Any Questions?

I will be on the panel of BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions this evening at 8pm. It will be repeated just after the 1pm news tomorrow lunch time, for anyone interested.


  1. alan jutson
    December 19, 2014

    Thanks John, will try and listen in.

    Your common sense views seem to be gaining traction of late with the media.

    About time.

  2. Chris
    December 19, 2014

    I hope that you get a chance to discuss political correctness and the harm that it is doing to good honest debate, and how it is leading to the emergence of new political forces which threaten the Conservative/Labour duopoly. The latest example quote in the press is:
    “..The Home Office risks accusations of political correctness after saying that foreigners sneaking into Britain should not be referred to as illegal immigrants.

    The department said those trying to get into Britain unlawfully should be referred to as ‘clandestine entrants’.

    The debate about the correct term to use was ignited after John Vine, the independent immigration watchdog, described them as ‘irregular migrants’….”

    Read more:

  3. Tad Davison
    December 19, 2014

    I’ll be listening too so it’ll be good for you to know you have your readership with you.

    I wonder if they’ll talk about the latest idiotic episode of political correctness gone mad?

    My kids use a modern word ‘Britti’ to describe a full English breakfast without anyone even raising an eyebrow, but apparently, it is now totally wrong to use a similar shortened expression to describe a takeaway Chinese meal. The PC brigade say its use is offensive to Chinese people and racist. I would argue that if people who used the word in question were the least bit racist, they would boycott the very institutions that sell the meals and go elsewhere, so that proves the accusation is a nonsense.

    In an interview with Nigel Farage, LBC’s Nick Ferrari says he would never use that particular word, but I just think it’s the broadcaster covering his rear so not to upset the all-powerful PC left that has taken over the broadcasting institutions. The word is in common parlance, so are they really saying that anyone who uses it is racist and by extension, a criminal?

    They need to get real and get back down from their ivory towers!

    Tad Davison


    1. Kenneth R Moore
      December 20, 2014

      I was disapointed by Dr Redwoods very middle of the road response here – I expected him to attack the intolerant attitude and hair trigger faux offence mechanism of thee marxist PC police. We all know that political correctness has done terrible harm- this was a good opportunity to attack it lost in my view.

      It is a strange paradox that the left have no problem with discrimination against England in parliament but get all worked up over the use of a harmless slang term for a chinese meal.

      The other more left wing commentators were more than happy to monster Mr Farage for his relaxed attitude to the C would have been nice to have heard an appeal for a more balanced view towards language. Instead Redwood argued that parliament should be the exclusive domain of the politically correct.

      Reply I argued that those who want to win election need to use moderate language and avoid offending whole groups of people. If UKIP is about defending slang and abuse they will not grow in stature or support.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 20, 2014

        Various words such as “sanctimony”, “arrogance” and “hypocrisy” spring to mind to describe the root of the fuss some are making about this, but Farage’s “snobbishness” does much of the job well enough.

        Far worse than somebody still using a colloquial but rather outdated word, which is now loudly claimed to be offensive, is the same sort of people who make a point of complaining about this deliberately inventing their own new terms of abuse and no doubt being mightily pleased with themselves for having done so.

        Remember a few years ago when some Cameron supporter in Tory party HQ thought that it would be a splendid idea to start describing some of the Tory party’s own members as the “Turnip Taliban”?

        Remember before that when some of those in the Labour party cleverly worked out the acronym “RATS” – “Rich Arrogant Tory Southerners” – to denigrate those campaigning against having a regional assembly in the north east?

        And, of course, remember Cameron’s deliberate, repeated insults directed against UKIP and its members and supporters? Did he not recognise that he needed “to use moderate language and avoid offending whole groups of people”? Apparently not.

        I’ve just read a blog article condemning Farage over this, in which the author casually uses language which is so obscene that once upon a time it would have certainly got him banned for life from all BBC broadcasts. Now apparently all those words are perfectly fine, they are just part of the language after all, and they can be liberally used in TV programmes and in films; but the same kind of people who accept that will simulate outrage over other words which are also just part of the language but ones which in their warped view must never be used on pain of media excoriation.

