A Question Time audience member shames David Dimbleby into asking a damning question about the Tory government

Question Time audience member and David Dimbleby
Tracy Keeling

A Question Time audience member made a powerful observation on 22 November. And it unwittingly forced David Dimbleby to ask a damning question about the Conservative government.

Jogging the BBC’s memory

During the BBC‘s flagship show, someone asked a question about the UK’s homelessness crisis. As the audience member said, “One in 200 Britons are sleeping rough or in temporary accommodation”. Some members of the mainly right-wing panel responded by arguing that solutions lie with councils. Or by effectively saying ‘it’s complicated’. But then another audience member spoke. He said:

In every answer so far we’ve had somebody mentions councils and the work that councils could do in order to help homelessness… It’s quite clear what the problem is here, chronic underfunding of public services and our local authorities…

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This has been a problem ever since this government got in power started forward with its harsh and inhumane policy of austerity, as the UN pointed out this week. Now if actual money was put into our public services, maybe this issue wouldn’t have got as bad as it has.

Not only was this comment insightful, it was striking. Because in the 50-odd minutes leading up to it, no-one mentioned the UN’s recent assessment of the UK at all. This reflects terribly on the BBC and, indeed, the British media in general.

“A political choice”

Philip Alston, special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights for the United Nations, held a press conference on 16 November. In it he relayed findings of a UN investigation into the impact of Britain’s austerity measures. That investigation should be devastating to the current government. Because Alston accused it of turning the UK into a country akin to one dealing with “a natural disaster or health epidemic”; continuing with hurtful policies that it could change “overnight, and for very little money”; and doing so out of “political choice” rather than necessity. As Alston said, the Conservative government has fundamentally transformed Britain into a country where:

The state does not have your back any longer. You are on your own.

If it weren’t for this audience member, however, it doesn’t appear the investigation would have featured on Question Time. Of course, it’s possible the BBC didn’t receive a question from the audience on the issue. If so, that’s an awful indictment of the UK media’s failure to give this investigation the prominence it deserves. But the question forced Dimbleby’s attention to the findings. He asked Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley:

Can you answer the… point about austerity and the imposition of austerity has led to this… and that the UN condemned this week

Dream come true

The Conservative government really couldn’t have hoped for anything better. The UN reveals that austerity has led millions into poverty, which it says “is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one”. But the British public only hears about it on the BBC‘s flagship programme after a clued-up audience member manages to get Dimbleby to ask a question about it.

Shame on the BBC, and shame on this country’s media.

Featured image via screengrab

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    1. A Question Time audience member shames David Dimbleby into asking a damning question about the Tory government
      //
      Talk about Cllr letting us down read on about our Tory COUNCIL
      well talking about Local County Councillors
      //
      We in Pendle /Lancashire have a full Tory run Council,
      that do nothing for some of us resident in Pendle
      unless you have cash that is then they climb,
      all over the rich party members to help then,
      out ONLY not the poorer resident of our area.
      //
      We also have a Tory M.P. Mr. A, Stephenson that dose,
      the same thing helps the better off in Pendle area ONLY!
      But totally ignores the poorer voters.
      //
      The Tory Govt party members record,
      in our area of Lancashire (Pendle area) is as follows.
      //
      1–voted to Frack the hell out of Lancashire + Pendle area
      Tory M.P. plus, Tory Cllr promise us for our vote No fracking
      in our area untrue Tory party has granted 3 licenses to frack,
      in our area all Tory party members voted for frack by way,
      of their Tory party Manifesto paper.
      //
      2-They promised us a new BYPASS in 2015 G.E. still waiting.
      //
      3-They promised us a new rail link to Skipton IN 2015 G.E. still waiting.
      //
      4-They promised they would look after our N.H.S. service here
      untrue again they voted to trash our N.H.S. services. by way of cuts, to our serves that is written in FULL IN their Manifesto paper They all voters for including,
      Tory- voters in our area.
      //
      5-The Tory Councilor of Lancashire where find a lot of cash
      by a court of law for dodgy dealing within our Lancashire,
      N.H.S. serves trashing it and selling parts off.
      //
      6-We poorer resident wish to know of our Tory Pendle Council,
      will Tory party ONLY be paying the Dodgy deal over our N.H.S. service?
      //
      7-Or will our Pendle Tory Cllr put up our council tax bills by another,8% in April 2019 to pay OFF their fines over dodgy dealing within, our N.H.S. serves? Not ours as we did not deal or brake any, laws on Dodgy N.H.S. serves deal the Tory Lancashire, Cllr did + may be Pendle Cllr AS WELL, we resident of Pendle area under Tory Cllr, Rule, we poorer residents are being sold out put into poverty also by all the new cuts, To come in 2019 -2020 our Tory Cllr plus our Tory M.P. that voted for the cuts again by way of their party MANIFESTO paper,
      IN 2015 G.E. –2017 G.E. and May 2018 local election on our area.

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