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‘Any Questions’ Comes to Bridgwater
Any Questions? Came to Bridgwater on Friday 2nd February and landed at the Arts Centre . Bridgwater Town Councillor Irena Hubble (Fairfax West) the Town’s Portfolio Holder for Arts, Culture and Heritage, was there to report back for us.
I was alittle intrigued to find that during my ‘lite bite’ at the Green Olive restaurant before the show I was treated to pre-show banter between panelists Robert Buckland Tory MP for Swindon, Christine Jardine Scottish Liberal Democrat, Ann Widdecombe, spokesperson on Immigration for the Reform Party, and Thangam Debbonaire for Labour. They were very complimentary about the food. It was good to wish Thangam Debbonaire luck while she enjoined local activists to get involved with the Kingswood by-election on 15 th February.
Meanwhile the Arts Centre was filling up to capacity. The warm -up guy was intrigued by the audience and asked how many were regulars to the venue and hands shot up enthusiastically. Alex Forsyth gave a fulsome introduction to the venue including the fact it opened in 1946 ( 2 years before the panel show itself started !) and was funded by the Arts Council. An interesting point for the shadow Art and Culture secretary to savour.
There were 7 questions in all and all were very topical- from the Brexit trade agreement in Northern Ireland, to the funding of Social Care by councils in crisis such as Somerset. The Tory did not get an easy ride on any of it and he was taken to task by Christine Jardine on the ‘best of all possible’ worlds for Northern Ireland. If they could have it, why not the rest of the country?
He was also met with silence and then booing when he thanked families who were taking on the social care burden of looking after their relatives themselves , without help from the state!
Thangam’s interventions on Labour plans for social care were very warmly received. Ann Widdecombe ensured her comments were heard though there was little appetite for her points of view amongst the audience.
if you were not able to attend, listen to the programme via BBC sounds or iplayer here
All in all, an excellent evening of debate Thanks to the Arts Centre coordinator, Dave Edney, for arranging it and to the able volunteers who helped run the event smoothly.