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Your views on Question Time on Thursday 18th March

18:46 UK time, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme is broadcast on Thursday 18th March this week as the programme comes from Wythenshawe in Manchester.

The panel includes former foreign secretary Margaret Beckett, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and the historian and broadcaster David Starkey.
What are your thoughts about the programme and the panel? Let us know here on the Question Time debate page.

The way we run the Have Your Say debate for Question Time has changed. To give us your views you will need to sign in using your BBC iD. If you do not have a BBC iD you can create one by clicking on 'Create' at the top right of this page.

Read more about changes to Have Your Say

Has the Unite Union put the final nail in the coffin of the Labour government?

Is it acceptable for the Prime Minister to mislead the Iraq Inquiry and Parliament, and to then simply excuse himself with a letter of explanation?

Was Children's Commissioner Maggie Atkinson right to suggest raising the age of criminal responsibility in England?

Are the latest unemployment figures a vindication of government economic policy?


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  • Comment number 1.

    I'm actually fearing for the health of my television tonight as I may throw something at it having see how is on this panel....

  • Comment number 2.

    yet again 2 yes TWO Tories on the panel yet again !!
    For gods sake BBC sort it out!!
    David Starkey is almost as annoying as Carol Vorderman

    sorry just realised - 3 Tories - David Dimbly

  • Comment number 3.

    Yet again the BBC has deemed it necessary to put three Tories on the programme, the odious Starkey being the worst.

  • Comment number 4.

    The Tory has a problem with Labour supporting working class? his party supports the rich, if they get in their pals will get tax cuts.
    And they accept funds from a bloke who doesn't even domicile in the UK

  • Comment number 5.

    And I thought Wythenshawe was a ficticious place made up for Coronation Street. Question Time is just soooo educational.

  • Comment number 6.

    Another 2 tory panel, another shrill; and they say there is a labour bias in the bbc, sheesh!

  • Comment number 7.

    Is David Dimbleby chairing this ? Can he not keep David Starkey in order? He seems to be allowed to be so rude to everyone!! David Dimbleby interupts the ladies on the panel and lets David Starkey go on and on !!! David Starkey is always rude when on Question Time .

  • Comment number 8.

    please stop David Starkey giving me a lecture (it is Question Time) and interrupting others. He must be doing great harm to the Tory Party

  • Comment number 9.

    Mmm, big mistake to have David Starkey on isn't it? I'm no Labour supporter, but the guy is just another Tory, so you have two Tories on the panel. Moreover he is a rampant self publicist and far too fond of his own rather pompous pronouncements, happy to sound off at length without letting others have their say. How can you justify having someone so partisan on here to the detriment of balance on this programme? I was hoping to hear more from the Greens, who like other minorities you hardly ever invite on, and all I get is a double dose of Tories.

  • Comment number 10.

    The Unite Union are intent on reminding the Labour Party as to who owns who, the Labour party are simply the Political wing of the Union. Just as Sinn Fein are the political wing of the IRA.

    British Airways has the problem within it's name 'British' and all that is British has over the last 13 years been systematically stripped away from the people of this country.

    There is no way Unite and it's members justify attacking an employer (BA) who pays them the best Package throughout the world in that industry. There are many currently unemployed through no fault of their own who would gladly have the jobs.
    So if the terms of employment are not to the liking of the staff - leave and get another job.

    The fact they have taken their beef into the international arena is evidence the evil that is Socialism is now on the march. It took the Russians 70 years to put it to bed with a lot of deaths throughout, you either kill the unions or they will do as Lenin and Stalin did - and that is not nice!

  • Comment number 11.

    Neither the Tories nor Labour can point fingers when it comes to party funding. On a wider note, what's wrong with people selling a service (their labour) bargaining for a better price (pay and conditions)from the buyer (BA)? Surely that's the essence of the free market?

  • Comment number 12.

    Margaret Beckett - the face that launched a thousand ships! That's a sight for sore eyes on a Thursday night!

  • Comment number 13.

    What benefits do private companies get from donating to political parties?

  • Comment number 14.