        1. Paul Newman
          December 20, 2014

          I listened with interest but to be honest many of the questions were rather tedious and the responses unremarkable . I was particularly struck by the unanimity of agreement that Nigel Farrage was a dreadful person and that yet another word is now on the list of unmentionable insults. A voice to stick a pin in this balloon of gaseous pontificating was sorely needed . Harriet Harman claiming her constituents would not speak thusly needed a horse laugh and the disconnect between the BBC and political class and the voters was painfully present .
          The discussion on English votes was also a little disappointing although it was bound to be so. Here the problem is that in the interests of balance the BBC (presumably …)is obliged to allow Labour and Liberals to talk utter nonsense for an allotted time . The Grand Committee chosen on a PR basis is an especially vile concoction , as if we had to have the PR debate again whilst allowing the English to remain second class voters in perpetuity .

          As for the Labour rubbish about Manchester and delay I wonder how Ms Harman can say such things with a straight face , practice I suppose.

          Reply It was Tessa Jowell

          1. APL
            December 20, 2014

            JR: “It was Tessa Jowell”

            Another member of the totalitarian nomenclature. It hardly makes a difference which is which, each are ‘droids’ running on a pre programmed routine.

            Throw a few trigger words in their general direction and they regurgitate pre programmed catch phrases, that trigger a similar conditioned response in the pre selected BBC Question time audience.

        2. Tad Davison
          December 20, 2014

          Well said again Denis, but I think people need to remember something about the British, and it is part of their character. It’s called a sense of humour. Anyone who wishes to partake in our society should also be able to take a joke or overlook the innocent shortening of some words.

          Having three grown-up kids, I have over the years had to avail myself to all manner of light-hearted ridicule for their amusement. It’s part of a dad’s job to make his kids laugh, and that has included being called some peculiar names. It’s water off a ducks back.

          I am reminded of an expression the Americans used to say many years ago. If you don’t like our peaches, quit shaking our tree. If people have a problem with the British sense of humour and can’t take a bit of fun, then they should go and find somewhere else to live. I don’t see why I should walk on eggshells simply because someone else has a fragile, irascible, or irrational disposition. They wouldn’t last five minutes in some of the places I’ve worked.


      2. Margaret Brandreth-J
        December 20, 2014

        Indeed , I fully agreed.Whilst slightly extreme language may gather some followers ,they my take a leaf out of your book John as a survivor. Politicians cannot have influence if they are not there practising and tipping the boat only temporarily puts them in the limelight.BUT
        May friends from Pakistan call their own Pakis and I call myself a Limey and local chinese people say that they own a chinky take away!

      3. Kenneth R Moore
        December 20, 2014

        Thank for your reply Dr Redwood,

        I don’t think Mr Farage was defending the use of ‘offensive language’ as such – he was saying we should all lighten up a bit and stop kowtowing to left wing thought police. We are forever being told as English people to mind what we say and think despite being the friendliest and most tolerant of nations.

        However that did’t stop Mr Cameron from condeming a large group of Britons as ‘closet racists, fruitcakes etc. because they wanted out of the Eu madhouse.
        It seems that anything goes as long as you are a white skinned Briton. Atleast Gordon Brown tried to hide his contempt for ordinary people by making his ‘bigoted women’ jibe in private.

        When the Right start agreeing with the Left that political correctness is a jolly good thing then we really are in trouble.

        It is ironic that you rightly rail against the unfairness and bias in parliament but don’t condemn the left’s hidden PC driven agenda –
        to moderate and undermine the English believing they are powerful oppressors, racists, and in so doing, deny them the small c conservative government they wish for.

        So far nobody from the Chinese community has come forward to say they are offended – but plenty have on their behalf. This is massively patronising in my view.

        Defining what is and what is not ‘moderate language’ seems to be the problem here. Are we to ban the term ‘Brummie’..’Yorkie’ or Tykes’.
        When will these words be included on the list of words that aren’t on the pre-approved PC list?.
        Surely if no offence was meant in the heart of the user of a particular word (and the word isn’t one that is of the few obviously offensive words) that is what matters.

        Reply Maybe you should take Mr Farage’s advice, lighten up, and discuss more important matters.

  4. Bill
    December 19, 2014


  5. Qubus
    December 19, 2014

    Good luck, not that you will need it. Don’t take any nonsense from the left-leaning cleric.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 20, 2014

      Are there any right leaning clerics? Or right leaning actors, pop musicians and stand up comedians – not on the BBC it seems anyway.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 20, 2014

        Or on Sky, or on ITV.

      2. Denis Cooper
        December 20, 2014

        I routinely record and watch the Press Preview on Sky.

