Watching Question Time I'm irritated by the way in which shorthand is used for political issues that distorts what they are really about.
Two examples on tonight's programme:
- Panelists implying that Caroline Flint wants council tenants evicted if they are unemployed. Actually what she said was that part of the deal if you are given a council property is that you should have to seek work - which is contentious but not as draconian as it has been suggested. Is there anyone who really thinks that if you are able to work, there should be an option of not seeking work? My problem with her proposal is not the forcing of people to seek work, it's the targeting based on housing tenure - the potentially workshy are not confined to council estates, they also rent privately (through HB) or live in owner-occupied homes courtesy of parents and partners, or their own homes purchased before they stopped working.
- Panelists implying that the 4 Euro referendum rebels (Hoey, Field, Stuart and whoever the other one is) are being threatened by the Chief Whip because they want a referendum on the EU treaty. They are not. They are being carpeted because the campaign they are backing is specifically putting electoral pressure on Labour MPs in marginal seats - and a fairly basic rule of membership of the PLP is that you don't try to reduce the chances of other members of it getting re-elected.