Andrew Marr really got his teeth stuck into the security issue this morning, asking nearly all of his questions from a non-liberal standpoint.
It was a fascinating, unexpected programme raising lots of important points.
His interviews with Leanne Wood and Caroline Lucas were short but rigorous and his interview with Amber Rudd quietly persistent.
The standout interview, however, was with Diane Abbott. Andrew really sank his teeth into her, using her past voting record and past extreme statements against her in an especially rigorous way.
Diane Abbott interviews are famously nearly always car-crash interviews. This one must have produced a ninety-mile tailback. After such a grim week it was good to have a bit of guaranteed 'comedy gold' from the woman who could be the UK's Home Secretary in two week's time.
Here are two short highlights from it:
Diane Abbott: Firstly I think there is something to be said for Home Secretary who has actually worked in the Home Office. I worked in the Home Office for nearly three years is a graduate trainee and I know how it works from the inside.
Andrew Marr: Jeremy Corbyn got into some trouble with Andrew Neil in his interview when he said he had not met the IRA and he was then photographed with lots of people from the IRA during the course of his career. You yourself said a defeat for the British state would be a great liberation, a great move forward at that period of time. Do you regret your support for the IRA right back in the 80s?Diane Abbott: That particular quote you're referring to comes from a now defunct Left newspaper. It has...Andrew Marr (interrupting): But you said it, didn't you?Diane Abbott: No, no, no. But what I'm saying to you is this: It was 34 years ago. I had a rather splendid Afro at the time. I don't have the same hairstyle.Andrew Marr: Do you have the same views?Diane Abbott: I don't have the same views. It is 34 years on. The hairstyle is gone and some of the views have gone.Andrew Marr: So you no longer in any...You regret the fact of what you said then about the IRA?Diane Abbott: The hairstyle has gone, the views have gone. We have all moved on in 34 years. Haven't you, Andrew?Andrew Marr: We've all moved on. I was just wondering, do you regret what you said about the IRA at the height of the bombing?Diane Abbott: What specifically do you want me to regret?Andrew Marr: Well, I can read the quote for you, if I can find it here. Basically what you said was that a defeat of the IRA would be devastating for the British people and a defeat for the British state was a good thing, you said, at the time when the IRA was attacking the British state. And you said that the reason for the violence was entirely caused by the British presence in Northern Ireland. I'm saying, do you think those statements now are wrong?Diane Abbott: It's 34 years ago. I've moved on.Andrew Marr: You've moved on. Alright. I've got the quote here finally. You said that "Ireland is our struggle. Every defeat of the British state is a victory for all of us. A defeat in Northern Ireland would be a defeat indeed".Diane Abbott: 34 years ago and I have moved on.
Stats-wise, it worked out like this: The Leanne Wood interview lasted 4m 18s, contained 1 interruption and had an interruption coefficient of 0.2; The Caroline Lucas interview lasted 4m 38s, contained 2 interruptions and had an interruption coefficient of 0.5; The Amber Rudd lasted 14m 02s, contained 9 interruptions and had an interruption coefficient of 0.6; The Diane Abbott interview lasted 13m 44s, contained 12 interruptions and had an interruption coefficient of 0.9.
It's the introductions this week that are so interesting though. At the risk of sounding like a Corbynista (not that they'd ever admit that Diane Abbott is useless), what could play better for the Conservatives than making "Who do we most trust to keep Britain safe?" the central question of the election, and then presenting us with Diane Abbott (Diane Abbott!!!) as one of the two available options?
Good morning. Well, as we all know, the general election campaign has been pushed off course by the hideous Manchester bombing. In other weeks we might have been talking about Brexit, taxes and the health service. All very important, but there's no getting away from it - one question is now at the centre of debate. Who do we most trust to keep Britain safe? After election day, one of these two women will be in charge of police and security on the streets of Britain. Should our next Home Secretary be Amber Rudd or Diane Abbott? Plus two party leaders with their take on terror: Caroline Lucas from the Green Party and, on the line from Cardiff, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood. Reviewing the news for us today, the BBC's North America Editor, Jon Sopel, just back from Trump on tour. And two people who've been inside government at times of crisis: the former Labour Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, and David Cameron's former communications director, Sir Craig Oliver.
Introduction to Leanne Wood:
And his being the election campaign, we hear from a range of parties. In a moment, I'm going to be talking to the co-leader of the Greens, Caroline Lucas. But joining me now from Cardiff, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood.
Introduction to Caroline Lucas:
And so to Caroline Lucas.
Introduction to Diane Abbott:
Now lot of people who are only half paying attention to the election campaign more or less assumed it was in the bag for the Tories. But now the polls have been closing a bit, they're having to focus for the first time on the real possibility of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. And that means, almost certainly that Diane Abbott would take over the Home Office, and she joins me now.
Introduction to Amber Rudd:
I'm joined by the current Home Secretary, the Conservative Amber Rudd. Amber Rudd, welcome!