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FROM THURSDAY OCTOBER 1
The section with Constance Briscoe was some of the best political debate I have seen for many a year. The BBC should ask her and Dianne to resume the discussion during prime time.
Nick Wallen, Reading
"...I worked when I was 12, 13, 14 as a cleaner so I know and I have first hand experience of what its like to be part of the underclass..."!!! If Constance Briscoe knows what its like to be part of the underclass BECAUSE she worked as a cleaner, this implies that cleaners are part of the "underclass" and consequently a persons willingness to work has no bearing on whether they belong to the "underclass" or not.
Constance Briscoe was so accurate!! She is saying the words which everyone else is thinking. That is why Labour will lose by a landslide. Why is the UK paying unemployment or housing benefits to healthy people. There is peer pressure among young people NOT to achieve anything because they know everything is given to them for free. The rest of the world is disdainful of these wasteful policies and you can see how Sterling as been devalued as a response. Diane Abbott seems not to understand this (or too embarrassed to admit the truth )
Andrew et al, Thank you so much for making your excellent programme available outside the UK in the "This Week in chapters for international viewers" link. As a British expat, I have been disappointed as each quality BBC news programme has migrated to the inaccessible iPlayer. Yours is the first programme to show any concern for the viewer outside the UK. I am impressed at the way you have maintained a connection with the international audience, and wish that others such as Question Time and Newsnight would take a similar approach. Keep up the good work! Yours truly
Graham Allen, Penticton, BC, Canada
I am fascinated with the excellent programme and further with the source of the shirts that Michael Portillo wears. In Sheer desperation I count every button and can only assume that these overly fitting garments are hand me downs from Father. This weeks poppy coloured version took the cake unless the Hon Gent has started to wear his Winter undies. May I say for such a bright and intelligent chap that the shirt factor has now reached decision time.
Jeffrey Downes, Bampton Devon UK
This week is my favourite programme on telly. However due to the time of transmission - I sky plus the programme. Thus, I am finding it increasingly frustrating that Question Time constantly over runs meaning that I miss the last 5 minutes of your programme on a regular basis. The BBC does not seem to update the signals to Sky - can you either do that or finish Question Time on team ! From some one who thinks the programme should be on earlier and also thinks it is the funniest programme on telly!
P Gallan, Merseyside
Dear Andrew, I watch your programme religiously and I was horrified by Constance Briscoe's comments and views, especially knowing that she is not just another BUT a part-time judge. Diane Abbott's humane compassionate approach was set aside and basically bullied by Constance though Diane is one of the most assertive female MPs in our parliament.
notknown, global (edited)
Over recent years I have been a regular viewer of the programme, which I greatly enjoy. I have to say that I was a little surprised that in this week's programme there was no discussion of Andrew Marr's questioning of Gordon Brown. Was this simply for reasons of space and priority or do I detect a conspiracy! Did you deliberately avoid the issue because the BBC has been criticised over the questioning? I would have thought that the issue of what questions it is legitimate to ask senior politicians was a serious one your programme would want to address.
Roger Dowling, Milton Keynes
Always had some respect for this show however after Andrew's performances on the last two shows I feel that he really isn't up to conducting serious interviews of this nature. Particularly with Cameron he really was in danger of losing the plot.
Roger Bridgeford, Northants
Why do Diane and Michael sit so closely on the sofa? I know this is a silly question and can only imagine that it has something to do with camera angles, but Diane always looked so squashed by Michael. I watch this week - every week - and this is the first thought that always springs to mind. Never mind what's happening with the 'great leader' I want to know why they are stuck together as if they have been glued!
Thomas R Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland
Please ask Diane Abbott in the nicest possible way why she sees it fit never to wear any other colour than black. And the man sitting next to hear despite the good size of the sofa always sits sooo close. Thank You. I notice it and laugh every week i watch the show.
The item with Constance Briscoe was very good and the interaction with Portillo informed. Again Abbott was out of her depth, why do you not replace her with someone who is articulate, intelligent, and has an informed political opinion? We will be sneaking off to our beds if you continue with Abbott!
Bernard Quinn, Wilmslow
As an avid viewer of Question Time and This Week - (my blood pressure count must be sky high!!!!) Tonight, I find myself (for the first time ever) trawling the BBC website to comment on your programme - All I can say is that I thank God for the female Judge that you had on your programme - a breath of fresh air - this was real, honest and down to earth politics - it was so obvious that D.A. could not respond .... A roll of the eyes, a Tory cuddle -
Andrew's opening remarks are always apt and most entertaining. Does he write them himself? He is very fair in his interviewing. But Diane is slowly becoming a bore as she reveals how dumb MPs really are. She doesn't seem to have any real convictions about anything! Her conduct towards the barrister, Constance Briscoe was ill-informed and boorish. I'm glad Andrew quickly shut her up! I am a true crime writer, partly responsible for the quashing of a 50 yr-old murder conviction with my book, The Cameo Conspiracy, and as a political anorak would dearly love to be a guest on the show.
