Sunday, 31 May 2009

Andrew Marr - the one man weaker than Gordon Brown

Today's Andrew Marr Show was as bad as it gets.

He is no longer a serious interviewer or journalist. Week after week, the "BBC flagship political programme" is used by politicians as a megaphone to get their point across with almost no direction, challlenge or scrutiny from Marr.

Labour have made quite a big thing recently about trying to deflect the MPs expenses scandal onto how the BBC spend their money (e.g. Foulkes attacking Maitlis), and whether this, or Gordon Brown's thinly veiled threat to the Beeb on this morning's show has any influence on how they report and 'deal with' politicians is up for debate...but Andrew Marr is slowly becoming the one person in politics looking weaker than Gordon Brown.

At least ten times Andrew Marr would try to follow the typical route of questioning...

He gives an example of incompetence, or fraud, or double standard, then follows it up with a question to be answered on this topic. But, yet again, as soon as he mentions 'the bad thing', Gordon Brown - on at least TEN occassions - interrupted with "Hold on, hold on" and went on a two-minute sound-byte filled speech where he has no question t answer, thus giving the interviewee a free reign on anything he wants to say on the topic.

When Marr does try, after a long gospel reading according to Gordon, to put in some framing of a question, or to query anything that has been said, Brown just talked over him. And by the time Brown had finished his lecture, Marr moved onto the next topic for supposed 'questioning', and we would go threough the same process. Brown didn't answer a single question this morning and he only received about three. Fair play to Brown, he's hanging on for dear life, but for Andrew Marr, if he watches a recording of the show, must be embarrassed by what he sees.

Whether it's Government ministers, the PM, Leader of the Opposition or Shadow Cabinet members, Marr has lost any sort of authority over his programme and it's content. If Brown/Cameron can just talk over him and avoid any scrutiny, then Marr is proving to be a weak link in the BBC's poitical team. Andrew Neil poses more threat to ministers avoiding an answer.

At a time like this, an interview with Marr was exactly what Gordon Brown needed...a 15 minute slot on BBC1 where he can preach to the land why he is worthy of office.

Unfortunately, Andrew Marr has got to either go, or search very hard for his political testicles.


Jeff said...

I agree that an interview with Andrew Marr is akin to being lightly daubed with a damp sponge rather than shaved with sandpaper Paxman style.

But in a way, I find it quite refreshing.

If you want your fix of politicians getting it thoroughly in the neck then any newspaper on any day of the week should suit you fine. And Newsnight doesn't tend to hold back either if you want to see them squirm at the same time.

At the end of the day though, Gordon Brown is the man in the chair and actually getting a chance to hear his thoughts once in a while is rather pleasing.

I still thought he was garbage though, everything seemed to be just about to be implemented before that pesky Daily Telegraph came along.

He should be winding down though, he's only got about a week left in the job.

Stuart Winton said...

It'a perhaps instructive that Andrew Marr did take over from David Frost...

Lallands Peat Worrier said...

My favourite part was when Gordon scrambled onto the back of his sag-backed old nag, and loftily suggested that the expenses scandal "offended his Presbyterian conscience".Wonderfully nauseating way to put it, I thought.

Political Dissuasion said...

I'm not asking Marr to deliver the Westminster Chainsaw Massacre every Sunday morning, but I do expect more than we're seeing in terms of questioning. Politicians may be getting it in the neck in the papers - but in print they are not being sat down with the issues being put directly to them where they have to give an answer - though on Sunday AM this isn't the case either.
And yes, newsnight does not pull it's punches. But Brown/Cameron don't sit on the BBCQT panel. I want to see our leaders, the most influential people in politics and government being challenged on their ideas and actions, and this is not happening with AM.

The only time they get any real searching questioning is either at Brown's monthly press conference or when Nick Robinson feels punchy.

Getting a chance to hear his thoughts is alll good and welll, but when he's sat there spouting self-fellating nonsense which is in contrast to what we believe and feel, then there has to be at least some sort of prodding.

Political Dissuasion said...


That was indeed a sickening moment. Also, the whole "I was brought up in a household to believe in..." was quite an ugly, staged line that he was just salivating to drop in there.