[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.