Why cant/dont politicians ever answer the question?

Is it just me or are politicians worse than ever at failing to answer questions put to them during interviews? (Can we ever forget the Michael Howard and Paxman example?) I can't think of the example that gripped me so badly I nearly lost my appetite for breakfast but I'm sure everyone has examples. So come on, let's hear them.

ps this is my first ever post, and I do realise it could be brave/foolish going straight for a topic, so be gentle!
I'm not really sure they can or can't answer questions? I don't really want to say either way. It's an interesting question though and i will think about it some more but can't confirm or deny that i may or may not respond. I think it would be unfair of me to comment at this stage but I may or may not comment further at another time but i can't really confirm when that will be.

edited to include another l in really! The Shame!
It was strange but as this post emerged this Sex Pistols classic appeared on my MP3. Strangely fitting to the topic.


Lie lie lie lie liar you lie lie lie lie
Tell me why tell me why
Why d'you have to lie
Should've realised that
Should've told the truth
Should've realised
You know what I'll do

You're in suspension
You're a liar

Now I wanna know know know know
I wanna know why you never
Look me in the face
Broke a confidence just to please
Your ego should've realised
You know what I know

You're in suspension
You're a liar

I know where you go everybody you know
I know everything that do or say
So when you tell lies
I'll always be in your way
I'm nobody's fool and I know all
'Cos I know what I know

You're in suspension you're a liar
You're a liar you're a liar
Lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie

Lie lie lie lie liar you lie lie lie lie
I think you're funny you're funny ha ha
I don't need it don't need your blah blah
Should've realised I know what you are
You're in suspension you're in suspension
You're in suspension you're a liar
You're a liar you're a liar
Lie lie
I don't think John has even had a reply to his Selly Oak letter , and his was just about the first down the range.. :(
Always got told that if they don't like the question they were asked they would answer one they did like.

Watching question time on a thursday night really makes that one clear!

All as bad as each other but there are some politicians I just end up loathing more than others! (Hazel Blears or whatever her name may be, is down there with the worst).
Seem to have had an auspicious start, what with DigitalGeeks uncanny song selection and the Blogg's link to Mr Hemming... who certainly seems to have a good point and just a shame he didn't win his case. LOL at The BigUn as initially thought he was sitting on the fence a bit, glad to see you weren't realy!

I know what it was that got me - Eddie Mayer (sp?) quizzing a politician yesterday about how much money had been wasted on the failed merging of police forces (600million at least) and he just evaded and evaded. Were I the said Mr Mayer I would have shoved his teeth in I think!
Why don't politicians answer the question?

I think you are missing the real point which is that, under this administration, spending on [insert unrelated theme of day] has increased in real terms over 3 times that of the last administration etc etc

They don't go on to answer questions - only to put across the message they want to. Block/bridge/statement (or whatever the media thing is)
I don't often ask questions myself but then there was that time and I had to ask a question and I really needed an answer and did you see the football last night, that referee needed glasses but moving swiftly on, the question, I asked was to a politician and I did ask why he didn't directly answer my question but he did straighten his tie even though it was already straight and examined the shine on his shoes and he told me that his party was doing so many things to help and that come the election he hoped for a good showing but was worried about the swing to the left and possibly the right and people becoming entrenched in the centre but he thought long and hard and then he DID answer me.


So I rushed off and poured him one.
Not forgetting to spit in the cup.
Gordon Brown is probably the worst exponent of the art. So stand by for a lot more frustration and bricks through the telly screen for a few years to come. Somebody should invent a word for this, when applied to politicians - or is there one already?
Years ago I used to booze when in Bangkok with an Old ex US Green Beret, his first jump as a young Para was Philipeanes in 44.
I was young squaddei on leave and he liked to shoot the poo with a serviceman.
One day he told some tale and I said 'Oh Come on".
I didn't notice at first that he had got serious and he suddenly said
'John I don't Lie.'
Everyone lies, says I.
John listen and learn.
If something causes you to be embarrased, then don't say it. Word your answer/statement different but in no way tell the TRUTH, just don't lie.
He then said watch Politicians, they darn't lie so they avoid telling the truth.
I have practiced this policy for years and it works. I once had a most entertaining conversation with a UK Police Inspector and his staff during which he said, John you've told us nothing but not stopped talking.
( I used to work with the Police)
frenchperson said:
Gordon Brown is probably the worst exponent of the art. So stand by for a lot more frustration and bricks through the telly screen for a few years to come. Somebody should invent a word for this, when applied to politicians - or is there one already?
100% spot-on observation frenchperson. He is bloody awful. He not only does not answer a question, he bulldozer's his way through them. He is certainly top of my list of slippery barstewards.

