BBC Scotland and The Foodbank Nurse

The story will fade of course just as they always do. Headline news in the middle of an election campaign, the episode that is ‘The Foodbank Nurse’ will be nothing more than a Google search result in the not too distant future.

Claire Austin has provided ammunition for Unionist politicians and their media minders ever since she appeared in the ‘General Election’ debate that never was.

The red-headed nurse who harangued Nicola Sturgeon had the cream of Scottish journalism punching the air.

The icing on the cake was a bewildering lack of common sense on the part of the SNP ‘Spin Room’ team. Why Joanna Cherry felt the need to highlight social media rumours to BBC representatives will never be known. Even had they been true these career-minded puppets wouldn’t have cared.

There’s more to this story of course. How did Claire Austin come to be in receipt of special invite to a televised debate which usually requires members of the public to fill out an online application? Why was she given preferential treatment despite having attended a Question Time programme days earlier? What is the truth of Claire Austin’s foodbank claim which underpinned her question to Nicola Sturgeon? And why did Reporting Scotland run a four and a half minute one-sided item that painted Claire Austin as a concerned nurse with no agenda who fell victim to a witch-hunt?

The episode has three strands to it – the apology, the foodbank claim and the invite. I have analysed each three in turn, beginning with the apology.

The Apology

There’s no debate over whether Joanna Cherry highlighted twitter rumours relating to the Foodbank Nurse’s marital status – namely that she was the wife of a Tory councillor. Cherry’s moment of madness – for which she swiftly apologised – gave rise to a clutch of sensational newspaper headlines.

Unionist claims of an orchestrated smear campaign were patently ridiculous. No serious journalist would lend credence to the claim that the SNP or the First Minister planned to make easily discredited claims against a nurse. It would be political suicide.

In Scotland of course we have a dearth of serious journalism. This, coupled with an overtly pro-Union media, means that ridiculous claims against the SNP often find themselves headlined. Newspapers aren’t in the business of believability and thus Kezia Dugdale’s opportunistic press release was seized on.

The smear nonsense really should have begun and ended on the pages of poorly selling rags. Alas it was not to be. No smear has effect these days unless promoted by the state broadcaster.

BBC Scotland decided listeners to its radio news bulletins would benefit from hearing the First Minister accused of running just such a smear campaign. In the interests of balance the broadcaster allowed Willie Rennie and Ruth Davidson to repeat the smear allegations made by Kezia Dugdale. It is after all a general election campaign and parties must be given equal opportunity to attack the SNP.


In a rather unseemly continuation of this politicised drivel, the morning after the Manchester terrorist attack – when political parties had already stood down their respective election campaigning – Good Morning Scotland found time to read out two more ‘SNP Smear’ headlines.


The newspapers weren’t at fault for the headlines had been published prior to the attack. The producer of Good Morning Scotland had no such excuse.

So that was the apology. The SNP’s political opponents made hay with Joanna Cherry’s embarrassment. But what about the central figure in the controversy and her claim to have had to use a foodbank?

The Foodbank Claim

Tuesday evening’s Reporting Scotland covered the nurse controversy. Below is the segment in full.

It begins with Jackie Bird telling viewers that “it was a member of the public who stole the show”. The member of the public in question is Claire Austin. Bird adds that the First Minister was “taken to task” over the “continuing pay gap” which according to Austin has “driven her and her colleagues to use foodbanks”.

Birds’s choice of words was interesting. Unionists and their media supporters like David Clegg also claim that Claire Austin ‘stole the show’. Others though have claimed that Austin didn’t steal the show, but was deliberately presented with her platform by BBC Scotland as part of a premeditated set-up. In short the nurse was an unsuspecting patsy in an orchestrated ambush. More on that later.

The whole item is shockingly one-sided and highly subjective. BBC Scotland’s health correspondent Shelley Jofre says of the exchange between Nicola Sturgeon and Claire Austin that “the First Minister’s discomfort was clear”. Was it? As far as I could see there was no visible evidence that Nicola Sturgeon is in any discomfort on the issue of nurses pay.

The really interesting aspect of the Reporting Scotland item is a piece to camera by Jofre. The segment can be seen in isolation below.

