Thursday, 9 December 2010

Why I Will Never Appear On Question Time

I would like to make a pledge right now to never appear on Question Time. Although I take a 'keen interest in current affairs' (that line is straight from an old CV) and undoubtedly have the gift of the motherfucking gab I am absolutely certain that I would make a tit of myself. I am the prime example of someone who passionately regurgitates things I've read about politics seconds after I've read them. Then when someone challenges me on my shiny new opinions I scrabble around for my book mumbling 'I'm sure they addressed that point... they must have done!'.

I realise it is unlikely that I will ever be asked on Question Time unless there is a sudden demand for perpetually peripheral cast members in 'under the radar' TV shows to talk about EU fishing quotas etc. They did, however once invite Carol Vorderman on and it is a Vorderman like performance I live in fear of giving. Much in the same way that she spewed The Daily Mail letters page I worry that I would do the same with The Guardian. In all seriousness I reckon that would be just as bad. Well, maybe not but... you know.

Similarly Nick Clegg made a pledge a while ago that he never thought he'd never have to worry about breaking. What irritates me about his tuition fee reversal is not the reversal itself but his defense. He says that they didn't win the election, they came third, and therefore they can't do whatever they want. But their pledge was to 'vote against any rise in tuition fees'. The Lib Dems knew that they wouldn't win the election. They also knew that there was a possibility that they could be involved in a coalition in the event of a hung parliament. Now Cleggo says that they have to compromise within that coalition. He's right, they do. I fully understand that they can't implement all (hardly any) of their policies. With their share of the vote that wouldn't be right. But they pledged to 'vote AGAINST any rise in tuition fees'. People voted for the Lib Dems knowing they might be in a coalition and expected them to stick to that pledge. It's pretty simple really although the length of this paragraph suggests that I have failed to make it so.

And that ladies and gentlemen is why I will never appear on Question Time. My belly rumbles with opinion, I overestimate my IQ and I waffle. For the record, I concocted that opinion without the aid of reading materials. In addition I'd like to let it be known that I'm not sure what the right thing to do about tuition fees is. I've genuinely heard some bloody good arguments on both sides. Why can't we all just... you know... get along?

Here's a short list of books that have caused me to annoy people with my new found opinions. For what it's worth, I recommend them all very highly;

Nick Cohen - What's Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way
This book, I think, is amazing. It convinced me for a while that the Iraq War was the right thing to do (back to being anti now but with less vigour) and that Chomsky (a previous hero) was a cunt. For 6 months I tried to steer every conversation towards this book.

Al Franken - Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them
This taught me to hate and laugh at Fox News before I had seen it. It's kind of meaningless political point-scoring but it's fun nonetheless. I read it in two days. It's that kind of book.

David Aaronovitch - Voodoo Histories
This reaffirmed a still held opinion that pretty much all conspiracy theories are bullshit.

Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski - Why England Lose: And Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained
Get's a little boring towards the end and has a shit title but is otherwise brilliant. Smashes lots of perceived football wisdom - eg. foreigners are bad for English footballers and managers make much difference.

Michael Lewis - The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine
This man is my new favourite writer. He explains one side of the financial crisis through the eyes of some people who saw it coming. Very exciting, funny and makes you feel smart reading it. I would try and steer all conversations towards this but I seriously struggle to remember the detail. Still, I can't recommend it enough.

And that concludes today's lesson. If I have bothered you with 'read opinions' in the past I apologise. I look back on the three month period, after reading the God Delusion, in which I, like every other twat who read it became aggressively (almost evangelically) atheist with embarrassment. It was fun though.

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