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Page last updated at 08:19 GMT, Sunday, 11 September 2005 09:19 UK

West

Paul Barltrop
Paul Barltrop
Politics Show West

The Second Severn Crossing
Severn bridge

The West of England may not be far from Westminster, but its politics is quite distinct.

The West is a region where support is evenly divided between the three main parties - so government policies are scrutinised carefully and critically.

And that is what the Politics Show in the West aims to do: road test the ministerial edicts emitting from Whitehall.

It is a two-way process. We examine how legislation will affect the way real people live and work; we look at the issues that are rousing passions, analyse their effects, debate their merits.

However we also convey back to politicians the concerns of ordinary folk, not only about current changes but also about matters that haven't yet made it onto the political radar.

We have extensively debated the ban on hunting. In a region with strong anti-war feeling as well as a large military presence, Iraq has been a divisive issue.

Environmental issues feature large in an area known for its natural beauty, but also economic prosperity.

... And we follow the ebb and flow of local politics, so that you can see which way the electoral tide is moving before the votes are counted.

David Garmston
David Garmston
David Garmston

David Garmston has appeared on 'Points West' for a number of years. He brings 20 years of broadcasting experience to The Politics Show.

David, who was born in Bristol, is a familiar face in the west country. He made his first tentative steps into journalism when the editor of a newspaper in Cheltenham spotted him and offered him a traineeship.

He was sent away to Kent to learn the business on a small weekly newspaper and three years later he qualified coming top in the country in the final exams.

From there it was to shades of Eddie Shoestring, with a job at Bristol's Radio West, before he finally got the call from the BBC.

"They offered me 12 days' work on Points West, so I took it. After that I just kept turning up until I became a bit of a fixture and nobody liked to tell me to leave!"

Within six months David was the programme's assistant editor, the youngest in the country at the time. But he hankered after an on screen job and switched to being a reporter and later a presenter.

Political expertise

"I have followed local politics for a long time and I am looking forward to having some great debates on the programme. We are brimming with fresh ideas for the show and I am really look forward to bringing politics to the people.

"The style is going to be informal and friendly but we are going to be looking at some really important issues and asking some hard questions to the powers that be. And we are going to make sure that viewers have their say too."

Besides Politics

A huge fan of the West, David is delighted that his career has enabled him to live and work in the part of the country that he loves.

He broadcasts on Points West in addition to the Politics Show.

The Politics Show on Sundays at Midday on BBC One.

Politics Show West wants to hear from you.

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