Inconsequential words

Lectern Politician Policy Speakers

Well, I just watched the hustings show on the BBC and quite frankly I think it was a huge waste of time.

Emily Maitlis seemed to spend most of the limited time Boris Johnson was given talking over him trying to remind him of things he said. Indeed, most of the questions seemed deliberately worded to allow Emily to go on the BoJo offensive – she had all her embarrassing Boris quotes lined up ready – although in fairness she did once do the same to Jeremy Hunt. Both Jeremy and Boris did a great job of ignoring her, although Boris realised this and his apology to her was one of the lighter moments of the show.

I’m not sure any of them came out of it particularly well. Rory Stewart seemed a bit vague and waffly at times (but did talk some sense), and Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt were competent, but in the most part didn’t say much of consequence. Michael Gove seemed to have a lot of air-time, and as a result may stick more in people’s minds, but his heart-felt thanks to each person who asked a question (when perhaps he should have just been answering the question) made me cringe.

I don’t think any of them said anything we didn’t already know, and none of them really properly answered any of the questions, or for that matter, really interacted with the people asking questions. None of them, for example, had the courage to tell the young lady who asked them to commit to cutting carbon to Net 0 by 2025 that it just isn’t economically possible. The poor Imam who asked the question about ‘words having consequences’ just looked like he’d been set up by the BBC to have a poke at Boris. The woman from Southampton mentioned that her husband’s job was at threat from a No Deal Brexit, but no-one asked exactly how that would happen (I couldn’t figure it out, and presumably neither could they from their answers).

I’m not sure what was worse, the BBC’s efforts to make them look daft, or their own inability to add anything useful to the ongoing debate. Either way, as I’m not a member of the Conservative Party, so don’t get to vote, it’s just an hour of my life I won’t get back…

The Radical Centre

Rays Pattern Center Abstract

There’s a good interview with Rory Stewart on the Spectator’s Saturday Coffee House Shots podcast this week, where James Kirkuk quizzes Rory about various things. Funnily enough, the first thing they talk about is the ‘radical centre’ which is basically what I was expounding in yesterday’s post.

Rory discusses his ideas for a government that takes the best of left and right, very much echoing my points. He also goes on to describe how he proposes to get round the Brexit impasse by creating a citizen’s court, which I also think could be a good thing. James Kirkuk seemed less convinced by the idea, but as Rory says, if it doesn’t work, it’s only taking a few weeks out of the process and is a better idea than anyone else has come up with to break the stalemate within Parliament itself.

The one thing I’m not sold on is the term, ‘radical centre’, it sounds like a group that are only interested in the centre ground of politics. Kirkup also runs a think tank that calls itself the Radical Centre, and I agree a lot less with most of the things he tends to come out with (but I’m sure he’s a jolly nice chap).

To me, Rory’s (and my) political stance needs a brand, more than a ronseal title, something that is relatively meaningless, but people can assign values to. As I own (long story, read Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Corey Doctorow to get some idea of where I got that name from), I’ve started to use that as my little playground for further exploring my political ideas. I’m not saying that, or the Whuff Party, is the way forward, (phones tend to autocorrect it to whiff for a start), but something along those lines.