BBC Question Time: open thread 26/3/09

by Stephen Tall on March 26, 2009

Ed (‘call me Edward’) Davey, the Lib Dems’ shadow foreign secretary, is the party’s representative on tonight’s Question Time (BBC1 and online, 10.35 pm GMT). This week’s been a busy one for Ed, as the Government’s various foreign affairs shames – the war on Iraq, extraordinary rendition – catch up with it.

Ed will be joined on the panel by some, erm heavyweights… senior Labour politician Charles ‘two pizzas’ Clarke, rotund Conservative Party chairman Eric Pickles, and asinine gourmand Michael Winner. For viewers of a nervous disposition, the fragrant Caroline Lucas (normally fairly sensible, for a Green) will be on hand to lighten the panel’s burliness.

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

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I have a confession to make – I failed to brief Ed properly on the line to take on Hindu open-air cremations 🙁

by Greg Stone on March 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm. Reply #

What line is that then Greg?

by Andrew Duffield on March 26, 2009 at 10:45 pm. Reply #

Eric Pickles has always struck me as a Mills and Boon man.

by Mark Reckons on March 26, 2009 at 10:50 pm. Reply #

Winner has just claimed poor girls get pregnant to get council houses!

by Simon Jerram on March 26, 2009 at 10:50 pm. Reply #

Whats up with Eric Pickles?

has he had an ‘obnoxius-ectomy’

Good debate so far.

May be with Caroline Lucas we might get a serious debate about the environment. Have not had any discussion since the shocking predictions of the Copenhagen conference of Climate scientists.

by simonsez on March 26, 2009 at 10:52 pm. Reply #

When you’re up against Eric Pickles, Michael Winner and Charles Clarke we could perhaps have done with someone a bit more dynamic than Ed Davey. Whilst Ed is good he is also quite dull.

by Anders on March 26, 2009 at 11:05 pm. Reply #

Caroline Lucas and Eric Pickles are both trying to claim Kirklees council’s green campaigns.

by Simon Jerram on March 26, 2009 at 11:08 pm. Reply #

Eric Pickles is making a fool of himself.

Lots of people work in jobs where they have to be there at a specific time. The audience is spot on to deride his attempted defence.

by Mark Reckons on March 26, 2009 at 11:17 pm. Reply #

Eric Pickles is in such a pickle over 2nd homes, so much fun whatching him defend the undifendable

by Lloyd on March 26, 2009 at 11:17 pm. Reply #

Charles Clarke is coming over well, he is evidently saying what he thinks, not just the party line.

Ed is very sound.

Pickles blustering embarrassingly on expenses.

by Bridget Fox on March 26, 2009 at 11:17 pm. Reply #

Eric Pickles digging his own grave now – MPs really do live in a different world sometimes. Utterly ruined what was otherwise a pretty good performance by him.

by Stephen Tall on March 26, 2009 at 11:18 pm. Reply #

I was going to say that Eric Pickles was doing well however his answer on MPs expenses shot that apart. However I will still say what I was going to say.

There is so much obsession with youth in politics, Eric Pickles perhaps shows how in some cases the longer you are in Parliament the more you can grow in ability and stature (please forget the obvious jokes).

by Anders on March 26, 2009 at 11:23 pm. Reply #

Haha Pickles has made himself a pantomime badguy!

by Kat on March 26, 2009 at 11:27 pm. Reply #

Anders – it unfortunately also shows how out of touch long serving MPs can become. He seems to be genuinely unable to understand that many people other than MPs have jobs that involve long hours and require them to be there at specific times.

For a supposed man of the people – often put forward by Tories as an example of a bluff speaking northerner in their ranks – this does not bode well for them

by Mark Reckons on March 26, 2009 at 11:28 pm. Reply #

Well…. that was eventful. I have never seen Pickles go off the rails like that. He just couldn’t pull himself back after a certain point, and instead carried on digging, looking increasingly stroppy about it.

by Andy Hinton on March 26, 2009 at 11:40 pm. Reply #

Mark – I suppose that is true. When you work in politics you are often able to find the words to defend the indefensible. But unlike Eric Pickles you don’t usually believe it.

Now watching This Week talking about MPs’ allowances again. Diane Abbott saying that there are still lots of MPs who just think they need to sit tight and see it through is worrying. Michael Portillo is right though that the private sector worked in the same way only 20 years ago but as new MPs join they will be used to having to justify their expenses and so things may change.

by Anders on March 26, 2009 at 11:50 pm. Reply #

Pickles was a train wreck in slow motion. Lucas is a bit hand-wringing too I find. Clark was quite good, as was Davey.

by Mark Wright on March 26, 2009 at 11:56 pm. Reply #

Glad to see that the Tony McNaughty expenses scandal is still going. I wonder how long he will take to crack.( or be told to)

Shame that QT missed the environment crisis again. We can print our way out of the financial quagmire – but when the world ecosystem is in runaway breakdown in just a few years time we wont be able to print a new Earth.

by simonsez on March 26, 2009 at 11:59 pm. Reply #

Wow, I’m sure Eric Pickle’s constituents would be delighted to know that not only would he never inflict their daily commute on himself, but that he also believes the consequences are so much more terrible if he doesn’t get to work on time than the rest of the Brentwood commute.

Hasn’t anyone told him it’s 25 minutes from Shenfield to Liverpool Street, plenty of people on that train commute from Southend at the beginning of the line and everywhere in between, and (shock! horror!) the world will probably not implode if the Chairman of the Conservative Party is late for work if the train breaks down.

by Jenni on March 27, 2009 at 4:38 am. Reply #

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