Friday, October 29, 2004

Dimbleby does Miami

Last night's Question Time (BBC political panel debate) was broadcast from Miami due to the upcoming US election. It was looking to be a promising show with a panel including the ever up himself Michael Moore, the former Bush speech writer David "Axis of evil" Frum, former Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal, Sun columnist Richard Littlejohn, and some unknown woman. I sat infront of the TV all excited about the verbal fracas that should take place, but was sadly disappoitned. The first thing of note about the program was the general braying of the American audience. There were whoops and hollers, cheers and boos to almost everything that was said. It was just bloody annoying. This was noted by several of the people who were texting in to the BBC interactive comment service.

The main issue taken up was the war in Iraq. The problem with this was that we already knew all the panelists views on this subject. Nothing pertinent or new was said by anyone, although Moore managed to get his whoops from the liberals and boos from the Republicans with his attacks on the war.

Being as this was in Florida there was the obvious question about whether the vote counting could be rid of all the previous elections controversy. There was an almost unanimous no to this question, with trust in the ballot counting process all but gone and everyone expecting things to be decided in court. I also found out that lawyers have already filed 10 suits in Florida alone over supposed irregularities.

The final question, asked by a Brit in the audience, was whether the panel thought that a change in the White House would have an effect on Blair. There were some people of the opinion that if Kerry won things would look bad for Blair in the next UK election. I just don't see this at all. First and foremost Blair'll be good buddies with whoevers in the White House, which most panelists agreed on. But to think it'd be bad for Blair electorially if Kerry won is just strange. I could see the opposite maybe... well actually no I couldn't. The US president may have effects on the world, but election's in individual countries aren't decided by who it is or not.

After Question Time I always get a cheer from the fresh faces of Andrew Neill, Michael Portilo and Diane Abbott on This Week. It really is just a big family love in that show. Diane and Mike may disagree but you know that it's all alright in the end. What's amazing is the size of the sofa Mike and Diane are forced into. Diane's not the smallest of ladies, so on that sofa the pair can't do anything but be close. Anyway the fun that is This Week was nastily interupted by their guest Raymond Blanc, the very French chef. He was arguing for greater European intergration seemingly on the basis that he has lots of different nationalities working in his kitchen - honestly that was his argument! He also said that he was a better Frenchman for having lived in England for the last 30 years, which meant he could look on France critically from the outside. I think really he's spent those last 30 years honing his French accent to such a laughably stereotyped level that he's gone a bit mad.

There appears to be no fascinating space news today, but I urge you to check out the Astronomy Picture of the Day for lovely views of the heavens, it's a nice composite picture of the moon during a lunar eclipse today. Here's a nice relativity linked article as well for you all about frame dragging - nice.


  1. Astronomy picture of the day looks like a duff link to me, Mr. P.

  2. APOD link in post now fixed. If you click on it today (29th Oct '04) then you'll see a lovely triple composite picture of our moon during a lunar eclipse. It looks red because light scattered through the Earth's atmosphere reflects of it.