George Skelly, Liverpool
A terrific performance and tremendous insight from Constance Briscoe in that the politicians have done effectively zilch for the young unemployed, or the 'underclass' as the Politicians label them. Over the past years, the self seeking politicians have simply ignored the problem and passed ineffective 'pseudo legislation' or made unfulfilled promises without tackling the real issue. 12 years in power and the situation has worsened from that inherited from the previous politicians - who also did nothing about the situation. The net effect is a negative and worsening result. Constance came across as a sensible and solution seeking person, whilst the politicians performance displays them as unconcerned denialists and self seekers who care not a damn. And meanwhile the hope for answers and solutions for the youngsters is non-existant. What has the Government been doing for 12 years and more importantly, what will the next government whoever it is, actually DO in the future ? Constance should become an independent MP - she would certainly have my vote.
What on earth do you think you are doing?? Putting the known bias of the main presenter as a spotlight and not tempering it? I'm ashamed of you, honestly I am. It's conversation manipulation of the worst kind dressed up as debate! I was just watching Diane Abbott trying to say. "I don't believe in an underclass, the group doesn't exist" and there you are not letting her speak. Dressing up the presenters opinions as questions. "You have to admit" is not a question, it is a statement. It is not giving anyone their say. It's trying to get their voice to say your words. A point or two like that is ok, but you should let dissenting views make even a tiny bit of their case. Your saying politicians are not dealing with the issues then saying whenever someone tries to that they are making excuses. Or rather the guest was and you let her hypocrisy stand. Disgusting. The presenter should hold back when he knows that his own opinions are being expressed, and not just try to frame a debate so that his own opinion, his own explanation of the problem is the only one suggested. I want to see an apology to viewers in the main programme, (you can make it funnier by apologising to me or my Dad directly if you like, he positively exploded and asked me to turn it off!), and a feature on the other side, that these are not an underclass but people who have a number of different problems. If that's too hard, find an expert and ask them to pick one! Andrew'll even get to spout on your favourite topic for another week, how's that for a deal.
Josh W, Swansea, Wales
Constance Briscoe was spot on with her analysis of the way in which the welfare system produces an underclass dependent upon handouts with no incentive to get a job. Diane Abbott's discomfort was obvious, presumably because underneath it all she realises that to be true. The welfare state requires radical reform, urgently. Paying people to not work doesn't work.
Cameron Robinson, Penrith
I was listening to the rather heated debate about benefits and unemployment. I have been fortunate enough to enjoy 35 years of employment, so far, as a professional in the public sector and so it is easy to agree with your guest that fit, young people should have to work or make some contribution to society. However, I have recently met a young ex-offender, with a distressing experience of childhood, who is currently on benefits. He is desperate to find work, get his life on track, stand on his own two feet and make a positive contribution. Constance suggested it was easy to find work if you were young, fit and able. She is quite wrong! It SHOULD be easy, and even supported, but I have been astonished at just what a fight it is and none but the most tenacious have any hope of winning the battle for work and breaking the cycle of poverty and social ills. Far from the systems, policies and agencies supporting return to work they actively discourage it. The government would do ! Well to help those who want work first before they tackle those who don't! If Constance or Diane have a job for a fit, willing and able young man I know just the person. Perhaps they should listen to his story. I actually think it would make an excellent Panorama documentary.
Pam , Derbyshire
I think Diane Abbott is a very courageous woman to put up with the sort of onslaughts she constantly endures on the programme. Whether it's about benefits or sex offenders as it was this week, or many of the other subjects discussed, she is the lone voice of reason and humanity. The programme often makes me angry but I have to watch just to silently support Diane and to remind myself that some Labour MPs are still socialists. Keep up the good work Diane, if you can still bear it without clobbering the others in the studio.
Anne Magill, Abergavenny, South Wales
What a pleasure to see Ms Abbot "kippered" by Constance Briscoe. Not even Ms Abbots's usual tactic of pulling grotesque facial expressions could hide the fact that she had no argument to defend Labour's appalling record in this area. Ms Abbot's smug, self satisfied and patronising attitude is a "neon-flashing" advertisement for all that is wrong with the political class. But pity her were she to her to lose her "safe" seat at the next election - without such a cushy job, how on earth could she continue to afford those expensive school fees? Oh, the pay-off and fantastic pension: I forgot!
At last Constantine Briscoe stated the facts but Diane Abbott refused to acknowledge the truth as with all labour politicians. Michael Potillo agreed but was reluctant to agree because he didn't want to upset Diane Abbott. The hypocrite who is a Labour politician but sends her child to a private school.
