As mentioned previously, BBC Question Time has been moved to Portsmouth Guildhall tonight from Brighton. I didn’t get a ticket myself, but I’ll copy my two questions (all audience members are invited to submit two in advance) below.
The panel is Nigel Lawson, Ed Davey, Stella Creasy, and Paul Kenny.
I think this is a good example of the BBC caught out trying to “set up” Question Time. Nigel Lawson is now a noted climate-change sceptic and Ed Davey is the pro-green taxes, pro-daft windfarms Environment Secretary. They were obviously hoping to get an audience full of screaming Brighton Greens in and have a right old tear-up at Lawson’s expense. The eruption of the defence crisis clearly made the BBC scent blood and so the show has been moved here.
Stella Creasy is a typical new-New Labour MP, background in Parliamentary research and PR, but one of the better of the type. Paul Kenny of the GMB union was only announced after the move of the programme was confirmed. I don’t know why the BBC haven’t got Penny Mordaunt or Mike Hancock on. GMB is I think the largest union represented in the Dockyard, however.
There is another demo led by the unions from 5pm, I’ll be there and hopefully there will be a good turnout despite the awkward timing. Penny Mordaunt is planning to do a webchat during the broadcast of Question Time, which starts at 10.35pm.
The two questions I’d have submitted would be these:
“Why are UK taxpayers giving £285m a year in aid to India, a country with nuclear weapons and a space programme, at the same time that thousands of those taxpayers are losing their jobs in this region?”
£285m is probably 3 3/4 OPVs.
“The UK population continues to grow, and with every extra mouth to feed further pressure is put on our economic security through food and energy imports. How can it be right to continue cutting the Royal Navy and our defence industrial base when we are ever more dependent on sea trade?”
Hopefully there will be at least one really sharp question from the audience on Pompey. It’s critical that Whitehall is challenged on the spending priorities that drive defence cuts, and not just the political dimension with Scotland and fighting over a shrinking defence budget.
We did get nearly a quarter of an hour of last week’s show from just one question, and it did expose pretty clearly that the decision to close Pompey is crazy. I am sure Ed Davey will be better briefed than Anna Soubry was.
A bit of a “stop press” item for this bit of blog is the launch of Portsmouth Shipbuilding, an initiative worthy of your support and something the fledgling Portsmouth First group (the final choice of campaign name for the “Pompey Party” idea) is right behind also. More on Portsmouth First later on – we had a fantastic first meeting on Monday at the Shepherds Crook and are looking keenly at developments in the next few days while people get organised.