No Question Time 60

I have just been watching the “debate” on BBC Question Time between six people each almost identically right wing. The differences between the panelists are almost non-existent. Not one of them objected in principle to private companies running NHS hospitals for profit, or saw any possible argument against banning a group with whose ideas you profoundly disagree. There is no doubt that many of the audience comments were well to the liberal or left side of any of the panel.

This was an entirely pointless exercise in reinforcement of the establishment line. Why do we pay for this rubbish?

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60 thoughts on “No Question Time

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  • lwtc247

    Mary. I’ve had the pleasure of having a one-on-one with Cynthia and she is a personal hero of mine. I am happy to report that I am the first person ever to inform her of our ex-Ambassador to Uzbekistan, monsieur Craig Murray 🙂

    Unfortunately I don’t trust the FBI in all this as Cynthia alludes.
    It’s rather two faced of them.

  • mike cobley

    Craig W – according to Dimbleby’s wikipedia page, there is no mention of him being an employee of any other outfit than the BBC; he has fronted a number of other shows over the last few years, so maybe he is still an actual bona fide BBC employee.

  • lwtc247

    Salam arsalan.
    You are mistaken. The first modern war against the people of Iraq (Jan 1991) saw all that you mention. I specifically remember a post Desert Storm BBC/journo panel discussion saying how they would never let the government interfere with war reporting again. John Simpson was amongst them I think.

    To follow, we had presstitutes like very much discredited Andrew Marr who took things to a whole new level. Remember this incest?


    Haven’t had a Tele for years – utter garbage. And even worse with Commercials. Tele is one of the weakest links so it can go shag itself over to you ANNE R.

  • Rose

    Yes – why do we watch such tripe? I stood about 20 minutes of it before giving up – all that shouting at bedtime is not good for the blood pressure, never mind the neighbours. With the exception of one very right wing bloke, the others weren’t even articulate.
    The reason I usually watch it is in the vain hope that they might accidentally let someone like Ken Loach on – I think they did once. I loved the elegant demolition job he did on Newsnight last year. Watch it and cheer yourself up.

  • passerby

    Mike Cobley,
    Heads up on the little gem you set in this thread, however, given that the producers can and will use the facilities, as well as the assets of the BBC, does it matter how the ventriloquist dummy is dressed and which badge has been sewn on to its colours?
    Iain Orr,
    Funny that even in death the preferential divide exists, how far will the oligarchs, faceless plutocrats go to kid along the punters?
    Good point, there is always a need for setting new traditions, and the “wars of aggression day” in which the civilians whom have been slaughtered and maimed and made refugees take the centre stage and the unknown plebeian can be honoured.
    We all know that; throughout the wars of the last century to date, for every dead soldier there has been many more civilians killed. This is not taking into account fire and kill alter figures and numbers, ie , civilians made refugees, and wait for them to drop dead like the flies tactics. As well as damaging the gene pool that will result in years of harvest of mutant deformity of the generations yet to be born, or agonising near death kind of life of these that will in turn increase the costs of maintaining of these on the vanquished nation, which in turn perpetuates the system of preying on the underdeveloped nations.

  • Tom Welsh

    It is a mystery why everyone seems to agree on the establishment line about WW1. If it was so noble to offer up one’s life for one’s country, how come it did nobody any good? The net result of WW1 was to ruin most of the nations in Europe, destroy various empires and monarchies – not necessarily to anyone’s benefit either – and leave virtually no one better off except the USA. (How DO they always manage to come out on top? There used to be a joke about how a Hungarian could go into a revolving door behind you and come out in front, but as far as I can see it’s the Yanks who pull that trick time after time).

    The trouble seems to start with Vegetius’ maxim “si vis pacem para bellum” (“if you want peace, prepare for war”) which is not so far from Teddy Roosevelt’s version “speak softly and carry a big stick”. Now that made very good sense in the days of the Romans, when the art of war was relatively primitive and they mostly quit fighting in winter (and when the harvest was due). The Romans mastered the art of being so dangerous when disturbed that people tended to leave them alone, long before they ever thought of having an empire.

    By the 19th century, “si vis pacem para bellum” had become a terrible Catch-22. If you didn’t prepare for war, someone who did was liable to march in and enslave you. But if you did – as all the great powers of Europe did in the years leading up to 1914 – you were constructing an enormous gunpowder barrel which sooner or later was going to detonate. A.J.P. Taylor articulated this situation in detail with his famous Railway Thesis, which held that WW1 was made inevitable by the fact that all the opposing armies had to be deployed by railway, and the timetables dictated that once the enemy began to mobilise you had to as well.

