Today I did something that I knew beforehand would only cause me grief and frustration – I tuned into BBC2 for the Daily Politics show, hosted by Andrew Neil. That it was a show of ignorance by both questioner and responder was only too obvious. Appearing in the lead up to PMQs were Hariett Baldwin for the Tories and Richard Burgon for Labour. Leaving to one side Baldwin knew nothing about Brexit other than she knew how to say ‘um’ and ‘er’, Burgon came out with the old canard of Norway being a rule taker and not a rule maker (starts @23:30); a statement that elicited no correction from Neil.
When a branch of the media airs a programme that presents itself as an opportunity for a, supposedly, investigative journalist to question a, supposedly, knowledgeable politician; and you get neither are able to present a reasoned argument, day after day after day, is it not reasonable to question why we, as taxpayers, fund either of them?
When PMQs finally began we were treated to the usual biff-bam accusation and counter accusation display involving Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, each attempting to outdo the other with increasing sarcasm. Among the MPs asking questions was Stephen Kinnock (starts @56:38) whose question about rejoining EFTA and remaining within the EEA could possibly have been better phrased. Leaving that aside, May’s response was to quote rising levels of employment and to repeat the three main aims of her Brexit ‘strategy’ (not).
As you will see, Kinnock had not finished his question when the Speaker, John Bercow, rose to admonish Members for making too much noise. Bercow then called on May for her answer, yet he must have known he had prevented Kinnock from completing his question – or was he ‘playing politics’?
PMQs and the Daily Politics are both ‘shows’; shows of ignorance. For all their procedures and pomp that is exhibited, one is reminded of a reputed statement by H.L. Mencken:
(Representative) Democracy is but a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.