Friday 6 July 2012

Newsnight, Lydon and Tory Desperation

I enjoy the BBC's Question Time. Many look down their noses at it. Sure, its dominated by a middle-of-the-road, establishmentarian kind of vibe. And, yes, they generally fill the panel with politicians who regurgitate the party line and journalists who play to the crowd. And, of course, it's irritating when they throw in some 'wild card' celebrity who's got nothing much to say just to grab some publicity. Despite all that it's an interesting barometer of where the country's political discourse is centered at that moment in time. Indeed, its very middle-of-the-road-ness is what makes it interesting.

What most struck me in last night's edition was how far we've come with respect to the banks, regulation and so on. Even Tory MPs are banker bashing. That might not mean that they'll do much about increasing regulation and so on but these discussions just couldn't have happened even a few years ago. Both main parties are falling over themselves trying to blame each other for laxly regulating the city. Of course this is all stupendously stupid because both are very much to blame. Both are in the City's pockets and both fully subscribed to the neoliberal dogma that markets work best when as lightly regulated as possible. Worse still, the Tories clearly still believe in this; Labour appear to be on the fence. The shrill pandemonium of their accusations and counter-accusations is as predictable as it is distracting. But still, these discussions are happening -- and on QT!

So that's the good. As for the bad, last night's 'wild card' was Johnny 'Rotten' Lydon. He was certainly a spectacle, flitting between eloquence and incoherence, almost at random. 'The bad' isn't so much that he was on the panel (he certainly outperformed one or two of his co-panelists) but rather that he is the only thing the media seem willing to talk about today. Everything else just gets buried, since there was a celebrity on and he done swears and stuff.

Johnny was alright; the real clowns are those who are incapable of focusing on what really matters.