Mac Bradley, Halesowen West Midlands
I'd like to distinguish between paedophillia nad underage sex. Whilst what Polanski did was terrible, I would suggest that a 16-year-old boy sleeping with that girl is fairly normal in this day and age when we have been talking about teenage pregnancies. In the middle ages it would be fairly normal for a girl her age to be getting married ; I think Shakespeare's Juliet was 14 and her mother only 28. There are different situations, don't put everything in the same box.
You said on your programme that the public think David Cameron is too young to become Prime Minister. You failed to point out that he, David Cameron, would be older than Tony Blair was when he took office after winning his first election, if Cameron won.
The English Sun may be supporting the Tories but not in Scotland. This is because the Sun just wants to back "the winners" according to some. Do you think the Scottish Sun will support the SNP who are the current Scottish winners. I some how doubt it. Who will they be supporting in Scotland? It must be a real quandry for them.
I was trying to work out why this programme works so well and have to put it down to Andrew Neil's presentation skills. He doesn't have that arrogant abrasive attitude that all the BBC politico's have. Its as if the BBC has this Paxman type school of interviewing. But actually they are playing the political game by letting them lie continuously. Please don't give politicians airtime without a realist in the room to counteract it.
Vernon Moat, Exeter
The whole political debate about the underclass has been stifled because the politicians just aren't interested in anybody else except themselves. They cannot identify with The Underclass so do not spend time thinking about it. To get rid of the underclass you would have to go back to the grass roots of social contact. Local government and community support. All the things that Labour has cut back on in its 12 years. In fact Labour have managed to create a new under underclass because they have closed down the Jobcentres in many towns so that people cannot sign on or get benefits. The new Underclass 2 are those who have been refused benefits by the DWP. That is why we have beggars in the streets nowadays. To tackle this problem local government would have to redefine terms of "work" so that people on benefit would be on a grant for art, music, charity work, socially supporting others (something constructive) etc. This would get people active and then boost their morale and make them more likely to be able to get a job.
Vernon Moat, Exeter
The intellectual gap between Diane Abbot and the judge Constantine Briscoe was breathtaking why on earth do you continue to use her as a commentator?
Glyn Davies, West Malling
Surely Diane Abbot is well past her sell by date. She was completely out of her depth tonight against the barrister woman. Can we please have someone credible, who can provide a point view?
I don't know who the lady was, but she is in the legal profession. Do yourselves (and us) a favour get rid of the Waffling Dianne Abbot and replace her with your guest, the legal eagle!
Andrew Rawnsley's self indulgent clap trap interview was an embarrassment and I would urge the BBC not to waste licence payers' money on giving boys's toys to mouths almighties like this idiot, intent on self aggrandisement over meaningful, inciteful comment. Shame on you this week for such an chavvy, cheesy waste of air time. Presumably he's related a la Snow, a a la Dimbleby a la Robinson, nepotism being such a feature of BBC political review etc etc to get away with such amateurism?
Fiona Cooper, Cambridge
Really love the show! It's forever informative, topical and entertaining. I organize my Thursday nights around this show and look forward to it every week. Keep up the good work guys!!!
I was listening to why you think people won't do certain jobs whilst immigrants will. The jobs you are talking about pay a pittance, maybe £6 an hour maximum. Last week David Hestletine reported that an AVERAGE house in London was worth £1 million. How do you expect someone to aspire to this on such a meagre wage. I suggest that immigrants come to this country to do this work because the situation in their country is far worse with no NHS or free education but they do not realise the realities of the UK cost of living. There is also a growing minority of unemployed graduates that cannot find graduate employment since so many people have gone to university. They will not accept low paid work as they need employment which will allow them to pay back their massive loans. We need a shke up of how people are paid and better distribution of wealth!!
Constance Briscoe talks more sense than any of the governing rabble. This over-dependence on state hand-outs cannot continue as the recipients in many cases don't see the need to get a job. Well done Constance and sorry. Diane- she left you gasping like a landed fish!
Peter Bowen, Strathpeffer, Ross-shire
That judge Constance; she really does understand the problems of the underclass in our country. Moreover the possible route to a resolution of those problems. Diane Abbott is a joker compared to Constance. Trying, like the Tories did before, to plaster over the real problems of the underclass - which effect us all: An enormous unecessary benefits bill and resultant crime. Please tell Constance from me - as a Westminster resident - stand for Parliament please. We need more of you Mamm, less of the old 'lot' in Parliament.
Andrew M Mynott, Fitzrovia, London
What a breath of fresh air Constance Briscoe was. She completely cut through the excuses and failed policies of the past 20 plus years. Diane Abbott was left sailing in her wake with her pathetic defence of the poor underclass. I'm not right-wing but it was inspiring to hear somebody operating so far above our politicians with a true grasp of everyday issues. We've become used to the fact that our leaders have no commercial experience and need higher calibre people with hands on experience.....this women was the social equivalent of a person who truly understood the problem!