    Why are you taking so long to moderate these postings, your spoiling the whole ambience of a supposedly live blog.

  • Comment number 15.

    Gordon Brown should be recalled to Iraq Inquiry, he misled the inquiry, he misled the families at the inquiry and he misled the public and by inference that the budget increased year on year he was actually accusing the Generals and the Mod secretary of lying when they all said he had cut the budget.

  • Comment number 16.


    The figures were due to be released, hence Brown jumped at the opportunity of PMQ's to correct the mis-information he gave to the enquiry.

    The fact is that he may be responsible for the deaths of soldiers due to him not releasing funds as and when requested.

    As for him misleading the Chilcot enquiry, he and Labour have for 13 years treated Parliament with total contempt on 100's of occasions. So for him to do what he did at the enquiry should not come as any surprise to anyone. Labour can't be trusted in any way shape or form.

    Who said that?

    The last 13 years says that lies are a compulsion for them.
    Or should I say 'Untruths'.

  • Comment number 17.

    Mr Starkey is back again, now on question time, surprise surprise! The guests on question time remind me of a carousel, round and round they disappear, and then in time they reappear.
    Mr Starkey, a man of great intellect and knowledge, the television historian, his greatest success was to elevate himself to the status of a buffoon by self indulgently massaging his own ego. Could one describe such behaviour as “intellectual masturbation”? If so then Mr Starkey meets all requirements.

    I am led to believe that respectable historians hide away when his name is mentioned. By now he should have had a noble prize, I leave others to decided on the prize? Churchill was famous for his asinine epithets, he made one such stupid comment when referring to Stafford Cripps – “there but for the grace of God goes God”, was Churchill talking about himself, I know not? I certainly know that Mr Starkey meets all of the requirements.

    As for question time, I enjoyed the entertainment once again, an amusing hour on a Thursday evening. From the feedback I have received I don’t think the “folk” in the backroom of the BBC political department take kindly to my remarks when I refer to question time as an entertainments programme.

    Perhaps the “folk” in the BBC political department, commissioning editors, should get out of their air conditioned London offices and realise that the next election will be different, in every way.

    I must be a fool the BBC changing their ways! Famous words, “it is much easier to keep doing the same than try to something different”. I have little doubt that the BBC will continue with their “blue peter” coverage of political events “sticky back tape and blue tack” it would require someone in the BBC to think. “Thinking is a painful process and people don’t like pain”.

    Do any of the “folk” in the BBC or those who comment, constantly comment here there and everywhere, know who “Pashalify” was?


  • Comment number 18.

    I have just decided once again to swtich off question time because David Dimbleby does not act as a chair. He allows people like David Starky to bully people who have a sensible comment to make. It does not make for a rational and resonable debate.

    Paul Quest

  • Comment number 19.

    surely if gordon brown didn't answer correctly on purpose then he must have got the answer wrong , showing his incompetence, so either way he should be sacked because that is what happens to people with real jobs in the real world..

  • Comment number 20.

    Why are all comments awaiting moderation and none appearing? What on earth is going on? - have the Labour spin-doctor control freaks taken over the studio?......It wouldn't surprise me. Making a comment on this site nowadays is like escaping from Colditz.

  • Comment number 21.

    Why does David not push MP's to answer the more faffing around.....answer the damned question Margaret.....!!!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    i am a current member of the Parachute Regiment and i was 1 of the first soldiers across the Iraq border in 2003 and i certainley didnt have the equipment i should have had . I am sick of politicians claiming we had . We had a platoon of 54 guys and we wre issued 6 sets of boots for the platoon. If thats not a problem at the lowest scale what is

  • Comment number 23.

    Gordon Brown was either lying or is incompetent ,either way is he fit to run the country?

  • Comment number 24.

    Pardon me for maybe being dumb, but what does 'real terms' mean? Either spending has gone up or it has not!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    what the audience do not realise is that what they are all wearing is substandard, you can't beat fashion, take it from an ex squaddie the kit is fine.