    Yet what was it all in aid of? The Kaiser was envious of his relatives, felt that Germany too should be an Empire, and for that reason wanted colonies. The British had Africans, I ndians, and all sorts of “natives” to boss around. The French has plenty of Africans, as did the Portuguese. The Spaniards had once owned most of South America, and even if they had carelessly lost control of it their language was still spoken there. Even the Americans had their blacks and native Americans and Filipinos and Cubans and Puerto Ricans (my, the list does stretch out, doesn’t it?) to look down on. Why should Germans be alone in having no “lesser breeds without the law” to dominate? But why would the politicians of Europe let themselves be led into a ruinous war just to please a monarch?

    WW1 was arguably the root of most of the evil in the 20th century. It led inevitably to WW2, it tirggered the overthrow of the Tsar and the Bolshevik Revolution; it led Woodrow Wilson and his clever enlightened friends to redraw all the maps, putting frontiers in the places that would guarantee the most enduring and bitterest enmity; it bankrupted Britain and France, rendering them clients of the USA for the duration… without WW1 we would today be living in a far better world.

  • larry Levin

    Why do we not put on our own “question time” have real thinkers and escape the carefully defined borders of acceptable speech imposed by the Dimbleby scum bag.

    Carig Murray, you need a table that seats 5 and a video camera, lets do it now and show the BBC how competition works, notice that offcom staffed with murdoch pigmies is trying to shut down presstv. they dont like it up em

  • Komodo

    Never seen it. No TV. Bin your boxes and listen to radio; Any Questions often produces interesting moments. Radio news coverage is more detailed, and sometimes something worthwhile slips through the BBC’s net. And if you think BBC TV is bad, try living in the US. It’s worth the threatening letters from the license people who believe anyone claiming not to have a TV is an uncaught criminal – chuck the bloody thing in a skip and save yourselves the license fee.

  • Iain Orr

    Tom Welsh: An interesting post on the Catch-22 of war coming because you prepare for it as well as when you fail to prepare for it (shades of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “If the left one don’t get you then the right one will”). However, Kipling’s point was not that the Germans lacked their own “lesser breeds without the Law” – they WERE one of the lesser breeds: see George Orwell’s fascinating essay on Kipling – Remembrance Day is an appropriate time to reflect on the meaning of Kipling’s “Recessional” :

    “The phrase ‘lesser breeds’ refers almost certainly to the
    Germans, and especially the pan-German writers, who are ‘without the Law’
    in the sense of being lawless, not in the sense of being powerless. The
    whole poem, conventionally thought of as an orgy of boasting, is a
    denunciation of power politics, British as well as German. Two stanzas
    are worth quoting (I am quoting this as politics, not as poetry):

    If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
    Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
    Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
    Or lesser breeds without the Law–
    Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget–lest we forget!

    For heathen heart that puts her trust
    In reeking tube and iron shard,
    All valiant dust that builds on dust,
    And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
    For frantic boast and foolish word–
    Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord! ”

    Full text of the essay:

  • Jack

    @Scouse Billy et al…
    “I have decided to abandon TV and the license “fee” altogether…”
    Not a chance I’m afraid. The PC you typed that on is “capable of receiving transmissions” and therefore licenseable. And sooner or later they’ll be around to check. Actually not owning a TV is enough to merit their attention – in their books you’re clearly weird and therefore suspicious. My son has no TV but he does have a laptop and internet connection, and they hounded him until he gave up and paid. Effectively PCs must now be licenced in the UK – surely a wet dream for the neo-cons.
    As for teaching the BBC a lesson by not watching – what the hell do they care? They have our money and their methods of generating viewing figures are laughable. You’re hugely outnumbered anyway, as many of the British public don’t even know where the off switch is – they can’t conduct a sensible conversation or telephone call because of the 24/7 TV blaring in the background. Switch off on principle? They’d have a nervous breakdown!

  • wendy

    whats interesting is that any anti bank – anti war .. any real social comment on text are very quickly removed.
    the only reason they are shown fleetingly is to ensure that the bbc cannot be called biased i suspect

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Dear Mark

    Reference CAS-730296-8H75BM

    Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC News.