Terry Webster, Shropshire
I am astonished that an item on the programme tonight headlined as being about the death of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter turned out to be entirely a hopelessly generalised and confusing discussion about "the underclass". That tragic death was an example of the effects of hate crime directed towards people with disabilities. Why on earth do you insult disabled people further by not even discussing what it was obviously all about?
Oliver Williams, Hackney, London
Just wondering if Michael Portillo enjoyed his recent trip to Taormina, Sicily? I was eating in a restaurant there one evening and to my surprise in wandered Michael (and friend)...clearly the BBC is paying him far too much money if he can afford to dine in the same restaurants as me!!! Great show by the way...keep up the good work!
Edward Smith, Stratford Upon Avon
Well done Judge Constance Briscoe! wish you'd had more time to put Diane Abbott in her place. Ms Abbott's supercilious grin was most unbecoming...Judge Briscoe was quite right - politicians have no idea what the real world is like.
Alison Smith, Oldham, Greater Manchester
Please tell Ms Briscoe (I hope I've got her name right!) that her summary of the social problems facing the underclass was the most useful and concise summary I've heard in a very long time. She's talking a lot, A LOT, of sense. Has she had the opportunity to address the appropriate select committee? If not, she should.
Russell Vincent, Rickmansworth, Herts
When talking about anti-social behaviour - you are all missing the major point. I work for the Tote on the Racecources and this gives me a very good view on modern society. In modern middle age man in the working, and even lower-middle social classes there is an air of aggresion. This I believe has come from the period 30-odd years ago when the Liberals started forebading teachers and police to assert their authority. These aggressive people are the parents (and role models) of the teenagers - and younger kids - of today.
David Prangley, Egham, Surrey
I've watched the analysts, liberal hand-wringers and right wing reactionaries address and fail to deal with the problems of anti-social behaviour for decades. And they have never grasped the root of the problem. Which is that young men have no reference to well-balanced dominant males as they are growing up. The solution is to convene, in each community, groups of such adult males (assuming they can be found) and give them licence to discipline the so-called feral youths. This means using force - initially giving them a hard slap and dispersing them. Then, when they persist, beating the living daylights out of them. Nothing else will do it. You have to establish a pecking order.
T Griffiths, Cheltenham
Why is there not a direct contact to the live show, or is it recorded?
Jim Mason, Sale, Cheshire
THIS WEEK replies: The show is live and goes out in most areas around 11.35pm, but is sometimes played out later in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, typically going out unedited about 30-45 minutes later. Our sister show the Daily Politics is also live and does encourage feedback from viewers and sometimes reads these out on air. It also has a web page showing comments received.
Evening Andrew, keep the top show up! Tesco now sell small 187ml bottles of Blue Nun! My brother James and I are just about to open two! Keep up the amazing show Andrew.
Ross Mead, Medway- Kent
I enjoy your programme but I am often disappointed with your lightweight guests. I think the Diane/Michael duo may be past its sell by date. It would be nice to see a genuine labour and conservative duo who are committed to their respective parties but open-minded enough to be a little critical of them occasionally. To be fair Diane sometimes does hold her party to account but Michael often comes across as more of a Labour supporter than a former Conservative minister. Perhaps you could add a Nerdy to Itchy and Scratchy and put Charles Kennedy in the line-up - he can be very entertaining and bipartisan. Having read extracts from many of the Labour conference speeches a question I would like to be asked on one of the many programmes you are hosting at the moment is: Do you think the Labour strategy of making personal attacks on the Conservatives - Harman, Milliband, Mandelson et al - actually resonates with the voting public or does it perhaps make Labour appear petty and desperate?
Heather Buckle, East Grinstead, West Sussex, UK
Ode to hard labour....
We had sarah urging us to love hubbie gordon brown we had mandelson and his "chumps" gadding about town..
we had gordon storming off sky news live tv labour lost it wish that day gordons face i could see....
david millibannd called dave a schoolkid that snots fair...
we had capt ainsworth mannering and his weird hair...
union leaders tore up the sun in fake anger and ire....
where were they on bonfire night on the funeral pyre....
ed balls and his very autheritarian regime....
made ed millibands hair curl to resemble the queen....
andrew neil stood firm and fair and interviewed them all
why is it that gordons makes us feel so small!!????
