Posted by: Ciaran | May 28, 2010

A panel for debate

Not for the first time, BBC Question Time was more about the personalities than the politics last night.

I thought we had probably seen the last of any major controversy over panellists after Nick Griffin’s appearance on the show last October.

Apparently not.

Yesterday’s show was always going to be a spicy affair with Alastair Campbell and Piers Morgan billed long in advance to be appearing.

But the extraordinary decision of the new Government to refuse to send a minister from either party due to Mr Campbell’s position on the panel seemed to be a very dogmatic approach to take.

Granted, he may be unelected, but there is no debate in the fact he has been one of the most influential figures in the Labour Party for the last 13 years.

And while Mr Campbell is one of the few people who is going to excite sympathy, he never shies away from facing the criticism – and, often, abuse – which he is subjected to in these types of arena.

He was asked a question by a member of the audience about a ludicrous and, at best, distasteful hypothetical scenario where one of his children had been killed in Iraq and roundly criticised by the other panellists, being called “duplicitous” and accused of lying about the war by Max Hastings.

So when he uses words like ‘bullying’ people are probably more inclined to scoff than sympathise – but he retains my respect for having had the front to turn up and be prepared to face his critics, whoever they were.

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