Tables turned

I LISTENED, appalled, as usual, to John Humphrys’ attempt to bully Alistair Darling on the Today programme this morning. He clearly loves the sound of his own voice more than he wants to hear answers from whoever he’s “interviewing”.

At one point he sounded as if he was quoting from a Conservative Party press release, almost as if he was gullible enough to believe it: “But it (the government’s investment in the NHS) has all been wasted,” he declared, as if this was somehow a profound truth rather than a duplicitous piece of nonsense invented by a party that hates the idea of a publicly-funded health service.

Alistair did well, considering. But it’s amazing how accepting people are of this type of unprofessional hectoring masquerading as political interviewing. “He did the same to Osborne,” one colleague informed me, as if that excuses Humphrys in some way.

I’m told that my immediate predecessor as MP for Cathcart, John (now Lord) Maxton, managed to give Humphrys a taste of his own medicine when he appeared in front of the House of Lords’ Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, of which John is a member. When asked what he saw as his role, Humphrys replied: “As representing the people against the politicians.”

John asked him: “But who elected you to represent the people?” Humphrys started to give a convoluted explanation of his unjustifiably high opinion of himself, and John interjected: “Answer the qustion – who elected you?” Still Humphrys wouldn’t give a straight answer, and when John asked the same question again, Humphreys responded: “If you will stop interrupting me I’ll try to answer!”

Poetic justice.

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14 Comments

Filed under Media, Parliament

14 responses to “Tables turned

  1. kevin

    Is there a serious suggestion here that the only people allowed or permitted to question politicians are other elected politicians?

  2. Martin Cullip

    “But who elected you to represent the people?”

    This is exactly the same argument that Hazel Blears is using to suppress comments by bloggers.

    Is this a Labour whipped diktat? One doesn’t have an opinion unless one has been elected?

    I despair of you sometimes Tom. This line would mean that every member of every members only club in the country would be barred from voicing an opinion unless they had stood for, and been elected to, committee.

    It’s a rubbish argument & you know it.

    It’s not surprising, I suppose, that the party that got rid of the right to free assembly now wants to restrict the right to free speech to all of us who have NOT been duly elected.

    Go on, ask me, who elected me to post on your blog. I dare you. FFS.

  3. Martin Cullip

    “I LISTENED, appalled, as usual, to John Humphrys’ attempt to bully Alistair Darling on the Today programme this morning.”

    Sorry for the follow up but I am really struggling to understand this bit without swearing.

    John Humphreys was doing HIS JOB. If Darling didn’t expect it, he isn’t very good at what he is elected to do. It’s the nature of the beast.

    The PBR was universally rubbished by anyone with an interest. The BBC have even noticed that one despite your party’s thumb pressing. Humphreys was therefore doing what we all want him to do. Personally, I’d use a bit of mild bootwork. AD should think himself lucky he just got what he did.

    And he still complained? And said that Humphreys didn’t have the right to even ask those questions? BECAUSE HE WASN’T ELECTED?

    Are you SERIOUSLY serious?

    Good God, what on earth are you lot doing in charge of our country?

  4. Martin Cullip

    By the way, my business view of the PBR. It has left us no option but to lay off 10 staff out of 75. (we are in disabled kids transport which you have caned roughly and with no lubricant)

    Great way to stimulate the economy.

  5. “And he still complained? And said that Humphreys didn’t have the right to even ask those questions?”

    Er, no, Darling didn’t complain, or say Humphrys didn’t have the right to ask questions. What post were you reading?

  6. Johnny Norfolk

    This is what the BBC is about, There is no control or management. The BBC has its own agenda. It is not impartial and does not keep to its charter etc.

    What is the government going to to about it.

    Nothing at all because because 99% of the time the BBCs agenda is the same as Labours.

    Its good to see that you have had a taste of what we have to put up with all of the time.

  7. Humphrys and his like have made “Today” all but unlistenable to for me. I think the rot set in when Rod “down with everything and everyone except me me me” Liddle was the producer. The attitude to politicians of all parties and to most experts is extremely negative and destructive; I hanker for the Timpson/Redhead days.

    The programme has also been overtaken by the 24-hour news culture and its obsession with being first with the news. This has now tipped so far that most of what passes for news is actually speculation. If the seven o’clock bulletin starts with something like “x is expected to say y” then I can snuggle back down knowing they have nothing of substance to report.

    And why are they (and other British news outlets) so uninterested in foreign news? I have to read French websites to find out what’s going on in the ROW.

    I smile when Humphrys starts going on about waste of public money; does he forget that the programme and his salary are paid for out of public money?

  8. iain ker

    Awww, Tom, did the bad man ask poor Alistair some nasty questions then? Diddums.

    Far better to have James Naughtie with his penetrating, ‘So Prime Minister, what message have you got for the nation today?’ line of questioning.

    Or (excuse me while I fall about laughing) Andrew ‘Andy’ Marr.

  9. Nick the Greek

    Kevin, you should know your place, leave the questions to the elite. By the way who elected Brown to lead the UK?

  10. madasafish

    Tom

    You will gain no sympathy.
    When asked a question, politicians either:
    lie
    or
    don’t answer.

    Most normal people view estate agents as angels when compared to politicians.

    Go figure.

  11. Brian

    So your opinion Tom, is that only those who are elected by others have an opinion?

    How very Labour of you! Command economy all the way!

  12. Maybe your predecessor took something from his Uncle, the great James Maxton, who once told Ramsay MacDonald to ‘sit down man, you’re a bloody tragedy’…

  13. Toker

    Who elected ‘Lord’ Maxton?

  14. Martin Cullip

    “And he still complained? And said that Humphreys didn’t have the right to even ask those questions?”

    Er, no, Darling didn’t complain, or say Humphrys didn’t have the right to ask questions. What post were you reading?

    Apologies Tom. I did misread. Perhaps it was the red mist from having my business part-destroyed by your lot that momentarily blinded me.

    As Nick the Greek said though, who elected Gordon Brown? Maxton’s is an extremely thin ice argument in the current circs, isn’t it?

    The bit about Hazel Blears is right on the mustard though. She reckons no-one should have a view to share unless they have been elected. Shurely incorrect in a free country?

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