Question Time starts…

I’ll be Twittering this one, rather than live blogging it. But feel free to provide your own impressions as our local politicians do their annual day trip to the outside world in the comments zone below…

  • Politico

    Arlene Fosters outfit is ghastly

  • Politico

    Why is there such a small audience?

    Better question even, why was it in Newry and not Belfast?

  • percy

    depressing, anyone would think Newry is part of Britain.
    Why are they talking about Westminster?

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Without being partisan I think that Conor Murphy is by far the best performer (so far).

  • Politico

    It has just struck me that the audience is highly imbalanced. Just by wathcing the clapping at the jibe at the PSNI showed that at least 60% of the audience can be assumed to be Nationalist. This is a result of having it in Newry. At least Belfast would have been representative.

  • Mark McGregor

    wtf – could the UUP not have got some one even a tiny bit more based in the present?

    Ken is aming the whole panel look like dicks!


    Damn those uppity Taigs politico. They wuz quite happy in a sectarian gerrymandered hellhole ’til dem Civil Rights boys came on the scene. Dos Fenian niggas loved der Unionist massas. Where’s a good whip and the B Specials when you need them. “Swing low sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home……..”. Get used to it pal. The Bangor Pickypool days of the 40’s & 50’s when Seamus & Nuala knew their place are over.

  • Mark McGregor

    ‘aiming’ – should be ‘making’

  • belfastsfsupporter

    Sinn Fein councillor Charlie Casey just said there that corporation tax should be abolished in Ireland. Is that now Sinn Fein policy?

  • Politico

    Ouch, Arlene just got stung by KEN MAGINNIS!

    Bad night for her ROFLMAO!

  • Is it me or was this the calmest Northern Irish edition of Question Time in years? Normally the panel end up screaming at each other the rating plummet!


    Alan Johnston and Andrew Lansley looked like two bored Colonial civil servants forced to sit through a native dance in the baking sun. I half expected them to demand a couple of banana leaf wavers. Their body language said ‘OK the map says Britain BUT it’s NOT really Britain’. A fair part of the British viewers would no doubt agree. Conor Murphy and Mark Durkan were excellent while Ken played the panto dame again. Arlene’s blinding pink coat took away from anything serious she had to say.

  • slug

    ” Their body language said ‘OK the map says Britain BUT it’s NOT really Britain’. ”

    This comment amuses and bemuses.

  • The Impartial Observer

    I could have been there tonight but sadly something came up at the last minute! Yes a very well mannered show. Arlene Foster came across as being very haughty and as was said above she really needs to go and see someone like Gok Wan! Conor Murphy was excellent, as usual, he is a very good speaker and is always on top of his brief, my tip for the next President of SF. Does the SDLP have anyone else? Why does Mark Durkam always do the big set pieces for the party? Why not let someone else go forward and try and establish themselves? And Ken Magennis was great to watch, his jibe at Foster was priceless, she really should have seen it coming, (s)he who lives in a glass house etc….

  • Socialist Worker

    I thought I heard Casey saying that. Durkin was right, SF have become the tories. When did scrapping corporation tax become a socialist outlook?

  • Mick Fealty

    It was the best I’ve seen coming from NI.

    Government jobs and well paid researchers buys you something!! And the fact they had two big players from the UK.

    Percy, it’s a UK wide programme.

    Mark, Ken was the only one who added a bit of spice across the board…

    Dukan’s best shots:

    They (the Government) were doing it on the basis of pre-emption…

    The Euro has provided stability. There would have been serious runs on currencies all over Europe without it. Where’s the money to shore sterling up: it’s all gone to the banks”

  • The Impartial Observer

    15. Yes he did say that! Probably a slip of the tongue and what he meant to say was that corporation tax should be harmonised. Which if he means should be at the level currently enjoyed in the South then that is quite a right wing viewpoint!

  • Mick Fealty

    1700 texts into Question Time. 600 on Damian green. Down from the usual. Good tempered debate kills the ardor of angry of Tonbridge Wells?


    Makes a change from the time Edwin Poots walked onto the QT podium a few years ago to challenge Gerry Adams. It was reasoned fair debate and for that we should all take a bow. However what REALLY worries me is the right wing Thatcherite views and policies being employed by ALL the 4 main parties. The Executive is a Tory heaven. They ALL want to slash public services to the bare bones and bring in Private Initiatives to run them. They ALL love the low paid, trade union free call centre job employment market AND they want to cap wage rises to below inflation. They are ALL to the right of Ghengis Khan. Eamon McCann had them well sussed out in his Belfast Telegraph column today. There is NOT a socialist among them.

  • Politico

    ‘There is NOT a socialist among them’

    Maybe because people in Northern Ireland don’t vote for socialists! It is simple really, don’t you know how democracy works?!


    Yeh politico and look at where free market capitalism has gotten us. A stagnant housing market and ordinary working people in negative equity for years; a bankrupt banking system; savings and pensions schemes in doubt; business and jobs in freefall AND the irony of ironies. The Western political world using socialism to bail out the corrupt fat cats. After decades of being preached to and told by our governments that ‘the market must find it’s own natural level’ the state intervenes and comes to the rescue of capitalism. What a laugh, don’t insult me!

  • Politico

    But then again noone else in Northern Ireland gives two shits about socialism. But good for you, its great to have a hobby 😉


    I agree but maybe as Sam Cooke sang, change is gonna come! The City & free market, having been bailed out by their governments, are STILL treating us like idiots and are STILL making billions while the world flounders. Don’t know about you but I see that as criminal and immoral. Cuba and Venezuela might have their problems but they could teach us a lesson or two about where the state’s responsibilities lie.

