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Last week, I went to Birmingham University to be part of the studio audience for BBC’s Question Time. As I’m a sad bugger, I’ve been watching it for about 20 years, even sometimes leaving the pub early to see it, so when I was offered the chance to see it, I jumped at it.
I got to the green room and security was tight – everyone was searched – and the presenter, David Dimbleby, came to give us our pep talk on how to ask our questions and debate with the panellists. He was considerably more affable than he appears on the TV and, although his suit was so sharply pressed he could have circumcised you from twenty paces with the crease in his trousers, he was wearing rather trendy suede boots.
Then it was time to file though the University to the grand hall where it was being filmed. Bizarrely, there were no checks for tickets or for security on entering the studio space, rendering the earlier searches somewhat useless, I thought.
The panel consisted of comedian David Baddiel and loony right-wing journalist Janet Daley. The MPs were Menzies Campbell, who was so witty, gentlemanly and intelligent that I’d vote for him unhesitatingly, Liam Fox, who seemed likeable and spoke very well and rationally for a Tory, and Education Secretary Ruth Kelly, who is even more sinister in real life than on TV (and, as she’s in charge of education and is a member of Opus Dei, a sect founded by a Spanish fascist whose members spread fundamentalist christianity through their work, that’s pretty damn sinister indeed).
Unfortunately, neither of my submitted questions were chosen (although a question similar to mine on immigration was asked, so I got to hear the panels’ views). A couple of times I raised my hand to speak, but then wimped out when I realised I’d me making my point to 2 – 3 million people, and previous experience tells me that I’d gabble my words and make a total tit of myself.
Lucky for those politicians that this ruthless Torquemada got cold feet.