Viewers are pointing out a very big problem with last night’s Question Time

Question Time Panel
Emily Apple

On 24 May, a member of the Question Time audience asked an important question. But viewers were quick to point out that there was a serious problem with the panel answering it.

An audience member asked the panel:

Do you think [the] bastion of white, middle-class, southern privilege spreads beyond just Oxford University?

Labour MP David Lammy nailed the problem:

“White, middle-class, southern privilege”

The question related to a tweet that Lammy himself posted on 23 May regarding a report released by Oxford University into its admission statistics:

Lammy also tweeted some of the problems the report highlighted:

Viewers were not impressed

Lammy was not alone in calling out Question Time over its panel, which consisted of Anna Soubry MP, Anneliese Dodds MP, Daily Mail journalist Dominic Lawson, academic Sarah Churchwell, and writer Lionel Shriver:

And as others pointed out, the absence of a single person of colour involved in a debate over racism is a real problem:

It gets worse

If the all-white panel wasn’t bad enough, it got worse. Firstly, when Oxford-educated Lawson was asked if the country as a whole was a “bastion of white middle-class privilege”, he responded: “No, I don’t think it is”:

But it was host David Dimbleby who managed to drag the debate down even further. A member of the audience raised the issue of the panel directly:

We’ve got an all-white panel tonight

Dimbleby responded:


Viewers were not impressed:

Time for change

As Lammy pointed out, the Question Time panel “proved [his] point perfectly”. All our institutions, whether we’re talking about the media, universities or our police force, need to take a long hard look at how privilege and discrimination permeate through all sectors of society.

Because unless we start recognising and taking action against this entrenched inequality, it will only continue and get worse.

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