Saturday 20 February 2016

A surprise from 'Dateline London'

Given that I'm always banging on about Dateline London, it really wouldn't do to let this week's delayed edition pass without a post.

Given Dateline's long record of stacking its panels with pro-EU guests (as I've detailed ad nauseum over the years), I will admit I was expecting a parade of the programme's most partisan Eurofanatical regulars (Marc Roche, Annalisa Piras, Polly Toynbee, etc) but instead we got two firm Outers - Janet Daley of the Sunday Telegraph and former Kremlin advisor Alexander Nekrassov...and the other two guests simply weren't anywhere near as outspoken as them. Mild-mannered German regular Thomas Kielinger is both pro-EU and pro-UK, so he made for an interesting counterbalance. And John Fisher Burns of the New York Times wasn't explicit about his position but argued that David Cameron deserved more credit that the rest of the panel was giving him. So the 'tilt' on this edition was definitely in favour of Leave. As Marc Roche might have said, Bien me souffler vers le bas avec une plume!

Things really heated up though when the discussion turned to Syria, Turkey...and Russia. Mr Nekrassov's Twitter handle 'StirringTrouble' isn't misplaced. Thomas Kielinger seemed unusually deflated by what he was hearing from his Russian neighbour. And Janet Daley seemed scarcely less taken aback. I don't think they believed Mr Nekrassov was telling the truth about what Russia had or hadn't done in Syria. And, to be fair, I don't think I believed him either. He is very entertaining though.

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