On the piece to camera Jofre tells viewers that Claire Austin has been the target of some pretty awful social media abuse overnight and that when she [Jofre] spoke to her she was in tears. That may have been true, but why was no evidence of the abuse presented? Why also was there no mention of Claire Austin’s own social media abuse towards the First Minister in the days prior to their televised exchange? In the interests of balance it should have been mentioned.

We then get to the aspect of the Claire Austin episode that is surrounded in controversy – and that led to much of the social media ‘abuse’ referred to by the BBC Scotland reporter – her claim that she cannot survive on her current salary and uses foodbanks.

Here is what Shelley Jofre tells viewers: “She [Austin] says she was referred to a foodbank twice in five years in very specific circumstances when she was, as she says, up against the wall.”

Jofre makes no attempt to scrutinise what Claire Austin tells her. There is no evident appetite on the part of the BBC Scotland reporter to verify anything she is told.

Which foodbanks did she obtain food from? Which organisation referred her? When was she referred? What are these so-called ‘very special circumstances’ that required her to seek help from a foodbank to feed herself? Was her nurse’s salary a contributing factor or would it have made no difference to Claire Austin’s predicament?

Some might argue that Claire Austin is under no obligation to prove anything. The counter argument to that is that if you deliberately request to appear on national television in order to confront the First Minister then there is surely a requirement that you provide proof of your claims.

On Monday night’s TV debate Claire Austin clearly stated: “I can’t manage on the salary I have, I have to go to foodbanks.”

Did Shelley Jofre not consider that, having made the foodbank claim on a televised debate in front of millions, Claire Austin was hardly likely to admit to having embellished her story the day after? Given that the claim was central to an ongoing attack on the First Minister, which was being widely reported on BBC Scotland, it was incumbent on the part of the BBC Scotland reporter to scrutinise the veracity of the claim. That she didn’t calls her motives into question.

The item went on to list starting salaries for two types of NHS worker, a fully qualified nurse and a healthcare support worker. The starting salaries are given as £22440 and £16293 respectively. The viewer is told the minimum required income for a single person is £17100.

But why are two starting salaries provided? According to her Linkdin page [which now appears to have disappeared], Claire Austin was a fully qualified nurse at the time she claims to have been referred to a foodbank.

She has been a staff nurse at NHS Lothian since May 2010 and obtained a BSC in Nursing from Edinburgh Napier University in 2012.

She very clearly isn’t a healthcare support worker, but by including the role as a possibility viewers are invited to believe that Claire Austin may have been earning below the £17100 threshold.

Below is an excerpt from a blog which contains some very interesting points in relation to nurses’ salaries. The whole blog entry is worth a read.

She [Claire Austin] works for the NHS as a staff nurse, (although she herself claims to be a charge nurse in a busy A&E), however for the sake of this exercise I’ll place her on the lowest band for staff nurses in Scotland. That’s the whole of Scotland because no matter where you work in the NHS the salary structure is identical. The least a newly qualified staff nurse would earn on a Band 5 is just shy of £22, 000. This rises year on year incrimentally for 6yrs to the Band maximum of £28,180.

She herself states that she has been working for many years so she cannot be stuck on the starting scale, it doesn’t work that way. Anyone working for 6yrs will have reached their Band max. If indeed she is a charge nurse as she claims on her LinkedIn then that would be Band 6 which starts at £26,041 and again incrimentally rises to £34,876. So you see there’s no way for a qualified registered nurse to be stuck at £22,000 as she claims. Furthermore she also works with RMR an agency I myself have done shifts for in the past and the pay is very lucrative compared to NHS payscales, so much so that most hospitals are now forbidden to use this agency.

Claire Austin herself has claimed to be earning an NHS salary of just over £22,345. But if the salary bands detailed above are accurate then she should be earning a great deal more. We do not know Ms Austin’s personal circumstances so cannot form a judgement as to why she would be earning what amounts to a starting salary despite having been a nurse for at least seven years. So why didn’t Shelly Jofre ask her to clarify the apparent contradiction?

But let’s get back to the foodbank claim. The Reporting Scotland item did provide some evidence, albeit circumstantial, that actually appeared to cast doubt on Claire Austin’s story.

Both the Royal College of Nursing and more importantly the Trussell Trust confirmed they had no record of any Scottish nurses having to use foodbanks. This makes Shelley Jofre’s failure to obtain concrete evidence of Claire Austin’s foodbank claim all the more puzzling.

