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Cracking edition of Question Time

By Editor
March 25th, 2013 at 11:54 am | 2 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

If you missed Thursday’s edition of Question Time, do take a moment, if you can, to catch up on iPlayer. On the panel last week were Michael Gove (Con), Emily Thornberry (Lab), Natalie Bennett(Greens), Anthony Horowitz (writer extraordinaire) and Mark LittlewoodQuestion_time_logo (IEA).

Many will know that Mark Littlewood was founder of Liberal Vision so we were especially pleased to see him on the panel doing just a grand job – most particularly on the issue of press regulation. Though to be frank he served up aces for every question posed (budget/press regulation/education/Cyprus).

Many on twitter report that it was one of the finest editions of QT in a long time – and we certainly wouldn’t argue with that one.

ps Anthony Horowitz occupying the usual lefty writer slot was a very pleasant surprise indeed – sounded like a good liberal through and through. His comments on Hacked Off were truly top drawer.

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Mark Littlewood to appear on Question Time tonight

By Editor
October 13th, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Comments Off on Mark Littlewood to appear on Question Time tonight | Posted in Uncategorized

HAT TIP : Tonight’s Question Time promises to be a lively affair as Mark Littlewood (formerly of this parish) joins the panel. Having enjoyed his many media performances over the years (see our send-off video from a couple of years back) and with a reputation for shaking things up we reckon this will be a cracker.


Mark, Ming and the meeting of minds

By Angela Harbutt
February 11th, 2011 at 1:34 am | 2 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

I know for  a fact that Mark Littlewood (formerly of this parish) and Sir Ming Campbell respect one another. Mark was the head of media for the Lib Dems when Ming was leader of the party. They got on. Ming listened to Mark’s media advice .  Mark recognised Ming’s political and international experience and knowledge. They were as one, I think, on civil liberties.

In recent times it would be fair to say, however, that their views have not always chimed on economic issues.

But in the last 24 hours there seems to have been a meeting of Ming/Mark minds. On David Cameron’s Big Society of all things.

Yesterday Mark Littlewood suggested that the libraries of this nation could be saved if the likes of Nicky Wire, bassist of the Manic Street Preachers, multimillionaire Richard Pullman, and indeed all those  who care about libraries, put their hands in their pockets to help save them. 

In much the same way frankly as many football fans – rich and not so rich – have put their hands in their pockets over the years to save their local clubs in times of need, parishioners have done to save their local church roof, villagers have bought their local pub etc.

Tonight on Question Time , Ming Campbell advocated pretty much the same thing as far as I can see. On the issue of  the Big Society , Ming argued that the big society has been around for a long time – local charities, societies, self help groups etc, working voluntarily for the wider benefit of society. People getting on, doing stuff for themselves.

But in these dire economic times, Ming argued, this is the time for those that can afford to put an extra £10 or £20 into their preferred voluntary cause, local group etc should step up to the plate. 

And he is right. It’s the best articulation of the Big Society I have heard quite honestly.

If you care about it – do your bit – don’t leave it all to the state. That’s Ming bunging an extra score or so to his local athletics club, Mark doshing out more to his beloved Saints Foundation and Nicky Wire dobbing something in for his beloved libraries -rather than expecting the state to look after the things we hold dear. …theatre,church, football club, library….. We all have things we think are important – we just shouldn’t always expect someone else to pay for it.

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Has the coalition ruined my Thursday nights?

By Angela Harbutt
May 28th, 2010 at 12:00 am | 1 Comment | Posted in UK Politics

Did tonight show us the future of UK television political coverage? I sincerely hope not.

First I watched Question Time. No Government minister on the programme..because, the BBC say, Downing Street said it would put up a minister but only if the Labour spokesperson was a serving Labour MP not Alistair Campbell… The BBC told the Government to sod off and it was up to them who they invited onto the show. First signs of BBC/government tensions? It was frankly silly of the Government to big up Campbell like that…but even sillier of the BBC to choose Alistair Campbell in the first place.

The guests were in fact all FORMER SOMETHINGs…. Alistair Campbell (former Labour spin doctor) looking very smug, Piers Morgan (former newspaper editor – and a big Labour supporter), Max Hastings (another former newspaper editor), Susan Kramer (former Lib Dem MP), and John Redwood (former cabinet minister)….Even if some of them have columns,books, or entertainment TV shows on the go these days.

Being brutally honest who cares what a load of former somethings think… It was dull,dull,dull especially when Campbell droned on like a broken record about why Blair took us into Iraq (yawn). The highlight, frankly, was when Susan Kramer described Ming Campbell as the John Redwood of the Lib Dems..(I doubt she meant it to come out quite the way it did).

It is early days of course – so let’s hope they sort out their spat with NO10 and find some panellists who are somewhat more relevant to the issues at hand or at least have something  to say.

I am now watching Andrew Neal’s THIS WEEK as I write. This too has gone a tad off- piste and is NOT working. Although I have always thought Diane Abbott a tad mad, there is undoubtedly a chemistry between the sharp-as-knife Michael Portillo and his giggling sidekick.

Diane Abbott has been replaced by Hazel Blears because, as Abbott is running in the Labour leadership election, the BBC was concerned her continued appearance as a pundit would breach its editorial independence guidelines. (Though rumour has it that Ms Abbott will feature on next week’s Question Time??).

Hazel Blears is deemed a suitable replacement. She is, let’s remember, one of the worst  home flippers there is..which begs the question that of all the MPs to choose to replace Abbott …why her? What can she possibly bring to the piece other than as an expert on tax avoidance?

Hazel Blears and David Davis (their replacements) are pale immitations of the real thing and just too painful to watch –  Ms Blears squeaking and wriggling her way through the show whilst David Davis (Portillo’s replacement) manouvers himself  tight into the corner, as far away from her as he possibly can on such a small piece of furniture. David Davis is not doing a bad job actually- but even he can’t carry the feeble efforts of the mighty midget. I have had to switch off.

I now live in hope that Ms Abbott can return to This Week’s love seat once she fails to get 33 Labour MPs to nominate her for the Leadership election – I never thought I would be writing that particular line ! (Dont even mention Ms Abbott and London Mayoral elections)

When the coaltion was finally agreed , I did wonder whether this would see the end of three-way politics on TV, with the Lib Dems squeezed out of the debate entirely …I never thought it would result in yawn TV. Perhaps the BBC have just been caught on the hop.. and it will get better (it surely can’t get worse) or may be the most radical and exciting government in decades really does make for crap TV. Has the coalition really ruined my Thursday nights? I hope not.

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I love Lembit

By Angela Harbutt
October 30th, 2009 at 12:43 am | 6 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

lembitOk , I am not quite ready to have his babies – but I thought that Lembit was top notch on Question Time tonight. He stood up proud and bold on legalisation of drugs – making Jacqui Smith look silly (though to be fair she was doing a pretty good job all by herself) and destroyed the Tories on their history of boom and bust.

Flamboyant?- maybe. Dodgy taste in women? probably(he has never come on to me !). Self deprecating? – definitely. Controversial?- always. But I love those anarchic MPs who say what they believe and stand by it. I want more of them. We would not be in the state we are in had we had more idiosyncratic, off the wall but principled, independent members of parliament who stood by their beliefs rather than folded to bullying or the promise of promotion. More please.

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