Next on my list is Lord 'Fixit' Falconer. That is one slippery customer. I was so incensed with one interview he gave back in March with John Humphries on the 'Today' programme, I just had to make a verbatim transcript:

John Humphries: [Referring to changes effectuated by the Government in the constitution of the House of Lords] “..This is one of the big things you’ve changed in the way it’s made up, and indeed you have made changes. One other change you’ve made is that if you want to buy a Peerage you can now do so under this Government!”

Lord Falconer: “Absolutely not. No, and indeed, what we’ve done in relation to the House of Lords – and it’s with the agreement of the Lords – is to establish and independent committee chaired by Lord Stephenson who is a ‘Cross-Bencher’ and not Labour or Conservative - though every political party is represented on this committee – and they ‘Vet’ all those people who may come into the Lords. That is an entirely appropriate way of determining whether or not propriety is observed in relation to the people going to the Lords.”

John Humphries: “Well, let me give you the findings of another independent committee – the Power Inquity – chaired by, I believe, a Labour Person, I ‘m not mistaken, indeed, a Scot, and, er, this pointed out…”

Lord Falconer: [Interrupting] “and attended”

John Humphries: “Indeed, and this pointed out that every donor who had given over One Million Pounds to Labour had received a Knighthood or a Peerage!”

Lord Falconer: “Well, as far as the propriety as those going to the House of Lords: as far as the propriety of getting honours is concerned, there are independent bodies that scrutinise whether or not it’s a proper appointment and that is how it should be!

John Humphries: “The perception of this thing! If I know I can get a Peerage by ‘bunging’ you a million quid – I don’t know! I might do it. I might be able to put up a million pounds from somewhere…..”

Lord Falconer [interrupting]: “ I don’t take the view that making a contribution to a political party in which you believe, debars you from any honour!”

John Humphries: No? – Ahh!”

Lord Falconer: “If you accept that – and you seem to accept it because you have just said: ‘Yes’ – then what you need is some Body to ensure that the propriety in the Honour of the appointment of the Lords. But what you should not be prevented because, for example, you believe that Labour should be supported over the years it was in the wilderness, that that should not debar you…..”

John Humphries [interrupting]: “But does that not bother you…..”

Lord Falconer [interrupting]: “…in any way at all from being a Peer”.

John Humphries: “Doesn’t the perception bother you that here we have here a situation where if you give a million pounds to the Labour Party you’re guaranteed a Peerage or a Knighthood – Guaranteed?! This is what the Power Inquiry itself was saying!

Lord Falconer: “You are not guaranteed a Peerage”

John Humphries: “Every single donor who has done it – lets not look at what you believe to be the case, lets look at the facts of the case – as you as a lawyer might say. Every single donor who has given more that a million ‘Smackers’ to Labour has got either a Peerage or a Knighthood!

Lord Falconer: “Well, there are independent bodies looking at the propriety of it. You agree, I agree, we both agree contributions to political parties should not debar you from an honour or…..”

John Humphries [interrupting]: “We are back to the question that everyone who has ‘dolled’ out a million has got something out of it?!

Lord Falconer: “Well, it’s right across the political spectrum. People who contribute to political parties. You have a…….”

John Humphries [interrupting]: “There are people out there who will say: ‘all I have to do is give a million quid and I’m in!”

Lord Falconer: “You have a choice John. You either say that people who give money to political parties can’t get an honour. I don’t think that would be right or sensible."

Regards and best wishes
It's because they've all read the Politician's Bible: Yes Minister/Prime Minister.

I've seen it on this side of the Atlantic as well. In one episode of YPM, Jim Hacker gives Bernard advice as to how to avoid answering a question. I swear I could sit down with the various points listed as I listen to a political debate/Q&A session, and tick them all off as I heard them.

aadvark007 said:
frenchperson said:
. Somebody should invent a word for this, when applied to politicians - or is there one already?
How about a 'crapchatter' or a 'blufoon'?
We've already got a perfectly good word. "Tony".
To all politicians:

Thou art unfit for any place but hell Thou froward guts-griping pignut!
Truly thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side and thou art as loathsome as a toad.

Thou art essentially a natural coward without instinct. You are a shallow cowardly hind, and you lie.

What trick, what device, what starting-hole canst thou now find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?

If thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them.

You speak unskilfully: or, if your knowledge be more, it is much darkened in your malice.

Rogue, thou hast liv'd too long.
How can You post this when You obfuscate and are disengeuous on the council tax thread

Pot calling kettle black or what - unless You ARE a politician, Tory of course
The Tories are as deceitful and sleazy as your fellow political types Sven, the only difference being they know where the soap is. Now go back to your homes and prepare for political oblivion. The tide of history is turning, don't get your feet wet.

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