        This has one of the Sky employees who is supposed to be a news presenter straying away from impartiality by discussing selected newspaper stories with two guests, generally “journalists”, “broadcasters” or “writers”, with the occasional politician or sundry other occupation.

        I can honestly say that having watched this over quite a few years I cannot recall a single occasion when any of them, either the presenter or one of the guests, has had a good word to say about UKIP.

        Last night the male journalist lamented that UKIP’s poll ratings seem to be undamaged by the repeated “scandals”, so far, and the female journalist agreed with him that “unfortunately” that seemed to be the case.

        When I checked I found that the NUJ has about 30,000 members across the country; initially that seemed to me to be surprisingly low, given the large number of local newspapers and various magazines, apart from the smaller number of national and regional newspapers, but together with the multiplicity of various TV and radio channels; however I suppose it could be at least in the right ballpark if on average each only employed a relatively small number of people eligible for NUJ membership.

        These are the very small minority, maybe 0.1% of the electorate, who use the media to tell the rest of the electorate what they should think, and who are with few exceptions totally opposed to everything that UKIP stands for, or that they think it stands for; and who will do everything they can to stop UKIP disturbing their NUJ-approved consensus, with journalistic integrity, and freedom of expression, and public opinion, all counting for next to nothing in their determined pursuit of that objective.

  6. Qubus
    December 19, 2014

    I am sure that this snippet of information will be of no use to you, but here goes anyway: a long time ago, when W. Haigh was canvassing for the GE as Leader of the Opposition, Jack Straw was queried about immigration on the BBC TV. His response was that, as far as he could see, there was no upper limit on the number that could be admitted to the UK.

    I have never understood why the Tories have never made use of this bit of archive film.

  7. Kenneth R Moore
    December 19, 2014

    Ah the topical news program with a left wing bias. I hope JR isn’ going to be be presented as the token ‘heartless Tory’ helping only his ‘rich friends in the city’ blah blah. Usual BBC rubbish.
    I suspect JR will have much to say on the spending cuts that never happened agenda – if he is allowed to speak.

  8. Lifelogic
    December 19, 2014

    Keep up your good work. How do you find the time? Do you ever sleep?

    Giles Fraser, Tessa Jowell MP, Norman Lamb MP, John Redwood MP

    So it should be better than the usual programme. This as there is one voice of reason on the panel. It is almost never more than one on the BBC alas. Far too many lefty actors, pop “stars”, religious dopes, Guardian journalists, BBC think happiness economists and BBC celebs to be slotted in.

    Why still so many Libdems on the panel when they cannot even keep a deposit in bye-elections?

    I somehow cannot see Tessa Jowell as a London Mayor, surely the Tories can find someone to beat her, it should very easy, rather a shame Paxo would not stand? Such a dearth of Tory talent alas.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 20, 2014

      You are a bit strong on not ever using a reduction of the word “Chinese”. Are we now to be banned from saying Brits, Scots, Aussies, girls, OAPs, immigrants, handicapped, Yanks, (etc) ……… Will we all be given a PC dictionary app of words banned by “BBC think” lefties we have to constantly check and update. One that we have consult before we ever open our mouths, lest we are branded racist, sexist, disabled-ist or fired from our jobs or banned from the BBC or public life?

      If we do not have the right to offend some people then free speech is dead. Many lefties and disability pressure groups are, after all, offended by almost anything at all. Fararge is much closer to the public and reality on this issue.

      The Chinese often call people Gweilo or gwai lo or ghost man – is that term to be banned too? It will end up as a very long list indeed.

      1. matthu
        December 20, 2014

        Not to mention pommies and rooineks which I have been referred to and never taken offence at.

        1. Tad Davison
          December 20, 2014

          Exactly (see my later post above)


      2. DaveM
        December 20, 2014

        You could just behave like everyone else and ignore all this nonsense.

        Sticks and stones….

  9. Margaret Brandreth-J
    December 19, 2014

    Did they take the questions from this Blog site John?

  10. JoeSoap
    December 19, 2014

    All good sense, well done. Tessa Jowell’s answer on the English question fell into the “fruitcake” section, I think, and the audience sensed it.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 20, 2014

      Indeed as just one would expect of a lefty dope like Tessa (social worker, charity worker and now career politician). She surely should be very easy to beat as a potential Mayor if she stands. Surely even the Tories can find someone sensible and in touch who can beat her?

      1. APL
        December 20, 2014

        Lifelogic: “lefty dope like Tessa”

        Priceless. But but, she is educated! And look where ..