  • Comment number 27.

    mr kennedy has risen in my expectations as a crew member he is the only member of parliment who has even considered being considerate to ba cabin crew cause Please consider our position in full before making judgement without full information witch most of the british public are doing through only the media publication dont let the media or the goverment mislead you

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Why is Starkey on the panel? H just likes to shout down opposite views and Dimbelby lets him get away with it.

  • Comment number 30.

    Can we not do any better than David Starkey as a panelist?
    This man is more right wing than David Beckham was at his best. His use of language is emotive and juvenille. He never listens to anything and, worse, makes condescending noises when others are speaking, then drones on and on and on and on when he gets a turn. He has no responsibility or accountaability in his role as a 'historian' yet waxes lyrically on the full range of subjects as some kind of self appointed expert - usually espousing a sacking, or for someone whose boots he is not fit to lace to 'go down on bended knee' or similar. He's a disgrace.

  • Comment number 31.

    David Starkey says that we should not label and demonise children and then talks about "feral" children - the man is an arrogant, buffoon.

  • Comment number 32.

    David Starkey is the most annoying panelist that has appeared on the show and I have had to switch over. Please don't invite him back !!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    It's 11.18 and dicky fish's comment made at 10.37 has just been posted. Good site, BBC - NOT!

  • Comment number 34.

    I used to like David Starky. However, his dismissive approach on tonight's panel towards the views of others is very distasteful. If you're incapable of hiding your contempt for an opposing party then how can balanced and constructive debate begin?

  • Comment number 35.

    I am watching question time, on the 18th March and am absolutely shaking with anger with some of the comments.

    Beckett stating that Gordon Brown would not be so stupid to think the British public would not be intelligent enough to understand...

    Interesting comment that considering that was PRECISELY the reason he gave for the British Public not having the referendum on Lisbon promised in the Labour manifesto...

    it is too complicated for the general public to understand.

    this is a man who is proud of increasing spending of "17%" since 1997 in several areas, the 17% is the figure given for training for work.

    why oh why does he think we are not going to pick up on the fact that the RPI increased far more than that in 13 years, giving effectively a cut!

    the sooner this arrogant, unelected, stalinesque (his own cabinets word) buffoon is cast aside the better.

    I dont think I can say he lied to Chilcott, but considering the research he does before ANY meeting, there can only be this explanation.

    the man should go.

  • Comment number 36.

    our society has produced these children and their parents we must all bear responsibility for what these children did and I agree children should not be trialed in an adult court we all have a responsibilty but ultimately it is down to the government we have voted for

  • Comment number 37.

    I have a 10 year old son who is well aware of the difference between right & wrong & I certainly do not think the age of criminal responsibility needs to be raised. However, I do think that the judicial system needs an overhaul as it's not right for children to be tried within the adult court system.

  • Comment number 38.

    How can the tories blame 'wild' children on single parents when they give tax breaks to married couples?

  • Comment number 39.

    Is there a relevance to David Starkey plucking a £1.2m figure for the care/treatment of Jon Venables out of the air? What would be a cheaper alternative? Solitary confinement? The death penalty?

  • Comment number 40.

    My votes out of 10 on the panel

    Lucas - 8
    Starkey - 0
    Becket - 2
    Kennedy - 8
    The Tory - 2
    Dimbleby - 2

  • Comment number 41.

    An unintelligent debate typified by the young woman who tried to suggest that it's unfair for youngsters to be given ASBOs because they are not literate enough to understand the prohibitions involved and therefore should not be punished for breaking these prohibitions.

  • Comment number 42.

    people need to realise that the goodie two shoes brigade are allowing the youth/knife culture to erupt on this society, people should stop making excuses for the lowlives of this country and be prepared to spend money on keeping them locked up and keep the public safe

  • Comment number 43.

    Why do we have to suffer the distinctly unpleasant comments of the overwrought Royalist David Starkey again on Question Time? Surely it is not necessary to invite this man on the panel, remembering the many derogatory comments about his appearance last time. The rest of the panel are well balanced but I can't enjoy this programme whilst that self-opinionated man sits on the panel. And why does Dimbleby not pull him up when he overtakes the rest of the panellists with his tirades? If I see him on the panel once more I will desert Question Time, as I assume will many others.

