Sunday 20 October 2019

The Emily Maitlis Saturday Show

Emily meets an ERG backbencher

1. Emily Maitlis certainly made herself the focus of attention throughout. 

2. Emily piled on the challenging interruptions against both Steve Baker of the ERG and Labour's Laura Pidcock. (I counted 17 against Mr Baker and 19 against Ms Pidcock). It got so relentless that Ms Pidcock felt the need to ask "Can you let me finish a sentence?" at one point. It fell on deaf ears though as Emily pretty much continued not letting her finish a sentence!
[Small update: I see that leading Corbyn supporter Aaron Bastani has tweeted "In 68 seconds Emily Maitlis interrupts Laura Pidcock 11 times. Let’s build a new, better media." I see he didn't say that Steve Baker had been interrupted very heavily too. Sheesh, these partisans!]

3. Emily got over-excited during parts of the Steve Baker interview, such as when she interrupted to say, "It is a government that has prorogued Parliament, that has lied or misled the Queen and that has consistently, repeatedly said we could be leaving with no deal. Is it any surprise they are pushing back against that?". Mr Baker repled, "That was a bit of a tirade". 

4. Emily, asking about the  effects of deregulation on workers' rights, was rude to Steve Baker, slipping in, "It will be great for people like you, right?"

5. In sharp contrast, Emily's treatment of Mairead McGuinness, Vice President of the European Parliament (the third of her first set of guests), got the ultra-gentle handling that EU types usually get from the BBC. Her first words to Ms McGuinness were, "Mairead, just clear...Can you clear something up then for us? There are a lot of things that we'll come to you to clear up. Does the extension have to happen now or could Europe still veto that, the EU?". It got no tougher than that.

6. The programme's opening line (from Emily) framed this as The Big Question: "Is our Prime Minister about to break the law?"

7. James Clayton's report featured just one expert talking head - Catherine Haddon from the ubiquitous Institute for Government. 

8. The interviews with Hilary Benn and the SNP's Kirsty Blackman were gentle ones (especially the Hilary Benn one).

9. Emily seemed determined to blame the ugly protests against MPs yesterday (against Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Gove, Diane Abbott, Andrea Leadsom, etc) on the Government. Before showing long clips of the three Conservatives listed there being verbally abused by protestors, she said, "If the government strategy was to pit "parliament versus the people", outside on the streets, signs that the slogan could have been working. Protesters showing the passion and raw emotion that Brexit has unleashed when MPs from both sides came into contact with the public." I suspect there are other reasons.

10. During the closing three-way discussion between Isabel Oakeshott, Alastair Campbell and Michelle Dewberry, Emily Maitlis went in much harder against one of them: Isabel Oakeshott (the one closest to the Brexit Party). She was interrupted more and challenged more. Emily even asked her, "Do you still believe in parliamentary democracy Isabel or..?" and when Isabel replied "Of course I believe in it but I don't believe the current Parliament is actually fulfilling that. It is a rotten Parliament, we need to chuck the lot of them out", Emily interrupted to tell her off:
But if you carry on telling everyone that it's a rotten Parliament people believe that it's going to be a rotten Parliament whatever you do. That's not the line to leave people with
"That's not the line to leave people with" could be a Newsnight motto. 


  1. No. 5 - it's infuriating how McGuinness (any relation?) gets the kid-glove treatment from the BBC. She is usually treated as an objective oommentator as opposed to a political player...her prognostications have been relentlessly wrong. McGuinness has claimed at various points the Withdrawal Agreement could not be reopened, the backstop could not be removed and that there was no way that the EU could approve a deal by 31 October. All have been shown to be Fake Facts. She's never challenged on her absurd claims and is allowed to dodge questions about whether the Republic would ever put in hard border infrastructure on behalf of the EU in event of a no deal Brexit (of course they wouldn't but to recognise that is to put a huge hole in the Republic's negotiating strategy, so she and Varadkar have to pretend they might without saying they will).

    Whereas No. 6 should have been "John Locke would be turning in his grave at the attempt of the legislature to act like an executive: whatever happened to separation of powers?"

    No. 7 After "Insitute for Government" you always need to put in parentheses: "established by the arch-Remainiac Lord Sainsbury, paid for by his millions and controlled by a board that is made up exclusively of extreme Remainers."

    No 9 - that's outrageous after all the cant about intimidation of Remainiac MPs such as Anna Soubry ("Ooh - someone three feet away called me a political name."). Newsnight should be asking why there were no arrests on this occasion for this verbal abuse.

    Sounds like a dreadful programme. Glad I decided not to watch it.

  2. Can't look at her without thinking of the scene that made Sharon Stone famous. Not in a good way.


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