BBC One’s Question Time moved to Eastleigh for last night’s programme, which took place at The Point theatre. Those taking part were:
Esther McVey MP – Conservative Employment Minister
Diane Abbott MP – Prospective Mayor of London
Paul Nuttall MEP – Deputy Leader of UKIP
Tim Farron MP – Lib-Dem spokesperson on Foreign Affairs
Amol Rajan – Editor of The Independent
Broadcaster David Dimbleby – Chairman
Here is the video link to BBC One – Question Time in Eastleigh on 22/01/2015.
— Eastleigh Borough (@EastleighBC) January 21, 2015
People of Eastleigh
We have 3 people representing the North West of England on the panel, the others from London. Often Question Time has a local politician but not for us in Eastleigh.
Question 1 from Anna Brown – “Should Page 3 end now?”
Such a lot of comment and speculation has been generated because The Sun newspaper did not publish a photograph of a topless female on a couple of days this week. Could any more be usefully said on the topic?
The need for press freedom came up so Murdoch must be allowed to publish Page 3, but perhaps it should naturally wither away.
Young women in the audience protested that girls need to see other female role models. There are more important feminist issues than nudity. These were raised but not pursued.
The sceptics pointed out that Murdoch, owner of The Sun and The Times, had manipulated us into more discussion and publicity for his newspapers than was warranted.
Clare Clayton asked “Who benefits from the delay of the Chilcott report?”
Tim Fallon and Amon Rajan both said that we already know the results of Chilcott but we do not know the details of who and what and when and why. Those details will give us names and culpability and there are persons interested in not being exposed to criticism.
It would have been better to have been published a year or more ago and then there would have been no question of it interfering with the forthcoming election. Delay and prevarication makes us suspicious that erosion of the truth may be happening.
Jennifer Burton asked, “Is Nigel Farage right when he says that the NHS is unaffordable in its present format?”
An important section of the programme because to question the format of the NHS has been a taboo for many years. Each successive crisis in the NHS has been solved or delayed by putting up more money or having another re-organisation.
A member of the audience pointed out that the NHS will eventually consume all the GDP (Gross Domestic Product.) Can we go on doing this? We know and fear that the answer is ‘no’ but it is suicide for any politician to say so.
Esther McVey toed the party line and said that democracy demands that the NHS is free at the point of use. Then she said we must keep it affordable but she did not say how.
It took a non-politician, Amon Rajan, to point out that a lot of extra money is needed and this can come from either tax or privately, this means from insurance contributions.
Several areas of action were discussed: reduction of health tourism, taking more personal responsibility for one’s health, and changes at the interface of health and social care.
Sue Clark asked, “Do the Scottish Nationalists have too much a say in English politics?”
Tim Farron criticised the worst aspects of Nationalism and reminded us that we are the United Kingdom and will govern ourselves together. Esther McVey backed him up pointing out that we are better together and government must be fair for all parts of the kingdom.
Paul Nuttall attacked the SNP and the Scots. As a representative of a United Kingdom party his response was anything but uniting.
David Dimbleby pointed out that none of the Eastleigh people had a vote about Scottish Independence. Amol Rajan wondered when the Scots will realise what a good deal they have.
Proportional representation came up as did the question of who would coalesce with whom to form a coalition government next time. These will be debated in other programmes.
How did the panel perform in my view?
Tim Farron *****: A man of considerable intellect who thought things through. He would do the right thing, regardless of the party line.
A consummate politician. Sound, a safe pair of hands. He avoided a few tricky problems without anyone noticing.
Diane Abbott ***: Well known on Question Time. Her tsunami of words was difficult to stop. It was designed to get applause from her followers and, if she does not like the question, the tsunami breaks on another shore, about a different subject.
She was rather subdued for the second half of the evening having no answer about the disaster of PFIs (Private Finance Initiatives).
Paul Nuttall *** : It is good to have a loose cannon around to say things that nobody else dare and create discussion. We should be considering the long term future of the NHS. He needs to re-organise his thoughts about what the United Kingdom is.
Amol Rajan ****: It is always good to have an effective non-politician on the programme. He can cross party lines and question and comment in areas where politicians fear to tread.
Audience *****: The audience put intelligent and pertinent questions and comments clearly and succinctly. They remain anonymous but have names given by Dimbleby such as “The man in the check shirt,” “The lady with glasses at the end of the row.” Are they ever known by these names after the show?