Back (by request) is The Record: Europe with Shirin Wheeler.
This week's highly typical edition saw two panel discussions. The only UK politician featured in the first was Labour's Richard Howitt, who was interrupted once (I.C. of 0.3). Shirin Wheeler is not given to interrupting Labour politicians at all, so Mr Howitt was very unlucky!!
'Widely-respected' Shirin's second discussion featured the Labour chairman of the Commons EU Scrutiny Committee Michael Connarty, Lib Dem head of the Lords EU select committee Lord Roper and newly elected UKIP MEP David Campbell-Bannerman. I bet you can guess how this went. Mr Connarty was not interrupted at all, Lord Roper was interrupted once and Mr Campbell-Bannerman of UKIP was interrupted 3 times!! Their respective I.C.s are 0, 0.4 and 1.5. This sort of thing happens week in and week out.
Mr Connarty was also the first and the last to speak, having 4 bites of the cherry - as against
3 for Lord Roper and Mr Campbell-Bannerman. (The latter also spoke for the least time).
Here are brown-eyed Shirin Wheeler's full stats for the period in which my clipboard has been in action:
21/09 Timothy Kirkhope Conservative 1.9
6/12 David Campbell-Bannerman UKIP 1.5
11/10 Timothy Kirkhope Conservative 1.5
08/11 Timothy Kirkhope Conservative 1.2
15/11 Martha Andreasen UKIP 1.2
11/10 Nigel Farage UKIP 0.9
01/11 Paul Nuttall UKIP 0.7
08/11 Charles Tannock Conservative 0.7
08/11 Graham Watson Lib Dem 0.7
08/11 Derek Clarke UKIP 0.6
08/11 Glenis Willmott Labour 0.5
6/12 Lord Roper Lib Dem 0.4
04/10 Syed Kamall Conservative 0.3
6/12 Richard Howitt Labour 0.3
25/10 Timothy Kirkhope Conservative 0.2
04/10 Graham Watson Lib Dem 0
11/10 Fiona Hall Lib Dem 0
11/10 Richard Howitt Labour 0
25/10 Stephen Hughes Labour 0
04/10 Arlene McCarthy Labour 0
25/10 Chris Davies Lib Dem 0
18/10 Caroline Lucas Green 0
22/11 Cathy Ashton Labour 0
15/11 Derek Vaughan Labour 0
15/11 Vicky Ford Conservative 0
01/11 Jean Lambert Green 0
Her averages are some of the starkest I've recorded:
- UKIP (5) - 0.98
- Conservatives (7) - 0.83
- Lib Dems (5) - 0.22
- Labour (8) - 0.11
- Greens (2) - 0.00
Here's some more.
Coming back to the three-way discussion between Connarty, Campbell-Bannerman and Roper,
the first question went to Mr Connarty, and it was one asked from a Lisbon-is-a-good-thing stance: "Michael, can I ask you first of all, you've got the Lisbon Treaty. It's in force. It's supporters promise a greater role in national parliaments in scrutinising new legislation. Do you think that's true?" (Michael Connarty is also a Lisbon supporter).
The second question went to Lord Roper. It too came from a pro-Lisbon position: "But I mean, Lord Roper, the treaty does say that if two-thirds of national parliaments want to club together and sent something back to the European Commission they can. Isn't that an advance?" (Lord Roper, also a Lisbon supporter, thought it was!)
To David Campbell-Bannerman came this question, also asked from a Lisbon-is-a-good-thing position: "What it doesn't do though it seems is it doesn't take away powers from national parliaments, does it, the treaty?" (David, not a Lisbon supporter, disagreed!)
Shirin, who's won an award for her programme from the European parliament, then asked Mr Connarty, "Michael Connarty, the European parliament does undoubtably gain a lot of power. It's the big winner from the Lisbon Treaty, isn't it? Is that indirectly good news for the House of Commons, House of Lords as well?"
Connarty turned this answer into an attack on UKIP and, taking up his words, Shirin Wheeler asked Mr Campbell-Bannerman, "You're not there to defend British interests?"
Bizarrely, after only 15 seconds of his answer to this joint attack, David C-B was interrupted and shut up by Shirin (before getting anywhere near making his point), "Oh let's talk about that sort of thing another time. Lord Roper, back to the issue of scrutinising EU legislation." Typical! "Now it's true what David Bannerman (sic) says. There is a transfer of power to the EU, to the parliament in a lot of areas (note the side-shift from what David Campbell-Bannerman said to what Shirin Wheeler wanted him to have said!). Doesn't this mean that the process of scrutiny has to be even better, particularly in areas like criminal justice, budget, that sort of thing, and are you (the House of Lords EU select commitee) up to the job?"
The next question went to the UKIP MEP: "This is the first meeting of the Lords and MPs you're taking part in as an MEP, isn't it David? How do you want to see that process continue? You've heard from Michael. Are you going to bring things back to this place?" (He wants to bring everything back to the British parliament Shirin, that's why he's a member of UKIP!).
This time only 11 seconds-worth of Mr Campbell-Bannerman's answer went free before Shirin butted in again, this time to defend the Labour MP: "But Michael's not saying he wants to decide on those things here but that the Lords and Commons should have a say in scrutinising."
He continued but before he could finish Shirin interrupted for a third time: "Well the two gentlemen to your left and right are shaking their heads, so - briefly - (to Lord Roper) you're not doing the job properly, says David?"
It was shortly after than Shirin intruded into someone other than Mr Campbell-Bannerman's answers, butting into Lord Roper to ask again about his House of Lords committee: "But are you actually doing the business though? You might have a lot of committees."
Her last question, to the Labour MP, was simply, "Michael?"
Soft on the Left, tough on the Right - that's Shirin Wheeler for you. Respect!