Andy Green, Clevedon, Somerset
Having watched your discussion on the underclass I found myself wondering how you could have found such ignorant people to discuss the issue. The idea that immigrants are doing work that the feckless underclass are too lazy to do is simply nonsense. If you go to any benefits office you will see as many 'hard working - do any kind of work' immigrants signing on and claiming housing benefits as anyone else. The simple fact is that employment is not the issue - first generation, second generation or otherwise - since the employed are as anti-social as the unemployed, though for some reason the political discourse - and your ignorant guests - appear not to have noticed this. The real issue is not economic it is social. The simple fact is that people act anti-socially because they can. And the reason they can is because the authorities hide behind bogus statistics, targets and initiatives, which do little more than serve as the plot for a remake of Gogol's The Government Inspector. Whilst back the real world everyone knows that if anything happens the best course is to say nothing, challenge no one, and if you are very lucky move to somewhere better. If you do decide to do something it means that you will spend months filling out anti-social report diaries - and if you are lucky, some official will decide that you are suffering the 'required' kind of abuse and something may or may not be done. That is assuming that you don't choose the simple - anti social - option of getting a big dog. Housing policy plays a large role in this problem too. Because the only way to get social housing is to have a defined 'problem'. Therefore estates - no matter how badly designed - that could have fulfilled their original purpose of having decent homes for decent people, quickly become sink estates. If politicians - and journalists - want to deal with the issues they need deal with their collective failure, instead of talking nonsense about benefit dependency - oh the irony of Michael Portillo, or the barrister, complaining about benefit dependency
Connie Briscoe was a breath of fresh air last night. She made Diane look like an amateur-she would have been totally destroyed had Andrew not controlled the discussion very skilfully. Bring Connie on again and set her on Diane the result would be rivetting television
Andrew Mason, Burton on Trent, Staffs
Why did the programme not follow the debate from the lady guest who spoke about all the right points. Not politics but as it is. Andrew just moves to humour and the next point. In fact what as been said is all the basic problems. Get her back and listen.
Harvey Hardman, UK
FROM THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 24
This Week (TW) should be re-named as Total Waste. Why?
1) Diane Abbott's fees, paid by BBC, to 'appear/so-called presenter'are too high. (they work for you.com)This MP treats This Week appearances with minimum respect to audience and guests. It appears, for many years, Diane has enjoyed a status on TW she has not risen to?
2) Michael Portillo is a natural gentleman who obviously protects Diane.
3) Andrew, as the 'real presenter' has nowhere to go. Andrew Neil and his production team will, be happy to delete the above comments?
I watched your Daily Politics interview with Kevin Maguire and Trevor Kavanaugh with great interest. Would it be a good idea to feature each of their newspapers headlines on the Brown speech on This Week, to illustrate the totally different take on the same event by two newspapers with totally different political convictions, and also as a neat way to introduce a discussion on the extent to which newspapers influence how their readers vote in general elections?
John Russell, Reading
OMG...thought I was going to vomit when Sarah declared her undying love for the great leader. Desperate times, desperate measures. All this gushy, sentimental sloppy stuff.YUCK.
Debbie, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, South Wales.
What a disappointing start to the political scene. Speech Debelle should be renamed "Mutter" Debelle, and nothing made sense. And there was not enough Michael and Diane, - and the final supposedly populist item has become a bore. Keep it political, please, with Quentin Letts etc. That is what makes the programme.
Kit Morton, Solihull
When is the BBC going to refresh the panel by replacing Diane Abbott. It's a disgrace that the BBC continue to waste licence fee payers' cash on people like her. Her contribution is so predictable and utterly useless. She is only interested in one thing...Diane Abbott.
Gordon Hutchison, Kirkcaldy
RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN TW?!! There are more than twice as many Asian Britons as African or Caribbean Britons in the UK. Yet the Af or Carib TW guests are at least twice as numerous as Asians - this balance is skewed even more when one takes into account Ms Abbott. WHY?! Asians are just as prominent as A/C in all walks of UK life except say football and music - hardly prime subjects of TW. THANK YOU - A long term viewer of TW
Paul Sanderson, Sheffield
I love the programme but recently have felt it has been dumbed down by all the pop stars appearing who don't seem to be able to justify their view point very well. This of course detracts from the quality of the discussion. The quality of the discussion on the economic situation has also been very poor - as I believe that politicians have had a large hand in the making of the situation and are being looked upon along with the Bank of England (a private bank - whose interests are not the same as the general public's) to get us out of this mess. Which is a big mistake as none of the politicians really seems to understand economics. If they could they would have been able to balance the spending deficit. Could you please look to get some decent guests who know what the are talking about with regards to the long term effects on the economy and put the politicians to test. Why not have Jim Rogers, Marc Faber or Peter Schiff. They can all be found on You Tube speaking very articulately and factually about how politicians should stay out of the markets and not make it worse. I heard Michael Portillo speak about Jim Rogers once so at least he knows who he is! Peter Schiff is running for US senate to try and change economic attitudes in Washington. I am a frustrated viewer who wants politicians to be held to account for what will ultimately devalue our currency and impoverish our country. The major flaw of the political system is that everyone is elected on their ability to promise more. No-one is every elected on their ability to reign in a bubble. This leads to collapse and then the problem is addressed once the horse has bolted so to speak. The cycle then repeats.
