A Question of Question Time

I don’t often watch Question Time, but anticipating a clash of cultures between Douglas Murray (Hooray) and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Hiss) I thought it would be worth watching last night. In the event the excitement was generated by action-man Ashdown.
Elder statesmen-turned-national-treasure are often afflicted by symptoms of geriatric pre-dementia such as continually harking back to the glory days, and his youthful military adventures in the Royal Marines have provided Lord Paddy with eternal bona fides for his unassailable expertise on everything to do with ‘war.’
Having taken on a Tony Benn-like egotism, he peers out from concealed eyes, talking over others, and sniggering with fake incredulity at anything they might dare to say.
Yasmin’s arguments collapsed under their own inconsistency, so she made up for it by performing histrionic gestures of mock exasperation. The director featured shots of her over-dramatised shrugs and facial acrobatics at moments calculated to best mock and undermine Douglas Murray.
The QT zeitgeist was thrown off balance by certain members of the audience. In particular a lady who had experienced the sharp end of Al Qaeda’s London Jihad, who made an emotional speech in support of Douglas Murray.
Douglas Murray has to bear the hampering ball and chain of the demonising ‘neocon’ label, and he heroically puts himself in situations in which he is outnumbered by hostile and dishonourable opponents.

A remarkable example of BBC bias, or incompetence, call it what you like, came following Douglas’s explanation that the West didn’t need to ‘be seen’ to use due process of law to deal with Osama Bin Laden in order to show that we are ‘better than them’, because the West patently shows that this is the case the whole time. (Merely by being libertarian, democratic, and free as opposed to Islamic, oppressive and barbaric)
(28:56) Paddy Ashdown, however, deliberately or through stupidity, totally misrepresented this by repeating indignantly, despite Douglas’s protestations, that Douglas had merely said we don’t have to show that we’re better than Al Qaeda. (Cut to shot of Alibhai Brown’s bizarre, exaggerated clapping.)
Meanwhile, David Dimbleby who was filing his nails or tweeting, or not paying attention for reasons of his own, sat back and allowed this slanderous disingenuous drivel to continue unchallenged. (I’m fairly sure a shot of this was edited out of iPlayer) But whether he couldn’t see, or wouldn’t see what what Paddy was getting away with, it was appalling chairpersonship.

“How old are you?” Paddy had been allowed to ask Douglas earlier. The same question should have been put to Paddy, begging the answer “Well past it.”
Finally, I mustn’t forget to query why Armando Iannucci was given so much time to waffle on meaninglessly, or indeed why he was on the programme at all.

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48 Responses to A Question of Question Time

  1. john in cheshire says:

    Well, since he left the forces, Paddy has ‘had a good war’, hasn’t he? Helping to teach those pesky Serbs a lesson, and made lots of dough, no doubt, mostly taken from our pockets. I’ll bet the Serbs just love him.


  2. Demon1001 says:

    I wonder if he had a head injury when he was in the Marines.


  3. Grant says:

    To put it politely, Pantsdown is not the sharpest tool in the box. Oh, to hell with that, he is thick as two short planks !


  4. cjhartnett says:

    An excellent precis Sue!
    When Dimbleby waved leaflets at Philip Hammond like a Big Issue chugger, I saw the sunset on what what he might have considered a “career”based on his daddys name. Interns have been around the BBC a bit longer that Lewinsky made them famous to Clintons slavering poodles that now infest the BBC!
    Murray skewered Lord Paddy and Yasmin must have caught “Sour Boot Syndrome” from trailing Polly round the BBC studios too often.
    Oh what a circus as David Essex once sang-just wondering who pays for these bedblockers and senile fantasists that comprise any BBC panel these days…oh yes,its us!


  5. Charlie says:

    Im unable to tolerate  Yasmin Alibia Brown in any shape or form she drives me nuts. Paddy Ashdown sounded both pompous and silly arguing with Douglas Murray. I’m in total sync with Sue on all this.


  6. George R says:

    Muslims, like Ms Alibhai-Brown, are hypocrites when it comes to IslaM, and e.g. Bin Laden.

