18 Doughty StreetWas it a good idea? Not sure. I’ve just returned home after 2 hours of arguing with Tories on the internet TV station 18 Doughty Street, brainchild of Iain Dale. It really felt like walking into the lair of the enemy, but no centre-left organisation has managed to come up with anything that rivals 18 Doughty Street in terms of scale and technology. I was on a panel with Dizzy Thinks, A Very British Dude, and James Tumbridge, talking about all kinds of things – from contaminated fuel and public transport, right through to whether incest should be legal. To be faced with 3 Tories, especially one with views as hard to fathom as Very British Dude’s, was a very peculiar experience, although all three seemed jovial people.

Apart from at the very end – when talking about the EU, and education vs. social justice – I really don’t think I put in a very good performance. On the other hand, I do at least hope I managed to give a little balance to the debate. I wonder how many people actually watch those discussions though; 18 Doughty Street’s slogan is ‘Politics for Adults’ but it did seem more like politics for geeks at some points this evening. Anyway, I’ve learnt a lot, and I would go again if asked. I might even manage to make my points more coherently next time.


  1. Jackart

    Yeah.. It was good fun – I think you did well (lair of the enemy and all that) – Hard to fathom? well It’s my fault for leading on Public transport on my blog when I really wanted to talk about Gordon Brown. You wouldn’t want to debate a “Party Line” hack would you!

    But I’m sure you will be asked back!

  2. Thanks for the kind comments… 🙂

    On issues like the Corby prisons story I think 18 Doughty Street might need to improve its procedures a little. Some guidance to the panellists about the topics for discussion would be handy. We go on for free after all, so don’t have the chance to read all the papers during the day before attending.

  3. Well done Jon. You stepped into the ring of fire and came out with credit. I thought you made your points well. Not your fault but some of the discussions were a little parochial and I think that as a group you could have been better appraised of some of the upcoming topic discussions (e.g. the Corby Prisons Service issue).

  4. Good discussion, if not heated and loud at some points.

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