Douglas Forrest, Aberdeen (edited)
Dear Andrew Neil, Great to see the programme back, however, I feel I must write to express how let down I feel after your failure to turn up as expected (by me!!!) this summer. It was August Bank Holiday and my family and I headed off for the Greenbelt Arts Festival at the Cheltenham Race Course. Imagine my delight when I discovered that, for the first time, there would be a Blue Nun wine bar...er...tent. 'Obviously,' I thought, 'this is the work of the nice Mr Neil' (I say nice even though he is often mean to the lovely Diane Abbott and gentlemanly Michael Portillo). I assumed Mr Neil understood my longing for hot political debate and....well....gossip while the programme was in recess. So I turned up at the said venue and waited, and waited, and waited. But, no Mr Neil and, in the end, the Blue Nun got warm and that's no good at all. I left the festival downcast and sad-hearted. To deal with all this emotional upheaval I am, at the moment, putting 'disappointment', 'being let down' and 'unreliable TV presenters' under the spotlight. Phill (the let down!!!!!)
Phill Evans, Newbridge, S. Wales
I have to say that having This Week back on screen is absolutely fantastic! Great show, I've been waiting all summer for its return- Thursday evenings just aren't the same without it. Thanks. PS: Any chance of a Daily Politics mug? I know it's incredibly cheeky but I couldn't resist asking!
THIS WEEK REPLIES: There is ONLY one way of getting a Daily Politics mug - enter the contest on Wednesday's extended show! The video is often on the DP web site a few hours before the show giving you an extra chance to watch the video and research your entry.
I love the show. But this season, please can you not go down the route of having C-list celebrities on who can barely construct a coherent sentence. Thursday night with Debelle was excruciating. Michael and Diane are so good and so knowledgeable and so interesting, that you do not need anyone else. When even a show like yours feels the need to have "celebrities" on, then I really do think that intelligent, intellectual TV is dead. Regards
Karim Fatih, London
Welcome back after your holidays. Why did I have to listen to the opinions of some second-rate pop singer, surely you can find someone better and more relevant to the youth/politicians problem? Your two permanent guests give me some of the best television political moments in any week but please ask Di to stop trying to defend Gordon Brown who has to be amongst the worst Prime Ministers I have had to put up with in over 60 years (I can send a list of his failures on a toilet roll). I had even less time for Blair but I have to applaud his sense of timing
Brian Wylie, Bicester
After throwing my slippers at the tv screen during Question time,I went to bed after 10 minutes of This Week utterly defeated.
Now that Mr John Smeaton has announced he will standing parliament I would suggest that you try to get him onto your programme for next Thursday.
Great stuff as ever, nice to see Diane placed in a difficult position, a fine politician avoiding a question whilst trying not to harm her friend, Baroness Scotland's untenable position. Plus its nice to see the youth keen for change, like every generation, but no real ideals of what to do, just not what to do, the wheel turns, the Seasons change and the dance keeps rolling on.
Simon Westgarth, Ashburton, Devon, UK
On last night's programme in the 33rd minute, Diane Abbott was talking about the serious step for Brown to take now would be savage cuts when Andrew Neil started to ask "What about the rumours... ". Unfortunately, he didn't manage to complete the question and it got lost in the subsequent discussion. What rumours was he referring to?
Richard Durkan, London
I am dismayed that Diane Abbott last night did not want to answer Andrew Neil#s question about Baroness Scotland. Well as a licence payer I am paying Abbott to appear on that programme so I expect her to answer the questions or to put it another way fulfil her contract with the BBC , if she does not want to do this then she has broken that contract and should be dismissed as I and others in this country would be for not doing the job we were paid to do .
John Gittos, Leeds
What an unfortunate start to the new season of the programme. The pop singer's contribution was of absolutely no relevance or interest. Her input to the discussion subject was nil. If you are trying to attract the younger viewers, you are on the wrong track. They unfortunately do not nor ever will watch political satire programmes at midnight. To end with Mr. Geller, who is equally uninteresting, made me switch of after the singer. The positive point in this all was that I got an earlier night. I hope the coming programmes are better, otherwise you have lost an ardent viewer.
S. Berger, London
Diane Abbott's refusal to comment on the Baroness Scotland incident surely infringes on her right to be on the programme. Does she not get paid to state her views ? Most unsatisfactory !
James Strachan, Oban, Scotland
Loyal follower of the programme and I think Andrew Neil is the best political commentator bar none but I do think its time to pension off Diane Abbott and Michael Portillo. They have become complacent and Mr Neil is having to work overtime to keep the show going. Diane's fatuous comments have always been tedious but the final straw was her silence about Lady Scotland, surely the whole point of her taking my licence shilling is to have an opinion, even about "friends". Lady Scotland represents all that is wrong with the government and how they regard the people of this country with utter contempt, and the question deserved a serious answer from Diane. Keep up the good work Andrew but get some new mates.
Andy, Bristol UK
I have just tried to watch the show from Italy, but discovered it is now impossible (and yes, I have read what you say about clips, but where is the beginning of the show?). I must say I am very disappointed as I am a TV licence payer, albeit at the moment abroad. I am sure something could be done about it, after all I cannot believe there are copyright problems as This Week is produced by the BBC and does not have externally produced content (or does it?).