    On the one hand she lectures us that Osama Bin Laden was not a proper a Muslim (even though he studied Islam daily); but on the other hand she says he should have a reverential Muslim funeral! 

    Like many other appeasers, she is more concerned with Bin Laden’s demise than with deaths of all the innocent people which he, as a devout Islamic jihadist, was responsible for throughout the world.

    She need to see the fundamental evil of tenets of Islam, and to campaign against the heart of Islam, which is shariah law and Islamic jihad, by being  active in ‘Women against Shariah’:



    • George R says:

      For Ms Alibhai (and supporters of Islam everywhere, whether it be at Bush House, East Wing Broadcasting House, White City, etc.)

       London today:

       (perhaps INBBC will report it; perhaps not.)

      ‘Daily Mail’


      “Effigies burned, flags ablaze and black masked extremists on the streets: Muslim fury over Bin Laden’s death erupts at Friday prayers ”

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1384276/Osama-Bin-Laden-death-revenge-Muslim-fury-erupts-Friday-prayers.html#ixzz1LbMjaFOx


      “Fury erupts outside U.S. Embassy in London as hundreds stage mock funeral for Osama Bin Laden

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1384353/Osama-bin-Laden-mock-funeral-Fury-erupts-outside-US-Embassy-London.html#ixzz1LbNeqJd1


      • Buggy says:

        If they wanted to stage a mock funeral for their hero, you’d have thought the Serpentine would have been a more appropriate venue……



      • George R says:

        INBBC has decided that we should not see a certain aspects of Islam, as enacted in London today. The above is censored by INBBC, for its Islamisation purposes.


    • Millie Tant says:

      To be fair, Yasmin Alibhai Brown is one of the very few people in this country to have written and spoken in national media about the appalling treatment of Muslim women – hidden violence; forced marriages; savage killing by fathers, brothers, relatives; hidden suicides; forced wearing of shrouds; domestic slavery, segregation, isolation from society etc.  She has written unflinchingly about all of those things, telling of the horrors and brutality that have befallen women she has heard about or met – in some cases they have sought her out, though they have usually been frightened of talking to people and terrified of their families and close circle finding out that they had talked or had contact.

      Google will bring up the newspaper articles from papers like The Independent and the Evening Standard. I have read some articles in the past, although I do not usually read her columns and she may have done a lot more than I am aware of.


        • Millie Tant says:

          George R: That doesn’t address the point I made which was in reply to your earlier post. Yasmin Alibhai Brown doesn’t need lessons in being concerned about the treatment of women by Muslims – and anyone who goes around name-calling in contemptuous fashion as in that  headline you just posted…well, that’s some commendation, isn’t it?


          • George R says:

            Millie T: She certainly does need lessons. She remains a Muslim while knowing that tenets of Islam degradate the role of women. Instead, she opposes critics of Islam. It is very important to her that Islamic jihad mass murderer, Bin Laden has a Muslim funeral. Apparently it is not important to her that Islam has the imperative of the enforcement of Shariah law, and all that this entails for women. She subsumes specific injustices of Islam against women under broader classification. Will she ever say?: ‘I am now totally opposed to the deep injustices of Shariah law, especially in its implementation against women. I renounce Islam.’ Of course not. Instead she will continue to lecture the British people with some non-Islamic bromide on the lines of ‘live and let live’.


      • sue says:

        I’m 100% with Douglas on YAB.
        She may well have been one of the first people to write about Islam’s ill-treatment of  women, and if so, I’d applaud for that, although nowadays plenty of others do the same thing. There are thousands and thousands of articles about this. It’s such an outrageous injustice – shall we say ‘elephant in the mosque’ that it’s easy pickings for anyone whose job is writing in the newspapers.
        Alibhai Brown’s record on this reminds me of the BBC’s sentimental attitude to Jews who perished in the holocaust, while at the same time alluding darkly to anti Jew conspiracy theories and lobbies. In other words exploiting low-hanging fruit to ones own personal advantage, while appearing altruistic.
        If she wrote any of that stuff from within a Muslim community, or whilst living in a Muslim country, that would certainly be courageous. As it is she’s part of the metropolitan BBC-friendly left-wing consensus.
        My idea of courageous women are people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, and Nonie Darwish.

