Wednesday, 14 April 2010

DK on the telly

So, I finally got around to watching today's little contretemps. I don't think that Andrew Neill gave Chris that hard of a time, to be honest, but I am completely disappointed at the dismissive focus on Chris's blog with absolutely no attempt to allow him to explain how the LPUK would help Britain or what our policies are.

Chris did very well. He is, I fear, a natural media whore.

His principled offer of resignation to the NCC after the interview on the grounds that his blog might bring the LPUK into disrepute was rejected on equally principled grounds by the NCC.

I am very proud of both Chris and the LPUK after today.


Constantly Furious said...

As Smokey said: I second that emotion.

And, to DK, as Mrs DK would say: Noli nothis permittere te terere

J Demetriou said...

I will produce a blog article on the matter later today.

I generally agree with Obnoxio the Clown.

Neil did exactly as was expected of a journalist in his position. He has given Paul Staines a similar interview before, though that was more deftly handled (as much as it pains me to say).

I was disappointed by DK's apology, because I think he should have been prepared for just such an attack. Answers should have been held under the bonnet that did NOT include submission and retreat.

Libertarians on the internet are angry for a reason - good reason. We enunciate, harshly, what millions think and feel about politics today.

That we swear and launch aggressive attacks is not something necessarily to feel ashamed of.

Rightwinggit said...

Brillo used a similar attack about the language in Guido's comments and back footed him slightly, so he's got form for this.

The simple comeback is real opinions without censorship by real people in realtime.

Or similar.

aj said...

Although I haven't yet watched it, if it drives people to Chris's blog it can only be a good thing as both he and the other contributers do such a great job of explaining some of what being a Libertarian means and if some of them follow the links or the round ups he has started to do then perhaps the Libertarian part of the blogosphere will start to have even more influence.

JP said...

Looks like the BBC apparatchiks got their orders to crush such anti-state dissent by focusing not on policy so close to an election, but what he said on his blog.


Andy said...

I don't know where else to leave this comment... I might spread it around a bit in the hopes that it gets back to Chris and the NCC...

I've joined the Libertarian Party.

It has been something I've considered for a while, but my mind was made up today.

My mind was made up because the current leader, Chris Mounsey, was on The Daily Politics show, where he was given a fairly hard time by Andrew Neil. That's to be expected.

He got in trouble mainly because he was asked to apologise after being incredibly sweary and offensive on his blog. Under pressure he (I believe) incorrectly caved in and apologised. His actual response should have been

Are you suggesting that I, the leader of a party dedicated to individual liberty, freedom of expression and the reversal of the cynical media-driven political dead-end that this country is in, should apologise for speaking out against those I find repugnant? "No" is my answer, "I do not think I should apologise". Rather, I think you should apologise for managing to get through an entire interview with the leader of a political party without asking one question about our policies. You are part of what is wrong with this country, and you demonstrate it with your every word.

I understand that an interview must be one of the most stressful situations to be in as a politician. Chris should not feel any shame at all. In fact, he should be proud, for his subsequent actions:

principled offer of resignation to the NCC after the interview on the grounds that his blog might bring the LPUK into disrepute

That is a manful thing to have done. However, it is so common to hear of politician resigning over the smallest slight, rather than fighting their corner and standing up for what they believe in. It is for that reason that I was so delighted with the end of the story:

was rejected on equally principled grounds by the NCC.

A libertarian response if ever there was one.

It is that response that has gained you at least one extra member today. Chris should be proud of himself, and the Libertarian party as a whole should be proud.

Because we're young said...

Can't watch it over here en Suisse, but from what I have read it does sound a pity DK was unprepared for such an attack, JD and Andy have nailed this one.

On the bright side, the fact Neill would conduct an entire interview with the leader of a political party and not ask about their policies once suggests one of two things:
1. They are scared of the status quo changing.
2. They sorely underestimate the potential of LPUK (and other smaller parties) taking some votes at the election.

Either way, it's a good sign, and either way I hope LPUK rubs it in all their faces come May.

manwiddicombe said...

I watched the recording on youtube that markreckons linked to and, well, can I make some observations as a non-LPUK member?

I was a little disappointed.

DK looked scruffy, shifty and uncomfortable, not helped by him constantly moving his head during the close-ups. His answers to the attack, while being within his libertarian belief structure, didn't to my mind do himself or the party any real favours.

Would I have handled it differently? I've no idea .. .. I have no wish to be in that position. Ever.


