Has the quality of public debate declined?
I don’t think so, and I had a cameo role in Giles Dilnot’s Archive on 4 programme last night, to which you can listen again here.
I was allowed to whinge on about my Banned List, and to complain about politicians filling their debates with meaningless guff, but I do not think it has got worse. On the contrary, I believe that people generally are more impatient than they used to be with cliché, jargon and filler phrases.
There are other ways in which public debate is constrained. Dilnot has an interview with Kenneth Clarke about his trouble over the definition of rape last year, in which the Minister Without Portfolio explains that this is not the only subject which he has learned to avoid:
I am known to have controversial views on the European Union. But you will have noticed how often I have expressed them in last five years. I mean, forget it.
Dilnot has a number of interesting clips from the archive, including Yasmin Alibhai-Brown confronting a Kurdish woman on BBC1 Question Time who desperately “wants this war” in Iraq.Tagged in: banned list, kenneth clarke
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