Tag Archives: the big debate

Ming Campbell talks EU democracy, security, sovereignty in BBC Big Debate

Yesterday, I went to Glasgow to take part in Radio Scotland’s Big Debate as part of the Remain contingent. As they did during the election, the BBC invited a delicately balanced audience.

I almost combusted on the spot when I saw that there was to be an all-male panel. Then I looked at the Leave contingent, all but one of whom were men and only men spoke. The Remain contingent, however, were almost perfectly balanced and it was the women who actually spoke the most during the hour.

It still feels strange to hear Ming Campbell introduced as Lord Campbell of Pittenweem. His partner on the remain side was the very able SNP MEP Alyn Smith. Both of them were very good at making the positive case for the EU and busting a lot of Leave myths. The Leave panellists were Tory Brian Monteith, who lives in France and is a former Conservative MEP. George Laird is from Labour Leave.

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My experience on the Big Fat Debate

Yesterday, I travelled across Scotland to a very windy Prestwick to take part in Radio Scotland’s Big Debate, hosted by Gordon Brewer. There was a big audience in the warm and welcoming Monkton and Prestwick Church Hall. My fellow panellists were Conservative MSP John Scott, SNP MSP Chic Brodie (who used to be a Lib Dem), Herald journalist Alison Rowat and former Labour MP for Glasgow South Tom Harris. Tom has a bit of a reputation for courting controversy and being a bit of a bruiser, so let me ruin that slightly by letting you know that he was showing us photos of his very cute dog before we went into the hall. He would say I started it by showing a photo my husband had sent me of my dog, and he’d be right, but still. He’s actually a good bloke, despite having been Misogynist of the Week on my blog a few years back. He’s a fellow Whovian, so can be forgiven almost anything. Well, maybe not all his gratuitous attacks on the Lib Dems…

It was a lively hour and, unusually, we managed to fit in five questions:

Donald Trump

It’s always good to have a go at the obnoxious, racist, misogynist American billionaire, but what if his investments are creating hundreds of jobs locally, as they are in Ayrhsire? Should they be boycotted? My view was that, much as I wouldn’t go anywhere near them, it should be an individual choice, not a matter of public policy. I added that although I hadn’t signed the petition (for the reasons I gave the other day), it was in some ways heartening to half a million people show a bit of solidarity with Muslims. After all, there have been too many reports of hostility towards them recently. In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, a friend of mine was walking down the street and moved aside to let someone pass. She got a whole load of rudeness in return: “I don’t thank your kind” was the horrible response.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 6 Comments
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