Thursday, June 12, 2008

AM/PM again.

A very long day. 1.30am and just had a shower after returning from a mediafest in Cardiff. Knackered, but a satisfying day. Started off with AM/PM, the BBC's 90 minutes from the National Assembly. The format is based on two guests in the studio discussing today's newspapers and other topical stories. My 'regular' partner, Siobhan McClelland (well, the last twice anyway) had gone to Cambodia for a month, so it was ex Labour Minister, Christine Gwyther today.

AM/PM also takes in Prime Minister's Questions. I described today's PMQs as a high score draw. I went so far as to say that I judged it was the best PMQs I've watched. Both David Cameron and Gordon Brown were on top of their game. The exchange flowed from the sombre beginning of tribute to the three young paratroopers who were killed in Afghanistan recently, and moved naturally onto the '42 days argument'. It was the House of Commons at its best. Both Chris and I were entranced by the power of the cut and thrust between the two gladiators.

And then Phil Parry asked me what I thought of Nick Clegg's performance. I just asked "Was he there". To be fair, he had an impossible job to make any impact after such an impressive main bout. Today's Clegg/Brown exchange was a bit like a third place play off. Even the far more able Vince Cable would have struggled.

Most of our other discussion was on the 'detention of suspected terrorists without charge' issue, particularly today's Telegraph story that almost 70 % of the public back the Government. I said that I wasn't at all surprised. Chris was supportive of the extension of the period to 42 days, while I was not. There was a theme of discussion about civil liberties and human rights running through today's programme. There are strong thread of libertarianism, and commitment to security running through the Conservative Party, and sometimes they come into conflict. I'm usually of the 'libertarian' tendency when these conflicts occur.

As soon as the 1.00 bell rang, I was surrounded by the Dragon's Eye team - enough to put the wind up any aspiring politician. But all that had happened was that Toby Mason, that snapper upper of newsy tittle tattle had heard me say where I was going next, a visit to a private sector health care provider, which I'll blog on tomorrow. I spent an hour or so with Adrian Masters, engrossed by what I was witnessing - but I'd best wait until after Dragon's Eye goes out tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Christine Gwyther was never a minister. She was an assembly member. Never got into parliament.