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Paxman butchers Treasury minister

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18608133

    Look at that video clip, this was painful to watch, Paxman will chalk it down as one of his classic ownages.

    Bad call to put Chloe Smith, the youngest most nervous minister up there to face Paxman over the fuel duty decision over which the Tories have changed position yesterday (the right decision IMO) after suggesting for a while that it wouldn't be appropriate to delay the fuel duty rise.

    She was an easy target for Paxman as he knew that it was a decision just taken yesterday, and he had a quote from her from a few weeks ago saying "its not certain cutting fuel duty would have a positive effect on families and businesses" lined up to throw back at her.

    Also she got into a huge mess saying that they would pay for it through departmental underspends, then when Paxman asked what departments are underspending she didn't know. I think unfortunately Chloe Smith is too young and inexperienced to be a minister at this point, she's not on top of the detail and someone like Paxman is just having a LOL at her expense.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18608133

    Look at that video clip, this was painful to watch, Paxman will chalk it down as one of his classic ownages.

    Bad call to put Chloe Smith, the youngest most nervous minister up there to face Paxman over the fuel duty decision over which the Tories have changed position yesterday (the right decision IMO) after suggesting for a while that it wouldn't be appropriate to delay the fuel duty rise.

    She was an easy target for Paxman as he knew that it was a decision just taken yesterday, and he had a quote from her from a few weeks ago saying "its not certain cutting fuel duty would have a positive effect on families and businesses" lined up to throw back at her.

    Also she got into a huge mess saying that they would pay for it through departmental underspends, then when Paxman asked what departments are underspending she didn't know. I think unfortunately Chloe Smith is too young and inexperienced to be a minister at this point, she's not on top of the detail and someone like Paxman is just having a LOL at her expense.
    To be fair, lots of politicians have been battered by Paxman because he is more interested in trying to get them to look stupid than to actually get any useful information across to the viewers. It doesn't really reflect on their ability as a minister.

    The people he really can't deal with are the likes of Peter Mandelson and Boris Johnson. They refuse to take him seriously:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7mK5DwVsUU

    This one makes me laugh, it ends up with Boris being allowed a mini-election broadcast:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgThJK8xfKw
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    She probably is too young and inexperienced, but that also makes her expendable. Which is why George Osborne, her boss, sent her to Newsnight (and Channel 4 News earlier, on which she apparently received a similar level of interrogation/torture) - the Treasury doesn't know how it's going to afford this, so it might as well send an unknown novice to admit to everyone that it doesn't know. If anyone more senior in the Treasury - Danny Alexander, Osborne himself etc - had gone and inevitably been torn apart, it would have been huge. Instead we have a few 'Look, Paxman tears someone else apart' articles buried in the papers, and everyone moves on.
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    It wasn't that bad.

    She just didn't have the information available to her, this kind of situation would have happened with any minister who does not have the clear facts, especially when being grilled by the notorious Paxman.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18608133

    Look at that video clip, this was painful to watch, Paxman will chalk it down as one of his classic ownages.

    Bad call to put Chloe Smith, the youngest most nervous minister up there to face Paxman over the fuel duty decision over which the Tories have changed position yesterday (the right decision IMO) after suggesting for a while that it wouldn't be appropriate to delay the fuel duty rise.

    She was an easy target for Paxman as he knew that it was a decision just taken yesterday, and he had a quote from her from a few weeks ago saying "its not certain cutting fuel duty would have a positive effect on families and businesses" lined up to throw back at her.

    Also she got into a huge mess saying that they would pay for it through departmental underspends, then when Paxman asked what departments are underspending she didn't know. I think unfortunately Chloe Smith is too young and inexperienced to be a minister at this point, she's not on top of the detail and someone like Paxman is just having a LOL at her expense.
    The questions were illogical and irrelevant. It is a common form of questioning amongst journalists and especially Paxman to ask such things. Commonly, we are also led to believe that any indirect answer to a question (i.e. not a yes or a no or a simple, monosyllabic answer) is tantamount to lying or evasion when actually, the politicians require that level of depth to answer the question properly.

    Paxman's questions should have easily been batted away. For example:

    1. When was the date decided? This is irrelevant and bears no weight on the policy change itself. The change could have happened within the last hour or the last year but in all represents a dynamic government able to adapt to the needs of its society.

