This Week’s finest hour? Hardly!

I watched This Week (I have watched it for a long time.) – and found Andrew Neil’s treatment of Diane Abbott not to my taste. This Week was a good  programme.  It is not a ‘serious’ political programme. It is done for laughs and, to be fair, has provided many of those.  Tonight, in my ‘honest opinion’  – Andrew Neil demonstrated an ugly side to politics and political interviewing.  I have no problem with politicians being held to account on serious programmes.  I felt very uncomfortable watching Brillo tearing Diane Abbott apart.  He should not have done it on This Week – particularly as Diane Abbott has been a pundit for some time on this ‘light political parody programme’.

Andrew Neil would have been perfectly justified doing it on Daily Politics – although (Again, expressing a personal ‘honest opinion’ should Brillo and This Week producers be feeling litigious) serious analysis should be left to those who are truly good at it like Paxo, Jon Snow , Radio 4 Today presenters,  Dimbleby et al – and, to be fair,  Neil on DP. They do it fairly and with style.    A lot of people enjoyed the cruelty of Brillo ripping Diane Abbott apart – I saw the tweets on Twitter.  If you want to see cruelty watch a reality TV show.   I did not.  I don’t know anyone of any decency who  could enjoy the spectacle of what we saw on This Week tonight.

Not very British, I thought! In fact.. rather cowardly.  It was a bit like a host inviting  a guest to a dinner party to provide amusement  for the other guests.   That, of course, is a personal view.  I assume we are allowed to have personal views these days….?  I know it was touch and go in the dying days of Labour… but now that Clegg is running the country with Dave …. we should be OK on expressing personal views?

Tear politicians apart on Radio 4, Channel 4, Newsnight by all means   – Marr…..? Well… that is more Heat magazine meets Sunday GMTV sofa advertising colour supplement schtik ….. but don’t do it on a lightweight late Thursday night political parody programme.  It was ugly.  I hope Diane Abbot’s votes go up after that. I believe she increased her majority in the last election.  Quite unusual for a Labour MP, I would have thought?

Perhaps someone else could present This Week?

Tilting at windmills? Yes… what is the point?  :-)

[None.. that is the point about Titling at Windmills  (as they would say on  BBC Springwatch to keep up  a fine tradition of innuendo and sex on BBC) - I shall continue to do so until I am worked to death by the present government as they raise the pension age to 98]

11 thoughts on “This Week’s finest hour? Hardly!

  1. It was very off putting. I live in Hackney and Ms. Abbott is a great MP. Why would he treat someone he has known like that.
    Why? It was nasty and cruel. I found it to be racist actually and sexiest. He’s alway’s noses up to the male tories that come to his daily show.

  2. Dale – I make no political point here. I would have had the same view whoever was subjected to that.

    As it happens, I do vote Labour – but am very critical. As it happens I have done a podcast with Diane Abbott – on secret evidence, not politics. She was excellent and knew her stuff, not surprisingly.

    As it happens – and some may find this odd – but I admire all who have a go at being MPs – parody and mature interviewing are one thing (and we must, and are, free to do both) is one thing – cruelty is quite another. I feel tonight that the BBC disgraced itself and descended to the amphitheatre of Rome for the edification and delight of what the producers perceive to be their viewers. Shameful :-)

  3. glad to read the comments above because i have always had the impression from what she says and how she says it that she is a dreadful careerist with no morals (yes ok a politician). quite what she was doing on that stupid programme with 2 smug men and a bucket of unconvincing hair dye is beyond me. mind you i do find her quite smug and self-satisfied too. still, she can’t be that appalling as she has a certain amount of political longevity. (does that follow? i mean anne widdicombe has been around for ever…)

  4. Gosh, did you really think it was cruel? You’re obviously a big softie! I thought it was slightly problematic because it was a change of mood or gear in the show that came and went a bit abruptly. But I didn’t think it was either cruel or unfair.

    I like her and I’m glad she’s running. But that’s the point: she’s running for the Labour leadership which means, however unlikely it may seem, that she’s aspiring to be Prime Minister. She has to be prepared to face all sorts of questions from her past, like it or not. There’s no special soft way of running that’s available to her but not Ed Balls or David Miliband. And if the show’s going to have them all on, it needs to treat them all alike.

    I also thought the short interview was highly revealing. On the question of her son’s schooling, I think it’s fair enough for her to say she’s answered already. But that wasn’t the question. It was about a remark she made about “West Indian mums”. There was a way of answering that would have closed the issues down quickly (“all mums are the same, I just instinctively put it that way because I’m West Indian, because I associate my commitment to my son with the values I learned from my parents, and I was on the defensive”) but she didn’t take it. It was interesting that she almost seemed to refuse to accept all mums might have similar attitudes. I thought it also showed she was not as adept under fire as you might assume – which is relevant for Labour supporters making up their minds.

    Even more revealing in fact was the exchange on nuclear weapons, in which she showed herself deeply evasive about her views, and again, unable to cover her evasion. It’s fair enough to be a unilateralist, but it’s not fair enough to mask it by insisting the only issue is “replacing Trident”, which covers a range of positions from the 3 submarine thing, wait and see and replace it with easyNuke, as well as her view that there should be no replacement at all. I couldn’t understand why she was so coy about it.

    If it seemed cruel, I think that was because tough but fair questions cruelly exposed her. As for Dale’s view that it was sexist and racist – that leaves me speechless. Any politician who makes any remark that even seems to imply one ethnic group has stronger feelings for children that others has to expect to be probed on what they mean. Any white politician certainly would be. And I don’t see what sexism has to do with it. Tony Blair got plenty of flak for sending his kids to STATE schools, and for not talking about their vaccinations.

  5. Carl – no problem with the questions on a proper and serious show. This week is NOT a serious politics show. it is light entertainment. Newnight or Daily Politics no problem. Nor do I have a problem with tough questions being put.

    I assume there has been a degree of friendly banter between Portillo, Brillo and Diane for years on the show – certainly that was my impression. Last night left a bad taste in my mouth and wrecked a perfectly good show. Will Hutton was excellent!

  6. Incredible! This Week is virtually the only politics programme on TV (the daily politics is daytime tv and newsnight is a news not politics programme) and has every right to ask a few straight questions of the potential labour leader. In fact the only virtue of the programme is that Andrew occasionally gets in some serious analysis. He is frequently tough on all guests (celebrity guests too) when thay advance silly opinions and this should be no surprise to Abbott (who can be ruthless herself) who should have been better prepared.

  7. emrp – while I admire your dexterity with hyperbole – you will have noted that I took exception to the time and place. This Week is NOT a serious politics programme. it is a load of amusing tosh – and sometimes very good tosh.

    I have absolutely no problem with politicans being questioned hard.

    hey…. we are all free… we can think what we like :-)

    I tilt at the odd windmills…. maybe I was just having an anti-Brillo evening. usually, I enjoy his stuff… DP is a better politics prog. You are right, though. Diane A was not prepared.

  8. I don’t watch TW for this kind of thing, I watch it for it’s irreverance. I neither vote Labour nor am particularly fond of Ms Abbott – but, given the normal tone of the programme, it was like watching a lion maul a mouse. Not that Abbott is a mouse – but anyone that goes on DP, Newsnight etc., can expect a mauling, wheres it’s not the norm on TW.

    That said, I note that Andy Burnham is standing in for DA next week – so I’m assuming that all those willing to appear on TW, of the leadership candidates, will receive the same treatment. Although having seen Brillo with DA this week, they will, of course, be pre-warned rather than apparently ambushed.

  9. Pingback: Diane Abbott on This Week: The Mauling After The Night Before | TMP Online

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