Watching BBC’s Question Time this evening from Canary Wharf, I’ve concluded it’s time to bin the programme, or at the very least to make major changes to its format.
While the make up this week’s panel is left-wing, last week’s was right-wing. Whatever, the format does not work when the country has a coalition government and is in the midst of an economic emergency.
Having panelists airily criticise the changes being made to save the nation from bankruptcy serves absolutely no purpose. Frankly, I’m not any longer interested in a programme that sees value in creating argument over a national disaster. For example with the polarised views of a Marxist, in Caroline Lucas, or the delusions of political columnist, in Peter Hitchens.
One possible solution is to take one or two ‘hot’ topics and have a couple of politicians, and academics or experts discuss the topic in detail. Just take a look at blogs on the internet, there’s plenty of thoughtful comment and analysis there. The time will come again when Question Time is the perfect format for political discussion. Now is not that time. Now is the time for serious analysis of the financial threats to the UK and world economies, and the nature of work in a globalised business world.
Continuing with a programme format that designs in partisan and tribal argument adds nothing to public discourse or enlightenment.
Here are my marks out of 10: Peter Hitchens, brevity is not his forte, nor is sound argument – 5: Caroline Lucas, a panelist twice in as many months is enough, no more please, too full of convoluted Marxist babble – 4: Ed Balls, all Labour politicians are in denial on the scale of our economic woes – 5: Vince Cable, more animated, impressive and cerebral than I’ve seen before – 8; Brent Hoberman, most probably an intelligent and thoughtful businessman, but not a worthy panelist, although he didn’t interrupt as Lucas and Balls were allowed to do – 6.
Finally, it’s going to get very boring if all the opposition aims to do is find, or promote splits in a coalition.