What we are left with is an unverified claim that has featured not once, but twice, in two prime-time BBC Scotland programmes. The claim has been central to a story attacking the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon.

BBC set-up

And we come to the thrust of the issue. How did Claire Austin find herself the leading act in a televised general election debate?

Much has been made of the so-called ‘abuse’ and ‘hounding’ Claire Austin was subjected to on social media. But little has been made of the reason for the social media interest in the first place.

Moments after the nurse appeared on the televised leaders’ debate, images of her at another BBC debate appeared on social media. The images were of a recent edition of Question Time when the programme was broadcast eleven days earlier from Edinburgh.

This was the same programme on which a Scottish Tory councillor had been presented as an ordinary member of the public and allowed to pose the first question of the evening.

Eric Holford wasn’t just a Tory councillor, he was also a former Tory candidate for both the Westminster elections and the Holyrood elections.

It’s interesting to look back at one of the points Eric Holford made during his three [yes three] opportunities to speak on the single programme.

Holford refers to the issue of foodbanks, using his 26 year old daughter as an example of someone who presumably doesn’t need to use them..

But take a look at who is sitting alongside Holford. It’s none other than the foodbank nurse. That is quite an amazing coincidence. Is it any wonder then that when Claire Austin turned up days later on another BBC debate raising the same issue as Holford that many viewers smelled a rat?

How then did Claire Austin find herself in the audience for the BBC Scotland leaders’ debate after being on Question Time, especially when most people find it nigh-on impossible to obtain access to any BBC shows? When quizzed on social media, Austin revealed that she had been invited onto the debate. Moreover she gave as the reason the fact that she hadn’t been allowed to ask her question eleven days earlier.

So BBC Scotland invited Claire Austin onto the prime-time televised debate in the full knowledge that she intended to ask the question she did. But was there anything else the BBC Scotland Producers might have noticed about Ms Austin that may have led them to extend a special invite?

Well the clip below suggests that Ms Austin may well sympathise with what would be termed pro-Union arguments. The ‘Foodbank Nurse’ applauds and nods her head in agreement as the gentleman to her right lambasts the SNP and any idea of another independence referendum.

There is little doubt that there are some quite remarkable coincidences involving the BBC and the Foodbank Nurse. It would be remarkable if people didn’t question the motives of the state broadcaster.

In fact questioning the background of guests who appear on BBC leaders’ debates and the ethicacy of the BBC is not restricted to those who support independence or the SNP.

In 2015 the Labour party did just that when Ed Miliband was confronted by a member of the audience during the previous general election campaign. Labour party officials accused Catherine Shuttleworth of being a Tory plant.

Labour activists scoured social media looking for ‘evidence’ to support their suspicions and highlighted other guests they believed were not as they had been presented.

The biggest issue in the case of The Foodbank Nurse is not Claire Austin’s 10 minutes of fame/notoriety, but the behaviour of the BBC. Someone decided to turn a supposed general election debate into one dominated by devolved issues.

Someone then decided to invite a guest onto the programme they knew would ask a very specific question on one of those devolved issues and who had given strong indications that she was not a fan of independence and/or a second referendum. Whether BBC Scotland producers knew of Claire Austin’s social media abuse of Nicola Sturgeon we cannot know.

As the announcer says … “This is the BBC”.

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36 thoughts on “BBC Scotland and The Foodbank Nurse

  1. Proud Cybernat

    Excellent article Mr Ponsonby. The kind of journalism our traditional media should have been doing.

    The damage this ‘ambush’ has done to foodbanks across Scotland may never be known but it will be significant. There will be people thinking of placing things into the collection bin in supermarkets thinking, “Wait a minute. That nurse oan the telly earns 10 grand more than me and gets stuff out of a foodbank. No way am funding that!” And they will promptly put their donation back on the shelf.

    Nice one Clairenursey. Nice one BBC.

    The BBC damn well know what they are doing. A total ambush of the FM (who handled the situation very politely and professionally) created by the BBC in Scotland. That London State Broadcaster is FINISHED in Scotland. But now they have to peddle the Unionist mantra for all they are worth because they know, come independence, every last effing one of them in Pathetic Quay may well be out of a job. Hell slap it into them.

    1. NurseBoy


      NHS Lothian should make a statement to confirm this.

    1. Susan kemp

      Good piece but one question – Holford was not implying his nurse daughter used food banks. The reverse – that she had decent pay and had a wee car?