        Educated at the independent school St Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen.

        the University of Aberdeen,
        the University of Edinburgh
        Goldsmiths College, University of London.

        Clearly a disadvantaged daughter of toil.
        And evidence that buying an expensive education isn’t necessarily worth the money.

        1. Lifelogic
          December 21, 2014

          I wonder what subjects she studied?

  11. David Price
    December 19, 2014

    Well done on the programme, clearly the audience were in much agreement with you and you even had a vicar/Guardian columnist supporting you on some things.

    A question did occur to me when you described EVEL as a simple approach; has anyone looked at the effect of the Barnett formula where Scotland and England set different tax rates?

  12. They Work for Us?
    December 19, 2014

    I did listen to Any Questions and was disappointed by some of the questions asked and the length of time spent on them e.g the reaction of Sony to threats if they lampooned the North Koreans.
    When we finally got on to English votes for English Laws we had the usual stuff from Labour and the Libdems on English Regions, the more the merrier.
    A plea please John
    Please use the word England as often as possible e.g “Is not England an important country like Scotland. England has ? 60million people and Scotland has two. Why should a country like England be denied a proper voice” .
    If Labour are so keen on devolution to Regions then why not divide Scotland in to the Highlands and the Lowlands and do away with its nationhood too? Similarl;y for Wales
    They wouldn’t dare try it with Scotland. there would be riots in the streets but believe England can continue to be emasculated so that it continues to provide most of the tax money but without real power.

    1. Iain Moore
      December 20, 2014

      But I did note the reaction from the audience, who met Tessa Jowell’s peddling of the Labour position on English devolution ( and the Libdem’s pathetic offering ) in pretty much silence, where as John Redwood got one of the best applauses of the evening for his statement of the case for proper English devolution.

      But will Cameron and his side kicks take note? Unlikely, we get a few half hearted statements from Cameron, before he goes off to enact legislation to pursue more politically correct policies, like women fighting in the front line. Like always with Cameron, he sells his core support short, while pandering to the left with policies.

  13. Mark B
    December 19, 2014

    I would imagine it will also be on iPlayer.

    I stopped listening to Any Questions and its follow-up, Any answers a long time ago. But may reconsider – may !

    1. Leslie Singleton
      December 20, 2014

      Mark–I too stopped listening years ago but on learning that John was on last night I gave it another go. John of course was easy on the ears as usual but listening to the others I simply couldn’t stand it and had to switch off.

  14. RBW
    December 20, 2014

    Thank you for pressing the case for England. I am one of the many fed up transferring funds (and jobs) to S, W & NI when we so often get in return lies, hate, gerrymandered boundaries, etc.

    Please also note the BBC will no doubt count that as a “balanced” panel despite Giles Fraser (their favourite CoE cleric) being his usual left-wing truth-bender. I do hope you and colleagues are conveying to the Trust through OTR contacts how much BBC management seem to be counting on Labour leading the negotiations on the next Charter. Are the punks really feeling so lucky?

    And Giles Fraser’s cheap shot in reply to the final, light-hearted question showed what a nasty man he is. Perhaps he ought to spent a bit more time on his day job as it seemed totally lacking in “Christian charity”. But then atheists like me often feel churches are full of those who preach one thing and do another 🙂

    1. Jagman84
      December 20, 2014

      I fully agree. There seems to be a distinct lack of Christians in the Church of England. More marxists and atheists than in recent times, judging from their outpourings. Maybe it’s a case of the old saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them”, then destroy from the inside.

      1. Jagman84
        December 20, 2014

        Sorry for replying to my own post but I honestly believe that the same could be said about Conservatives in the Conservative party, re: marxist infiltration.

  15. The PrangWizard
    December 20, 2014

    I listen from time to time, but made a point of doing so last evening. The inclusion of the question about Nigel Farage’s remarks was, I suspect, to allow the usual ritual UKIP bashing which naturally we got from the other members of the panel, most strongly from the cleric who, unsurprisingly, seemed to leave his alleged belief in tolerance at home for the evening.

    I get concerned though when in order to sound reasonable and polite, and by not being more robust in our self defence, we give excuses to those who wish to be offended and make careers and political capital of it. I don’t think this applies to the Chinese people themselves who seem broad shouldered enough not to let it bother them, at least not publicly, and don’t join in the ‘clatter’ we get from elsewhere. Those who do make a big issue of such things often do it because they see personal advancement because it is ‘politically correct’.

