I appeared on BBC News this morning doing a live election interview with Matthew Amroliwala and was aggressive to say the least. As I’m normally very calm I wanted to explain what happened and give an insight to political spin and the media.
i turned up 15 minutes earlier than my expected time and waited for my Labour counterpart, Bex Bailey, to arrive for our debate. I’ve done a Sky News debate in the past with a Young Labour type who spent the majority of the time talking over me and I was told afterwards to not be so polite in a political debate as people are ruthless. I put that at the back of my mind as I’d heard of Bex and she seemed like a nice enough person.
She turned up a little late and with an older gentleman. To be honest she looked very young and I thought he was her dad or uncle. A producer I became friendly with told me he was a Blair spin doctor, Matthew Doyle. The producer was just as surprised as I was so I edged a bit closer to hear the conversation. He was briefing her about the lines of Lib dem attack and essentially how to destroy me.
As we got miked up, Amroliwala asked his producer what the name of “the MP who made the Battle of Somme comments” was. When informed of the name he opened up a page in his notebook with the header “12.30 – Liberal Youth”. The page was littered with notes which would have made the interview extremely uncomfortable for me, not Bex, such as “tuition fees” “wipeout” “knife in Blegg’s back” etc. Amroliwala then asked me to stand next to him in the interview and it was very clear that the intention of the interview was less about the youth vote as I assumed and more for me to squirm about how sad everything was.
Realising that Bex Bailey had a very thorough attack strategy from a senior spin doctor in her belt and Amroliwala was intending to focus the interview on how disastrous the Lib Dem results were, in those 20 seconds I worked out a strong enough Labour attack to get the attention off me. It worked, Amroliwala went on the attack too and it became an uncomfortable interview for Bex Bailey instead.
Sorry everyone for being so horrible but I had about 20 seconds to think of an attack line otherwise the professional spin trained Labour member and the senior journalist were pretty much going in for the kill. I promise I’m a nice person really!