I stopped watching BBC Question Time months ago because it had become simply too annoying but, after all the fuss, I watched the latest pantomime on I-player. I was annoyed by about four minutes in but the irritation at what now passes for political debate evaporated to be replaced by a profound sense of gloom at what UK politics has become.
Back in 1979, with Thatcher only four months into her stay at Number 10, it must have seemed a good idea to put Any Questions on the telly. The format of having three politicians plus a notable academic or newspaper editor or religious leader taking unseen questions from “members of the public” ticked a lot of news and current affairs boxes in the BBC Charter. With Robin Day holding the good and the great to account, it made for interesting viewing. Although annoyingly pompous, Robin Day stuck to his rule of only asking the same question three times and leave the audience to judge the unwillingness of a politician to deliver an answer. (more…)