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Free Speech - Meet the panel

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James Emtage James Emtage | 18:45 UK time, Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Yes, Free Speech is back and broadcasting live from Doncaster this Wednesday night at 10pm on BBC Three.  As part of BBC Three's Criminal Britain Season we're opening with a debate about crime.  

The discussion was kicked off last week with our blog post about whether criminals should be punished or educated, plus our enlightening video about who's actually in prison. Some of the results might surprise you... 

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But that's not the only thing we'll be discussing on the show.  As ever with The Hot Five discussion topics, many are only slotted in at the last minute, giving us a chance to reflect the burning issues you care about.  Remember, you're always shaping the show by providing your opinions on Twitter, Facebook and blogs like this.

A few weeks ago we thought Stop Kony was going to be a huge topic, but it's fallen off the radar in the last fortnight, so we've dropped it from the show.  Is that the right thing to do?  Let us know...


Panellist - Rapper Sway


Rapper Sway has a MOBO award, a Mercury-nominated album and his own record label, all before the age of 30.  He's also outspoken about gangsta imagery and the use of ‘the n- word’ in his industry.  On Wednesday we'll see how his raw opinions 'Sway' our debate... (Yes, that's a pun. Deal with it.)



Panellist Nicola McLean


Nicola McLean is a glamour model, an animal rights campaigner, a mother and now a panellist on Free Speech.  When it comes to crime, Nicola also knows a thing or two about being locked up... she was a contestant on Big Brother last year (poor thing).



Panellist - Owen Jones


In the left-wing corner: writer, political commentator and former Trade Union Lobbyist Owen Jones.  Owen's outspoken about social issues, as demonstrated in his book Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class.  We would tell you what it was about, but you can probably guess from the title.



Panellist - Douglas Murray

And in the right-wing corner: Conservative author, journalist and political commentator Douglas Murray.  Douglas has written for high-end publications like The Sunday Times, The Spectator, Standpoint and Nuts Magazine.  Ok, that last one was a lie, but the others are true.



These four will go head-to-head to discuss the issues that matter, and we want YOU to tell us what you think using our live opinion tracker, The Power Bar.  You'll be able to tell us which panellist you agree or disagree with using twitter and the right hashtag, so keep an eye out for this clever tech in the show.


How the Power   Bar works.



We've also got Jake Humphrey's right-hand woman Michelle De Swarte gathering your tweets, Facebook messages and blog comments and putting them to the panel, so make sure you get talking.  We are listening. 

Remember, the debate will continue online after the show and you can even head here to leave us a comment and tell us which topics you think we should feature when we return in May.

Until then, remember to speak up on Twitter and Facebook and join us on BBC Three this Wednesday April 4th at 10pm for the next episode of Free Speech, live from Doncaster.

  • Read the last Free Speech blog
  • Comments

    • Comment number 1.

      Jail makes people worse, it's just a meeting place for criminals, fear of HMP needs to be installed before people stop committing crime

    • Comment number 2.

      I've been to prison and been trying to get a job and I am being turned down what am I going to go back to crime can someone answer this question please thanks

    • Comment number 3.

      Nicola Mclean wants to bring back the death sentence, but knows innocent people can be killed on death row so gets why it's not around anymore, but still agrees with it... say what?!

    • Comment number 4.

      if anyone is sent to prison it should be the governments responcibility to go to the their families and see where they went wrong, so the can improve their lifestyle, with this in every family the crime WILL go down.

    • Comment number 5.

      Jail... You can earn luxiaries! This is wrong, I believe in positive reenforcement to help to rehabilitate people, but if you have murdered someone you should not be in prison for 3weeks before receiving a PS3! But it happens! The countries too busy worrying about human rights, if you do not abide by the law, then the law should not abide by you... All rights should go out the window. No games, no fancy meals or tv's and let's see how many reoffend then x

    • Comment number 6.

      Families parents need to take responsibility of their offspring. The country offers many opportunities take them don't blame them. It cost £47,000 to fund a prisoner a year, why should my hard earn money go towards funding them. Don't commit a crime then you won't do the time.

    • Comment number 7.

      This country will never change until people are scared to go to prison. Prison should be tough and hard and you should be scared to go back for a second time.

    • Comment number 8.

      Most new crime involves drugs , the US military guards the Afgan poppy fields whilst the government ships in the heroin . Given this information the solution to overcrowded prisons becomes self evident.Let's hear it for the fake liberal sentiment from the shills on stage. Alex Jones radio show listen on line.

    • Comment number 9.

      Visit info wars .com / I see that the BBC is not all that keen on free speach-as if I didn't know.

    • Comment number 10.

      i couldnt care about them going through emails and texts think its quite funny can imagine them getting kicks out of cetain messages haha

    • Comment number 11.

      Schools need to get better at talking to young students. As well as the cheap condoms are terrible, they split!!

    • Comment number 12.

      Sex is too freely spoke about that is the problem, it's shown on tv all day long and kids are smarter from younger now too. We should stop educating young and they wont do it young!!

    • Comment number 13.

      On the "chav" topic, Everyone is entitled to free speech and expression, so by the government "bullying" young people into wearing the correct clothing and speaking in the correct manor is almost depriving young people of their human rights. I don't see what the problem is with young people expressing themselves in a way which they want, as it is not harming anybody. The government stigmatizes all young people who wear hoodies to be criminals and it's not right.

    • Comment number 14.

