it sir!' Hecklers interrupt live BBC4 radio broadcast in Highbridge
national political debate came to Highbridge on Friday evening (June
22nd) when BBC Radio 4 broadcast a live episode of 'Any Questions'
from the town's Community Hall.
Donald Trump, NHS funding and the use of mobile phones in schools
were among the controversial topics covered during the lively 50-minute
radio show, presented by Jonathan Dimbleby, with a panel of Alastair
Campbell, journalist Maya Goodfellow, the conservative peer Lord
Peter Lilley and the economist Linda Yueh.
than 150 people were in the audience for the live broadcast and
ten people had their submitted questions chosen for the show, with
four being featured.
it was NHS funding and Brexit that caused the most controversy,
with one resident heckling the Labour's Alastair Campbell before
being asked by the BBC host to "hold it sir!"
first question, from Colin Brooks, was: "Should the recent
concerns expressed by Airbus and BMW influence the outcome of Brexit?"
his reply, Peter Lilley confused the programme's host Jonathan Dimbleby
with David Dimbleby - the host of BBC1's Question Time -
to laughter from the audience, before he went on defend the government's
position on Brexit.
said: "We can either consider what they [Airbus and BMW] actually
said and how we can mitigate their concerns or either treat it as
propaganda for re-fighting the referendum campaign." He added
that the "whole purpose of the WTO agreement is to encourage
and facilitate free trade after we leave."
Campbell responded: "I think this is the week that Brexit is
starting to implode. The week started with Theresa May talking about
saving the NHS through an NHS dividend and is ending with serious,
major big employers in this country saying that because of these
red lines from Theresa May that we're out of the single market and
customs union that will do massive damage to their companies and
added: "This is not project fear - it's happening. People have
to get real... the establishment are messing it up big time."
Linda Yueh added that the "government should take the views
of businesses into account. I'm sure Airbus and BMW are not the
Maya Goodfellow said: "It should worry us all that it's got
to this stage. It's not just proclamations from businesses, it's
people's jobs on the line, and the government is putting people's
jobs at risk by having this really clumsy negotiating strategy and
they should have seen this coming."
Lilly and Alastair Campbell then had a lively exchange over the
interpretation of the new Irish borders, with plenty of audience
second question from the audience came from Joanna Lewin-Harris,
who asked: "How does the panel think the government should
raise the extra money it has promised to fund the NHS?"
Lynham, a resident in the audience, shouted out: "Leave the
EU!" to the sound of loud applause.
Yueh said: "It is going to require raising taxes. That is what
the Jeremy Hunt has said. The reality is that the pressures on the
NHS are acute."
further heckling from audience members at the back of the hall,
Jonathan Dimbleby told Mr Lynham: "Hold it sir, it's difficult
for the panelists to speak over the level of interruption they're
getting. Do be kind."
further explanation from Linda Yueh about why higher taxes are necessary,
Maya Goodfellow added that she thinks the "whole idea of a
Brexit dividend is a total lie."
Lilley said: "Yes we will need more money for the NHS, continuously
as the years go by, therefore we have got to have increased tax
revenues. If you think you can keep raising tax rates that's a way
to kill growth, and it's growth that creates extra tax revenues
in the long run." He added that the Brexit dividend will be
"£10bn a year" and went on to say the economy is
doing better than expected.
Alastair Campbell claimed there would be "£55bn of extra
borrowing in 2023, just by leaving the single market. Brexit is
the elephant in the room and you will have less money for the NHS,
member Tony Lynham then called for a "show of hands on taxes"
which Jonathan Dimbleby agreed to do, finding the audience was strongly
in favour of tax increases to fund the NHS.
third question, from Jude Owens, asked: "Mobile phone in schools
are bad for students' health and wellbeing. Discuss."
the panelists were in agreement that head teachers should be able
to ban mobiles in schools. "Give headteachers the power and
encouragement to tackle this at source in schools day by day,"
said Mr Campbell.
Lilley added: "We should apply this to families, parents and
the schools that they have the responsibility and it shouldn't have
to be the state dictating down from the centre. Phones can be good
but have to be kept in their place."
of hands revealed 100% support in the audience for a ban on mobiles
fourth question came from Liz Donahue: "In light of the enforced
separation of asylum-seeking families in the USA, should we not
rethink our invitation to President Trump for the official July
Yueh responded: "President Trump, as a world leader, is someone
we have to engage with. The official welcome must be granted, but
it doesn't mean that if you don't agree with him that any of us
can't go and protest and make our views known. I think Theresa May
should condemn this policy."
Campell added: "I think Trump is utterly repulsive at virtually
every level but the PM and government has to have relations with
the US. I think she made a terrible mistake in offering this state
visit on her first meeting with him."
Goodfellow said she believes "the visit will go ahead because
Theresa May has no spine when it comes to Donald Trump."
Peter Lilley added: "Trump is an appalling man but he is the
leader of a wonderful country which is our strongest and most important
ally. Of course we should go ahead but it's not an occasion for
Theresa May to be signaling at the expense of our alliance."
the live broadcast had finished, Mr Dimbleby explained to the audience
that he had not wanted to stop the audience participation during
the show, only help the panelists to hear what was happening.
councillor Janet Keen, who applied for the BBC to bring the show
to the town centre, told Burnham-On-Sea.com afterwards: "It
was a very good evening, helping to put Highbridge on the national
was gratifying that there were so many in the audience."
added: "We never expected all to agree with one another!"