa May’s government will shortly obey them.

Were we wrong in what we insisted on? And if so, are our electoral chances being harmed by that public perception? Maybe the latest Tory wins in local elections, maybe the commanding Tory lead in the opinion polls, maybe the too-few votes for us in the recent by-elections – perhaps they all had some small connection with public disagreement over our known stance. Could that be the case?

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LISTEN: To Sal Brinton on Any Questions

Sal Brinton Sal @ Crohns & Colitis Rec _2 CROPPED Nov 13At last, there was a Liberal Democrat on a political programme panel on the BBC last night. It was such a welcome relief after the recent rightwash on all of these programmes.  Sal Brinton did us all proud.

I lost count of the times she was cheered rapturously by the audience. This was not just polite applause, but real, vocal agreement as she gave great, clear answers on all the questions. The best, I thought, was on the daft idea of private schools wanting money to offer bursaries. Excellent comprehensive education is the answer, she said loud cheers.  She said that all the evidence suggested that the most disadvantaged families wouldn’t apply for these sorts of schemes because they thought it wasn’t for them. The bit I found most moving was when she talked about her friends being separated at the age of 11, something which “really mattered to them.”

This took place in Norfolk, a place that voted Leave in massive numbers, yet the most popular person on the panel was the Remain supporter who offered a say on the final Brexit deal.

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LISTEN: Tim Farron on Any Questions

Not only did we have Sal Brinton on Question Time this week, but Tim Farron took part in last night’s Any Questions.

You can listen to the whole thing here.

Key points included Tim talking about Chilcot. He said that the conclusions were “massively grave” and there was a juxtaposition between Blair’s absolute determination to go to war and the complete and total absence of any planning after the conflict. All of us, he said, were less safe because of that decision. Charles Kennedy stands vindicated by Chilcot.

He said that he found it objectionable that in two hours of defensiveness we only got 15 seconds of qualified regret from Tony Blair. The least the families of those who lost their lives deserved, he said, was an apology and they didn’t get it.

He also made a very salient contribution on a question on Andrea Leadson’s CV. Whatever may or may not have happened, he said, it’s insignificant compared to the fact that she fronted a campaign which said the NHS would get £350 million a week if we left the EU.

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Paddy slams Tory plans for the BBC

The Huffington Post reports what it describes as Paddy’s “blazing rant” about the Tories’ plans for the BBC. To be fair, they have probably never witnessed or been on the receiving end of an actual Paddy rant. This is mild in comparison. However, his comments were certainly robust and there is an audio clip of them on the report.

He told audience members at Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions’ that were the Conservatives still in coalition with his party they would “never have gotten away” with changing the BBC’s governance rules that meant they could appoint the new executive’s Chair and deputy.

Ashdown warned that letting the government oversee the two most important positions would risk compromising on the BBC’s impartiality.

To rapturous applause, he argued: “The BBC is listened to with respect all the way round the world because it is known to be impartial, that’s why it has the standing that it does.

“But the BBC should be run independently and not by the government and I can tell you very straightforwardly if we Lib Dems had stayed in they’d have never got away with putting a board in there, many of whom – slightly less than 50% – are going to be appointed by the government.

“I’m with Norman Fowler, the ex-Chairman of the Conservative party, who said none of them should be appointed by the government – they should all be independent…

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So why exactly did Alex Salmond miss Any Questions?

A bit of intrigue never goes amiss on a Saturday afternoon.

Last night, Alex Salmond missed Any Questions because, according to Jonathan Dimbleby at 1 minute 50 in: “apparently been held up in Scotland by the floods.” Certainly his Gordon constituency has been badly affected by some awful flooding in the north east of Scotland. In fact, Lib Dem MSP for North East Scotland Alison McInnes has been scathing about the SNP Government’s slow response, saying:

Here in the north-east local agencies have faced a prolonged battle against the rising water and staff and residents are exhausted. I do worry we haven’t seen the last of the bad weather but everyone has rallied together to support one another and the examples of community spirit have been heartening to see at such a difficult time.

Lessons need to be learnt on what’s happened in Scotland since the start of 2016 because I still think this response took place at a snail’s pace. The Scottish Government cannot keep forgetting that its responsibility is to the whole of Scotland, not just the central belt.

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Why would Alistair Carmichael stop going to a supermarket?

Alistair Carmichael speech Jan 2014Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael was on last night’s Any Questions from Tiverton in Devon, just about as far away as you can get from his Orkney home.

He told the Tory Nadim Zahawi off for raising the idea of capping child benefit at the second child, dismissing it as “not one of your better ideas.”

It was inevitable that there would be a question on food banks and I think that he tackled it quite well and thoughtfully. He said that the key to tackling poverty was to get more people into work and to let those on the lowest wages keep more of what they earn. He added that people who used food banks may not be on benefits but might be suffering from chaotic events in their lives. He added as well that our incomes weren’t as resilient as once they might have been. Because we have such a high level of personal debt, which has to be serviced, we aren’t able to save so we have something to fall back on.

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