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Interview Markings
#1
For those wondrous occasions where someone is on the receiving end of Jeremy Paxman or one of those other less famous interviewers from around this time.
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#2
02/11/2019 - Noemie Suchet Paxing

Question 1 - Polling and Leadership

The soft opening was really only there for me to move onto the polling which hasn't been terrific or disastrous for the Lib Dems really. The main issue you have with them is that for every vote you take off of Labour's left you lose two from your right to the Tories and you never really addressed that elephant in the room. Your response to the second part was really rather weak blaming racism and the tabloids for your party's decline but the grassroots and less funding/establishment points were well made. As we moved on Paxman brought up your political grandstanding and you completely ignored it to talk about something not even really tangentially regarding the question (truly art imitating life) but Paxman pressed with a follow-up linking your moves to wastes of taxpayers' money and again you didn't really have a satisfactory answer. The public are broadly on the side of the Government with the inquiry especially after their spirited defence in the press cycles but your points did open up some small cuts in the Tory Party. However the vote of no confidence is seen as little more than cynical politicking.

2/5

Question 2 - The Economy

This section was again pre-empted by a lead in with a question about the leftward drift of the Liberal Democrats. "Labour moving to the right of us" was a great line you should use more often because it shores up your base and loosens their's giving you scope for gains if you can achieve a degree of message discipline. You highlighted your budget's strengths and then ran straight into the brick wall that was the deficit. In the 90s fewer people cared about the deficit but it is still something of an issue and you handled it well (ironically using several arguments Saxon used when he was Chancellor) but you missed the chance to explicitly tie the Tories and Labour together which is a door I purposefully left ajar for you although you did knock the Sun, and nobody likes the Sun. The yes or no response was less of a yes/no and more of a short sentence or two but people liked what they heard

4/5

Question 3 - Prisons

Okay this sucked for you, and it's unfortunate really. You tried to deflect with a wait and see commitment which was never going to work on Paxman who began to zero in on the great contradiction at the heart of the Lib Dems' policy, rehabilitation needs staff to achieve it and you hired none. No psychologists, no health workers, nada. Your pitch wasn't great and people saw your follow-up through purely partisan lenses. Rehabilitation places up by 4500 is welcomed by your backers but everyone else just sees waste which could have been used to fund the requests and Paxman picked up on that again to round of the question.

1.5/5

Question 4 - Experts and the Bank of England

Again, this seemed to be something of a contradiction in your philosophy, arguing for BoE independence and then ignoring what they said. It's an incredibly nuanced position and actually speaking in purely factual terms probably very justified, but its a very complicated message to convey and Paxman was determined to drive you to the lowest common denominator because his audience is not an audience of economists. You lay the blame for the rates rise on the door of Saxon, that was good, the housing market is slowing precipitously at the moment so putting that blame on Saxon's door is wise seeing as he is the PM but you never came up with a satisfactory answer on markets and sounded a touch paranoid when it came to the actual setting of the rates by Saxon.

2/5

Overall

Not Ms Suchet's finest hour but not a complete dumpster fire either, there's the making of a good pitch to the public here if you can sift through it all, learn the right lessons, and pick up what I've put down for you. Don't be disheartened and regroup quickly for the press cycle and you'll be able to limit your losses before you get back on the front foot.

Overall Rating: 9.5/20
Average Rating: 2.25
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#3
Sir Harold Saxon Paxing - 02/11/2019

Question 1 - Polling

Mr Saxon likes the sound of his own voice, every question was answered with a long prose and at this point it hadn't gotten tiresome yet. The rundown of your achievements was good and made you look like a competent leader and a capable government and your deflections at this point were pretty good. You point out the decreasing gap (a concern for everyone not in blue) but stumble a little bit when confronted with the reality that Labour's polls aren't really falling (indeed they're still above 45% at the moment). All in all pretty decent given the circumstances

3.5/5

Question 2 - Coburg

This fed into some questions about Coburg which was the first time you really looked a little unsure of yourself. When the entire media have been ablaze with senior Labour and Lib Dem figures attacking Coburg for almost provoking a war it made you look out of touch to have no idea what Paxman was on about. Denying that the situation was as bad as it was seemed puzzling to some because (and Paxman made this point) Argentina sent fricking destroyers to the Falklands. Your non-answer on the issue of Coburg's sacking was fair enough, it wasn't your decision, but it doesn't look good for the party even if it looks alright for you

2.5/5

Question 3 - The Strategic Defence Review

Your opening gambit was nice, makes people feel all warm and fuzzy, but when things got dug down into they started to get a little bit more dicey for you. You didn't answer the question on aircraft carriers instead choosing to point out that the SDR doesn't compromise the army and then the discussion went into cuts which was a weak area for you. Your deflections away from previous cuts were obvious and a little tacky but fundamentally did their job. Your talk of strengthening them implies that they are weak now no matter how many times you try and say otherwise whilst also falling into the same trap again and again and saying that you need to be able to deploy the army at a moment's notice was... interesting. You try to pivot away to the NHS but the more you try and avoid talking about stuff the more curious people get.