  • Comment number 44.

    Yes, it shows the work that's being done, it is not what the media want to hear and report on

  • Comment number 45.

    How dare you criticise the brilliant David Starkey. He is one of the only panellists this evening talking utter common sense. All power to this eloquent and knowledgable panellist. Do invite him back BBC! Starkey for Prime Minister!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Referring to the Venables case it doesn't matter what age a person is when he commits murder he should be tried according to that crime. He knew what he was doing was wrong and if it was up to me he would still be in prison.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    obviously the people that claim that the term Feral Children is unjust have never experienced disrespect/ anti social behaviour or criminal behaviour by 'children' for me a child is someone who is dependant on someone else to feed and cloth them. this country is broken and again we focus on feeling sorry for offenders rather then dealing with this issues which are: alcohol freely available / adults at fear of speaking up / police underfunded and over stretched due to paperwork / drugs easily available / young adult not encourage to work due to hand out from government etc etc... leave this country NOW.

  • Comment number 49.

    David Starkey is WRONG about BA Cabin Crew pay. He should stop jumping on the anti-BA bandwagon and check his facts. They do not earn "double that of any other airline crew". They are better paid than any other UK crew but earn a lot less than Iberia Crew and quite a few other world airlines. BA is a WORLD Airline not just the UK. Why shouldn't they earn comparable salaries to other airlines around the world? They help bring £ millions into the UK economy every year. What does he contribute?

  • Comment number 50.

    When I was 10 I knew not to hurt people with words, actions or anything else, never mind tourture them. I was bought up by my parents who are still together today (im 31) properly. The problem today is kids are having kids, parents are seperating and dont care or instill morals on there children. Its only going to get worse.

  • Comment number 51.

    Thank you BBC once again for giving David Starkey some air time, this man is fascinating. Touche

  • Comment number 52.

    Re Jamie Bulger-Was it not that the Conservatives bought in the law that it was illegal to lay a hand on your own child,thus creating a generation of children who know that they cannot be punished for any wrongdoings

  • Comment number 53.

    Unemployment up here in Scotland has risen by 16,000 in the three months to January. Is this a vindication of Government economic policy?

  • Comment number 54.

    We have ten million people of working age not working ( 1 in 4 ) of adults. We give immigrants 1 million pound homes in London and pay them £100,000 in welfare. They could never get a job that pays so well.Ironically where they come from they probably shared just one room in a home. We give alcoholics Incapacity benefit so they have loads of money to buy booze - and you wonder why we have social problems.

  • Comment number 55.

    Does she think we plan to make people unemployed

  • Comment number 56.

    Are you short-staffed this evening, moderators? Is there just one of you on duty? You're slower that a wet weekend in Skegness!!

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    The Government has created a Stalinist country with most people lucky enough to have a job working for the Government.

  • Comment number 59.

    Where on earth did David Starkey get his statistic about the proportion of children who are 'feral'? (One in four, he claims). I formally ask the BBC to ask him to either state his source so that we can all check its credibility, or else admit it was both made up on the spot and completely ridiculous.

    It is not right of the BBC to invite guests onto Question Time who have presented ridiculous, inflammatory lies as facts. Ridiculous opinions are par for the course, but guests who lie outright should be exposed and certainly not invited back.

  • Comment number 60.

    Simon wrote: "Why are you taking so long to moderate these postings, your spoiling the whole ambience of a supposedly live blog."

    Must be the effect of the promised cutbacks in the BBC's web service!

  • Comment number 61.


    Nice figures that suggest there are less people unemployed etc.
    The figures relate to Christmas period where Temp staff are employed.

    However, Why has the fugure for those IN work also dropped?

    Of course the Government are constantly increasing numbers in the Public Sector, who exactly pays for those jobs, the wealth creators in the ever shrinking Private Sector!

    Somewhat like the Fox chasing his tail - he can only end up one place!

    Guess where the country is.

  • Comment number 62.