      Prison doesn't make anyone change, when people go prison they often come out worse because they'll be thinking while they've been in prison the money they didn't make they'll want to try and make it back. So they go and re offend again which gets them straight back in

    • Comment number 15.

      The use of "Chav" is not so much used to describe working class people, i feel it is used for the use of a certain type of person you will see on the street acting in a certain way or sometimes the type of music they like. I am working class, but the type of music i likle is rock and metal, so what do i get called "Mosher, Sweaty, Greasy, Goth, Freak etc" do you not think we get offended at the names we get called mostly from the group of people we refer to as "Chavs" i don't see it as a major issue really its just people putting themselves and others into types/groups that they can stereotype with.

    • Comment number 16.

      As a discussion for the next show, it should involve employment, especially amongst younger people.

    • Comment number 17.

      As part of a ministry I come across many people who need to feel they have a purpose and need some help to bring out the best in them as everyone is skilled in something. We have an boxing club with an amazing team who are building relationships with youngsters (and all ages) who are learning discipline, self control, as well building up their confidence to maximise their potential and believe in themselves. We need more of these type of places (not just boxing or football - we also have a football club!) and they should be part of a programme for people coming out of prison. (We also visit prisons and hospitals and there's a great need).

    • Comment number 18.

      Such a brilliant show tonight guys, definitely some interesting opinions portrayed! A discussion which I think could be great potential for next month's show is something that I have recently seen in the news; A-levels to be strengthened in difficulty with the help of top universities. Should universities have full control over the content in A-levels? What does this mean for students studying A-levels but do not plan to go to university? As an A-level student myself, I feel there is a significant leap between GCSE and A-levels, will students be able to hack increased difficulty just to suit university standards? Hopefully this may become a topic for discussion next time, thanks!

    • Comment number 19.

      The fact that tax payers are having to pay for people to be in jail is ridiculous yes they are out the way unable to do harm to the general public but then when there are cuts because of money issues within councils there are people capable of this work within the prisons why not make them do it for free such as litter picking the worst thing for these people surely would be embarassment. In America convicts are dressed in bright orange boiler suits and made to work people get to comfortable in there ways if you have been in prison and this doesn't apply to everyone but 4 years of doing next to no work gettin fed talking to people you start to know all day who are the suckers here what worries do they have in low security prisons doing nothing all day when their release day comes its no wonder they are in the mind set of doing no work and sign onto benefits and restart the life of crime stealing and rioting for mostly reasons they don't understand. I am but one voice I could not take on all of these problems myself but would stand on the frontline with anyone that would be prepared to.

    • Comment number 20.

      Hello, Just watched "Muggers" on BBC 3. I was once a victim of a mugging myself in my teens and also asault. Niether one went punished. I don't think the reform of criminals is the issue here I think the victims should be reformed, in "self defence". I'm now a martial artist and have been for some time now. Had I knew then what I know now, I can tell you now those things would have never have happened to me. You hear about stabbings and muggings all the time, even murders which could be prevented by knowing "simple ways" of protecting yourself. I looked at the victims on your program, and the lasting effect these experiences have had on them and wish I could have just one hour with them. Their confidence would be repaired no end! I feel self defence should be part of the national curriculam. It could help millions and stop these criminals in their tracks. James Dunne

    • Comment number 21.

      I am convinced that one of the problems that leads to youths committing crimes is the abrogation of responsibility by the parents. When and if a minor commits a crime the parents should also suffer some of the consequences since they are ulitmately responsible for ensuring that a child understands the rules of society. In our current state the schools are limited in what they can do as retribution for errors, while parents apparently have no responsibility other than feeding and clothing a minor. This is morally unacceptable.

    • Comment number 22.

      I find it annoying that people who are classed as upper-class or privileged are seen as sneering or looking down on the working classes. I have no idea how this may occur in todays public schools, but as a boy in public school myself, we were obliged to perform menial tasks so that we would better understand the work undertaken by the less fortunate and understand that honest work needed to be respected and those less privileged were due as much respect as ourselves. The only section of society where I have found the attitude of "looking down" has been on a newly rich middle class.

    • Comment number 23.

      Comments made about the question of page three girls, topless or nude photos I find ridiculous since the matter would be irrelevant if our society in general were not so metally prurient that these photos would become an issue in the first place. Why is a topless or nude photo any less an art form than a nude painting or staute which one commonly can find admired in museums or art galleries?

    • Comment number 24.

      The history of mental asylums and prisons are closely related especially to poverty politicians or fascist dictators always need a constant supply of slaves to manifest their dreams and law-enforcement and education go hand in hand.


      Media researchers and produces have already worked out every possibility beforehand and are quick to cut you off. If you touch on anything that's really important the media by its own nature is a dictatorship in it is not a two-way conversation.

      Adolph Hitler was very clever to use radio broadcasting for propaganda these days it's covert in other words they are spying on the left right and centre, every single e-mail and telephone conversation is monitored.

      People are constantly being told we need more security and surveillance for the public's protection surely this is the reverse Big Brother is watching you twenty-four seven.

    • Comment number 25.


      Remember this programme is staged and very carefully intended

      The panel of guest and the questions formulated is class nonsense and media triviality Free Speech and Question Time comprise talking about things that are not important.

      On the "chav" topic
      Page three girls, topless or nude photos
      Keep cyclist safe
      Binge drinking
      Free condoms for children


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