        By all accounts her writings are mawkish insubstantial and self pitying and she is certainly an antisemitic bigot. Her antics on Question Time were a mere snapshot of her character, and the way the director used shots of her clownish reactions solely when Douglas was speaking or had just spoken was as bad as it gets.


      • Grant says:

        That is a fair point , Millie.  There is a tendency, not least among some posters on this website, to tar all muslims with the same brush. The ones who speak out, like Yasmin on women’s rights, should be supported.   


        • Grant says:

          PS  It is in our interests to encourage divisions among muslims, in my view.


      • hippiepooter says:

        Yes Millie, on this issue at least she does give a little respite from her otherwise unbearable awfulness.


  7. Alex says:

    Did you know that you can link diretly to a particular moment in an iplayer program by adding e.g. /?t=28m56s to the end of the URL?  I think it also accepts hours (h)


  8. joseph sanderson says:

    I found a clear case of BBC bias on its http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13280105

    Their journalist has posted the following piece of spin:

    “We have provisional figures for the final turnout in the AV referendum. According to the Electoral Commission, 42% of registered voters took part – which would be the second lowest figure for a referendum in British history. Participation was highest in Northern Ireland, where 55.8% of people cast ballots. Turnout was lowest in London – at 35%.” 
    What the BBC have not mentioned is that their has only been two UK wide referendums ever, so actually the headline should say the highest turnout for a UK wide referendum ever.  
    This is a clear example of the BBC attempting to distort the picture, shocking.


    • Grant says:

      The people who didn’t vote are presumebly happy with the system as it is or don’t care, so a resounding victory for the “No” vote, however the BBC try to spin it. 


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Awesome catch, joseph.  They know they’re lying, and simply don’t care because they think the public is too ignorant to know the difference.  Either that or Gavin Stamp and/or Lucy Wilkins are ignorant, and their editor allowed them to do it anyway.

      Probably top of their class at the BBC’s Journalism College, or one of the feeder schools.  I’m sure Helen Boaden is proud of this one.


  9. Llew says:

    The mindset of the BBC editor, taken from old fashioned local area Ceefax news.

    The lead item, Conservatives lose Poole Majority. Larger font, prominent position. A meaningful “Lose”, ha ha horrible Tories. They actually lost just one seat to the LDs so council was a NOC gain. 

    Notice the much smaller item down the bottom, Vale of White Horse Tory control. What’s up BBC, can’t you use the word “Win” or “Gain”? It would fit. Honestly. But I guess we mustn’t celebrate any kind of Tory victory. They actually took 13 seats from the LDs to gain the council.

    Poor BBC, it really hurts them today.


    • Grant says:

      Well spotted , Llew.  This has been an awful week for Beeboids and they are lashing out like the pathetic little spoilt brats that they are.
      Pitiful creatures.


    • NotaSheep says:

      Hurts and confuses; they just don’t understand that after a year of Tory government the Tories are not in electoral freefall, hated by everyone.


  10. cjhartnett says:

    Ah the Vale of White Horse result! Martha Kearney had some regional poppet stood outside the BBCs mobile van, as “The World at One” waited breathlessly for the call to insurrection! Surely the red flag could now be flown over Westbury Town Hall if the result could be announced on the show. Maybe her gofer could bring her carrot cake once the earth shattering result had heralded the Pastel Revolution!

    Llews told us ,sadly, that it was not to be!

    Hope Martha had a spare flunkie to fetch the latte.Trousers at half mast on Womans Hour then. Anything resembling a good rebellion up in  the ward of Nantwich North West ,Quentin?


    • Grant says:

      Carrot cake and latte, trousers at half-mast. Classic stuff, cj, keep on posting !


  11. My Site (click to edit) says:

    ‘query why Armando Iannucci was given so much time to waffle on meaninglessly’

    Maybe Eddie Izzard was not free? Or, for some reason, became unavailable


  12. christopher watton says:

    Have just watched last night’s QT – and if that audience is ‘representative’ of the country as a whole, then I am a one legged lesbian.
    Hearing the clapping after saying Bin Laden deserved a decent burial, and the heckling to the guy in the panel who said his death was justified is truly stomach churning.


