BBC Question Time: open thread

by Stephen Tall on December 4, 2008

To Newry tonight, for a mainly-Northern Irish edition of the BBC’s Question Time (BBC1 and online, 10.35 pm GMT), which means there’s no Lib Dem on the panel tonight.

The panel will include the Health Secretary Alan Johnson, Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, Northern Ireland Assembly Minister for Enterprise Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Executive Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy, SDLP leader Mark Durkan, and Ulster Unionist peer Lord Maginnis.

And for those who are staying up extra late for BBC1’s This Week, historian David Starkey, journalist Andrew Pierce, and comedian Mark Steel will be on hand to lighten the atmosphere alongside Andrew Neil, Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott.

If you’re tuning into watch this evening, don’t get angry – get commenting…

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Andrew Lansley insinuates the police acted unlawfully. Not sure I’ve been following this story close enough because that sounds an odd assessment on the face of it…

by Lonely Wanderer on December 4, 2008 at 10:56 pm. Reply #

Mark Durkan appears to be saying that civil servants should be able to leak whatever they like so long as there are no national security implications.

Of course open government is a good thing, but should it be on the basis of the political motivations of the civil servants handling the information?

by Lonely Wanderer on December 4, 2008 at 11:04 pm. Reply #

Ooh Will Self on next week. Should be a slightly livelier programme…

by Lonely Wanderer on December 4, 2008 at 11:11 pm. Reply #

The question, Lonely, is whether potentially partisan motives for showing the public information that’s being hidden or presented in a misleading manner is too “bad” in comparison to the government being the only people that are able to “leak” stuff, and of course only stuff that is politically expedient for them to do so.

It’s all very well people sitting around and talking about the political motives of those that supply information damaging to the government but it forgets two key things. 1) The government has put themselves in that position by hiding information behind the cost of a FOI or parliamentary question and 2) “leaks” about the amazing things that the government will be doing or announcing next week are already politically motivated.

When we start arresting whoever is leaking what is expected to be in the queens speech, or that VAT is going to be cut by 2.5%, then perhaps we can argue more fairly about political motivations involved.

by Lee Griffin on December 4, 2008 at 11:24 pm. Reply #

Starkey on This Week to be talking about our “broken parliamentary democracy” apparently. Resonance with Nick Clegg’s view?

by Lonely Wanderer on December 4, 2008 at 11:40 pm. Reply #

Starkey: Damian Green = Thomas Becket, Gordon Brown = Henry II Hmmm….

by Lonely Wanderer on December 4, 2008 at 11:46 pm. Reply #

Starkey approvingly quotes Chris Huhne using Bagehot to damn the House of Commons as not part of the efficient constitution.

by Lonely Wanderer on December 4, 2008 at 11:50 pm. Reply #

The Starkey Manifesto: A directly-elected PM; a Cabinet drawn from outside Parliament; an elected Lords… basically the US constitution.

by Lonely Wanderer on December 4, 2008 at 11:58 pm. Reply #

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