Claire Perry, Conservative MP, seemed to enjoy asking questions on the Daily Politics today, so much so that Andrew Neil feared she was angling for his job.
Interviewees asking questions on TV shows is known as ‘role reversal’ and is one form of equivocation that politicians will use to try set the floor and avoid answering questions. Interviewers, however, are often alert to this and like to remind their guests of the roles they have while refusing to answer the question.
Perry (CP) was asked a question by the interviewer Andrew Neil (IN) in lines 01-06 but decided to reverse roles and ask a question herself in lines 07-08. Neil in lines 09-10 reminds Perry of her role as interviewee and that she doesn’t ask the question but he does. Perry persists with her attempt to reverse roles in lines 11-13. Neil interrupts and regains the floor but Perry again insist on setting her own question from line 17 onward.
01 IN: can you name any time 02 in the past seventy years 03 when spending on the NHS 04 has gone up 05 by less than 06 one point four [percent 07 CP: [can can you name any time 08 [in the last seventy years 09 IN: [no no no you do- you don’t ask the questions 10 [I ask the questions 11 CP: [ca ca can you 12 well let me ask you 13 [a question Andrew 14 IN: [can you tell us when NHS spending 15 has risen by less 16 than it has under your government 17 CP: has NHS spending ever been enough 18 so have we ever heard a year 19 in the last seventy years 20 when the NHS has said 21 we’ve got enough money for the department
Interviewing the Interviewees
Late on, Perry does quite well at trying to interview one of the other guests on the programme, Richard Burgon (RB), the shadow Secretary of State for Justice. Burgon mentions the ‘Conservative hospital closure programme’ and Perry steps in lines 27 and 36 to ask him about this without waiting for the interviewer, Andrew Neil. Neil then senses that Perry is angling for his joke and joking asks her about this in line 43 onward.
22 RB: well what I would say 23 we were also going to halt 24 the Conservative’s hospital 25 er closure er programme 26 but 27 CP: w- which hospital closure 28 there isn’t a hospital closure programme Richard 29 IN: well that was included 30 [in ( the two percent) 31 RB: [there is a hospital closure programme 32 and (.) constituents across the country know that 33 [in in terms 34 CP: [it was- there was one in my constituency 35 but I’m not 36 so can you talk about the hospital closure programme 37 that you’ve [xx xx 38 RB: [well I’ll answer Andrew’s questions 39 [rather than yours if that’s okay 40 CP: [oh you can’t talk about that 41 cos there isn’t one 42 RB: [er in relation to 43 IN: are [you er 44 are you angling for my job 45 I’m mean xx 46 CP: [I’d love your job Andrew 47 IN: [are things not going well in the energy department 48 CP: it’s [going swimmingly 49 IN: [that you now 50 wanna be a BBC presenter 51 CP: [d’you think I’d be good at it 52 IN: [you’re asking me questions 53 you’re asking him questions (.) 54 answer that question 55 the fact is 56 you were not ambition on health 57 RB: er in relat- ah ...
BBC Daily Politics, 28th March 2018