  13. Natsman says:

    Is a one-legged lesbian a semi-dyke?  Just wondering…


  14. London Calling says:

    There is something very unnatural about wanting to be in a QT audience. Its the same impulse that makes people want to join the Labour Party. It is a “political act”. Students Union bar politics clapping the Left and dissing the Right, being a “political activist”.  Sensible people have better things to do with their time.


  15. Alan Trinder says:

    The BBC is so predictable – as soon as I heard about OBL’s death I knew an invitation to appear on QT would be on its way to Yasmin Alibhi Brown.    And what a nasty piece of work she is – her inability to restrain  her body language and facial expressions make her intolerance and prejudices completely transparent.

      She rolled her eyes upwards in exasperated boredom as a tearful  7/7 widow described the pain of her loss – she then had the effrontery to lecture the poor women on being more forgiving.    She later snapped angrily that the victims of 9/11 and 7/7 didn’t matter because other people ( I assume she meant Muslims)   have died.   She beamed triumphantly as she informed us that Jihad would continue  despite  OBL’s death.

    If she wasn’t bad enough – we had that silly old fool Paddy Ashdown – to endure,  with his war stories  and pathetic attempt to rebrand himself as some sort of half baked elder statesman.  Why is it always the same old faces on QT –  Yasmin Alibhi Brown,  Caroline Lucas, Baroness Warsi,  Peter Hain  etc –  I sometimes think it’s the same audience every week as well.


  16. cjhartnett says:

    Well don`t say that the BBC haven`t warned us!

    Next weeks Any Questions features Lord Hennessy and Baroness Helena Kennedy-let`s hope that they can find it in their hearts to find someone that we civilians have ever actually VOTED for to make up the numbers! You know-as if we had a say in just what the BBC are trying to tell us!

    No prizes for guessing where the BBC ice cream van parked itself yesterday before the plumped pews of the second chamber emptied for the country…Italy I mean!


  17. Dez says:

    “A remarkable example of BBC bias, or incompetence, call it what you like, came following Douglas’s explanation that the West didn’t need to ‘be seen’ to use due process of law to deal with Osama Bin Laden in order to show that we are ‘better than them’, because the West patently shows that this is the case the whole time.”

    That’s your interpretation. My interpretation is that Alibhai-Brown and Ashdown were saying that “we” had to be seen to be doing the right thing at all times so as to try and avoid making any new enemies.

    Were as Douglas Murray seemed to be saying that we know we are better than “them”; who cares what anybody else thinks?

    “Yasmin says we must show that we are better than them… we are better than Al-Qaeda… we don’t have to show that Yasmin”.

    That’s what Murray said and Ashdown quotes it perfectly. You think quoting someone’s actual words back at them is slanderous?

    “(I’m fairly sure a shot of this was edited out of iPlayer)”

    I have a copy of the original broadcast of Question Time and have compered it to the iPlayer version.

    They are both completely identical. Nothing has been “edited out”; and yet you are “fairly sure”…


    • RCE says:

      It’s Dez!

      Hello Dez!


    • sue says:

      Hello Dez,
      You’re quite wrong. Douglas Murray was saying that we already show we’re ‘better than them’ by our behavior (over centuries) which *is* better than theirs, simply by virtue of not being a barbaric radical Islamic theocracy.
      No sooner had the words left Douglas’s lips when Paddy selected the first part of his statement, ignored the last part, and with a triumphant look, attributed the qualifying, vital, nub of what Douglas had said   – to himself. 
      Alibhai Brown went further. By her logic, “we” must tolerate the most egregious barbarism, at all costs, to show, (as if we hadn’t already done so over the last few centuries) that we’re better than them.   Look at it again, more carefully.  Since you have more than one copy of the programme it should be no problem. Do a transcript.

