I must say I’m disappointed in Andrew Neil. The right-wing blogosphere seems to regard him as the BBC’s only saving grace, but he has a chequered record.
He gave Theresa May a thoroughly deserved hard time over the U-turn that she insisted wasn’t a U-turn. Repeatedly claiming that nothing had changed, when it clearly had, didn’t inspire confidence. Insisting black is white is what politicians do, I know, but we deserve better.
I was so looking forward to Andrew Neil eviscerating Jeremy Corbyn equally fiercely, but fate intervened.
What disappointed me today was his mealy-mouthed exchanges with his guests, Lucy Powell, Hazel Blears and Douglas Murray, and later Adam Deen (Quilliam) and a chap from a counter extremist organisation whose name escapes me.
Does anyone else remember Hazel Blears from 2009, when she was the Labour Party’s Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government? She was the lone member of the Labour cabinet who went head to head with Daud Abdullah of the Muslim Council of Britain. He sued her.
At the time she caused a stir by wearing a badge bearing the slogan “rocking the boat”, and then resigning from the cabinet.
Douglas Murray appeared weary and exasperated, but he’s always good value - and Hazel Blears was looking perky and bright on the Daily Politics Manchester special.
Andrew Neil was using his cynical style of interrogation. He was probably exhausted, having expended so much energy being fierce and adversarial with Theresa May the other day.
I realise everyone is determined not to say anything Islamophobic at the moment; each word uttered is carefully measured so as not to blurt out anything specific about Islam. Lucy Powell uttered a lot of words without managing to say anything at all. Then Andrew Neil said ( of Muslims) “I’m not ascribing it to them! I didn’t say Islam, I said Islamist, of course, which is different"
When Douglas Murray and Hazel Blears had a chance to speak, we almost got somewhere."Most of my constituents who are Muslim would absolutely disassociate theirselves from any act of violence or terror like this "@LucyMPowell pic.twitter.com/K0cZ88Mkfj— DailySunday Politics (@daily_politics) May 24, 2017
"We have done some good work in Prevent" Hazel Blears tells @afneil "...but we have not really tackled this ideology" #manchesterattack pic.twitter.com/w2Jz9iT4eq— DailySunday Politics (@daily_politics) May 24, 2017
Hazel Blears said that Islamist ideology was ‘stupid’, “a threadbare, worthless ideology" and they nearly managed to convey that ISIS does have something to do with Islam, but the message got lost in the fog of not wishing to paint all Muslims as terrorists.
Adam Deen got even nearer to stating the bleeding obvious when he said that ISIS does share a strain of thought with Islam, but as far as I could tell it fell on deaf ears.