How Trade Off Denialists Are Ruining Everything
One thing few people know about BBC Question Time, Britain’s flagship political debate show, is that every episode begins with a section that is not broadcast. This usually involves a question that didn’t make the cut being discussed, in order to get both the audience and the panellists warmed up for the main event.
I bring this up because my second appearance on the programme is far more memorable for what happened in the warm-up section than during the broadcast itself.
The show was recorded in the wake of Facebook’s announcement that it would allow Donald Trump back on the platform. The core of this issue is the natural tension between the negative effects of social media on the one hand and freedom on the other.
Presenter Fiona Bruce turned to me first and I explained that while I was no fan of President Trump, I do think the democratically elected leader of the most powerful country in the world should be able to speak in the public square without being censored by unaccountable Silicon Valley oligarchs. So far, so uncontroversial.
What happened next, however, was shocking and illuminating in equal measure. When the Labour representative on the panel was given the opportunity to answer the question, she began with the following sentence:
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