    ******** IRONY ALERT! *********
    ******** IRONY ALERT! *********

    David Starkey accuses someone else of being "wildly eccentric"

  • Comment number 63.

    help get folk back workin, what a joke!!!!! why not re-open all local jobcentres, creating roughly 100 jobs for job centre and social security people. result...better service for people actively seeking work on a more personal level AND all the jobs it has already created with those hundreds of jobs throughout the country

  • Comment number 64.

    Why? Why? Why? do you have David Starkey on the panel. He is offensive, to say that one in four children are feral is disgusting. Please don't have him on again.

  • Comment number 65.

    You don't hear about the 3.5-4m people who were out of work in the 1980s. And the fact that the recession which never ended between 1979 and 1997. I just don't know how Lansley can sit there and say the stuff about how bad the UK economy is. At least Brown acted straight away.

  • Comment number 66.

    Is David Starkey for real?
    Why have such a a person on Question Time who is not prepared to listen to other people's view and is so dismissive and rude?

  • Comment number 67.

    Comment re providing support for children - what's wrong with making two parents responsible for their children's upbringing and action? It worked for both my wife and me, and our teo children.

  • Comment number 68.

    I completely agree with David Starkey's comments on the contributions to a failing society which results in children suffering. We fail children constantly; a huge number of parents fail to care for their children emotionally and physically, society (as has been seen with recent social services negligence)fails them, those that do help are ridiculed. I unfortunately see this in my area and with my work with children. We have incredibly unhappy children that need our help and, dare I say it, love.

  • Comment number 69.

    the jobcentreplus website is full of so-called vacancies that are not actually available but rather recruitment agencies trying to fill there databases
    as an hgv driver who's constantly searching for a position when applying to these alleged vacancies only to find out that they are not genuine vacancies

  • Comment number 70.

    I see there is no question on Lord Ashcroft.

    Are the BBC running scared after shelving a 'Panorama' documentary about him after 'several heavy handed letters' from his lawyers?

    Is this the reason why it took ten years to find out that he is a Non-Dom?

    So much for an open and honest Conservative party.

  • Comment number 71.

    I wonder how much experience of lower class children and family life, David Starkie, eminent historian, affluent TV presenter, gay historian actually has.

    Has he ever had day-to-day responsibility for a child, let alone on a low income?

    Has he ever had any experience with children?

    I doubt it. Yet he has no doubt the children's commissioner should be abolished. How are children to be represented?

    I don't think he cares--why should he? Nothing suggests he knows anything about kids.

    I presume he thinks gays should be protected. But not children, not even 10-year olds. Shame on him.

  • Comment number 72.

    Glasgow next week - will they have David Starkey back on, or maybe we will have Kelvin McKenzie droning on about the "clever English". I can hardly wait to see who the BBC will draft in to patronise us.

  • Comment number 73.

    My feelings towards David Starkey's performance on tonight's Question Time went from anger to jaw dropping hysterics! He struck me a bit like a Sun-reading Tory party's answer to AJP Taylor. His bleat "he's taxing me.." in response to the comments of one audience member must go down as one of QT's classic quotes - for a moment I thought I was watching a missed episode of Bellamy's Britian!

  • Comment number 74.

    Stephen Imeson wrote: "What benefits do private companies get from donating to political parties?"

    Private favours?

  • Comment number 75.

    aAbout Mrs Atkinson has right to raiseing .......responsibility ? I would say NO ,By doing this only giving more right to littel criminal to cause more problem ,we have now . I do not see whay we can not use other country exprince which work better and they have less problems with so called littel crriminal onse , why we scare of .By raising the agae only you make it worse .it is time tosome one take resposibility towars their kids and spend more time to put their kids in right direction . So loudly i say no ,do not do it .There is so many way to bring down this very bad behave from our kids, there is more to say and analize in every aspect .

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    Like us all, Mr Starkey likes his history...

    "This was the Bullingdon Club's class of 1987, members of an exclusive dining society whose raison d'être has for more than 150 years been to afford tailcoat-clad aristocrats a termly opportunity to behave very badly indeed."

