Friday, 17 October 2008


BBC Question Time came from Stoke-on-Trent yesterday. On the panel were Geoff Hoon – transport secretary, for labour, Dominic Grieve – shadow home secretary, for the tories, Julia Goldsworthy – local government spokesperson, for the libdems, Clare Short MP for herself and James Caan, venture capitalist.

I know at least 5 TAG members who were in the audience but I only spotted two briefly, Clearly the BBC had boycotted any questions relating to education and BSF.

There were four questions addressed:

1. The first question was about rising unemployment and what should be done about it.

Hoon said training and education were needed, went on about jobs in loft lagging and seemed to be suggesting that climate change was a good thing because it produces jobs.
Grieve wanted apprenticeships but didn’t say how these would come about and also mentioned something about taxation and small businesses.
Short blamed cheap foreign goods for the decline in local industries and said an intelligent change in direction was needed but didn’t elaborate on that.
Caan wanted legislation to stop outsourcing of work to other countries.
Goldsworthy wanted tax cuts for those on low incomes. I’m not sure if that’s quite on topic (tax cuts are no good to you if you’re unemployed) but it is a very good point.

Hoon tried to make out how great the £120 tax cut a lot of us are getting this year is. But that does not address the point that those on the lowest incomes are comparatively worse off following the 10p tax debacle.

Audience members made points that more support is needed for industry here, people want to work but can’t find work and one woman blamed the local labour party for industries lost from SOT.

2. The second question was from a muslim man who was concerned about the 9 BNP councilors and islamaphobia in SOT and wondered if he should remain here.

Caan said he is a muslim but can not understand why islam is picked out because the Islamic, Christian and jewish religions are so similar.
Hoon made a couple of pathetic points. One condescending one that we all need to be educated about islam apparently. The other being there is nothing wrond with the mayor system.
Grieve seemed to be on another planet, he said that people’s insecurity leads them to be BNP activists.
Short was very anti-BNP and wanted people’s issues to be listened to and dealt with.
Goldsworthy was against the government providing a pot of money labeled as preventing violent extremism as she did not think this helps with moderation. She would prefer the focus to be on more general support and development for communities. I thought this was a good point.

Some good points were raised form the audience on this question.

Gareth Snell from Newcastle borough said that labour, tory and libdem all need to start connecting with they people thy are meant to represent and that people will vote for new things if they don’t like what’s in place. However as a proud labour activist he denied that the labour party were to blams but shifted the blame to individuals.

Another audience member pointed out that as labour, tory and libdem are colluding, the only opposition is from independent and BNP councillors.

The situation in SOT was most eloquently summed up by Cllr Alan Rigby who again emphasized that we have a coalition, with a labour dictator mayor in charge. He said shame on the tories and libdems because if people vote for them they still get the labour elected dictator. He presented a good balanced view I think. He condemned what the BNP stands for nationally and condemned labour for taking us into an illegal war. Agreed. He also said that locally he has good friends who are labour muslim councilors but that there were also very good BNP councilors who never mention racism and do everything that they should and need to do in their communities. I’m amazed how well he managed to fit all these good points in.

3. The third question was from a man who had been refused funding for chemotherapy drugs and didn’t see why people should be penalized for where they live, as the same drugs are available in other counties.

There seemed to be general agreement that the difference in availability is wrong.
Goldsworthy wanted a copayment system. I don’t think I’m with her on that one as we ought to have a proper NHS.
Hoon said the man was right to complain but then embarked on a feeble attempt to spin an answer that labour has a fair and consistent system!
Short said drug companies were making a fortune by deliberately making drugs too expensive.
Grieve reckoned the formula for working out funding for different areas wasn’t working properly and he wanted payments to drug companies according to how well the drugs work. Fair points by Grieve on this one at least.
Caan agreed with a member of the audience that the government doesn’t care about ordinary people, only about big business and banks.

Cllr John Davis in the audience suggested one uniform funding system for the whole country, rather than a fragmented NHS with privatization destroying it. Well said.

