Friday, 12 December 2014

Passion, excitement and interest - everything BBC Question Time is not

If you were on any form of social media last night, you will know that Russell Brand and Nigel Farage appeared on BBC Question Time, with thousands tuning in to the topical debate show to witness the fireworks that were bound to occur. I was actually in the audience for a Question Time show in October in Middlesbrough, so when Russell Brand wrote on his Facebook page about his thoughts on his time on the show, I couldn't help but think back to how I felt, as the lights dimmed and the politicians scuttled off the studio set.

Question Time appears to many as passionate and fiery, with panellists put to the sword about concerning national problems, however I couldn't have felt any less passionate as I walked out of the doors onto the streets of Middlesbrough, in fact, it was actually quite depressing.

I'm an opinionated person and I'm genuinely interested - and surprisingly to most politicians - actively engaged in politics and current affairs so when I had the phone call confirming I had a place in the audience of an upcoming Question Time, I was so excited. Sniggers and quips were made about how excited I actually was because I thought this was an opportunity to have my questions heard, for politicians to hear genuine concerns the general public have - but clearly, I was being very naive.

The TV show is just that, a show - and a staged one at that. Have no doubt about it, the questions that the audience are told to send in, are picked extremely carefully and are generally, safe. We were told to clap lots, to voice our opinions, to enjoy ourselves, but there is no fun in seeing MPs spout safe political soundbites, to safe, boring questions. My question was something I believe is extremely relevant, and something that I think many young people would like to hear an answer too but, like most of our voices, it was ignored.

'There is huge distrust in the UK's entire political system, especially among students like myself. How do politicians intend to reverse this, and prove that there is intact, something worth voting for?'

Wouldn't it have been interesting to hear politicians talk about this? To tell us what they are going to do to prove that they respect and appreciate a young person's vote? Or was that question not picked because they don't have an answer? Was it not chosen because politicians continue to not care about young people and their voices, and keep on shouting the same mantra of 'young people don't care'?

We do care. I care. But it becomes increasingly hard when there remains nothing to care about.

As a nineteen year old female, no one was interested in my views. Both my friend and I felt like token women, strategically placed in a middle aged, white male dominated room, subtly ignored but hey, we were there right? BBC's job done.

I walked into the room where Question Time was to be filmed with excitement and anticipation, animatedly foreseeing what would be discussed. I walked out of that room disappointed and completely disenchanted from it all. From politics. From caring.

But that's what they want right?

Russell Brand scares politicians. He scares them because he's engaging people, especially the young, in politics. He's talking about real problems and real issues and people are listening to him. Whatever you think of him, that isn't a bad thing.

He sparks passion and that infiltrates into those who are listening to him.

Question Time? That does the opposite.


  1. Question Time is as out of touch as the House of Lords and the BBC. At least Russell Brand engages people.

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