    Ah yes, that 25% of children mentioned by Mr Stakey as feral...harsh? fair?

  • Comment number 78.

    Can someone please tell me what in the world is wrong with David Starkey? Doesn't this 'gentleman' have his 'performances' (for want of a better word) on shows like QT recorded for him to gloss over and ruminate upon in his quieter, saner moments?
    Isn't he embarrassed to be himself? Doesn't he have friends/family to tell him the truth as to how offensive, bile-inducing and somewhat ignorant he often comes across?
    How in the world can a human being describe children of the poor and of the dispossessed in society as 'feral children'? Are you well, Mr Starkey?
    And why in the world do the bigwigs of QT let him get away with such atrocious and offensive comments over and over again. It could be argued that they even encourage him by having him on the Show with such regularity! For goodness sakes!!!

  • Comment number 79.

    Have to say the live broadcast over the Internet worked very well. although its debatable as to it being live ill check it next week against my TV if it sinks that will be good, if it don't then its not as live as you would like and the need for a TV licence would be questionable. Does it go live in the USA as well or France if so how do they apply for a licence and will the BBC send detector vans to the geological IP address to check ? All very strange this new digital media.
    If i watch it live in the park do I have to get a licence for the park or the laptop the usb dongle and how will you catch me if I roll up my TV licence application form and smoke it..

    Just a thought.

  • Comment number 80.

    Having recently got "into politics" what I find most shocking is how one sided people are - every party has right and wrong views but surely everyone can see that they will say whatever needs to be said to gain power?? I absolutely believe that someone who makes mistakes but who holds his hands up and admits it is much better than someone who just stands there saying how they could have done it better when actually given the same budget (caused by recession world over) would they actually have done??

  • Comment number 81.

    I am annoyed by David Starkey's comment that the public sector is non-productive. As a teacher I am aware of the role of the public sector in producing engineers, scientists, historians and everything else - and the public sector keeps them healthy and ensures that their bins are emptied so that they can get on with their important activities. Not much would be produced without us.
    As usual his remark was made with the implication that the public sector is less valuable than those employment sectors where things are produced for immediate profit.

  • Comment number 82.

    I am glad that I am not the only one to find David Starkey an odious, petty little man. It is surprising given his bad behaviour, constantly interrupting and insulting the others on the panel, that the BBC keep inviting him back. I suppose at least he reminds the public who the Nasty party are.

  • Comment number 83.

    The panel's response to the question of their view on Anna Arrowsmith's nomination as a LibDem candidate left me squirming.

    Valiant attempts at defending feminism, collaborating with good old fashioned prudishness, left us with only the conservative MP Andrew Lansley grudgingly nodding in the direction of this canny business woman whose creative product is appreciated by many men and women alike across the country, as evidenced by the success at her work.

    Good luck to her in her candidacy and shame on the panel, especially Charles Kennedy, for their squeamishness...

  • Comment number 84.

    why have noneog my comments been recorded

  • Comment number 85.

    A good programme does require controversial figures but these participants require to be controlled by the chair and by the judicious use of the camera. I feel that this did not happen tonight 18th in the case of Mr Starkey, in particular his use of the offensive term "feral children".

  • Comment number 86.

    Dimbleby continually talks over women panelists and - as ever - lets the obnoxious Starkey rave away to his heart's content. Why on earth does the BBC involve that boorish bigot in what is supposed to be sensible discussion?

  • Comment number 87.

    Does the BBC have some sort of contractual obligation with the pompous, odious, and second-rate "historian" Starkey?. He has nothing intelligent to say and I would like to see someone else (anyone else)represented on Question Time - do you have him on disproportionately just to annoy people? It's not good, objective difference of opinion, merely malice. I object to my licence fee being paid to support him.
    If I wanted to hear a bigoted rant, I would join the BNP.

  • Comment number 88.

    Obscura wrote: "Thank you BBC once again for giving David Starkey some air time, this man is fascinating. Touche"

    Fascinating indeed, in the same way that some people are so "fascinated" by road accidents that they slow down to look at them.

  • Comment number 89.

    Thanks David Starkey, for telling it as it is.

