Viewers have spotted a problem with this week’s BBC Question Time lineup

Question Time Lineup
John Ranson

Ahead of the 5 December edition of Question Time, the BBC released details of the panel. It’s fair to say it’s led to some raised eyebrows.

“Manel”

Question Time has faced criticism over its panel selections before. Normally it’s to do with the political balance or the presence of Nigel Farage. On this occasion, the four largest parties at Westminster are all represented. The Brexit Party’s Richard Tice is occupying the chair normally given to an actor or comedian. The Brexit Party had no MPs in the last parliament, because it didn’t exist in 2017, and lacks a traditional democratic membership structure.

But there’s a more obvious issue with the lineup:

A fair question:

While Holby City’s Catherine Russell made a cutting point:

Late substitute

The BBC pointed out that the Labour panellist, shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth, was a replacement. Originally, shadow business minister Laura Pidcock had been on the panel, but had to pull out.

But this did little to pacify people:

On discovering the all-male nature of the panel, Ashworth did the one thing he could and withdrew. Shadow treasury minister Anneliese Dodds will represent Labour on the programme.

Boys’ club

It’s a worry that the BBC ever thought an all-male panel would be acceptable, even as the result of a late change. Even Boris Johnson claims to be a supporter of equal representation. That’s a low bar. But Tice’s recent behaviour suggests the BBC wouldn’t have faced complaints from him about the all male lineup. He looked less than comfortable being challenged by Nicola Sturgeon when he took part in a BBC debate and was placed next to her.

Question Time is one of the BBC’s flagship political programmes. It’s under tremendous pressure. It needs to stop shooting itself in the foot with spectacular gaffes like this.

Featured image via Twitter – BBC Question Time

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  • Show Comments
    1. This is a storm in a teacup.

      In context of Question Time, ‘equal representation’, if enforced, is nonsense. Must the BBC specify to each political party the required sex of their representative? Which parties ought be asked to put forth males, and which females? Perhaps, a random process overseen by a ‘personality’ statistician? Even then the panel cannot be ‘balanced’ because it contains an odd number of people. Total balance could be achieved by having male and female representative from each party. Ten chatterboxes instead of five.

      Pursuing the obtuse logic of ‘representation’ further leads into a thicket of nonsense. Should not ‘equal representation’ include each of the self-styled non-biological so-called ‘genders’? Could each party supply the number demanded? Perhaps some party representatives must misrepresent themselves as weirdos.

      Also in need of consideration is the rest of the gamut of ‘alphabet people’. Yet, we have barely touched the ramifications of ‘equal representation’. Moving on to ethnicity, religion, and other characteristics by which people are defined or define themselves, leads to representation Babel.

      As for ‘Question Time’, a miserable mixture of ‘vox populi’ and ‘vox superbus’, what truly matters is having panellists capable of responding to questions as authoritative representatives of their party.

    2. I don’t care what gender they are, I care more about what is in their hearts and what comes out of their mouths, and in society’s rush to promote women’s equality (which is needed), I worry that the optics are being promoted way above the substance of who they are as a person, and what they (people) have to say, which in itself can lead to us to making bad decisions, i.e. choosing a woman instead of a man, transgender etc., (and vice-versa) because we want to appear to be progressive or ‘woke’, or be able to say ‘look we are civilized because we have a ‘gender-specific’ person in power’, and yet still end up with all the shit we have traditionally been forced to accept, due to ignoring what they are saying, and what they truly represent.

      Last time I checked regarding the UK, it is a Female that ‘Rules Britannia’, a Female that’s on all our currency, a Female that stood up to the Romans, a Female who (most famously) ruled The British Empire, a Female that introduced Neo-liberalist policies, and so many more examples that OUR nation, whilst still needing to address inequality between the sexes, has been well ahead of other nations’ efforts regarding working towards full equality, particularly our American allies.

      I mention America in this context because it is their problems we are being misled into accepting as ours, and we are getting more ‘American’ in the way we deal with these issues too. The UK has a Stirling record of female empowerment, and has been a leading nation in regards to promoting equality. That doesn’t mean we don’t still have plenty of work to do towards achieving it, nor does it mean we can blindly ignore history, but we should remember who we are, what our ancestors achieved, and deal with these issues in the British way, not the American way, which is to say, we should not be a nation that judges by the optics of a matter, but one that judges by the substance.

      Our politics, since the Heath/Thatcher years have become increasingly influenced by American Political theatrics, and this is not a good fit for us because we are not American, we have a different history, and should be a wiser people for it. However, whilst American influence is not all bad, there are things about America we have no need to copy because;

      a) we were dealing with it first (just fine) in our own way, and
      b) we don’t need the theatrics, or the cynical Neo-liberal cold-heartedness of American Corporate/Capitalist ideologies informing our decisions.

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