BBC Question Time: open thread 19/3/09 (Or The Vince & Ken Show)

by Stephen Tall on March 19, 2009

It’s not often I say that BBC’s Question Time looks unmissable, but I may make an exception for tonight’s edition (BBC1 and online, 10.35 pm GMT). What prompts my salivation, you ask? Well, the Lib Dem representative is none other than St Vince of Cable, the party’s deputy leader and shadow chancellor. In fact, Vince’s presence alone would justify tuning in. But, wait, there’s more.

For the Tories will be represented by one of their only sane Big Beasts, Ken Clarke, the party’s shadow chancellor shadow business minister. Now if only Labour had had the gumption to put up Baron Mandelson, of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham, what a show we would have had in prospect. But perhaps they feared M’Lord Mandelson’s title wouldn’t fit in the credits. Instead, the Government will have Tessa Jowell appearing for its defence. Actually, I’ve always had a soft spot for Tess of the Suburbvilles, one of the only Labour cabinet ministers I can listen to without wanting to shout back at.

And I’ve always had more than a soft spot for TV presenter Fern Britton, debuting on QT tonight – I’m curious to see if my expectations of her (liberal, compassionate, no-nonsense) live up to reality, or if she’ll be afflicted by ‘QT celeb syndrome’ (incoherent rabbit-in-headlights, and/or vacuously populist politician-bashing).

Finally, there’s Douglas Murray, a “self-described neoconservative and Zionist” Wikipedia informs me. Great: a posh-boy Melanie Phillips mini-me. Just what the world needed.

Remember, if you’re tuning in, you can join the general debate on Twitter here at #bbcqt, or the LDV debate below.