Tory playground politics over BBC Question Time

Autocracy is alive and well and living comfortably in Downing Street.  Nothing happens in Number 10 without David Cameron’s say so.  Therefore the buck stops with Cameron over the latest example of control freakery that resulted in a decision not to put a government minister up for BBC Question Time tonight, because Alastair Campbell was appearing on the panel.

The start of the show saw David Dimbleby explain in detail what the Conservatives had done.  Perhaps Number 10 is now working on a plausible explanation for not putting up a minister in the week of the Queen’s Speech.  But having tried to get the BBC to drop Campbell, or go without a minister on the panel, the Cameron Conservatives seem to be deep into a power trip where every debate has to be on their terms.  So much for accountability and willingness to debate anyone.  This is Cameron’s Pyongyang politics.  Watch out for our Dear Leader seeking to rename the Thames as the Taedong.

In recent days the Cameroon narrative of the ‘new politics’ seems to have disappeared from the Andy Coulson-controlled lines to take when the Modern Tories speak to the media.  That’s probably just as well because this pettiness was old politics of the worst kind.  Maybe, in order to remain on-message with Coulson’s communications plan, the absence of a minister on the panel will be spun with the latest buzz words as being in the ‘national interest’.  Welcome to Cameron’s post-democratic age.

5 Responses to “Tory playground politics over BBC Question Time”


  1. 1 Robert 28/05/2010 at 9:03 am

    It comes as no surprise that Dave was not prepared to put a minister up against Campbell on Question Time. None of his ministers are up to it.

  2. 2 Alara Kenet 28/05/2010 at 12:46 pm

    Oh for goodness’ sake – the government refused to take part in a TV programme. Big whoop. And now it’s being treated as if Cameron had refused to appear for Prime Minister’s Questions.

    Of course the BBC have the right to invite whomsoever they want onto the programme. Equally, there is absolutely no obligation on the Government to take part.

    As for the reason for the refusal, frankly I don’t blame them. Why the hell should they be expected to debate with Alastair Campbell as if he was a representative of the Labour party/the opposition. He isn’t. For the BBC to put the Government in this position was unworthy of an institution supposed to be upholding this country’s best values and doing so with impartiality.

    The BBC put the Government in a lose/lose situation and is now making news out of it.

    In the circumstances the Prime Minister took the only dignified decision he could.

  3. 3 Autonomous Mind 28/05/2010 at 4:14 pm

    I can’t agree with you Alara. Yes, it’s just a programme and there is no obligation to take part. But it is not a debate show, it is a forum for answering questions posed by members of the public.

    Why should it matter who else is on the panel? Does it make a difference to the answers a minister would give to the questions asked? Of course not. The decision not to put up a minister was not dignified, it was juvenile and petulant.

    There is a clear pattern emerging where Cameron’s clique are seeking to control more things they have no right to. This was just another example of it.

  4. 4 JohnRS 28/05/2010 at 4:40 pm

    The BBC will soon realise that it needs the government much more than the government needs the BBC……remember there’s a licence review due in 18 months time.

  5. 5 Fred Hart 29/05/2010 at 8:53 am

    I quite like the Conservatives but I see no point in them refusing to appear because of who the BBC had chosen to appear – its like they either don’t want his views broadcast, or they think he’ll win against whoever they send to the show… (Or both)?


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