2.5/5

Question 4 - The Economy and Budget

Last year's Budget was the Government on easy mode, this year could be the same, but Pax was not going to let you get away with it that easily. Your answers had a habit of tacitly criticising 16yrs of Conservative Government and these ones were the worst offenders. You also got some figures wrong, inflation is up this year just by less than predicted for example, which didn't help. The stats about Labour were pretty hurtful but your riposte on firemen was great, you were definitely better on the offence than on the defence. Your tax cuts however were paltry and trying to play them off as something miraculous was broadly laughed at by the media whilst the poorest cried into their slowly rising tax bills. Equally your lack of understanding of inflation effecting things like Stamp Duty and the Low Rate of Income Tax causes you some issues in so far as you want to be seen as a man who knows what he's talking about.

2.5/5

Overall

Not a bad showing, it was interesting to contrast the two styles on display so far and I'm sure Ward will offer something new up again. As I said in Lib Dem chat Noemie Suchet aims for the knockout punch with every swing, sometimes it works and sometimes she ends up on her face. Meanwhile Sir Harry ducks and weaves a lot which is usually pretty risk free but ends up causing a death by 1000 paper cuts in numerous cases.

Overall Rating: 11/20
Average Rating: 2.75

+1xp to Sir Harold
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#4
Calvin Ward Paxing - 02/11/2019

Question 1 - Polling and Leadership

When the interviewer describes a lead of 14pts as "low" you know you're having a good time of it, on current projections the Tories would be wiped out in both Scotland and Wales whilst being reduced to a rump of about 200 MPs which is less than ideal. Some heads were scratched when Ward began to take credit for some of the Kinnock and Smith reforms, especially when he drew allusions to the Longest Suicide Note in History which was from checks notes 1983. That being said for the most part this section was answered well, you illustrate the differences between yourself and the Tories although after Saxon's last budget people are somewhat confused when you talk about cuts and your little dig at the Lib Dems was seen by the papers who like your willingness to punch left as well as right.

3.5/5

Question 2 - The Budget

Is Labour the new party of austerity? Answers on a postcard please but Mr Ward seems to think not. You bring up the tax cuts (nice) and you point out that the deficit is very much a Tory deficit whilst throwing in a cute little Americanism to remind everyone that you're a flipping Yank when you aren't dressing up as a Labour leader on the internet. Your answer on VAAT and Thatcherism was good, suspiciously good, you have clearly upped your game from the last time you were leader and the vision you put forward for schools, hospitals, and investment is well received. Your answer on NHS spending was also good and cut through a lot of the chatter around Edwards being Thatcher in red.

4.5/5

Question 3 - Firemen

Understaffing was always going to be an issue because, frankly, the public aren't really buying what your selling. They like simple narratives, the Tories have a simple narrative, your's is more complicated and regardless of its merits that means you have to work doubly hard to sell it. This section only had two topics due to time constraints but you held yourself together about as well as can be expected. You lay the blame at the door of the Tories, people are intrigued to hear of Labour cutting regulations, and they liked you saying what you won't do (even if you didn't tell them very much of what you would do)

2.5/5

Question 4 - Defence

You commit to redoing the defence review, probably the simplest and easiest way to reject the Government's SDR and not look horrifically unpatriotic in the process. Obviously some of this stuff has since been retconned making it a little more tricky to mark but your command of the facts is decent, your aims and goals are logical, and your commitments make you seem like a good British patriot. This was a pretty easy section but you made it work and didn't fall flat on your face.

3.5/5

Overall

Overall I'd say this was the best interview of the set and the best live event you've ever done. You were cool and calm, looked positively Prime Ministerial, and I only had to use the clock emoji once to get you moving. Mr Ward seems to be knowledgeable, eloquent, and intelligent making him a popular leader (at least relative to the usual guff in politics)

Overall Rating: 14
Average Rating: 3.5

+2xp to Calvin Ward
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