  • Peter

    The same Eamon McCann allegedly overheard talking about his new 15 grand kitchen in a Belfast establishment. Suppose that is redistribution of wealth, in a way.


    People gotta eat Peter.

  • runciter

    The same Eamon McCann allegedly overheard talking about his new 15 grand kitchen in a Belfast establishment.

    Who is alleging this?

  • McGrath

    the jibe at the PSNI showed that at least 60% of the audience can be assumed to be Nationalist.

    Posted by Politico on Dec 04, 2008 @ 11:16 PM

    Your perception of nationalists seems to be skewed, for instance, this nationalist wouldn’t have clapped. I would say that many republicans would have clapped, I would also add I know many nationalists who have no time for republicans. I would have felt as “at odds” as you may have among the same crowd in Newry.

    Which brings me to my point, there was no one on that stage last night who represents my views, and many others like me. There needs to be a party for the Non Denominational Garden Varieties.

    You wouldn’t be spared in Iraq.

  • dunreavynomore

    Like you , watching the program I felt it could have come from anywhere in the “U.K”, so little Irish feel was there to it proving just how well britain’s ‘normalisation’ project has worked and how comfortable S.F. are playing their role pretending to be in ‘government’.

    Charlie Casey was castigating the local people this week for bad drivibg and bad parking in Newry accusing them of being the cause of the snarl ups in traffic rather than the thousands of 26 co shoppers. Presumably the locals should just get out of the way of those with money to spend, socialism??????

  • The Impartial Observer

    On the bad driving, I can assure you he’s absolutely right! One of the biggest causes of congestion in Newry is due to selfish people who go through traffic lights just as they are turning red and end up stuck in the middle of the junction and block traffic coming from the other roads!

  • EagleEyes

    Love the way Conor Murphy goes into auto mode to partition Northern Ireland from GB by talking about “the banks here”. As if no-one in Northern Ireland has a mortgage with Abbey, Halifax, credit cards from MBNA or Capital One etc. etc.

  • dunreavynomore

    impartial observer
    I don’t doubt it and am in Newry often myself to see it, occasionally to take part in it,but the implication of Charlie’s piece was that all the bad driving was caused by locals which is ludicrous. Sorting out the bad driving would help but won’t sort out the overloaded roads and streets.

  • Taff

    My family and I were so disappointed to see how little Irish content was included in the programme. Was this Question Time actually being broadcast from Ireland? It might easily have been been transmitted from London, such was the disproportionate emphasis on centrist, UK topics.

    Why for example was there no debate whatsoever on contentious local Irish topics? Why was there no consideraton of at least some of the following: the demographic momentum to Irish unity; an all-island approach to the economy; the success/failure of devolved government; the electoral prospects of the Conservative Party in the North of Ireland; Sinn Fein and the PSNI?

    Question Time needs to become more imaginative and informative in representing the views of the regions. Otherwise it is danger of becoming far too bland and unrepresentative of vox populi.

  • dunreavynomore

    Don’t know if the panel have any say on which questions are selected from the audience but questions along the lines you suggest would have been sensible but perhaps would show the ’emperor’s nakedness’ on some issues. There certainly were some such questions submitted to my knowledge.

  • slug

    The BBC’s website has comments on the show. NI Question Time visits are certainly making a better impression than a few years ago if the following comment is representative:

    “Generally I enjoyed this show and hope QT visits NI more often – the audience and the people of that area both Uninoist and Nationalist seem to be more thoughtful intelligent and above the usual self righteous liberal leftist fodder we see coming from the mainland” London, Jeff.

  • Mack

    Lurig – “look at where free market capitalism has gotten us. A stagnant housing market and ordinary working people in negative equity for years; a bankrupt banking system.. … the state intervenes and comes to the rescue of capitalism. What a laugh, don’t insult me! ”

    Lurig the bolded bit is a contradiction in terms. This bubble and bust is not free market capitalism . It’s socialism for rich people! ( Coportatism may be an appropriate name, rather than capitalism).

    The imprudent banks should go bust, their shareholders lose all, their executives join the ranks of the unemployable. Their behaviour during the bubble was a disgrace. They behaved as if there was no risk in lending 7 times combined salary to young couples – because – as government behaviour has demonstrated there was no risk.

    Capitalism requires creative destruction. The good must drive out the bad. The prudent take over from the imprudent. Creative destruction should mean continues improvement – like natural selection in nature. That improvement should drive productivity enhancements and increased living standards for all. In fairness we’ve seen that (the last 10 years – mobile phones, broadband internet), but also we’ve seen powereful vested interests corrupt the system and abuse it for their own selfish gain. Now the politicos are bailing them out at our expense.

    It’s moral hazard that has allowed this to occur. The people who drove the bubble should have feared the bust. But we’ve had systemic moral hazard for sometime. The Greenspan put may have marked the start of the decay.

  • Dewi Saint

    Irish viewers have the opportunity of expressing a view on the notable absence of Irish content in the Question Time programme from Newry by accessing the BBC website: Question Time/Your Opinion.

    One would never have thought that this fairly bland programme was transmitted from a town in the heartland of Ireland. What about the contentious local issues that were worthy of debate?

    Was there any point in locating QT in the North of Ireland at all?