      1. GAPonsonby

        Hi Susan

        Having reviewed the programme I am inclined to agree with your take. Holford raised the issue of foodbanks in response to something Emily Thornberry had said some time earlier. I’ve amended the article.

    2. David Stevenson

      That is a different person. You can find Alex Allison being interviewed on YouTube. The accents bear zero resemblance. Your contribution is another where false information is promulgated which creates a trap for those sympathetic to independence.
      If you don’t have SOLID evidence, don’t go making accusations.

  2. Frank

    There are no depths to which bbc Scotland won’t stoop.
    Nick Eardley posted two images of the George Sq vigil, one was a handwritten card stating ‘…we are better together.’
    He deleted the post when called out but to use a tragedy to push state propaganda is abhorrent.
    I hope there is a root and branch clear out of PQ on independence.

  3. Johnny McCloskey

    Spot on! Non-biased but investigative reporting that we’d never get from the BBC. It’s the way Jackie Bird & co make these bare-faced unsubstantiated claims without batting an eye-lid. They aren’t stupid people, they must know their bending the truth to suit the unionist propaganda machine. They must also know there’s viewers out there who believe every word they say & question nothing, simply because “it’s the BBC.” How any of these people sleep at night, I just don’t know. Thanks for highlighting the multiple holes in Nurse Claire’s story. Tremendous work in bringing forth the truth.

  4. Blether

    It is amazing that two random members of the public sitting together both have the same fantasy about nurses going to foodbanks in Scotland that in fact never happens.

  5. grizebard

    The BBC are in this up to their neck. When Donalda MacKinnon took up her post as supposed Big Cheese of BBC Scotland, she said “My mission is to restore trust in the BBC”.

    How’s that been going, do you think, Donalda?

    Either you’ve just been sidelined by someone over or under you, or you were in full command and are complicit. Which is it?

  6. michael boyd

    Isn’t there a Celtic FC parody of Jackie Bird where she is proclaiming Aberdeen FC the true league winners, despite them finishing second top? People aren’t fools but Jackie is.

    A quick check and i discerned that Andrew Marr berated May and Hunt with exactly the same question of nurses using food banks albeit in England during their respective appearences on his show in April: May refused to answer and Hunt squirmed. It was covered in the Independent. Presumably, the BBC should acknowledge that Sturgeon actually articulated an answer while the Tories didn’t. The question was clearly BBC inspired and the nurse a tool.

    That aside i see Fraser Nelson at the Spectator is proclaiming the “night the audience turned on Nicola”…i must have watched a different debate altogether and i am sick to my stomach of Davidson’s faux aggression.

  7. Ann Rayner

    I am now seriously concerned about the fairness of this GE Campaign. I suspect it was not just PQ that was involved but someone higher up. This is our ‘national broadcaster’, the suposedly politically neutral BBC, caught out trying to wrong foot the First Minister of Scotland, during the run up to a General Election. First they connived to allow devolved matters to be discussed, despite their having no bearing at all on a Westminster election, and then deliberately invited a person with known anti-SNP views to ask a specific question about pay for nurses in Scotland. This is intended to cast doubt on the competence of the Scottish government, the SNP as the party in government and thus denigrate anyone who supports Scottish independence.

    This is beyond bias, this is beginning to look like an orchestrated campaign, possibly originating from London, to prevent the SNP getting as many seats as in the last parliament in order that the next Westminster government can say there is no longer an appetite for Scottish independence. Then they will deny us another referendum, cut funding to Holyrood, and continue to strangle any attempt to improve the Scottish economy which will then prove that we are not fit to govern ourselves.

    We must stand up against these tactics, call out the BBC on every occasion, and perhaps even get the international community involved. As I see it, people in Scotland who want our country to be independent are up against the full might of the British state and the stakes are even higher than than in 2014. Unfortunately the BBC are their willing tool.

  8. Jonathon Walcott

    I think the real scandal here and what no one else has picks up on, Is the damage this nurse has done.

    I work in a foodbank and had numerous people concerned that their donations were being abused and they all mentioned the “well off” nurse from the debate at the weekend.

  9. Doug McGregor

    Excellent sleuthing GAP , our Scottish Government MUST have some clout with the BBC that they can claim some redress on this , if not , then they must publicly demand an immediate ( pre election ) reveiw of these events. We really can’t stand for this s*** much longer.

