What the hell are the Tory Party up to?

The Tories have refused to put a Front Bencher forward to appear on tonight Question time as they were unhappy with the panel offered.

In his speech, The Trouble with Trust, the BBC director-general Mark Thompson called for greater transparency in the BBC’s dealings with political parties:

“There are steps we should take to make our own dealings with politicians and other public figures more open to scrutiny. When A refuses to debate with B or sets other conditions before an interview or debate, there’s often a case for letting the public know – for example, via the Editors’ Blog…”

So here goes. This week, for the first time in my three years as executive editor of Question Time, we were told by Downing Street that a cabinet minister would only appear on the programme if another member of the panel was replaced. According to No 10, a senior member of the cabinet was available to do Question Time but only if Alastair Campbell was replaced by a member of the shadow cabinet.

Can anybody explain this behaviour? Are the Tories attempting to Manipulate the BBC? Are they scared of Alastair Campbell? Are they trying to force the BBC into compromising their impartiality? What the hell are they doing?

It looks like they’re throwing their toys out the pram from here.

4 thoughts on “What the hell are the Tory Party up to?

  1. Maybe they didn’t think it was appropriate for New Labour’s chief spindoctor, who is entirely unelected but still has considerable influence within the party – who was implicated in a major scandal involving the death of a man hounded by government staff, and was at the centre of government deceit over the Iraq war – to be treated as though he is a mainstream member of political discourse?

    Frankly, I sympathise with the fucking Tories.

    Labour and the left has been very, very quick to forget what Campbell represents: the absolute worse of New Labour at its heights of skullduggery, manipulation and dishonesty.

    I have no illusions that Campbell is positioning himself for large-scale rehabilitation. Expect to see him run as an MP in a safe seat at the next election, and be front bench in no time at all. But remember this: the man is a piece of shit. Just because he is official on “our” side doesn’t change that.

    He should be a pariah for the left, not the object of so much cheerleading and gold-fish memoried devotion.

  2. Kelly, always important to remember Kelly, that is true. And I haven’t forgotten that Campbell is a nasty piece of work, even if, regretably,I still see him as one of my tribe at times.

    But do you think that is what the Tories were bothered about?

    Disagreeing with who the BBC want to invite on Question Time is one thing, but launching a broadside against QT appears totally without precedent.

    How can the Tories also claim that he is not part of the mainstream political discourse? They’ve aped his media direction and control and probably envy the power he had when he was first running no10’s press relations.

    There are plenty of reasons for not wanting to appear on TV with Alastair Campbell, I trust you’d be unhappy to share a platform with him, but the Tories backed the war, they show no signs of wanting to renounce the worst of spin which Campbell represents.

    Its not a principled stand judging the Tories on the principles they display.

  3. “But do you think that is what the Tories were bothered about?”

    Nah, they just hate Campbell with a passion.

    You are of course right that the Tories are playing politics rather than taking some principled stand. I’m just extremely concerned about the Campbell Love Fest that is gaining momentum on the left. I really don’t want Prime Minister Alistair Campbell in 10 years time. But we should watch our backs because it is not at all an unlikely possibility.

    1. “Prime Minister Alistair Campbell in 10 years”

      That is a terrifying prospect.

      I agree that there is a worrying buzz around Campbell. He argues cogently and presents himself well, but well that’s the least we should expect from a politician. He is a shit, and a lying manipulative shit at that.

      Perhaps I don’t want to defend Campbell as indicate that I’m worried that the Tories are taking on the BBC so early in the day.

      But its good you’re there to remind me that my enemies enemy is not my friend.

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