Sunday 7 October 2018

Generals on Parade

Cheltenham Town Hall

This morning's Broadcasting House took us to Cheltenham town hall for an audience with Peter Hennessy and former BBC political editor John Sergeant, umpired by Paddy O'Connell and focused squarely on Brexit. 

And very interesting it was too. (I do like listening to the pair of them.) 

They'd been the programme's referendum 'generals', as well as its election 'generals, giving their weekly takes on the progress of the campaign. I was intrigued but not surprised that they both said they'd voted Remain, and that Lord Hennessy remains a Remainer. John Sergeant, however, has changed his mind. He said that because of the behaviour of the EU's politicians over the Brexit negotiations he's now moved to the Leave side of the argument. An interesting development.

The audience in Cheltenham was meant to be balanced between Remainers, Leavers and Don't Knows, though - as is the way of such things - those who asked questions all sounded like Remainers. It's that 'BBC audience thing' again. 

Anyhow, it's well worth a listen. 

Soon after came Mark Mardell, previewing The World This Weekend. I smiled when he said, "And we'll add to the mood of pessimism you've been creating in Cheltenham by looking at the future of Brexit talks, which are coming to a really critical point in Brussels this week, and we'll be talking to a former Finnish prime minister about where he thinks we're going". 

When did Mark Mardell's The World This Weekend ever not seek to "add  to the mood of pessimism" over Brexit? 

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