I was quite annoyed about the interviewing of politicians during the election, partly because it seemed as though the BBC was run by Conservative voters or at least those worried about being punished politically by a returning Tory party but also because searching questions were not asked.
The following are my thoughts as to what should have been asked – and wasn’t:
It is entirely fair to ask Tim Farron about his views on homosexuality, gay marriage etc. HOWEVER it is then incumbent to also ask Theresa May about her appalling record where voting for gay rights is concerned.
They could have asked Theresa May, why, if spending on the NHS was the highest it has been, are medical professionals protesting that the Govt is privatising the NHS by stealth. This letter by Dr Irvine shows there was lots of questions which could have been asked which would have educated the voters – surely the prime responsibility of interviewers during an election. It would also have been pertinent to point out that spending could indeed be the highest it has ever been – and still be increasingly inadequate as the baby boomers come through, get old and get sick. You can read the full fact report here – which SHOULD have provided fertile ground for questioning – but wasn’t. Theresa May was allowed to get away with repeating “giving more money to the NHS than ever before” ad infinitum.
Also pertinent would be to ask how were the government’s immigration targets going to impact the NHS? Given that we have a shortage of skilled staff and given that nurse bursaries have been cut what are the governments plans to safeguard the nhs now and in the future?
Theresa May could have been asked why she decided to cut police numbers while in the Home Office and, if she had a good answer, ask Corbyn and Farron what they would have done. The standard answer of “what I would not have done….” is a cop out and should be named as such.
As with “spending more than ever on the NHS” there was also a fair amount of using the truth to mislead. For example Amber Rudd saying that a chief of police had said increasing police numbers did not correlate with a decrease in crime. I am sure he did, I am sure it is true. But the weasel word is CORRELATE. Sure doubling police numbers doesn’t result in half the crime….but does it not help at all?!
Given that the Chartered Institute of Personal Development found “The UK sleepwalking into a low value economy” due, in part to an inadequate education the question could have been asked how would education cuts alleviate this? If the answer was grammar schools then the follow up question is to ask about the lack of evidence for grammar schools helping social mobility.
Brexit / The economy
For a “Brexit election” Brexit was never really mentioned. Questions could have been asked what does “no deal” actually mean. Had the government costed it and what were the results? If not why not?
Given the treasury’s own figures show HUGE annual losses how does pursuing a hard Brexit benefit the UK? How would Tories / Labour plan to fill the gaping hole in their spending plans?
What is the rationale for ignoring 48% of the electorate with a hard Brexit plan?
Given that the majority of people are willing to put up with FoM in return for economic benefits is Hard Brexit really required? Given that Leave Director Dominic Cummings wrote that the Leave vote would have lost but for the £350mn to NHS lie is Brexit mandated anyway?
If the UK is going to create trade agreements with other countries what happens in the case of dispute? Which court would arbitrate and why would this court be better than the EU?
What are the Tory (or Labour) projections for increased trade being sufficient to replace loss of trade with the EU. How many trade negotiators do we have?