Saturday 1 May 2010


Last night I caught the second half of Gordon Brown's interview with Jeremy Paxman on BBC1. After only a few minutes I was tempted to switch off, not by Brown's evasions or untruths - in fact he seemed to by trying to respond to the questions relatively honestly - but by Paxman's constant interruptions and hectoring. Whilst I have long believed that it is the way politicians respond to each other with rudeness and contempt which turns people off the political process, it is increasingly clear that the media themselves contribute to this attitude.

The nadir of the interview came when Paxman asked Brown: "Why don't people like you?" My reaction was: How dare he? In a civilised society no one would ask that question of another except, perhaps, if the other were on a psychiatrist's couch. Chivying hesitant students on University Challenge is one thing: open rudeness to another human being on a public medium is quite unacceptable, especially when one is fully aware that the other must "take it on the chin" rather than respond in kind.

Mr Paxman's bullying technique does no service to our democracy. I hope he will receive a reprimand from whoever have replaced the BBC Governors - and perhaps a reduction in salary to the size of that of the prime minister.


  1. Too true and it's not just Paxman is it. I notice two tendencies on BBC: the snide, tripping-up style of Paxman, Andrew Neil and John Humphreys (though I have somewhat more time for him) and the apologetic, sorry-we-are-bothering-you-with-this-nerdy-politics-stuff from Andrew Marr and Nick Robinson. This is something peculiarly British or maybe Anglosaxon. French, Belgian and (even God help us!) Italian political TV) does not assume that politicians are either crooks or dysfunctional. The subliminal, or not so subliminal, message is that politics is not a serious field that concerns everyone, but instead a kind of playground for oddballs. Why anyone should want to be an MP or minister is becoming more and more difficult to fathom.

  2. Peter
    You might enjoy this.

  3. Thanks for the suggestion Jaime. I'm sure I should enjoy it, but I've tried twice to find it, using copy and paste, and each time get "page not found/." It does, however, introduce my to "Eachwishresigned", which seems an interesting blog, more varied than mine.

  4. Peter, try this link:, or otherwise go to UTube and do a search for Paxman nailed by Plaid Cymru spokesman. It's worth it!

  5. Thanks, Jaime, found it this time. Well worth it. all should see:,

    What a wonderful spokesperson the Plaid man is