A bit late I know, but there are important conclusions to be drawn from Thursday evening’s BBC Question Time programme in Middlesbrough. First things first, a profile of the panel, and then the post-Question Time comments stream to gauge general reaction.
Here’s my analysis:
- The reactions and comments from the audience were hostile to Labour, and weren’t even leavened with an overall disappointment and dislike in all politicians. There was no good news for Labour here.
- Now, I know the audience were generally seething about the closure of the local Corus steel works. As ever with these types of issues, the panel’s analysis was superficial. However, the point made by Rory Stewart was telling, and may have lasting traction locally, and that was that Labour have come to this issue far to late. Too late, to make a difference. The conclusion the audience could draw was that a traditional Labour heartland is unloved by Labour. Could tell in the polls.
- Afghanistan was yet a again a subject. Only this time, the panel contained someone with a profound knowledge and a ‘against the grain’ conclusion. Rory Stewart’s analysis was powerful, displaying a ferocious intellect. Candidate’s of this quality improve the Conservative brand, and diminish opposition opinions. I can’t see how being a plain backbench MP will satisfy Rory. Must be a Foreign Office minister, surely.
Finally, individual scores. Cruel, yes. But nothing wrong in that. Tom Conti: better than expected – 6, Ruth Lea, tried to tough it out over no state support – 5, Rory Stewart, unquestionably a star performer – 9, Roy Hattersley, an old-Labour dinosaur – 7, Lynne Featherstone, unusually for a LibDem, didn’t offend – 6
Final point. Dimbleby failed to ask Rory Stewart about his motivations about becoming an MP. I’m just a mite curious as to why being an MP attracts.