George Galloway was interviewed recently on the Daily Politics show (BBC) after his weekend surprise appearance on stage for the “Leave the EU” campaign. Galloway provides an interesting example of how politicians can often try and control the floor and line of questioning in interviews, a well-known equivocation technique.

The interviewer (Jo Coburn) started out by asking about his “unveiling” (at the weekend) and suggested it wasn’t “quite the triumph” he had expected. Galloway took issue with this line of questioning and suggested he had been “misled”. This led into a negotiation between the interviewer (IN) and Galloway (GG) for the floor.

IN: .. erm George Galloway (.) it seems your unveiling
    wasn’t quite the triumph
    that grass[roots out would have hoped
GG:           [well er not for the (.) first time
    you’ve misled me (.) er by asking me
    to come in and talk about the referendum (.)
    but instead wanting to talk about (.) me
IN: I’m sure [we haven’t misled=
GG:          [if you (.) if you had
IN: =well hang on hang on hang on
    [I’m sure we haven’t misled you
GG: [no no no I won’t hang on (.)
    no I won’t hang on
IN: we [haven’t
GG:    [if you had told me (.)
    [that I was coming in
IN: [what you wouldn’t have come on
GG: that I was coming in to discuss ME ..

The overlaps indicate attempts by both interlocutors to control the floor.

The negotiation continued as the interviewer pressed her question while Galloway insisted he wanted to talk about the referendum. Galloway then attacked the questioner by saying “you’re not fit to be my judge”.

IN: but this is going on
    [to the issue=
GG: [of people
IN: =as you say of the referendum
    [because it’s (how powerful)
GG: [well let’s talk about
    the referen[dum shall we
IN:            [all right
    but just- (.)
    let’s- [just befo- well yes=
GG:        [let’s talk about
    the referendum
IN: =but I want you [to answer this=
GG:                 [shall we?
IN: =you want to defend (.)
    y’know what you  are doing here
GG:                 [I don’t want
    to defend me at all
    you’re not my judge
    you’re not fit to be my (.) judge
IN: well thank you very much

External link to Daily Politics (starts 31:30)

Bull (2003) outlined a taxonomy of equivocation techniques. Galloway used the following:

  • Attack the question
  • Attack the interviewer

 

Watch the episode

Daily Politics – 22/02/2016

 

References

Bull, P. (2003) The Microanalysis of Political Communication: Claptrap and ambiguity. Routledge: London.

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