    And so on. Of course, this is only one side of the question. You could quite easily defend its validity by stating that the Conservatives have consistently implemented last minute policy changes which indicates a lack of governmental power.

    The game simply requires one to shout the loudest to win. Neither side is definitively right and both have their own agenda.
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    You can not judge her ability for her position based on this interview. Paxman is a clear example of 'Gotcha journalism', which is a pretty pathetic method of journalism. I don't really understand why people are drawn to this type. Same with most IRL debates, they're useless. OMG she got owned. Well durh. He has access to many documents and knows what questions his going to ask. Not very hard to own some one.

    A internet-style, non-time constrained debate would be more beneficial considering she can brush up on her facts and prepare a proper rebuttal.
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    (Original post by ANARCHY__)
    The questions were illogical and irrelevant. It is a common form of questioning amongst journalists and especially Paxman to ask such things. Commonly, we are also led to believe that any indirect answer to a question (i.e. not a yes or a no or a simple, monosyllabic answer) is tantamount to lying or evasion when actually, the politicians require that level of depth to answer the question properly.

    Paxman's questions should have easily been batted away. For example:

    1. When was the date decided? This is irrelevant and bears no weight on the policy change itself. The change could have happened within the last hour or the last year but in all represents a dynamic government able to adapt to the needs of its society.

    And so on. Of course, this is only one side of the question. You could quite easily defend its validity by stating that the Conservatives have consistently implemented last minute policy changes which indicates a lack of governmental power.

    The game simply requires one to shout the loudest to win. Neither side is definitively right and both have their own agenda.
    It was a legitimate line of questioning. There is an allegation that the policy change was not communicated properly to ministers. The questioning, therefore, was not just about the policy change, but of apparent disorganisation/ lack of communication within the Tory party. Ms Smith was asked about the time when she was told of the change - something which she did not want to give the answer to.
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    That wasn't actually her first appearance with Paxman. I saw her not too long ago on newsnight along with her labour opposite, and she put on a similarly novice-like performance as well, it was particularly memorable for me because I think it was mentioned in that programme that she requested not to debate with the other labour MP there beforehand, which I found a bit strange.
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    (Original post by InnerTemple)
    It was a legitimate line of questioning. There is an allegation that the policy change was not communicated properly to ministers. The questioning, therefore, was not just about the policy change, but of apparent disorganisation/ lack of communication within the Tory party. Ms Smith was asked about the time when she was told of the change - something which she did not want to give the answer to.
    I agree that questioning the policy was legitimate but I am of the opinion that the answer can be given in any number of ways. What I mean to say is what I have put in the post you quoted me in; that either answer can be perceived as the 'correct' one, given the manner in which it is broadcast. Hence, your perception of apparent disorganisation within the Cabinet is not necessarily correct (as I'm sure you'll agree). As a result, depending on the answer, the question can simply be deemed as irrelevant, despite the intentions of the interviewer. In this case, because the interviewee failed to adequately answer the question, it appeared to be an important point. Equally, if the question was answered well, the point would seem irrelevant.

    My point being the relevancy or legitimacy of any given question in this situation is subject to the quality of the response.
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    How is someone like this is in such an important position? It amazes me how someone can be so bloody inexperienced and naive, can't even answer the bloody questions without squirming away and bouncing the question back. This girl left uni, worked for a bloody accountancy firm for a tiny period of time and is now working in the treasury. Wow our system truely fills me with hope.
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    Reminds me of this tbh:



    (Original post by Hackett)
    How is someone like this is in such an important position? It amazes me how someone can be so bloody inexperienced and naive, can't even answer the bloody questions without squirming away and bouncing the question back. This girl left uni, worked for a bloody accountancy firm for a tiny period of time and is now working in the treasury. Wow our system truely fills me with hope.
    Because politics works on the basis of promoting your lapdogs whilst they're still green before they become far too cynical and/or power hungry for your own good.
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    I saw that last night, it was brutal. But hey, that's politics, and if you can't handle it then get out. I agree Geogre Osborne should have faced up to it himself, but ah well, watching any Tory MP squirm is entertaining.
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    (Original post by tehforum)
    It wasn't that bad.

    She just didn't have the information available to her, this kind of situation would have happened with any minister who does not have the clear facts, especially when being grilled by the notorious Paxman.
    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    OMG she got owned. Well durh. He has access to many documents and knows what questions his going to ask. Not very hard to own some one.

