Batman er sértæk lausn við almennum vanda…
Íslenskir ráðamamenn gera því oft skóna að fréttamenn leggi þá og flokk sinn í einelti ef þeir spyrja þá sömu spurningarinnar oftar en einu sinni. Þessi viðleitni hefur jafnvel gengið svo langt að fréttamenn virðast hræddir um að óhlutdrægni þeirra sé dregin í efa ef þeir ganga hart eftir svörum. Í þessu ljósi er skemmtilegt að vitna til nýlegs viðtals Jeremy “Paxo” Paxman við Tony Blair sem birtist í bresku sjónvarpi skömmu fyrir nýliðnar kosningar. Þar var því slegið upp í blöðunum daginn eftir að forsætisráðherrann hefði verið spurður 14 sinnum að því hversu margir ólöglegir innflytjendur væru í landinu – og 14 sinnum hafi hann vikið sér hjá því að svara.
Svipaða sögu má segja af fréttamanni BBC sem tók viðtal við George Galloway eftir að kosningasigur hans varð ljós. Þar neitaði Galloway að svara spurningu fréttamanns – sem lét neitunina ekki slá sig út af laginu – heldur þráspurði Galloway þar til viðtalið leystist upp – eins og sjá má hér
Auðvitað er það fullkomlega eðlilegt að fréttamenn gangi á eftir stjórnmálamönnum sem gefa loðin svör við einföldum spurningum.
Að sama skapi verður að líta til þess að með því að gefa misvitrum stjórnmálamönnum ekki færi á því að segja eitthvert algert rugl – þá eru líkur á að í framtíðinni hugsi þeir sig tvisvar um áður en þeir bulla eitthvað fyrir framan alþjóð.
En stjórnmálamenn komast samt upp með að halda fram ótrúlegustu hlutum í sjónvarpi og útvarpi. Það sanna nýleg dæmi um EES-tilskipanir og rangt arðsemismat á Héðinsfjarðargöngum – sem rakin hafa verið í fjölmiðlum. Enda eru almennar yfirlýsingar stjórnmálamanna um sértæk málefni orðin regla en ekki undantekning í fréttatímum.
Á mínu heimili kallast það röfl!
Til gamans, þá má finna viðtal Paxman við Blair að neðan:
#1 Paxman: Can you tell us how many failed asylum seekers there are in this country?
Blair: No, I can’t be sure of the numbers of people who are illegals in this country. For the same reason that the previous government couldn’t. What I can say is that the asylum system has been toughened up and tightened up hugely, and according to the United Nations commission for refugees and not us, asylum figures have fallen by more than a half in the past two or three years.
#2 Paxman: Can you give us a rough idea of how many there may be? Is it tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?
Blair: I’ve said I don’t think there’s any point in speculating.
#3 Paxman: But you have no idea.
Blair: Well, it’s not a question of having no idea.
#4 Paxman: Well, what is your idea, Prime Minister?
Blair: What you can say is, how people are applying for asylum, month by month, how many people you are removing and what is the backlog, and we are dealing with all of those issues.
#5 Paxman: Prime Minister, you have really no idea of how many failed asylum seekers there are illegally in this country?
Blair: It is difficult, for the very reason that …
#6 Paxman: You don’t know.
Blair: Hang on. For the very reason that the previous government gave, you cannot determine specifically how many people are here illegally.
#7 Paxman: You have no idea.
Blair: What you can say is, here are the number of people that are actually currently applying for asylum.
Blair: This is the backlog of claims that you’re dealing with. And these are the people who are being removed from the country.
#8 Paxman: Do people not come to you and say: we think, Prime Minister, there may be 100,000 or 250,000 , or 500,000 …
Blair: They don’t come and say that.
#9 Paxman: So you have no idea.
Blair: No, hang on a minute. You have an idea of the numbers that are claiming, the backlog, and the numbers that are being removed. Some of those asylum seekers, when they fail and their claim fails, they will go back voluntarily.
#10 Paxman: What’s your working assumption?
Blair: I don’t make a working assumption about it. What I do is I concentrate on the bits that are absolutely vital to concentrate on, which is – hang on, just let me finish – which is the numbers who are coming in, the numbers we’re removing and the backlog. The only long-term way of dealing with this issue, however, is to introduce the
proper controls of borders through an electronic visa regime. And the other thing is identity cards.
#11 Paxman: Does the fact that you’re unable or unwilling to tell us indicate that you have in fact lost control of our borders?
Blair: No, it doesn’t indicate that, beause no government has ever been able to say that. What you are able to say however is, here are the measures that we’re taking to control it properly, to deal with the abuses, and you are also able to say, which I can say to you very clearly because we keep the proper statistics of this, is the numbers that are claiming now and the numbers that we’re removing, and the way to get asylum figures down so that it’s only genuine refugees you’re taking; to do precisely what we’ve done: clean up the system, remove the tiers of appeal, make sure that people can’t destroy their documentation when they come here and improve the removal system. We’re doing all of those things.
#12 Paxman: And just one final time, you have no figure that you can give us for the number of refused asylum seekers who are in this country.
Blair: I’m giving you the information that I’ve got, and I’ve answered that question.
#13 Paxman: You can’t give us any kind of figure.
Blair: The reason is because some people will return after their asylum claim has failed.
#14 Paxman: Right. So you have no idea.
Blair: Well, what you have is an idea of the numbers that are coming in and claiming and the numbers that you’re removing. Now, those are the two important things to concentrate on.
#15 Paxman: Well, what is that number?
Blair: The number coming in now, it’s fallen to just over about 2,000 a month who are claiming asylum, and that’s down from, at its height,around 8,000 a month. And actually, that is lower than the figure in March 1997.
#16 Paxman: But it gives us no indication of the backlog, of course.
Blair: Well, no, sorry, it does give me an indication.
Paxman: No, it doesn’t.
Blair: No, no, no, Jeremy. Excuse me. You can say what the backlog is of claims. The backlog of claims, I think, is down to round about 10,000. That’s down from 60,000 that we inherited. In respect of removals, there were one in five asylum seekers who failed, were being removed. It’s now half of them that are being removed. And the answer
that I have given to you on the numbers of illegals here is precisely the answer we have always given, and the last government gave.
#17 Paxman: Although you’ve not given us a number.
Blair: Well, I’ve just explained to you why it’s impossible to do that. But what you can do is give numbers for the other things.