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11 January 2019

WATCH: Fiona Bruce reboots Question Time by humiliating James Cleverly

And then Owen Jones took down Andrew Neil. Oh Auntie, you are really spoiling us.

By Media Mole

Your mole, in all honesty, is not the greatest fan of the BBC’s Thursday night politics shows. After having for a number of years watched them religiously – in roughly the same way that members of certain Catholic sects tie spiked chains around their thighs religiously – the thought eventually dawned that it might be more fun to do literally anything else.

Last night, however, was something of an exception. Firstly, came Fiona Bruce’s debut as the new host of weekly punch-up Question Time, for which she’s won plaudits from all sides for her willingness to push back against rowdy panellists and audience members alike.

But it’s this sequence – in which she repeatedly asks the tragically misnamed Tory deputy chair James Cleverly what his government’s Plan B is, and refuses to let him change the subject to Labour – that really won this mole’s heart:

“James, occasionally you do have to stop talking.” If only Dimbleby had thought of that, eh?

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Your mole was still recovering from this televisiual feast, when Auntie served up another delicacy. In a particularly tasty segment of This Week with Andrew Neil, Owen Jones suggested that publications which run Islamophobic or race-baiting headlines (“In praise of the Wehrmacht”) might just share responsibility for the rise of the far right. As he does so, a visibly-rattled Neil – who just happens to chair the Spectator – frantically tries to shut him down:

Watching this, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the reason Neil is so keen to stop Jones asking such questions is that he knows he doesn’t have good answers.