4. The fourth question was about the government’s loopy plans for a big brother style database.

Almost everyone agreed this is nuts.
Short opposed it completely as it would cost a fortune.
Goldsworthy would not trust the government not to lose it or misuse it.
Grieve and Caan thought it was unnecessary as investigations are possible via ISP and telephone providers as it is.
Hoon of course had to try to support it but just waffled unintelligibly and tried to claim it would protect is from terrorists.

One woman in the audience made a good point that she found it very offensive of Hoon to accuse people of supporting terrorists just because they don’t agree with him. Other points from the audience were that it probably wouldn’t work because of changing technologies, they should concentrate on ehat is practically manageable instead and that government has a habit of using legislation in the wrong way.

What do I think about the panel?
Caan, nice kind of guy without many answers.
Hoon, by far the biggest twit.
Grieve, not especially on my wavelength.
Short, not as impressive as I often find her, Short by name, short on detail.
Goldsworthy, on the whole I quite liked quite a few of the things she had to say.

I’m sorry that being concise is not my strongest point (but being thorough tends to be).

Over to you.

What do you think about these issues, especially in SOT?
What did anyone else think of the program?
Did they avoid education questions from the likes of the TAG because they think they are not that important, because they are too ‘local’, or because they had heard this was a can of worms that once opened would be hard to close?


Tony said...

Great blog! We obviously have different views on Cllr Rigby! My earlier blog is based on my opinion of what an "independent" stands for!

brooneyes said...

Another cracker Nicky!
Note there were no BNP, councillors, candidates, officers!
The Bigoted Bombay Corporation saw to that!
Hoon is, in the words of Tony, a twit(sic!)and that piece at the end about this database was insane!
Here's what someone should have said to him. If you want to protect the people from terrosts,
stop letting them in to the bloody country!
Dominic Grieve; why use one word when you can use twenty!
I thought that James Caan was best on the night, and agree completely with stopping this outsourcing of jobs. This is another thing the BNP said they would do.
As for the rest, for several years now, the BNP have been saying that we need to inwardly invest! kickstarting our local economy is going to be vital for this city, especially as we still don't know how hard this recession is going to hit, a recession I might add, that Hoon and the rest of the cabinet scroungers would have seen coming if the right checks had been in place! Allowing the derivitives market to run
uncontrolled was an immensely stupid thing to do, because if anything is going to bring the financial system crashing to the ground, derivitives are it!

Yes Nicky, the BBC do veto subjects for the show, and as you maybe saw from that obvious plant,
the muslim who was going thin on top, they aren't past racial manipulation either! Once again there was no BNP presence. Can't have the LibLabCon put in their place by proper politicians now, can we?
That loony from Newcastle who said what we needed was a coalition! Where's he been for the last 4 years, in a coma??
The last thing this city needs is more of the bloody same!

Overall, this show was what it usually is, shallow and one sided.

st george said...


Don't you see through this 'local' good BNP councillor thing?

"that there were also very good BNP councilors who never mention racism and do everything that they should and need to do in their communities".

They are hopeless at reforming and challenging as policies go through, but then play politics with very public call-ins like the Longton and Trentham ones, when they know they are not affecting the decision, but can wind you all up politically.

Thats right Oracle, isn't it ??

And the egotistical windbag that is Cllr Rigby, is trying to be the next leader(ask Cllr Walker), and courts anyone who he thinks will help him...

You know as do I that if you have been on before,they wont let you on again.

Also, the BNP have been on before, so why the conspiracy theory that you are being cut out ??

which terrorists have we deliberatly let in ?

What is the one thing that makes them stand out from the crowd, so we can stop them ??

Bare in mind, my memory is long, and I remember terrorism over the last 50 years.

brooneyes said...

St George, here are a coupe of things I thought you should know.I
have never been on the show before, but knowing the blatant bias that the BBC display at every opportunity, especially towards the non-liberal, non-PC BNP, i didn't even try. The BNP have never been represented on that show.

Which terrorists have been deliberately let in?! You have to be bloody joking! They've all been deliberately let in! There were 8 in the Met with extremist connections, they haven't been sacked, but if you get caught wearing a BNP badge, you'd better watch out! They know of thousands who have attended terrorist training camps, they haven't been deported, or shot!
You ask what is the one thing that makes them stand out?
Not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims. All
the bloody lefties will be up in arms, but the one thing they have in common is they are all attached to islam. That's why I said, stop them from coming into the country in the first place,then the 52 people that died on 7/7, and the 750 that were injured, wouldn't have happened.

st george said...

