Question Time

The attempt by the ConDem Coalition to seize editorial control of the BBC's "Question Time" by refusing to supply a Cabinet Minister if Alastair Campbell was also on the panel is outrageous.

It's common practise, by all accounts, for a certain amount of negotiation to occur before these programmes, but a flat refusal to supply a member of the Government if the "Question Time" editors didn't do as they were told is an unacceptable abuse of our allegedly free media. Or it's an attempt to abuse our free media, anyway, since it didn't work. Congratulations are due to the BBC for their refusal to be bullied.

Of course, the Government have said, since, that they were not attempting to choose the "Question Time" panel; that they were actually just taking time to choose an appropriate Minister to counter the presence of Mr Campbell (or something), and that the BBC had booked Conservative backbencher John Redwood before they (the Government) located anyone. But that has the sound of the excuses that we all make, when we get found out.

Mr. Campbell himself says it was probably a case of boneheadedness on the part of the ConDem media team, who didn't foresee how their intervention with the BBC would play. That Mr. Cleggeron may not even have been aware of what was happening until afterwards.

I think there were probably some old scores that someone was attempting to settle too, given how central Campbell was to the New Labour revolution in the Nineties. He made a lot of enemies back then, as the Labour Party did itself, by stepping outside of its habitual role in parliament, and winning.


Bruce Hodder said…
Recent news about David Laws, the Minister who Alastair Campbell had been expecting to debate with on "Question Time", makes me wonder if Mr. Campbell's presence on the panel was the real reason for the Coalition's obstructive behaviour before the show aired. Perhaps I'm a cynic, but isn't it faintly pssible that the Coalition knew something before the rest of us did and were trying to keep Mr. Laws out of the spotlight?