  • Comment number 90.

    The dispute between BA and its staff is a private matter. It is not for the Government to wade in. The Government has no say, and should never have any say, on the way companies solve their internal disputes. The Conservatives appear to be using this dispute for their usual 'criticise with no solutions' approach.

    As for Starkey, I can't believe I heard a man who is supposed to be intelligent claim that 25% of all children are now 'feral'. If he wants to know what real 'feral' children are like, perhaps he should turn his hand back to the history he is supposed to know so well and compare Victorian childhood with today's. Who in their right mind believes that 1 in 4 of all children is a criminal?

    As for Question Time itself, if the programme is going to be reduced to debating anecdotal claims with no dispute of their authenticity, then I might as well read the tabloids for my political debates, as they're about equally as factual.

  • Comment number 91.

    I think you should know that next time David Starkey appears on your panel you will certainly lose this viewer. This has nothing whatever to do with my political leaning. I listen to Q.T. for intelligent political debate, not the self-opinionated bombast of a prima donna who should be directed to the pantomime studio. We are used to David Dimblebee speaking for at least 50% of the air-time, believing evidently that it is he whom we have turned on to watch. Tonight it was profoundly embarrassing to have this farcical Punch and Judy show with the other speakers getting the odd few seconds before either Punch or Judy interrupted again. Politics, so soon to an election should be a serious and erudite matter and I hope you will try to treat it as such.
    Richard Evans.

  • Comment number 92.

    adrian bonnington wrote: "The Government has created a Stalinist country with most people lucky enough to have a job working for the Government."

    Adrian, please do some research before you start using phrases like "Stalinist country". There's a good boy!

  • Comment number 93.

    Mr TORY Starsky slated Gordon Brown for using the troops for electioneering purposes and went on to say he should kneel down and beg forgiveness, i paraphrase. Did he feel likewise when Thatcher and Heseltine both at different times paraded in fatigues aboard chieftan tanks?
    For goodness sake if you must have him on give him a valium before transmission or recording.

  • Comment number 94.

    Bravo David Starkey for telling it like it is. I've had enough of this radical socialist government with their slick suits and spin manipulating the media and conning voters into thinking they're moderates so we'll carry on paying for the huge 'poor me' victim culture they've created. And well done for outing Caroline Lucas and the socialist core beneath the touchy-feely green veneer.
    We need more QT guests who'll cut through the parliamentary proceedural garbage and remind us that these people aren't anything special. We pay and we say how this country is run, not union bosses in smoke-filled rooms, or the politicians in their pockets.

  • Comment number 95.

    Most weeks the panellists who appear on Question Time and its Radio 4 counterpart 'Any Answers' reflect the narrow political spectrum set by New Labour and the Tories. This is one of the major ramifications of Labour abandoning what few socialist principles it had over the last 20 odd years. More crucially however, this provides the excuse for editors of these programmes to contain and moderate the audience, viewers/listeners opinions and reaction within this narrow parameter.

    It's because of this that the likes of Prof Starkey gets away with acting like he did. The real left who'd have no difficulty in countering him on these programmes have been completely marginalised to the fringes of British politics.

  • Comment number 96.

    This government got our country involved in 5 wars in the space of 13 years and didn't fund our armed forces appropriately. How many Labour ministers, or MPs come to that, have family or relatives serving? Which Labour Defence Secretary said, at the onset of the Afghanistan war, that he wouldn't be surprised if a bullet wasn't fired in anger? Says it all, doesn't it? Bearing in mind Afghanistan's history.

  • Comment number 97.

    I hope the BBC will ignore the obvious leftie campaign to trash David Starkey on this site. Judging by the number of repeat postings, they seem to think that if enough of them call for him to be dropped from QT, they will get their way. What he's saying must really have them running scared, and it should. He speaks for many.
    Maybe one of them will let us know why it is always the leftist activists who so stridently call for people to be silenced. Isn't this rather fascistic? The rest of us feel we are quite intelligent enough to be able to listen to what people have to say and then to make up our own minds.

  • Comment number 98.

