Friday, 19 March 2010

Question Time, Time For The Greens

For months now I have been waiting for a Green Party person to appear on Question Time, at long last yesterday there was Caroline Lucas MEP. And what a difference she made to the often stale debates between the big three parties that are so similar, we have to rely on an occasional comedian to make any sense. And why do they often have two Tories? Yet the right claim the BBC are biased to the left. Its available here. This week, Question Time travels to Wythenshawe, Manchester where the panel includes Margaret Beckett, Andrew Lansley, Charles Kennedy, Caroline Lucas and David Starkey

From the first question Caroline stood out as something fresh in politics. Where Margaret Beckett was afraid to voice support for millions of union members Caroline stood up for them. Beckett couldn't even admit to getting thousands in funding for her election campaign from Unions, she said that was something to do with her agent! Who could forget £16,000 to Labour for Derby North and South! Caroline pointed to the union wanting BA to put the deal back on the table that they had offered before, that their CEO Willie Walsh playing politics with strike action. It may have been an attempt to get Lord Ashcroft from the headlines, but it is hardly the most important thing going on in the country. Why do unions continue to support Labour is another question. Historian David Starkey kept interrupting people, he accused Caroline of being a socialist, she said we had socialist principles. (Such as supporting the NHS). Charles Kennedy said he speaks to lots of airline stewardesses and they aren't militant!

Q2 was on Gordon Browns mistake claiming defence spending has gone up every year, he had to admit he was wrong. CL said her heart went out to those such as the woman last week (one of the most powerful things she had ever heard) who have to by equipment for her soldier son. GB claims to be strong on figures, he was chancellor for a long time. It reflects enormously badly on this government.

Q3 Childrens comissioner said age of criminal responsibility should be 12 not 10. Starkey said Norway would do it differently as it had a similar case, 'its small' (actually Norway is over a 1000 miles long).

In Norway, no children under 15 are prosecuted and Silje's killers were back at kindergarten within a week. The local community were encouraged to air their views and brought together to grieve openly. A team of counsellors was set up to work with the children in school. The strategy worked and, amazingly, there were no reprisals against either of the boys or their families. They were able to carry on living on the local housing estate.

Starkey said we have 25% feral children, tweeters wanted to know where he got this figure from. I think is counting all single parents, he considers them all to be hopeless, how little he knows. He certainly got the tweeters hot. CL said the media have a role in whipping this up, that demonising children (ASBOs) its a self fulfilling prophecy. Her timing was insensitive, it was good she appologised. But taken out from this context she made a good point.

Q4 Unemployment fall vindication of Government policy. Caroline said a smaller working week would see more employment. Figures show no cuts in services is working. Historically our deficit has been much higher, even Starkey admitted that. Employment is the most important thing, not the deficit. Cut trident and id cards, not 200,000 from Universities. There are 2 ways to look at economics, look at tax evasion not cutting jobs or it will trigger double dip recession. When Starkey said economists disagreed, CL quoted David Blanchflower who also warned that something was wrong when the others staid quiet. Starkey said Blanchflower was regarded as 'wildly eccentric' (twitters said pot calling kettle). DS 'Economists don't rule the markets'.

Q5 View on LD candidate Anna Arrowsmith makes porn movies. Kennedy said he was relieved not to be LD leader, she was well regarded, up to the constituency. DS compared her to Jeremy Thorpe. Beckett declined to comment. CL said Arrowsmith claimed to be directing feminist porn, she thought all porn exaggerates and fetishises sex, similarly lap-dancing isn't about empowerment.

Why not have a Green every week? I would love to see on QT; Tony Juniper, Peter Tatchell, Jonathan Porritt, Jean Lambert MEP, Jenny Jones AM, Darren Johnson AM.

This bought the session to an end, but twitterers continued to comment.

CarolineLucas (the only twitterer on the panel)
Thanks so much for all the kind comments about Question Time last night - Starkey seriously challenged my commitment to non-violence! #bbcqt

@guidofawkes Green woman talking sense #bbcqt

well done to Caroline Lucas who has once again proved that she is a brilliant MEP will make a fantastic MP and a woman of integrity! #bbcqt

@Ralphwjbrown Caroline was great on #bbcqt. Informed and intelligent.

@Sundip: Verdict #bbcqt – Beckett: tame, Lansley: lame, Kennedy: game, Lucas: fame, Starkey: shame

Tosser of the night: Dave Starkey. Voice of Reason: Caroline Lucas. Incompetent buffoon: Andrew Lansley #bbcqt

How come the Tories seem to have two representatives on #bbcqt every week?

Lucas spot on on shorter working week! #bbcqt

Go Caroline Lucas talking sense! #bbcqt

Starkey Dad was a left-wing trade unionist, but he is a conservative. And likes the sound of his own voice. #bbcqt

Go Caroline Lucas! Maybe we should all do something very daring and vote Green at the next election... #bbcqt

#bbcqt is this the best labour can offer tonight feckett? Lucas good points..I am seriously thinking of going Green In may.

RT @RichardNeudegg: Good point from Caroline Lucas there on the Conservatives and Ashcroft. #bbcqt

I wish Caroline Lucas was in the Labour Party #bbcqt (AdrianWindisch this is a Labour Supporter)

Caroline Lucas: "very happy to say we have socialist principles"! Go Caroline! #FirstGreenMPs #bbcqt


Adrian Windisch said...

Others I'd like to see on QT; Adrian Ramsay, George Monbiot, Johann Hari.

howard thomas said...

Here's a question for you.......How do the greens view congestion charging?

Adrian Windisch said...

Positively, as a way of reducing congestion.

As I discussed at the hustings last week. I thought you had read my blog about it already.