    Should an Englishman be seriously offended if in course of conversation he heard the word ‘limey’, what should he say, what should he do? I would hope nothing in most cases, but if he believes the word ‘chink’ or similar should be banned in every circumstance then he must of course do something, and thus take action against Americans who say it, and demand it be banned too; otherwise he could be shown to exhibiting double standards. Tragically there are those here who dislike our own history and beliefs so much that they think it is only our speech which should be restricted.

    We are well down the road of ending most freedoms, we must turn the super-tanker around.

    Your ‘English Votes ….’ points were, I am of course pleased to observe, well supported and understood by the audience; Tessa Jowell’s views, and thus those of Labour, by observation therefore, were completely out of touch, and the LibDem, cynically and selfishly complained about the voting system. Just shows how some will, we know, subordinate a democratic principle for party advantage.

    And the audience were opposed to the EU fat and very fat people issue too.

    There is no doubt you won the day.

    1. Bazman
      December 20, 2014

      You cannot be offended if you are in the ethnic majority. For example being racially abused for being white in the UK. You are seriously telling us that racist abuse to minorities is not offensive even when historic. Though to call Russians in the UK a ethnic minority is laughable and justice would be swift to correct you on this and the little island you live on.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 20, 2014

        “You cannot be offended if you are in the ethnic majority.”

        Who says? Whoever it was that said it, it’s total garbage.

        1. Bazman
          December 21, 2014

          You can be offended but not until the point where it just grinds you down is my point. You are in the majority and are so protected by this.

          1. Monty
            December 22, 2014

            “You are in the majority and are so protected…”

            Rubbish. I wish there was a prevailing current of solidarity between the indigenous members of our population. There isn’t.
            (Some ? ed) women have been fired up with a lust for retribution against our men,(and some men? ed) and to the extent that family breakdown has reached lamentable depths, and far too many fathers and bairns have become estranged. Our young people are incited to hate and envy our “rich greedy” old folk, who worked all their lives to pass on their assets however modest. Too many middle class parents with “sharp elbows”, are cited as villains standing in the way of educational integration nirvana. Too many nimbys resist the churning up of their lives and their neighbourhoods to accommodate (undesirable new developments ed). Motorists, fat people, smokers, drinkers, are evil. Keep on kicking them but make sure we keep on taking their exorbitant taxes off them.
            It’s high time we did find some semblance of fellowship among ourselves.

      2. Max Dunbar
        December 20, 2014

        The problem is that the Labour Party introduced laws that elevated what is essentially pettifogging name-calling to the level of something akin to assault with grievous bodily harm.

      3. APL
        December 20, 2014

        Bazman: “Though to call Russians in the UK a ethnic minority .. ”

        Technically, Russians are members of the slavic ethnic group.

        Unless you are claiming the majority UK population is of slavic origin, then it seems reasonable to characterise Russians in the UK as an ethnic minority.

        In Russia of course, they are not.

        1. Bazman
          December 21, 2014

          See how far you get with that one..

    2. rick hamilton
      December 20, 2014

      There used to be a saying that “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Long forgotten it seems.

      Surely offence can only be taken, not given.

      If somebody called you a ‘pleb’ would you:
      (a) laugh it off
      (b) give as good as you get
      (c) claim it is the greatest insult known to man
      (d) run to the newspapers and take them to court?

  16. William
    December 20, 2014

    Are you willing to reasses the England football and cricket teams since your last posting on them after the world cup? – Roy Hodgson wins all Euro qualifiers, Alastair Cook sacked rather belatedly.

    Reply Always willing to reassess in light of new evidence or changed circumstances.

  17. Iain Moore
    December 20, 2014

    Well no surprise the BBC found no time for any callers wanting discuss English devolution. Any Answers wasn’t great under Dimbleby but it is positively appalling with Anita Anand hosting it. The BBC claims that they host the topics according to the interest, but we never have any proof of it.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 21, 2014

      They often drop “inconvenient” topics for the BBC line on any answers. Anita is pleasant enough but clearly is a BBC think, absurdly PC, anti UKIP, pro EU, big state lefty to her very core.

      If you ask under a freedom of information request for any details on the numbers of callers or direction of the calls for any topic they will not tell you.

    December 20, 2014

    The recording is now available on the internet Radio 4 Question Time .Just listening to it now 2.40pm

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