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9 December 2009

Question Time hasn’t “bowed” to anti-war pressure

The extra panellist Lord Ashdown is pro-war

By George Eaton

The Times claims that Question Time has bowed to pressure from anti-war campaigners by deciding to include Lord Ashdown as an extra (sixth) panellist on its upcoming Afghanistan special.

One slight hitch with this theory is that Lord Ashdown isn’t anti-war. He may have made some pointed criticisms of British military strategy, but he remains an unambiguous supporter of the occupation. If anything, he has attacked the government for not prosecuting the war strongly enough, accusing it of “thinking it can win this war on half-horsepower”.

If the inclusion of Ashdown is designed to ensure that the largely pro-war panel is more representative of public opinion it won’t succeed. A recent poll showed that, unlike Ashdown, 63 per cent of the public support an immediate withdrawal.

It seems more likely that Ashdown has been drafted in to appease angry Lib Dems, bemused that the original panel of five didn’t include a single member of their party.

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