May hoping to dodge #BrexitDebate for something more like BBCQT ‘audience participation’ last year

If anyone wondered what on earth possessed Theresa May for her to challenge Jeremy Corbyn to a ‘Brexit debate’ when she hid from anything resembling a head-to-head debate during last year’s general election campaign – you were right to be sceptical.

After confusion and anger this morning over the channel to host the debate, with Labour agreeing publicly for ITV to be the platform only for the BBC to then announce May had agreed with the BBC, the truth is beginning to emerge.

Theresa May wants only a truncated ‘head to head’ with Jeremy Corbyn – or preferably none at all – to be followed by ‘audience participation’.

And we saw in the BBC Question Time non-debate last year, what kind of ‘audience’ the BBC created.

The famous SKWAWKBOX ‘9 angry old white men’ meme showing ‘audience members’ who dominated last year’s non-debate on BBC Question Time

So one-sided and right-wing was the audience that it spawned the ‘gammon’ meme after the SKWAWKBOX published the above graphic, depicting nine angry, older, white men who dominated the programme. It was copied and adapted in images and videos shared millions of times and still appears in new versions almost a year and a half later.

Out of an audience of around 120 people, the nine men pictured above were allowed to ask twenty-nine percent of the questions – many of them variations of “Why shouldn’t we nuke millions, you jessie?”

It takes little imagination where a Brexit discussion swamped by such characters would go.

A BBC source told the SKWAWKBOX that the final format has yet to be agreed and might involve a panel asking questions – but that:

It would be different from the Dimbleby non-debate. There would be a head to head but… I think it would be more like that 2010 debate where after a bit of a clash they had a chat with Greens and SNP who weren’t in the main bit of the show.

But the BBC’s Iain Watson told BBC News viewers this afternoon that a head-to-head may well not happen:

A Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:

Theresa May will do anything to avoid a simple one-on-one debate and the BBC will be more likely to accommodate her. Labour wants a head-to-head. It’s that straightforward.

Whatever the eventual format, Theresa May will be hoping that:

  • anything but a straight head-to-head debate will allow her to either obscure her poor performance compared to Corbyn’s under memories of skewed questions, or
  • that the ‘take-away’ of viewers will be based on aggressive audience interventions and, based on past BBC performance, a liberal dose of anti-Corbyn smears, rather than the relative performance and credibility of the two party leaders.

Labour must hold out for the simple format that will really put the positions of the two parties and their leaders under the spotlight – on a channel with a better record of neutrality.

On that ‘level playing field’ there would only be one outcome.

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  1. AND so the stitch up starts in earnest !!!
    The entire country knows what May is like with her so called debating/meet the real people ,,,,, effing laughable , ,,, staged events and audiences are the norm.
    Channel 4 or fuck all , that should be Labours stance

  2. Seconded and put a gammon detector on the door! The gammons can have 1 question to Maybot and let the younger people have a proper chance of asking question too.

  3. I keep waiting for someone to draw a cartoon of May covered from head to foot saying “Let me be clear”

  4. Kirsty Wark: “Newsnight asked the BBC to put someone up to discuss the debate but they [didn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t]”
    Everybody and her second cousin twice removed’s dog thinks they should be included in the debate.
    May on stage with a whole gang of people telling her she’s a useless old biddy? I don’t think so.
    When she tries to spin it as JC backing out watch her wriggle on the hook if he calls her bluff.

  5. I’m not arsed if there’s a brexit debate or not, tbh. We’re still leaving the EU when all/s said & done. A tv debate isn’t likely to change much, imo. May’s loada bollocks deal will still be rejected outright.

    Which means there’ll likely be a general election soon; THAT’S when the chips’ll be down and the pair of them will (most likely) HAVE to go on tv debates – in whatever format – to put their cases.

    Anyone not showing for a ‘tete-a-tete’ then will see their support collapse. May’s already will have done. And even if the arl hag’s still PM (Unlikely) it’ll only take one stray unscripted question in one of the televised debates to bollocks her entirely because everyone knows may’s pre-programmed and cannot deviate.

    And I wouldn’t worry too much if may’s replaced by then. Corbyn could – and will – own ANYONE the toerags have got to offer as their candidate.

  6. It’s true that the gammons who dominate QT and the airwaves in general would bias the debate – they are the core of UKIP/Leave support.

    But there are still other issues : other parties (in the formal and informal sense) have an interest, and are unlikely to lie down over one-to-one set-up.

    More importantly, for Labour is the weak policy position over the issue. This give May an advantage. (Why do you think she’s risked this?)

  7. “You can submit your questions via social media and we’ll select the questions we were going to ask anyway” I for one am hoping to find out what time Mr Corbyn likes to go to bed.

  8. Why don’t we nuke millions?

    Sadly, Corbyn’s response was handicapped by the Labour Party’s support for nuclear weapons. This allowed Theresa May and the other supporters of nuclear weapons off the hook.

    This is what Corbyn should have said in response to such questioning:

    1. Who would your targets be?

    2. What would be the point of killing millions in a retaliatory nuclear strike?

    3. A nuclear strike by Britain would mean another nuclear attack on this country killing millions of our fellow citizens. Why would you want to do that?

    4. What would you do if you fired a nuclear missile and it went in the wrong direction, as a recent missile did in a test, and killed millions of people in this country, France or the USA?
    How would you put that right?


    5 Would you launch on warning, thus killing millions in response to a possible false alarm?

    At the next general election, Labour needs to have a clear anti-nuclear position.

    The choice we face is very clear: Either we abolish nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons will abolish us.

    I urge all the readers of this blog to take action now before it is too late.

  9. The leave voters I see on twitter aren’t happy with Theresa may at all. Leave her to face an audience of that kimd, and of remainers because they’re both not happy with her, and see how she handles it. It’s her deal and she’s the PM. I feel like she’ll just smear him the whole time . Why does Corbyn need to do it?there is no public vote and it’s not his mess.

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