      I saw DD shuffling papers while Paddy was speaking, it might have been a moment or two later than I thought, that’s why I said fairly sure, not completely sure, as you ought to have noticed.  He was  discrediting Douglas in the most disrespectful manner and the chairman should have spotted it and intervened.
      I’ll just tell you something else while you’re at it. What was the director up to, featuring those outrageous shots of Alibhai Brown? Some sort of entertainment for the stupidocracy, at Douglas’s expense?
      People don’t emerge from this kind of treatment unscathed. The BBC exploits people for their own aggrandizement, mercilessly and ruthlessly. It’s disgraceful.


      • Dez says:

        “by our behavior (over centuries) which *is* better than theirs…”

        Bit of a racist on the quiet aren’t you Sue? Doesn’t sit too comfortably  with your own opinion of your self as occupying the moral high ground.


        • sue says:

          “Bit of a racist on the quiet aren’t you Sue?”
          What on earth are you talking about? Go on, flesh that out.

          (I love that “your own opinion of yourself” )


          • ltwf1964 says:

            he’s full of crap sue

            he’s like a pigeon……flies in low and fast,shits on your head and then buggers off again before you get the shotgun aimed


  18. sue says:

    A bit more about Yasmin and QT here  “I’m no friend of Bin Laden, but….”


  19. Dez says:

    “I saw DD shuffling papers while Paddy was speaking, it might have been a moment or two later than I thought, that’s why I said fairly sure, not completely sure, as you ought to have noticed.”

    Sorry Sue, you can’t get away with that. You said;

    “I’m fairly sure a shot of this was edited out of iPlayer”.

    I’ve watched a recording the broadcast and the version on iPlayer all the way through and nothing was edited out. You didn’t see a shot of DD “shuffling papers” on iPlayer because it never happened. Your memory is faulty.

    “You’re quite wrong. Douglas Murray was saying that we already show we’re ‘better than them’ by our behavior (over centuries) which *is* better than theirs…”

    I understand fully what Murray was saying and I’m sure it must be nice to feel so superior (Western Bombs have such a lovely chocolaty aftertaste don’t you know). However it’s not you or Murray that need convincing; but the people living in Afghanistan.

    “What was the director up to, featuring those outrageous shots of Alibhai Brown?”

    There were shots of the panel, shots of Alibhai reacting to Douglas, shots of Douglas reacting to Alibhai (you seem to have missed those), shots of everynbody reacting to everybody else.

    “Some sort of entertainment for the stupidocracy, at Douglas’s expense?”

    Yes no doubt everyone was thinking Douglas Murray had a point until they saw Alibhai Brown waving her arms around and then they all changed their minds.


  20. Dez says:

    By the way, I’m always interested when people say things like; “we are better than them” – who exactly is “we” and who exactly is “them? Do you even know?


    • sue says:

      I’m out most of today, but I will be back and will reply properly then. If, as you say, you’re really interested.


    • sue says:

      Dez, I would be glad to engage with you if you came up with substantial points. 

      Does saying ‘our’ behaviour is better than ‘theirs’ make me or anyone else a  racist?
      I have no idea what the logic of that is. Of which race am I ‘ist?’

      Aren’t you able to decide whether one thing is better than another? Are you unable to judge which is the better of two clashing ideologies?

      Western style democracy is not perfect, but Islamic Theocracies / Totalitarian dictatorships are devoid of humanity, and that’s why they’re inferior, at any rate with regard to the quality of life of people, especially females, who have to live within them.

      Do you disagree, and think ‘who are we to judge?’ and believe they are different but equal?

      After reading your comment I happened to switch on the radio and this lady, Zarghuna Kargar, was talking about women in Afghanistan. If you can’t see why I think our society is not only different, but superior to a hell hole ruled by the Taliban we’re stuffed as far as any meeting of minds is concerned.

      I stand by my criticism of David Dimbleby’s chairing.  If I did imagine seeing the shots of David D not paying attention that I was fairly sure of having seen, (if,) I certainly didn’t imagine his desultory chairmanship. He allowed Paddy Ashdown to completely and emphatically misrepresent Douglas’s argument in the most outrageously boorish way. The proof of the pudding is, as they say, is in the transcript.

      DM ”No Yasmin, we are better than them. We don’t have to show it.”

      PA “You made an extraordinary statement a moment ago….we are better than Al Qaeda… we. don’t. have. to show it. No Douglas!!”

