Friday, 10 November 2006

Hi Mum, I'm On Radio 4

Slightly had told me before I had a weird accent. I just thought he was taking the piss. It's true though...

The Inner Temple HallIn February last year, I attended a recording of the BBC Radio4 programme Any Questions? Although I had come prepared, my question had not been selected to be read on air.

Tonight however, in the rather grand Treasurer Office's Hall of London's Honourable Society of The Inner Temple, having study a bit more how successful questions are usually phrased on the programme, I was amongt the 10 people from the audience who were asked to come and sit in the front row.

The panel brought together:
* Lord Falconer: The Lord Chancellor
* Ann Widdecombe MP: Former Home Office Minister
* Martin Narey: Chief Executive of Barnardos
* Patience Wheatcroft: Editor of The Sunday Telegraph
I was number 6 and, in the event, the last to get a chance to read out his question. It ran as follows:
Despite the positive image "Tony Cameron" is trying to spin for his party, are the Conservatives still the "nasty party" for ethnic minorities and immigrants?
You can listen to the question and the responses from the panel here (MP3 file, 3Min40, 3.36MB).

In a perhaps slightly unfair move from Jonathan Dimbleby, the chair of the programme, Ann Widdecombe (a prominent member of the Convervative party after all) was the first to be asked to respond, without any time to think about what to say. Although she called me an "intelligent man", she clearly did not think to like the question at all.

It was (and Dimbleby slightly missed my point there when "translating" and explaining the question) in reference to the recent developments with the A-list system of selection which resulted, as Ann Widdecombe and Patience Wheatcroft both pointed out triumphantly, and in my view misguidedly, in the selection of two minority ethnic candidates. "Only two?", is my reply.

I was also referring to the fact that what I think is the first policy finally published by Cameron and co (quite unsurprisingly) focuses on immigration. The exact same issue that apparently lost them the previous general elections because they focused too much on it.

Contrary to what Widdecombe says in here reply, the term "nasty party" is not the result of government and media led spin but comes from her own party. During her speech at the 2002 Party Conference, Theresa May, the then chairwoman of the Conservatives, stated that the party was then perceived as the "nasty party".

I have to say I find rather amusing the fact of Widdecombe insising the conservative party is not "that kind" of nasty party; implying they are simply another kind...

I am of course myself both an immigrant and a member of an ethnic minority. Just one with a weird accent, it seems.

If you were out and missed the truly historic moment (probably one of the first ever French persons to talk on this almost 60 year old programme), you get a second chance to listen to the show on Saturday (tomorrow, 11 November) between 1:10 and 2:00pm, followed by Any Answers? where auditors phone in to comment on the show.

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  1. How can you upset a fellow cat lover so much.

  2. Nothing matches the sinking horror of listening to your own voice played back. You are v brave to post that Zefrog!

    I don't think I fall into the category of an ethnic minority or an immigrant - but I still have a bloody silly sounding accent, dammit.

    As does Ann Widdecombe.

  3. Also, I'm very jealous you have appeared on the mighty Radio 4.

    Charlotte Green rocks!

  4. Well, you should know by now that i have no shame :O)

    Appearing of Any Questions? was actually quite easy. Knowing that a recording will take place in London, you just need to ring the venue (all relevant details on the programme's webpage) and turn up on the day with a question related to the week's events formulated in a mildly original way...

    Am sure you can do it too!

    And yes: SHE does! and all the others too


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