    1. W Habib Steele

      I agree with you, Doug. The SNP simply lies down to this sort of thing. Our First Minister and Government should require BBC Scotland to allow her, backed by independent and neuterl voices from outside the UK also speak to this matter.

  10. Philip Maughan

    On the veracity of Claire Austin’s story, she doesn’t live in a cave, if she is a working nurse, then others are likely to be able to clarify some of the gaps in her story, even if she doesn’t, so truth will out. The BBC may have won this skirmish in the short term but with your help GAP more people are recognising BBC bias, so in the long term, their deceit will be their undoing.

    1. m boyd

      One of the comments notes the said nurse bought a house in Tobermory for £700k.

      If this is true it will be registered and is not confidential info..

      1. Blether

        There are reports on TripAdvsor for a property “Ptarmigan house” with a host “Claire Austin”. Fits the description as a big place with an indoor pool. The place is now under the name Mackay.

        I found a record online showing it bought in 2006 and sold in 2008, which neatly fits the gap is Ms. Austin’s resume between studying international business and Adventure Travel Management 2003-3006, and starting nursing studies at Napier in 2009.

        Also turned up Ms. Austin’s maiden name, Chambers. She has five kids, all told.

  11. Juan P

    Rather than carp from the sidelines about the bbc should a referral not be made instead to the nursing and midwifery council (nmc)?

    They would be duty bound to investigate whether or not she was dishonest in respect of any of the claims she made regarding being referred to a foodbank and they could also investigate whether she lied about her salary.

    Any allegation of dishonesty will be treated seriously by the nmc and dealt with impartially. More than can be said or expected of the bbc.

  12. Croberts

    Many overlook this and head straight to TORY blame , there is more than one unionist party remember. For example the host , Sarah Smith , just whose daughter is she again?

    The Torys down south constantly whinge about the BBC being lefty , and during Blair it probably was , but that doesnt mean there still isnt a battalion there – more so with 80 freshly trained troops for pacific quay… or has everyone suddenly forgot that one?

    You dont have to give people a manual to circumvent democracy , your just need to pay them and have their job depend on it.

  13. Geejay

    GA, forensic and surgical as usual.

    If we were to complain to the BBC we would get the usual garbage about balance, impartiality and editorial judgement – meaningless cliches. They never publish any independent proof of impartiality. What would be really interesting would be transcripts of the discussions, emails etc among the various production team members so we could see exactly how impartiality works in practice. Wikileaks where are you?

    Some say the SNP should boycott the BBC and refuse to speak to them. I agree. The SNP message is being prevented from getting delivered, it’s being distorted, misrepresented and undue emphasis is being given to Unionist propaganda as the BBC and msm are continually putting the SNP on the defensive. They are not being given the opportunity to talk about their genuine achievements.

    Alex Fergusson refused to speak to the BBC and it didn’t do him much harm. The SNP should reply to any request from the BBC by saying something like: The BBC regularly fails in its obligation to be impartial and so we will not take part in any interviews etc etc.

    Instead they should make their points on Social Media by speaking to some of the (probably retired) journalists of genuine integrity, such as Derek Bateman, people of moral probity who put the ethics of journalism (RIP) above serving the interests of billionaire oligarchic media moguls and the British State Broadcaster; people who would not be afraid to ask the difficult questions of the SNP as well as giving them the space to make their argument.

    I see a danger in the current position where the BBC hang the SNP out to dry and the headlines on msm have nothing to do with the issues but only serve to demonise (see Wings on the Nurse); the danger being that the continuous SNPBaad will alienate sufficient numbers that the next referendum will be lost.

    The SNP need to understand that Unionist politicians regard them as an enemy, not just a political movement that disagrees with unionism, but as “wreckers and saboteurs”, people out to destroy their precious unionist state, and as such have to be ostracised and eventually extirpated. Of course, their view is absurd, (but calculated); the SNP and those who support independence have a perfectly respectable political aspiration, which is self-determination. A consequence of that aspiration will be the ending of the Union, but that is not the primary ambition, which is for the Scottish people to be in charge of their own affairs.