      DM (with PA and YAB talking over him)  “I said we show it all the time!”

      P A: “Hang on, Hang on. Just a moment.  “No. We are better than Al Qaeda because we do show it by everything we do!” (Triumphant gesture.)
      DM “Absolutely”

      Paddy’s triumphant killer point was exactly the same as  Douglas’s, which Douglas attempted to point out, but Paddy talked over him with Yasmin twittering and gurning away in the background, and David Dimbleby, if he was on the ball, should have allowed Douglas to put that right. If he was indeed paying attention as you insist he was, he was intentionally biased, and therefore an even worse chairman than I thought.

      I certainly missed shots of Douglas reacting to Alibhai, if by ‘reacting’ you mean dramatic heavenward hand or eye gestures. No, I don’t think these antics would have done her any favours, but that’s her problem. It’s the deliberate exploitation of them by the director to insult Douglas Murray for the audience’s gratification that pisses me off.

      Dez, you and I live in parallel realities, and I for that may the lord make us truly grateful.


  21. Biodegradable says:

    I emailed Alibhai-Brown once several years ago. Never recieved a reply.

    Dear Ms Alibhai-Brown,

    While I accept that not all legitimate criticism of Israel should be construed as anti-Semitic your article of 6 March 2003 in The Independent <http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/yasmin-alibhai-brown/its-not-antisemitic-to-connect-iraq-and-israel-599598.html&gt; clearly is. One particular phrase among many illustrates this well enough I believe, and it is this phrase above all that has prompted me to write to you:

    You write, “Palestinians were not responsible for the Holocaust, yet today  they are being made to pay the highest price for it.”

    To suggest that Israeli’s defence of itself is in any way comparable to the policy of Nazi Germany to exterminate Jews is an insult to the memory of those victims, it is another example of the misuse of a very powerful word, only too common in these times.

    In my humble opinion “the price” being imposed on the Palestinians, if that is how you choose to describe their suffering, is to be blamed on their own corrupt leadership. To suggest that Israel in defending itself from Palestinian terrorists today is in some way avenging itself for the crimes of others in the past is simply absurd, and yet another attempt to connect Israel to just about anything which would demonise The Jewish State.

    I am aware of  a connection between Iraq and Israel. The payments made directly by Saddam to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and to the families of “fallen” Palestinian “fighters for example. Isn’t it about time the world community made the connection between Iraqi sponsorship and Palestinian terrorism?

    Israel is not making Palestinians pay for anything, Israel is defending itself. Perhaps I’ve overlooked it, but I don’t seem to find in your articles any condemnation of Palestinian terrorism. No doubt like Cherie Blair you understand them and feel that their actions are quite acceptable.

    There is no spiral of violence. There is instead a constant effort by the Palestinian Authority to destroy the State of Israel and murder, or massacre, whichever you prefer, innocent Israelis.

    Friday, 7 March, 2003, 22:32 GMT
    “A day of violence across the Palestinian territories has left at least two Israeli civilians and seven Palestinian gunmen dead.”

    Please note Ms Alibhai-Brown, that’s at least two ISRAELI CIVILIANS and seven PALESTINIAN GUNMEN dead. Perhaps this is why there is an imbalance in the body counts on each side?

    As a Jew I am proud and glad to count my friends from all walks of life, all religions, and racial and cultural backgrounds, but like you I too find I am losing them, perhaps for the same reason that you are losing your Jewish friends.

    Shalom, may peace be with you.

    She would do well to remember what she said then regarding Israel, but applied to the “Arab Spring” and Hamas.

    “Ah, but Israel is a democracy. Yes, and that is admirable in an area where potentates rule and destroy their people. But Milosevic was also elected, and Hitler was a very popular leader. Democracy offers no guarantees of goodness.”


  22. George R says:

    Melanie Phillips: re-INBBC’s bleeding hearts for BIN LADEN:

    “This hand-wringing over Bin Laden is not just distasteful – it’s potentially suicidal”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1385003/Osama-Bin-Laden-Hand-wringing-death-distasteful-potentially-suicidal.html#ixzz1LqyBYgo8