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.