  14. Suspicious Mind

    So she was invited to the leaders debate by the BBC because she never got the chance to ask her question on the previous episode of QT. Okay…
    1. Is this normal procedure? There must surely be more than enough questions preselected for each episode of QT, so is there always at least one person in the audience from the previous week’s show? If not then what was so special about this particular person and her question?
    2. Why wasn’t she invited back to the next QT instead of the leaders debate? Especially when her question was about a devolved matter of no relevance to a general election.
    3. Does anybody know where the leaders debate and her previous QT appearance were filmed? If both are close to her home town then at least there’s some logic. If she had to travel a long distance did she pay there own travel and accommodation?

  15. ian murray

    I read and saw that Alex Allison was in fact in the audience, he was seated towards the back on the left hand side.He did get a comment in which was an SNP/Independence bad statement.
    Somebody had a good line about saying “Not you sir, the other Tory Councillor at the back, but I will come back to you”

  16. john

    That someone you spoke of Derek , would be the producer of the show , followed by the director , they work hand in hand to make up the show’s format and direction . It helps enormously if you have a seasoned journalist agreeing with the tone and direction you want to take , and a patsy in the form of an audience member who is more than happy to go along with it .

  17. Donald Thomson

    Where’s the proof that this woman knows where the nearest foodbank is, nevetmind been to one! Why tell lies? She’s totallt ant- First Minister, calling Nicola Sturgeon names on a certain social media site! Really? C’mon prople wake up. And if you believe anything the BBC says then your as nutty as she is!

  18. Jimbo

    I’d really like to know, why did BBC Scotland invite some-one on to the programme to raise an issue that is devolved to the Scottish government and had no relevance whatsoever to the Westminster GE debate?

  19. Iain

    I’m really confused, probably because I’ve been reading or watching media sources that are in some way regulated. Can you let me know what criteria or earning limit one has to fall in to if you want to question the fact that you have not had a pay rise in 9 years, do you or I need to edit these criteria in order to engage in debate about it ? Or must I subject my personal circumstances to the scrutiny of everyone because I have commented on the article. I do try to read a. Road spectrum of reports in order to obtain a balanced view. And to understand the points of view of those who disagree with me, but I must say that I think a reasonable test is to ask yourself … if my argument was being posited by a conservative in support of Theresa May would it be acceptable and if not ? Maybe it’s not acceptable ?

    1. Charlie

      Hi Iain, this really is confusing, and I wasn’t sure myself what to make of this at first. Now I think there are three issues with the statement Ms Austin made:

      1) She claimed that wages were so low she couldn’t manage because the SNP had frozen nurses’ pay. As it is the UK government that sets the pay increases, this was clearly a misdirected complaint. Ms Davidson should have answered to that.

      2) However, what the SNP have done with SNHS – unlike what happened in the three other NHS – is to follow the recommendations of the Pay Review Board for the last four years. That’s why the starting salary of a Scottish nurse, for instance, is now the highest in the UK – because the Scottish government has awarded the increases the PRB asked for. (But the raise has been small and wages are now effectively being cut by higher inflation.)

      3.) The second issue, which is being discussed in the article above, is that no nurse stays on their starting salary. So if Ms Austin has worked for five years, then she has had regular pay increases in line with her progression in the band that applies to her position (Band 5 apparently). She would have started at 22K and then moved up the pay scale of her band (which goes up to 28K, see above).

      However, Ms Austin may be working part time, which may explain why the salary she herself stated in a tweet after the show does not fit into the band properly. If she does work part-time, that 22K is still a sizeable salary, and indicative of her not being on the starting salary anymore either.

      So I hope you see that she’s not getting criticised because she dared to complain that she hasn’t had a pay rise in 9 years, but because she, like any other nurse working in Scotland, has

      a) had a pay rise in line with the 1% each year for the past four and
      b) had a pay rise each time she moved up the pay scale of her band – presumably at least once a year, but when my husband worked in the public sector it was every six months for him.

      In other words, people think she is not being entirely honest about pay rises for Scottish nurses. And, as you read above, the foodbank claim is also being contested. But people really can fall on hard times due to debts etc even if they earn an otherwise decent salary.

  20. Iain

    Oh and by the way, Theresa May was eviscerated by Andrew Neill on BBC1 the other day, justifiably, she had no answers. But would you be happy if all the debate focused on whether it wasn’t fair that she had a hard time ? Or should we be talking about the policies and the failures of the people who are standing as potential heads of state.

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