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Charm offensive? Nick Clegg on Desert Island Discs

Friday 29 October 2010, 14:55

Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

Nick Clegg, guest on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 on 24 October.

In Feedback this week we discussed the deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg but listeners weren't concerned about what he said on Desert island Discs about his inability to give up smoking, or where he took his girlfriends in the days before he met his wife.

No, our correspondents were concerned about whether he should have been on Desert Island Discs at all so soon after the Government had announced big cuts in benefits.

They wondered if his appearance was part of a Government PR campaign to show the warm human side of our leaders who have had to take such tough decisions. Eyebrows were also raised about a storyline in The Archers which seems to fit nicely with a Government drive to get more people online. Paranoia or intelligent scepticism? What do you think?

I talked to the Editor of Desert Island discs Alice Feinstein about that invitation to Nick Clegg:

Roger Bolton is presenter of Feedback

  • Listen again to this week's Feedback, produced by Karen Pirie, get in touch with Feedback, find out how to join the listener panel or subscribe to the podcast on the Feedback web page.
  • Listen to Nick Clegg's Desert Island Discs appearance on the Radio 4 web site.
  • Feedback is now on Twitter. Follow @BBCFeedback.

Comments

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    Comment number 1.

    I would rather pull off my own head than listen to Desert Island Discs, which is just PR for the so-called castaway. The interesting part is the response of producer/ editor Feinstein which was just the Standard BBC Rebuttal Battery which is just 'we thought about everything you have raised, and we were right to do what we did'. It's never any different.

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    Comment number 2.

    I silently voted against listening to this episode as I felt uneasy about the timing of it, so it was simplest to reach for the off switch. I didn't feel strongly enough to write in, though I'm glad many people did as the interview with Alice Feinstein was quite revealing. I'd assumed it was some sort of accident of timing, perhaps scheduled way before the general election, but now we know there was a conscious decision to place this in the schedule, at a time negotiated with the government. That makes me more uneasy. It's rare for these rebuttals to produce any more than school masterly (mistressly?) "we know best" attitudes, but this definitely went one step further. Now we know it was a political decision, hopefully one that will be countered with the traditional balancing episodes, though it is a shame for this programme to be politicised.

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    Comment number 3.

    Please, all you complainers - get a life, there's no conspiracy here.
    We enjoyed the programme and it was interesting to hear a little of Nick Clegg's background. It wasnt a party political broadcast, it just an edition of Desert Island Discs!!

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    Comment number 4.

    I agree with Tony. What's all the fuss about, this is no more than a tropical storm in a decidedly liberal teacup.

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    Comment number 5.

    Considering the usual BBC attitude to the coalition government they must have made a mistake in broadcasting this if it supposedly portrayed a positive view of Nick Clegg.
    How many complaints are there about the standard approach to any topic i.e. give the Opposition view more air time or greater prominence, talk about 'savage cuts', wondering why the Brits aren't out striking and demonstrating like the French-'considering what we got last week'(Emily on News 24)

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    Comment number 6.

    This was a good interview, and I agree with Mike Kemp why it was revealing. I made a point of not listening to this edition of the programme largely because of the PR reason identified by William Stevenson, though in most cases PR would not be something I would take into account (everyone wants to look good!). To a professional politician the opportunity to appear on Desert Island Discs at the time of his choosing is a gift: Nick Clegg not unwisely took full advantage of this.

    I am not in agreement with Tony Oxford and fuegochilli. Listeners to Feedback have lives, and although I am not alleging that a "conspiracy" has taken place, I think due consideration should be given by the programme makers to when serving politicians appear on the programme.

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