Thursday, 7 December 2006

Question Time - CWF style

Last night I attended the CWF Forthright event at Wallacespace in Covent Garden, a delightful venue, even if a little difficult to find even as a 'local'.

CWF are arranging a seris of debates in honour and memory of the late Eric Forth MP, and therefore named the Forthright Debate Series. This event got together five leading political commentators for a Question Time style event. Hosted by Gary Mond, the panellists were Camilla Cavendish (leader writer, The Times), Janet Daley (The Daily Telegraph), Jo-Anne Nadler (broadcaster, writer & author of 'Too Nice to be a Tory'), Patrick O’Flynn (Chief Political correspondent, Daily Express); and Peter Oborne (Daily Mail & Evening Standard), a formidable and diverse panel.

The debate was lively and Gary did well to encourage contributions from all attendees, and not just the three or four keenest! Discussions focussed on the influence / power of the media, ideologies of newspapers, unruly children as well as difficult questions for Brown. I thought that the event was incredibly well thought through and excellent to attend, and very much hope that this will become a regular feature in the CWF calendar.

Greg Hands MP, in his vote of thanks, picked up on comments about whether or not the public would prefer to see journalists in Westminster, rather than politicians, given that they are better (allegedly) at saying what they think. Personally, I think it is somewhat easier for journalists as they do not have to be consistent, toe the party line, worry about their political career, or worry about their comments being misinterpreted by the media. Although I do think that sometimes our politicians are a little to wary of making comments on moral matters or making their views known, but I can understand why it is so difficult.

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