    We understand you felt we haven’t broadcast enough in relation to the events in Bahrain and we also note your concerns that you believe this may be due to the American involvement.

    Choosing the stories to include in our bulletins; the order in which they appear and the length of time devoted to them is a subjective matter and one which we know not every viewer and listener will feel we get right every time.

    Factors such as whether it is news that has just come in and needs immediate coverage, how unusual the story is and how much national interest there is in the subject matter will all play a part in deciding the level of coverage and where it falls within a bulletin.

    Essentially this is a judgement call rather than an exact science but BBC News does appreciate the feedback when viewers and listeners feel we may have overlooked or neglected a story.

    Having said that, we have also reflected other matters specific to Bahrain, notably the rising sectarian tensions and role of Iran in the country’s affairs. Supplementing our coverage of the protests we have also reported on the recent Government cabinet changes and concessions offered by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah, some of which were central tenets of the protest movement.

    In addition to this we have also featured news conferences made by the Bahraini authorities and also conducted an interview with Bahrain’s Finance Minister – Sheikh Ahmed Ben Mohammed Khalifa, during which he claimed protestors had attacked unarmed police.

    A lot of our news coverage is also published on our website for those who haven’t been able to view it on television.

    We appreciate that you feel strongly about the reports featured in our news programmes and with this in mind we’d like to assure you that we’ve registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive are circulated and considered across the BBC.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

    Kind Regards

    Robert Regan
    BBC Complaints
    Dear Mr Golding,

    Thank you for your email to the BBC Trust. I am responding as a member of the Trust Unit which advises and supports the Chairman and Trustees.

    I note your concerns about BBC coverage of the situation in Libya.

    I should explain that the role of the BBC Trust is distinct from that of the BBC’s management and it has no role in day to day editorial matters. The Trust’s role is to set the overall framework, the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, which set out the values and standards that all BBC output should meet. Responsibility for the BBC’s editorial content within these Editorial Guidelines rests ultimately with the Director-General, as Editor-in-Chief.

    There is a BBC complaints process in place to deal with instances where audiences feel that there has been a breach of these Guidelines. This requires that complaints must be dealt with in the first instance by the BBC’s management; the Trust’s role in this process is to consider appeals from complainants should they be dissatisfied with the responses that they have received from the BBC’s management.

    If you would like to make a complaint about BBC content then you can find full details of how to do so on the BBC’s complaints website: This includes information on, and the criteria for, escalating complaints if unhappy with the BBC’s initial response.

    I hope this will be helpful.

    Yours sincerely

    John Hamer

  • Arsalan

    Alakum salam lwtc247

    It is true the BBC has been somewhat of a government mouth piece before the last gulf war.
    But when the BBC said certain things during the last one, and Blair threatened that he would remove the licence fee, there was a real change in their reporting and level of Zionism.
    Would anyone have dreamed the BBC would report the way they do now, 10 years ago? Such as script reading from Israel?
    Or refusing to play the Gaza appeal?
    Whatever faults existed within the BBC before the were castrated by Blair and his threat to remove the licence fee, there was a big clear change after it.

  • larry Levin

    I have recently learned that when david cameron was 24 years old he went to south africa and helped Israel obtain 9 nuclear war heads, can anyone confirm if this is true, and why is he trying ot prevent Iran from getting nukes, is he impartial in this matter, I also learn that an Israeli arms dealer helped to fund camerons leadership campaign

  • Abe Rene

    Maybe those of you who watched the whole thing should write a letter to one or more of the major newspapers, especially about private companies running NHS hospitals for profit.

  • Abe Rene

    PS. Here’s an amusing item on the BBC about someone whom tried to call Rory Cellan-Jones falsely claiming that his computer had a problem and offerign “protection” for £169. Jones recorded the conversation:

    I once had a scam call like this and got suspicious and told the caller to get lost (more politely then that, as it was a woman). Anyone else experienced this kind of nonsense?

  • Pee

    Question Time does appear to be a stitch up. Further to Ingo’s post about ‘un-seen questions’, did anyone notice yesterday when a new question was put to the panel they simultaneously turned over the sheets of paper in front of them and began reading?

    The Beeb have had Will Self as a panelist recently, also Benjamin Zephaniah on last week – sporting a white poppy. Not that that makes the programme OK!