Craig Pond

"You ask what is the one thing that makes them stand out?
Not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims."

Craig, I made it clear I have along memory. I seriously question if you have a brain.

All Watch

"BNP chairman Nick Griffin speaks to an audience of American Nationalists alongside David Duke of the blatantly Nazi American terror group the KKK, who have been responsible for dozens of savage killings and hate crimes in the USA.

In his speech Nick Griffin confirms that BNP strategy is to re-package and "sell" BNP ideas to British people. Nick Griffin confirms that, instead of using traditional far-right slogans about terror, hate, authoritarianism and violence, the new BNP strategy is to use "saleable words" like "freedom, security, identity, democracy" instead, while reassuring his (small) pro-KKK audience that the BNP's secret and real beliefs are still "your ideas too".

Nick Griffin admits that the long-term BNP goal of forcibly expelling all non-White Britons from the their homes is, for the time being, best served by "being rather more subtle" - because in the short-term, the BNP being HONEST about their real beliefs would get his party "absolutely nowhere". BNP chairman Nick Griffin dreams of a day when the BNP will "control the British broadcasting media", and when British people will (as a result) have been tricked into electing the BNP. In other words BNP chairman Nick Griffin dreams of a day when HE will control the British media, and when British people will have been tricked into electing HIM.

"Instead of talking about racial purity, we talk about identity" "

brooneyes said...

Both video links are like you,
Nick Griffin in the one video I could view, only looked about 14!!
Is this your proof of malfeasance? Ancient history dragged out of the closet by you raving lefy morons? This shows exactly how desperate you are when you can't get anything on the man that isn't 20 years old!

You have to ask yourself George,
are you the same person now that you were at 20?? I doubt it. I'm sure you were a completely different type of tosser back then.

The other thing you should take into consideration is that it is very unlikely Nick had any say over the guest list. This helps the BNP because it shows how pathetic you far left scum really are. And you in particular should die from shame for naming yourself St George. There is nothing patriotic or nationalistic in your views or your attitude.
Words fail me, and that doesn't happen very often.

nita said...

Nicky, thanks for the great blog!

I watched this programme, and was waiting for a question on the BSF issues affecting Stoke on Trent, but No. This is one of probably the biggest major issues, and the BBC did not allow one question. Pretty disgusting really. Obviously they must think, Every Child Doesn't Matter.

I thought there was some excellent questions asked, some replies were good, and some were naff, to say the least.

One thing that annoyed me, was the chap who tried to blame Labour for losing the local industry. Forgive me here, but wasn't it Margaret Thatcher who played a major part in us losing our pits? Correct me if I'm wrong on this one.

Brooneyes, why was there no BNP Councillor, Candidate, Officer present? Do tell.

I only hope that the Councillors start finding their individual voices again. We the public want to know what Lab, Con, Lib, BNP, Ind have to say.

BNP4EVER said...

There were BNP members in the audience, but no councillors or any other high profile members. In light of recent events and what's to come in the city a low profile was urged to prevent a repeat of a previous episode on QT involving a member of the party who didn't think before opening trap.

nicky said...


We do have different views on independent councillors. I can see the point that if someone is attached to a party you may be able to guess what some of their views are but in practice it doesn't work out. Take Mayor Meredith, you'd think as he's labour he may have some amount of socialism left (although I guess labour gave that up with Blair), so you'd think he'd take ordinary people's views into account but he doesn't. Also take the labour/tory/libdem lot on the council, whatever one of those you want you're going to get their alliance, so are you really getting what you want? So in many ways you can't know what someone is going to do, independent or otherwise. I just listen to what people have to say and go by that irrespective of party. And I do like Cllr Rigby and I like quite a few of the other city independents also.


Glad you liked the blog. It's pretty obvious the BBC fixed the questions. The TAG tried to make their questions as general and non-local education questions as possible but got nowhere. They possibly fix who gets on the program. A couple of TAG people admitted to being part of an action group but then didn't get into the audience. I didn't state that on my application but still didn't get in. But maybe they just google people as a matter of course and figure it out.

