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Free Speech - The morning after the night before...

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Cherry Healey Cherry Healey | 18:06 UK time, Thursday, 17 May 2012

Cherry Healey - Panellist

Well last night’s show saw Free Speech reach new levels of debate, with topics getting the panel fired up, the studio audience fired up, and you guys at home SO fired up that we were a global trending topic on Twitter. High five yourself right now.

We don’t know about you but we feel for the panel sometimes, facing the comments, the questions and the Power Bar of truth. Here’s what last night’s panellist Cherry Healey had to say on it all…

I was utterly terrified before I went on stage and I thought everyone would be able to tell, but as I got in to it I realised it was nothing to worry about.

The discussion flowed, the other panellists were really interesting, and the questions from the audience were great.

But it went so fast! It disappeared in a flash, and I didn’t have a chance to say everything that I wanted to. But that wasn’t the point. Free Speech isn’t here to solve the issues being discussed, it’s here to set the debate and get people thinking, and it's got me thinking.

The audience was brilliant. I would have been disappointed if they hadn’t got fired up - I was expecting that and Bristol well and truly delivered. The one guy who was shouting a lot definitely got some air time, and was passionate to say the least. Although he maybe stopped some other people asking questions that they were waiting patiently to ask, he did seem to unite the audience and made us all laugh a couple of times as well.

I felt that some audience members took a bit too much time to make their points, and occasionally it felt like they were going off track, but then I guess they might say the same about us on the panel!

I would have liked to have engaged with the audience a bit more, maybe with some back and forth like Kojo and Jamal did, but in the heat of the moment everyone is trying to speak so it’s understandable to come off and wish you could do it again.

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I was really surprised at how many of the audience and panel were up for re-thinking the drugs policy. I thought there would be way more people opposing the idea of decriminalising drugs, but a lot of people seemed to have a well thought out argument in favour of it. There is a big difference though between legalising and decriminalising, and I wish I’d made more of a point of that now.

As for the Power Bar, I would love to be the kind of person who wouldn’t mind about what it says, but obviously that’s hard to do. I was nervous for the reaction but it was really interesting to see how the audience were responding as the show was happening.

Jamal Edwards' pic of the group as they head home.

Kojo, Cherry Healey, Jamal Edwards and Michelle De Swarte head home.

The debate continued for the panel as three of us shared a train home, and for anyone following the banter on Twitter you’ll know it was quite an interesting ride!

Free Speech for me was as it should be; exciting, nerve-wracking and thoroughly thought-provoking.


So that’s what Cherry made of it all, but what about you? Free Speech is shaped by your opinions so please do tell us what you thought either in the comments below, or on our Facebook page or Twitter.



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