Peter Clawson’s column: ‘Praise where it is due for Nick Boles on BBC’s Question Time’

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.
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What a breath-taking blast of fresh air Grantham MP Nick Boles’ appearance on the first BBC Question Time of 2016 proved to be!

Not only did he put up a robust defence of the indefensible regarding the Government’s actions in the junior doctors dispute and other current policies, in my opinion.

But more importantly, he did so without launching unjust attacks on Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, unlike some of the other panellists.

Our Nick boldly tried to stick to policy matters rather than personalities and I applaud him for that. Not even a sign of character assassination of Tony Blair, Nigel Farage or Nicola Sturgeon either.

No outrageous continuing criticism of Labour for the last recession, although blaming international mistakes for the forthcoming crash.

Yet he did manage to convey what I would term sincere but misplaced loyalty to David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt on matters like the NHS and Europe; even some rare honesty for a Tory on his view of the promised in-or-out referendum on EU membership.

There’s a lot he doesn’t like about Europe, says Nick, but if the prime minister gets the right deal he would be prepared to vote to stay in.

Which is what most undecided members of our community would say, is it not?

All of this doesn’t mean that I have done a U-turn and become a Conservative, but, unlike most current politicians, I do believe in praise where it is due.

I know Nick doesn’t particularly like Question Time to say the least, because he told me so. But maybe if some of his less switched-on colleagues adopted similar tactics when appearing on television, instead of simply playing politics, they might have more chance of getting us to believe, if not support, them.