The BBC doesn’t give enough representation to Liberal Democrats on Question Time. We’ve known that for some time. And the weeks when we don’t have anybody on the panel often coincide with a time when we have a different point of view to offer.
Last night, though, I was particularly annoyed because, despite having no Lib Dem in the room, they allowed a very personal question about Nick Clegg’s choice of secondary education for his son. Like it’s any of our business.
Decisions about children’s schooling are stressful enough. The memories are still fresh enough for me to make me shudder.
Nick Clegg’s son has two parents who will decide together what schooling is best for him. Whatever they decide will displease somebody as soon as it becomes public knowledge. They can’t win. All they can do is pick a school where he will thrive, where he’ll learn well and be happy. If they had any other consideration, they would be failing as parents.
Every parent will understand how difficult and stressful these decisions around education can be and they’ll understand the drive to find somewhere that meets your child’s needs. Liberal Democrats don’t have policy against private education, nor has Nick Clegg criticised anyone for sending their child to private schools.
For Question Time to make an issue of something in Nick Clegg’s personal life when there’s nobody there from his side to stand up for him, to put that liberal point of view that celebrates diversity and enabling people to make the choices that work for them.
And while we’re at it, let’s just take a look at what Nick Clegg’s input into our education system- whatever decision he and Miriam make for their son, let’s not forget that it’s he has driven the scheme that gives extra money to kids from deprived backgrounds in school and he has made sure that the poorest 2 year olds get the best start in life by getting the chance to go to nursery. We can talk about his public record, but his private, family decisions really should be off limits.
And Question Time should not be making an issue of a private decision in such an unfair way.