It's a programme which politicos love and hate - probably in roughly equal measure. Each week, the Question Time roadshow rolls into a new town and the hot topics of the week are debated. Sometimes, the mix of guests leads to a constructive debate and some light being thrown on the subjects considered. More often than not, there is more heat than light, the balance of the debate is skewed, your point of view is not adequately represented and you end up frustrated and irritable. But yet, you find yourself drawn back again and again...
This week, the circus arrives in Bristol and your correspondent has a ticket. Having filled in the online application a week and a half ago, I got a phone call yesterday confirming some more details, asking what current issues I was interested in, my views on them, and requesting I e-mail the first of my potential questions. A card will be provided on Thursday for a second question.
I've opted to raised Equal Marriage as my first question and, after some consideration, decided on the following form of words to raise it:
"Does the panel agree with the Minister for Woman and Equality that "the Government should not stop people getting married unless there's very good reason and being gay isn't one of them"?"From my understanding of the panelists confirmed so far, three would agree with the statement and one - the Secretary for State for Defence, Philip Hammond - doesn't.
The other issue I've mentioned that I'm interested in is the Justice and Security Bill - an issue which the member of the production team I spoke to seemed unaware of. That is a) worrying and b) possibly an indication that a question on the topic may not be a flyer. This news regarding the Data Communication Bill could be fertile ground though - I'll have to see if it is in the main news by Thursday, having been charged to "monitor the news".*
The ticket advises that I should be "ready to participate" - unfortunately I don't think this will include the exasperated shouting that Question Time so often engenders. Let's hope I can behave! I'll probably be watching the show and tweeting along when I get back from the recording and will hopefully blog about my experience on Friday.
*Although giving I'm spending three hours of Thursday itself in the cinema to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I'll not be monitoring as much as I should!