Banner_todayJim Naughtie didn’t quite say ‘yes please!’ when David Cameron asked if he could talk to a grateful and waiting nation about his plans for a National School Leaver programme but it was a very soft ball interview on this morning’s Today programme.

David Cameron gave one of his polished performances – defining his ‘modern compassionate conservatism’ as about trusting people and sharing responsibility.

My guess is that Mr Naughtie – infamous for letting his Labour leanings slip ahead of the last General Election – would have given a Labour leader a much harder time if he/she was abandoning socialist positions for the centre ground.  Mr Naughtie would instinctively know the concerns of the left-wing activist and would have been able to articulate them.  He failed to quiz Mr Cameron from the right this morning…

  • There was no tough questioning on the role of a device like the patients’ passport in encouraging state providers to improve their level of service.
  • There was no ‘how can Britain compete against low tax Central Europe if it doesn’t cut taxes?’ probe.
  • And there certainly wasn’t a ‘Iraq needs more UK troops to guarantee its transition to democracy.  How can you possibly suggest you and the LibDems are on the same page?’ question.

Today and the BBC will never go beyond red corner questioning if it doesn’t recruit many more conservative members of staff.  It may need an ‘A-List’ of its own if it is to be a truly public service broadcaster – injecting right-wing and left-wing ideas into the national conversation.