Andrea Re, Falkirk, Scotland/Rome Italy
THIS WEEK REPLIES: We do have a link on our index (under the top video) linking to THIS WEEK in chapters, aimed at our international audience and nearly all of the show is there. There are copyright reasons which limit some sport, archive and music clips restricting what we can put on the web for both UK and international viewers even if it was in the show. As for the iPlayer, there are cost and copyright reasons for not offering this internationally, which are beyond our control.
Uri Geller on cheating? How appropriate. Nice of This Week to remind us that professional mendacity extends beyond MPs and newspaper editors.
Benjamin Lovering, Southsea, Hants
To say the show lacked astute insight would be putting it mildly. Poor quality guests and the three main hosts going through the motions. If this is the best we can expect, then for everyone's sake, just take your money, stay at home; and let the air waves be filled with something else.
Dr John Doyle, London
Diane made her story of the summer the "jumping ship" of one of Gordon Brown's most trusted advisers, Shriti Vadera. She said it showed that even people who owed their entire political career to him had had a dawning revelation and were getting their mitts on whatever jobs they could find away from Labour, with further implications about Shriti seeking personal gain from the financial crisis. One other thing: Where the hell do you get your guest stars from? I mean come on. You have improved a little from your nadir (I'm thinking Alex from The Apprentice, but I perhaps blotted others from my memory) but it's still pretty appalling. Sometimes I wonder whether it is an in-joke amongst the producers. If it is, please tell me so I don't get a little p'd off when watching!
Adrian, Chester (edited)
It is strange that Michael Portillo should criticise the celebrity culture on This Week, when the programme is infected by "celebrities". If I wanted to hear vacuous comments from celebrities I would watch Studio Five on Channel 5. I tune into This Week to hear interesting and well informed opinions, which Michael and Diane seem perfectly capable of providing. Unfortunately, the producers seem to think it is necessary to inflict "celebrities" on us. Still, I learnt from Speech Debelle that "politicians are in power and people look up to them". Fascinating insight! Much more of this and I will need to resort to the Blue Nun that Andrew Neil is fond of mentioning. I switched off before Uri Geller. Either have guests on the programme that have something interesting to say or give more time to your regulars.
Karl Lewis, Sheffield
Diane Abbott is a disgrace. The quintessence of joviality when asked to carp at the Conservatives, disgracefully aggressive and patronising with the Liberal Democrats and silent and affronted when asked to comment on anything directly or indirectly affecting her. She treated Chris Huhne like a bad mother treats her unfortunate child and refusing to comment on Baroness Scotland's predicament was a dereliction of duty. Do I not pay for her to offer an opinion? I am not party political so my anger stems not from political slights but more that she compromises the unique selling point of this show: it's objectivity. If she cannot fulfil that remit, she should be replaced.
Stephen Goldsack, london
Was it some kind of joke then? Having Uri Geller on talking about cheating. Is he still claiming to have some kind of magical power to bend spoons and stop clocks just with the power of his mind... couldn't make this up if I tried. lol
I am currently 'a-political' but having watched the ludicrous comments of your 'millionaire panel' including you Mr. Neil, I cannot believe you cannot give the Lib Dems some credibility. Media nonsense at it's best!! Enjoy your 'Blue Nun!!' The Silent Majority
Robert Phillip, Sutton Coldfield
I really hope you haven't paid public money to get Uri Geller on the show to talk on cheating. I'm kind of disappointed as I relied on This Week for honest political commentary. Surely you are just rewarding him for his own huge bending of the truth which are now exposed. I don't mind magicians, but I do mind people who claim supernatural powers.
Nathan Gardiner, Yeovil
I am amazed at the comments, or dare i say lack of by Speech de blah blah blah-as that is about as much sense as this inadequate human makes on this week (bbc 1130pm 24sep09) if ever an example of where Britain has gone wrong today were needed, this is a totally blatant example of an uneducated biased person who has no place nor education- commenting on the countries laws and ethics when she has a huge problem forming a comprehensible sentence together let alone making a reasonable argument. BBC, get a grip and ask the opinion of a worthy source - not an alleged award winner.
Geraldine Jones, Lancashire
Why do you have Diane Abbott on this programme. I'm a Labour voter, she doesn't represent the party in the slightest. She's like an immature schoolgirl with her views. She is an embarrassment to what is a good satirical semi-serious political programme. She has no valuable word to say. Her opinions mean nothing. I think Michael Portillo and dare I say it Andrew Neil are losing their integrity as Abbot continues to be on this show.
J Gunn, Kingston
After a hard week at work for an honest pay rate I find it frustrating to watch what should be an intellectual, factual programme and have to listen to somebody so uneloquent and mealy-mouthed as Dianne Abbott. Can you not find somebody with more conviction and passion? She doesn't have a clue.
