Here’s the 10-second answer I fluffed on BBC Radio 4’s The Westminster Hour

by Stephen Tall on August 16, 2010

I was a guest – together with Conservative blogger Iain Dale and Labour blogger Hopi Sen – on last night’s BBC Radio 4’s The Westminster Hour with the lovely Carolyn Quinn. In the highly unlikely event that you missed listening to it live, gathered with your nearest and dearest around the wireless, then the following link should take you directly there:

wminster hour
(Also available here.)

The first part of the programme looked at the appointment of Alan Milburn to the role of so-called social mobility czar by the Coalition – if you want my views on that, here’s my Lib Dem Voice posting.

We then looked at the role of the Lib Dem / Conservative coalition partnership, with Simon Hughes’ common-sense re-iteration of the obvious that – shock! horror! – the two parties will remain two, separate parties. The media really still are having trouble getting the idea of coalition politics. As I pointed out last night, no-one asks if Labour and Plaid are about to merge in Wales: why is the question even being asked about the Lib Dems and the Conservatives in the UK?

The penultimate topic was the 100 days of Coalition Government… I’m broadly sympathetic to the agenda that is being pursued, and pretty impressed by the non-nonsense pace of reforms. However, that also means some things simply will not work. As The Economist noted this week, “Many of the boldest ideas have not been adequately tested.”

Finally, we looked at the never-endingly pointless Labour leadership race: I declared my hand – I think Ed Miliband, who I thought would be the star-turn, has been unimpressive and under-whelming; whereas David Miliband, who I’d previously failed to be convinced by, has attained gravitas and even become Prime Ministerial during the contest.

But then there was the curveball… I’d been expecting (as planned) a final question on the role of blogs since the Coalition was formed, when suddenly Carolyn, kindly offering me a final bite at the mike, gave me a final 10 seconds to talk again about the Labour leadership. Dear reader, thrown as I was: I waffled and blathered and space-filled as much as you can in one-sixth of a minute. Lesson learned: always have an on-topic next sentence prepared in your mind.

So, for my satisfaction at least, here’s what I should have said to fill the time: “I hope whoever is elected as Labour leader will curb the party’s anti-Coalition knee-jerk reactionism, and start to address seriously how the ‘deeper and tougher than Thatcher’ cuts Alasdair Darling talked about can be implemented in a progressive way. Then the Lib Dems and Labour can start talking again.” Okay, so it’s probably 20 seconds. Still needs saying, though.