St. George,

I simply reported what Cllr Rigby said, but his description fitted pretty well with what I see. Maybe he and I are in a minority on that or just on the same wavelength, but that's ok with me. I fully understand that all these people are political and have their own motivations, but does that mean I shouldn't agree with anyone at all? Who would you expect me to agree with? And why shouldn't I say positive things when I agree with people? It would be daft for me to speak out in support of people I don't agree with (although that's maybe what some labour/tory/libdem councillors do day to day).


Glad you liked it. It's a continual frustration that labour are pushing through their bsf program all around the country and there are other areas where it is being done badly as well, but it's all done as a 'local' thing all over the place. Academies too are being foisted on people all over. One of my other favourite councillors that someone will probably critcise me for liking, Cllr Kent-Baguley, sees that. Education ought to be important and I think they should have included at least a question at the end instead of the database question which wasn't nearly so serious as that will never go anywhere.

brooneyes said...

I've just seen the pictures of the proposed east, west precinct, and it looks great. But then I looked at what was being put into it.
A multi screen cinema??
How many multi screen cinemas do these people think we need. More cafes. How many cafes do we need?
Another multi storey carpark that will doubtless be used to outrageously fleece the drivers of this city.
This new building should be re-named the Blonde Centre. Great to look at, but empty of any ideas.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Nicky's vie that Alan Rigby was a rounded politician that views political life in Stoke correctly.

Of which party does Rigby champion and why does he give the impression that coalition politicians are what Stoke needs?

His view that to vote for any party means, as Nicky interpretates, a 'Dictator Labour Mayor' is false.

You vote in any election who you want to, it doesn't matter.

YOU put this Mayor in by voting ina seperate election exclusive to Mayors and you get one for four whole years.

Nothing to do with Tory, bnp or independant wins everywhere.

To blame Councillors of any party for a mayor, is therefore wrong.

The very idea of mayor is that you put one in. So Rigby's notion of vote anyone in and you get labour is quite stupid.

Alison said...

Craig, I know the East/West Precinct isn't really a part of this debate, but it would be interesting if someone (anyone on this blog!) could find out why we are having another bloody multi-screen cinema when the area is crying out for new facilities like, perhaps, an ice rink! The ones I've been to area always very popular, but you usually have to travel an hour to get to them. Why can't we have one in Stoke? It would give some of the young people (and families) something else to do.

Any ideas anyone on who has been "consulted" about these plans, and why we have another cinema foisted on us? I am willing to bet that no members of the public have been asked their opinion on what facilities they actually want to see at this new development. Can anyone put me right on this one?

T COPE said...

After watching this much hyped programme I was left dissapointed, where was Joan Walley, Rob Flello, or the other one (whose name escapes me at the moment)? Why were there not any local politicians on the panel instead of the dross we saw.
Local issues were sidetracked or just ignored, with pathetic excuses, by the panel.
It had all the hallmarks of a soap opera, well rehearsed, and stage managed.
Heres an Idea lets have a question time ourselves, with all the leaders of the groups on the council, and joe public asking the questions entirely about local issues, at least once a year.
Does anyone think the party leaders will be brave enough to face the public?

nicky said...

Terry Cope,

The trouble with the question time is that they take it round the country but don't get local MPs onto the panel and they certainly hardly let anything be asked or said about local issues. They think it's not going to interest people but I think it would be a bit of an eye opener if they did as I bet you'd find the same 'local' issues cropping up all over the place. (Have a listen to radio 4 Today program - academies - Tue or Wed this week I think.) I really like your idea of a local question time.

Anonymous said...

Four Councillor spoke at this event – None of them promoted the image of our City – Just on the Tele in order to boast their own self ego – thats Councillor Rigby(the fat controller - self appointed leader), Barnes(I hate meredith and I want to be leader) Billington (Clean my net curtains and I be the leader of the party) and (Hot wind coming from my mouth with NO Sense or chance of being leader) Davis.

gobowen said...

Could the folks who post on here get it through their heads that Lee Wanger is NOT a Member of The City Independents.
He is part of the Three Headed Monster formed to keep Labour and Roger Ibbs in power within The City Council.