BBC Question Time: open thread

by Stephen Tall on October 9, 2008

With western capitalism imploding – and the even more surprising news that Gordon Brown yesterday managed an unscripted quip – BBC Question Time reports, only a little self-importantly, there “have been some changes to the line-up due to the dramatic developments in the banking crisis.”

Sadly the BBC don’t tell us who they’ve bumped off the panel to make way for the heavweights felt capable of delivering the gravitas appropriate to a week which has seen the quasi-nationalisation of the financial services industry. But speaking of gravitas, who better to be representing the Lib Dems tonight than Chris Huhne, the party’s shadow secretary of state for home affairs (and likely shadow chancellor but for the grace of St Vince of Cable).

It says a lot about the Tory shadow cabinet that the man with most economic credibility is still Ken Clarke, the former chancellor who hasn’t even sat on his party’s front-bench for more than a decade. The panel also includes the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills John Denham, the Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, and Ruth Lea from the Eurosceptic campaign group Global Vision.

It could, I guess, be a corker of a show (BBC1, 10.35 pm or online). In which case, how better to watch it than by keeping one eye on the telly while posting acerbic remarks in LDV’s open thread?

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Wow… Dimbleby is grumpy tonight.

by Lonely Wanderer on October 9, 2008 at 11:04 pm. Reply #

lol he is ye

by Darrell on October 9, 2008 at 11:10 pm. Reply #

Tough on Huhne; tough on the causes of Huhne.

by Grammar Police on October 9, 2008 at 11:17 pm. Reply #

I’m sorry, faith is not “crucial” to maintaining order on our streets. Nonsense.

by Grammar Police on October 9, 2008 at 11:19 pm. Reply #

Agreed…..incidentally nice dodge of the Palin question by Huhne

by Darrell on October 9, 2008 at 11:25 pm. Reply #

As someone who went to Oxford after a state comp, I wonder what considerations played a part when they thought about my application. It never even occurred to me at 18 that they wouldn’t judge us all on the same standard.

by Grammar Police on October 9, 2008 at 11:31 pm. Reply #

It never even occurred to me at 18 that they wouldn’t judge us all on the same standard.

And they don’t.

Sorry, what are we talking about? I was at the pub…

by Andy Hinton on October 9, 2008 at 11:56 pm. Reply #

Sensible stuff from Ken Clarke, as usual.

Chris was forceful and generally effective but, I felt, too ready to score political points over the economy, particularly since Clarke has been one of the few MPs (along with Vince Cable of course) who has warned of the debt build-up in both the public and private sectors for three years or more.

There was a lot of semantic splitting of hairs over the meaning of ‘free market economy’.

Chris suggested Clarke drew a false dichotomy between free markets and the Soviet model, but Ken’s definition of free markets (as with most politicians and academic economists) has always involved an acceptance of the need for sensible regulation. The idea of pure laissez faire economies is a chimera.

In fact, it was Chris who drew a simplistic dichotomy between ‘light touch’ and presumably heavy-handed regulation; it was the ineffectiveness of the regulation, and of the tripartite system of regulation, that contributed to the present crisis, not a lack of regulation per se. (Of course there were other causes.)

That is perfectly compatible with the argument that some parts of the economy – small businesses and farmers, for example – and especially councils and public services are over-regulated, which they certainly are.

Finally, I thought Dimbleby was unnecessarily rude and his constant interruptions hindered the debate rather than helped it on this occasion.

by Alex Sabine on October 10, 2008 at 2:26 am. Reply #

Dimbleby is always rude. It’s time he was pensioned off – preferably without a pay-off.

by David from Ealing on October 10, 2008 at 8:06 am. Reply #

Huhne did reasonably well, especially considering that Clarke and Denham are two of their parties’ best performers.

by Simon on October 10, 2008 at 4:26 pm. Reply #

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