  • Komodo

    If you don’t watch live transmissions, they can’t lay a finger on you. As long as your computer doesn’t have a TV card (ie something on the back with a TV aerial plug), a broadband connection does not require a TV license:
    Punter here:
    asked TVLA:
    “Is a personal computer that is connected to the internet via broadband,
    but is NEVER used to view or access ANY television programming (either
    Live or otherwise) nor is capable of receiving or connected for the
    purposes of receiving in any other way telecommunications, required to
    have a TV license?”
    TVLA replied:
    “You will not need a TV licence.

    The use of television sets, video cassette recorders, set-top boxes or DVD recorders to receive or record television programme services must be covered by an appropriate TV Licence (A video cassette recorder, DVD recorder or colour television, whether used separately or together, will require a colour TV Licence, if used in this way). A licence is also required if a TV-enabled personal computer is used to record or receive television programmes.”

    Also, the TVLA goons can’t look in your bedroom when they come to call. Not many people…

  • seven

    Larry, Do you have the link re cameron and S.A?

    Regarding the BBC or the EBC as I like to call it, I don’t own a TV (you don’t need a license if you don’t watch at the same time it is being broadcast) and if centrica are ever foolish enough to come chappin at my door they better be prepared for more than a mouthful. Just remember don’t tell them your name and don’t sign anything (it’s actually a confession that your being asked to sign).
    I wouldn’t go near them for current affairs or politics, it’s all propaganda.

  • lwtc247

    Yes, I’d confer with that. The servility of the BBC took on a whole new dimension in the bloody bLiar years. It’s interesting to think about todays youth who will quite naturally judge their growing up period with the BBC as their benchmark, and given that the BBC never stops insisting (against all the evidence it must be said) that it’s world finest news and unbiased, these kids are going to grow up with a severely skewed reference point. I can only see it snowballing as time goes on.

  • BarryR38

    Mary, I posted a link on the Hottest Potato thread for the petition against cluster bombs along with one from Stop the War calling on the British government not to attack Iran, yet I got a footnote saying ‘Your comment is awaiting moderation’.

  • Pee

    Abe Rene: computer scam phonecalls:
    I have been getting two per week recently. They read from the same script as in the Rory Cellan-Jones clip. They are very persistent. I say I don’t have a computer but they just keep talking! I would like to know how to scare them off forever.

  • Parky

    Over the years Question Time has appeared later and later in the schedule such that today most working people will probably be on their way to bed anyway and totally ignore it. It is hardly captivating television from either a political or entertainment perspective. I remember in the days of Robin Day, who took no nonsense from the panelists, there were only three of them, one each from the main parties. In an effort to make it more appealing a forth member was introduced, someone from the arts, a comedian, a feminist, a captain of industry or some other celebrity wanting to get his or her head on the telly.
    Remarkably they now seem to get five or six people round the desk, presumably to achieve diversity or some such politically correct practice. Ultimately the programme is moribund as is the paid mouthpiece who chairs it. It is totally rigged from start to finish, from the questions selected, the audience selection and the final editing. An excellent piece of propaganda if nothing else.
    I understand that most of the “talent” that front BBC programmes are not employees of the BBC, but are on fixed term contracts which are renewed as long as they play the game and don’t annoy the viewers too much. Where the programmes are made by external companies, the same arrangement contract arrangement applies except in some cases where the talent may actually own the company. Chris Evans was one example of this.
    As for not paying for it, then there is plenty of help available on-line on how to go about this. Watching programmes via the internet ‘after’ they have been broadcast does not require a licence. Simples! Really though why waste your time with the box anyway, you’re hardly going to be enlightened by anything is has to say.

  • stephen


    I got rid of mine my playing along with them for a while – they didn’t like it when I told them my credit card number was 666 etc and the name on the card was B Beelzebub – but I haven’t heard from them since.

  • Jack

    “If you don’t watch live transmissions, they can’t lay a finger on you.”
    Someone had better tell TVLA that. They pursued my son for 7 months, with both written and phoned threats of court action and bailiffs until he gave in and paid up – and even then they backdated his licence to the date he moved into his flat. He doesn’t have a TV, a TV card, or even an aerial. To quote (from memory) from one of their letters, “If your browser is capable of accessing iPlayer, then a licence fee is payable.” I’m not sure it’s technically possible to have a browser that isn’t capable of receiving iPlayer. Clearly he’d attracted their attention simply by being among the tiny percentage of addresses claiming to have no TV – something TVLA refuse to believe is humanly possible.

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