    A internet-style, non-time constrained debate would be more beneficial considering she can brush up on her facts and prepare a proper rebuttal.
    It's not really on for a minister to 'not have the facts'. She's a Minister of State which draws a £100k+ salary from the taxpayer, and this is a key policy decision. Yes Jeremy Paxman can do his research in advance - but the Economic Secretary to the Treasury should be right on top of policy in the department. The most damaging part of that interview was when Paxman asked how this policy change is going to be funded, and she claimed "from departmental underspend" and then he asked which departments were underspending and she didn't know. That says to me that they haven't actually found how to fund it, they are hoping to find underspend from somewhere, which is a totally different thing. She's a Treasury Minister so should have been involved in the decision to implement the policy, and should have been involved in deciding how it can be funded. Paxman was not nitpicking about fine detail to score points - he was asking the most fundamental question, if you announce a policy then how is it funded? She should have known the answer to that off the top of her head, never mind being briefed.

    I think what has really happened, and Paxman knew it as well, because it has been all over the political blogs and twitter, is this:

    - Originally Osborne was planning not to delay the fuel duty rise. Labour have been calling for it for ages, and Tories have been suggesting that delaying the rise wouldn't be beneficial anyway. Some tabloid newspapers have also been campaigning for the rise to be delayed.

    - Osborne made a late decision to delay it, and the decision was only taken yesterday. This caught Tory MPs on the hop, as they didn't think it was going to happen, hence quotes to journalists like "they're treating us like idiots". Paxman asking Chloe Smith when the decision was taken (which she didn't answer, why?) was about this.

    - The policy to delay this fuel duty rise is one of foregoing tax revenues in the hope that having more money in peoples pockets will encourage them to spend more, so it's a fiscal stimulus. In the short run the shortfall will be made up by borrowing. This is IMO the right decision on the fuel duty but it is not consistent with the government's overall economic strategy because they have been arguing against fiscal stimuluses. So it's a difficult one for them to sell. This is probably why Osborne or Danny Alexander didn't fancy fronting up and they sent Chloe Smith as the sacrificial lamb to get butchered and have her reputation ruined by everyone laughing on twitter.

    (Original post by Hackett)
    How is someone like this is in such an important position? It amazes me how someone can be so bloody inexperienced and naive, can't even answer the bloody questions without squirming away and bouncing the question back. This girl left uni, worked for a bloody accountancy firm for a tiny period of time and is now working in the treasury. Wow our system truely fills me with hope.
    Yes she was a completely inappropriate choice for the role. Rachel Reeves in Labour is of comparable age to Chloe Smith but she's got an MSc in Economics and worked as an economist professionally so will be on top of the issues, she could have done it no problems. Chloe Smith has basically done an English Lit degree and then had a grad job with Deloitte and now she has been shoved in as a Minister of State. I bet you Deloitte wouldn't have shoved her in as a high up partner at age 29 and let her flounder like this.
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    (Original post by lukas1051)
    I saw that last night, it was brutal. But hey, that's politics, and if you can't handle it then get out. I agree Geogre Osborne should have faced up to it himself, but ah well, watching any Tory MP squirm is entertaining.
    When did Darling or Brown go up against Paxman when they were at the Treasury, for example when Brown had to backtrack on the 10p rate?
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    I've just watched it on YouTube and it is really embarrassing. I'm sure it will be used by her constituency opponents in 2015.
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    Plenty of young politicians have had a new ******** torn by journalists. It's a rite of passage. She should've (and I think could have) done better.
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    (Original post by meenu89)
    When did Darling or Brown go up against Paxman when they were at the Treasury, for example when Brown had to backtrack on the 10p rate?
    Thats true about Brown he kept himself well away from Newsnight, but Darling put himself forwards a lot for news interviews. I thought Darling conducted himself well, he was never trying hard to guard what he said or spin it, he just gave an assessment of the situation as he saw it.
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    I'd love to see Miliband or Balls up against Paxman. Every time they speak publicly is a gift for the coalition.
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    It was pretty cowardly of Osborne not go and face Paxman himself as he is ultimately responsible for Treasury policy. Sending a weak junior minister to save his skin speaks volumes about the man.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Thats true about Brown he kept himself well away from Newsnight, but Darling put himself forwards a lot for news interviews. I thought Darling conducted himself well, he was never trying hard to guard what he said or spin it, he just gave an assessment of the situation as he saw it.
    I shouldn't have included Darling.

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