Obnoxio The Clown said...

Manwiddicombe, I'm surprised to hear that you saw it like that. I thought he came across as very relaxed, under the circumstances.

My only regret is that he apologised. I think he should have said that free speech is more important than hurt feelings.

woman on a raft said...

The main reason Neil was hostile was that DK is a younger bloke than him with a proven audience.

This rarely happens on Neil's show as he is usually careful to choose male guests with the sexual dynamism of Ken Clarke, the intellectual rigour of Diane Abbott and the popularity of Michael Portillo.

You'll notice he didn't let Jo Coburn get a word in edgewise. He can be a bit funny like that, can Neil. I once thought he was going to put his head down and antler-wrestle Digby Jones for talking to another female guest.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

"I once thought he was going to put his head down and antler-wrestle Digby Jones for talking to another female guest."

I've missed your comments! :o)

manwiddicombe said...

obnoxio - Comparing the footage from today with the footage from 'The Big Question' for me DK came across better on Sunday. Even though he was being attacked from all sides he appeared to me to be more comfortable on that outing than today.

I've never met DK, don't know him, don't have any emotional attachment to him apart from a certain amount of pleasure that The Kitchen has given me over the last 18 months.

Yes, the whole setup for the interview was "insignificant group of nutters from the internet " and on second view of the footage I think DK actually handled the first half admirably. The second half, the bit that people will probably remember more, was not so accomplished IMO. When faced with the direct onslaught from Andrew Neil about the blog he seemed to me to be very agitated. His body language seemed decidedly uncomfortable.

I agree that I would have been happier if he had responded to the criticisms of The Kitchen with a defence of freedom of speech, decrying how much of it we are losing each year.

If nothing else it should drive traffic to his blog as people try to find out just exactly what it was the BBC couldn't repeat. Hopefully some of the curious will stick around and listen to what he, and you other party members, have to say.

Suboptimal Planet said...

I agree that DK handled the first round of aggressive questioning better than the second.

I bet he's been regretting the apology, and agonising about how he might have answered differently. Or perhaps he's just been down the pub for several well-deserved pints.

DK was on the right track with the persona defence. As others here have said, he would have done better to have acknowledged his comments as OTT cathartic hyperbole. He should have refused to apologise, and then gone on the attack.

He should have said that in real life, as a libertarian, he supports the rule of law, and condemns aggression, even against filthy trolls like Chris Keates.

Easy to say in retrospect. Practice makes perfect.

Of course, as much as I enjoy the rants here and at the Kitchen, there's no doubt that Chris has made his role as a politician unnecessarily difficult through some of the more extreme comments by his open-secret alter ego. It's a shame to give condescending, misdirecting bastards like Andrew Neil the ammunition.

Still, as "Because we're young" said, we can take heart that the establishment felt threatened enough by libertarian ideas to devote 2m42s of a 'serious' political programme to ad hominem.

They'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes ...

Evil cunts ;-)

Devil's Kitchen said...


Yes, I have indeed been going over in my head a number of strategies and witticisms that would have been better. Don't we always...

Ah, well, such is life. The fall-out has now started to affect my real-life work and some re-alignment is now necessary.

But thanks to everyone for the encouragement and advice.


Dick Puddlecote said...

Proud here too, Obo. The attacks only come when there are worries on the other side (Sun Tzu paraphrase, can't be bothered to find the exact quote).

Idle Pen Pusher said...

I was disappointed. I watched it live and was ready to cheer him on. As far as looks go, I don't think he looked scruffy. In fact, he seemed rather sharper than on the Nicky Clarke program, mainly due to his hair looking less wild but still in a young style.

I don't think Neil was particularly harsh on him, he seems pretty rough with most politicians. I don't think he came across well, though.

He mumbled about 'persona' instead of forcefully batting the question off and turning the discussion to policy. I find it charming, but I'm pretty sure most would see it as dissembling waffle from an Old Etonian who was caught out and made to apologise.

I liked his slightly dismissive answer about what would have happened to a candidate with a blog like his in another party, but again I'm pretty sure most watching wouldn't have liked it. He could have turned it into a point about politics not needing more dull grey managerialists who get nothing wrong but nothing right either.

Still - I'm also sure it's pretty difficult and I know the couple of times I've been on TV I've frozen up and looked like a first class idiot. I'm sure he'll soon learn how to play the game for liberalism and LPUK.