    It seems to me, much is said of David Starkey's outspoken personality on Question Time without actually looking at the argumentation and ideas behind his-sometimes abrasive and derogatory, yes, but this is Question Time not a WI tea party and poetry reading-mode of expression and delivery. I'm not here to specifically defend the man, since he is more than capable of doing that for himself clearly, but I would like to raise some issues Starkey put forward on tonight's show regarding the economy that were, unsurprisingly, by the panel dodged, ducked, skirted because they were inconveniant facts and plausible eventualities. Alright, so he's a buffoon, but who's the bigger buffoon: the politician that believes current levels of state largesse can be sustained by parasitising even more upon a triple-heart-bypass private sector economy, or a frankly quirky old man, with only a few years ahead of him, and little personal invovlvement-beyond being a tory page boy-in the affairs of government?

    Starkey speaks sense when everyone else on the panel speaks gibberish, vacillates and generally prances from one hot issue to shore up popular support, like the wind surfer searching for the next break of wind to propell him forward. To make the situation worse, the public are dogmatic and intransigent. They hear job cuts and the refrain is, "I'm not supporting job cuts. They're bad for the economy. Unemployment is bad. Therefore, all employment must be a good thing. I'm not standing by a party that puts money before employing staff." This is all well and good, up to all employment being beneficial and good. Now, depending economically where you align yourself vis-a-vis state intervention, whether you're a socialist, conservative whatever, there exist jobs provided by the government that have a very low net benefit on the economy and quite obviously do not provide a service that would be demanded in the marketplace. To chose a topical example and run with it, would you-here's the key, hypothetically-in a free market pay for the services of Police Community Support Officers and various Civil Enforcement Officers local councils waste vast sums on instead of fully trained and equipped police officers able to tackle crime directly as they encounter it, arrest and detain criminals? The answer is obvious to any one. So why do people, aside from ardent labour supporters, agitate so vigorously against resituating jobs and money into the private sector, where wealth is generated and through which better standards of living are achieved?

    On the issue of cuts, the government, pre-may and post-may, will have to enforce cuts across most if not all departments. This is necessary. Unless you want to be in the situation of Greece and without the safety-net of the Euro cuts will have to be made. The point is not that managing the deficit has more priority than raising employment, the two go hand in hand. Without proper and productive employment the deficit will not be reduced since wealth is not being created to pay the government's debts. If so much of the available workforce is being channeled into government enterprise-that is, setting aside sacred cow public services, administrating and overseeing private industry for the most part-then the wealth-generating part of the economy is being starved of labour, and more than that, acumen, talent, entrepreneurial spirit. Moreover, if the common man now we have hit economic recession is being urged to now live within his means, "tighten the belt," then so to must the biggest organisation in our economy, the state. It is borrowing money at rates that it can not possibly pay back and printing credit out of thin air at the Bank of England press that will dillute the value of goods and services and have inflationary effects. Real, physical, economic measures need to be taken; either the government cuts its workforce or the country goes bust, and if things get stupid, then we have massive inflation because the state prints money on a daily basis to pay its staff wages.

  • Comment number 99.

    I'm a lifelong Labour supporter, but I thought that Caroline Lucas was the most impressive member of the panel. Starkey is too awful for words, while Charlie and Margaret came across as tired and dreary. It's a pity that the BBC is still ignoring its requirement to be impartial by having two Tories (three if you add Dimbleby) on the programme.
    I'm disappointed that Margaret allowed Lansley to get away with quoting the 8 million plus "economically inactive" without being properly challenged. That misleading statistic includes married women bringing up children and supported by their husbands, people who retire early and support themselves, people doing voluntary work, and students. The main reason the figure has increased is because there are 98,000 more students.

  • Comment number 100.

    To all of the "folk" who just keep commenting, adding, repeating and multiplying comments on top of comments whilst ignoring other comments.

    The Internet was supposed to open up greater debate but has been hijacked by a vicarious minority or reduced to personal name-calling.

    Have a nice day and just keep commenting, don’t think, just comment.

    Welcome to the world of democratic debate on the Internet.


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