Julia Hartley-Brewer outclasses four other panelists on ‘Question Time’, with respect to the Ched Evans employment question

[Note added 11.1.15: The relevant extract from last Thursday’s Question Time has just been loaded onto our YouTube channel – here – please leave any new comments there, rather than on this blog piece. Thank you.]

I’ve long been an admirer of Julia Hartley-Brewer, the broadcaster and columnist.

Occasionally I’m asked what my favourite media interview to date has been. Without a doubt it was this interview in March 2013, when Julia was working for LBC Radio (she announced live on air three weeks ago that she was leaving LBC). I was talking on my mobile, and I find the lack of face-to-face contact in such radio interviews frustrating, but she quickly put me at my ease. It became apparent she’d gone to the trouble of reading our consultation document – the precursor to our 2015 general election manifesto – and after outlining some of the content, uttered a line which made me laugh out loud:

I’m very surprised to say this, Mike, but I have an awful feeling you may have a point, scary as it is!

Julia is a consummate professional, and had seemingly spent more time preparing for our short discussion than anyone who’s interviewed me so far, whether for TV or radio.

I was interested to watch her contribution to last Thursday’s Question Time. At 27:25 a lady in the audience asks the following question, and the section on this issue lasts until 44:42:

After serving his sentence for rape, should footballer Ched Evans be given a chance to continue with his career?

To my mind, Julia’s response was the only one from any of the five panelists which demonstrated intellect, fair-mindedness, and compassion. The responses from the first two of the other panelists (below) were predictably woeful, while the final two, both highly intelligent men, let themselves down:

– Liz Kendall, Labour MP since 2010, Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, former Special Adviser to Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt;

– Vince Cable, Lib Dem MP and Anti-Business Secretary, a prime mover behind the government’s bullying of FTSE100 companies (FTSE350 companies are next in line) into appointing more women onto their boards despite the compelling evidence base – which Campaign for Merit in Business presented to House of Commons and House of Lords inquiries – which show that one predictable consequence will be corporate financial decline;

– David Davis, the Conservative MP who I’ve been saying since 2005 should have been elected party leader, rather than David Cameron. To be honest, I’d have opted for a houseplant rather than Dave;

– Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia.

4 thoughts on “Julia Hartley-Brewer outclasses four other panelists on ‘Question Time’, with respect to the Ched Evans employment question

  1. Frankly it is hard to summon up any sympathy for the footballers involved. The events at the start of this are sordid. However the concerted campaign has appalled. As you say Julia HB was a model of informed intelligence, sadly she is a rarity these days particularly when the issue is one of sex. In fact Julia , and others who have made principled arguments , are rather brave in the current moral panic .

  2. Julia’s response is unusual in that it is an answer based on a direct and reasoned response to the question, not on wondering what one needs to say to avoid losing political capital or votes. Its a shame the politicians are so totally cynical on such an important issue: in terms of the offence, this case in particular, and the matter of rehabilitation of offenders.

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