Kathryn Leonard, Manchester
Can I please please ask why you have chosen to ask Speech Debelle to represent 'young people' on tonight's show. As a young person, I have never been so embarrassed to witness someone who has such an obvious lack of understanding of politics to apparently dictate to the nation her strategy for political realignment of trust - which would appear to involve their apologising. Unfortunately Speech failed to clarify exactly how politicians were responsible, and indeed for what, but thank you regardless. Importantly, Speech appeared to suggest that young people needed to come together and form a nation of honest people - a noble cause - but dubiously possible if the first step involves downloading less music. Might I suggest the obvious, that this young lady has no idea what she is speaking of, and perhaps should go home. The only entertaining part of this section was Diane using the wrong name for Speech, and Michael trying desperately not to laugh. Try harder next time BBC.
How come we can understand President Obama but we cannot understand Dianne Abbott when she is speaking! I have e-mailed before about this, but now the new series has started (which I enjoy). Please give Diane Abbott some lessons on the art of speech and stop what sounds like gobbdleduck!!! If you don't believe me, switch on your telly and just try and listen to her, almost impossible! I am not hard of hearing or a stupid pensioner but it does my head in trying to understand her.
Christine Hogann, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Why on earth would This Week force the Great British public to endure this evenings witless, clueless guest who not only couldn't & doesn't understand what is being said but has nothing to add? What a waste of space she is....I can't even remember her name....what a pointless individual!
Andrew Graham Naylor, Halifax
Your attempt to be hip by bringing Speech Debelle on the programme has fallen flat on its face. The Mercury nominees are quite formularized, and her album was nowhere near the best album in its genre, never mind the album of the year. The Mercury honours the best album roughly 3 in 4 years, and gives a token award every few years. I feel sorry for Speech as she will now suffer the backlash of an undeserved winner as did M People. Its unfortunate, but if the BBC continues to drag Speech onto random programmes, it will suffer reflected ignominy
Pleased to see a new season back. However, not very happy with the 1st guest. Normally the 1st guest is an expert on a big topic of the week were some proper discussion and insight can be given. This person had no clue or authority on the subject, seemed lost and contradicted herself many times. Please leave these types of guests to the "spotlight" section and have proper coherent discussion on the weeks big subjects at the start. Thank you.
Andrew Neil is not a comedian - when the programme first started it was serious/light hearted in a very grown-up way - andrew Neil tries to read the script and be comical he is not. Please please go back to being a journalist he is cringing with this unfunny dialogue.
Susan Youdim, Bournemouth
Glad to see the trio back - but not a good start, I fear, for if Speech Whatsername is supposed to be representative of 'young British talent', may whatever gods we worship preserve us from the untalented.
Niall McKillop, Fort William
I have now exhausted Jobseekers' Allowance and I have worked for 25 years not claiming a penny from the state. The immigrants keep coming and get benefits from the UK government what about the UK "British" people who have paid into the system and should get something back not others. Get the Labour out, in fact get all of you MPs out and stop taking our money i.e. the expenses affair! Live on what I get now, nothing and see how far you get.
Sandra, Washington, Tyne and Wear
Giving masses amount of money to the banks is like giving a case of scotch to an alcoholic and then say share it out, it ain't going to happen.
Dear Andrew Neil: why have you never asked the political heavyweights where has the money gone? The US and UK seem to have suffered the brunt of this loss, can you not see that Lehman Bros backed by an organisation with unlimited funds ran a pyramid scam on the west. That is why they were allowed to go to the wall. The US knew this. Quantative easing is only to supply the US and UK with money to allow trade to function, someone out there has all our money but if it turns out to be an Asian country then world war 3 is on! That is why no one will ask "where's our money gone? Lehman Bros boss had a top floor out of bounds to staff, Madoff had the same, no communication Lehmans boss had a personal lift and came to work unseen by staff. Wake up Andrew, or have you been gagged in case you start world war 3?
Request: A feature with General Sir Richard Dannatt, now he has retired, speaking on relations between the Government and Army Chiefs and strategy in Afghanistan, would be a can't miss item (no humour intended)
Colin Chamberlain, London N1
Thank God I signed up to your email newsletter a while back - the news that you're returning to my screens this evening has made my day. To celebrate, I re-watched that classic clip of Diane making slurping noises in the house of commons! I'll be watching with a Blue Nun in hand, good to have you three back I've missed you all! P.S Is there such a things as a 'This Week' mug? I would treasure it forever!!!
Rob Harris, Woking
THIS WEEK REPLIES: We don't have This Week mugs, but there must a a joke in there about presenters!
It's good to see that you'll be back tonight. My TV schedule is complete once again! The 'Blue Nun' is being chilled in the fridge in preparation for the return of Andrew, Itchy and Scratchy!
Stuart Tunstead, Plymouth, Devon, UK