Eamonn Holmes found himself accused of patronising Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday morning by asking “inane” questions during a car-crash interview on Sky News.
The exchange between the presenter and Labour leader became increasingly uncomfortable to watch as Holmes asked a series of jarring questions that provoked angry responses on social media and prompted laughter from Mr Corbyn.
Viewers claimed Holmes "lowered the tone" by using meandering football analogies to describe his leadership. He began the interview by asking Mr Corbyn: “It wasn’t such a good night for you last night, because I know you're an Arsenal supporter, but it was all going so well and then look at what happened last night. Every young lad has a dream of appearing in the FA cup final, and scoring the winning goal, and I was looking at you and the love there was for you in the room, and you were basking in it - was yesterday your FA cup final?”
Holmes then compared Mr Corbyn to a “religious leader” because of his wide appeal, before veering off into a meandering monologue about him being into “caring and respect”.
The 9 worst car crash interviews in recent politics
The 9 worst car crash interviews in recent politics
1/6 Chloe Smith on Newsnight
George Osborne was enjoying a good day as he scrapped a planned 3p rise in fuel duty in June, 2012. But then someone had the bright idea of putting Chloe Smith, a junior Treasury minister and then something of a rising star for the Tories, on Newsnight. But she was unable to convincingly answer a single question posed to her by Jeremy Paxman, even the ultimate killer blow: “Do you ever think you’re incompetent?”
2/6 Boris Johnson on Andrew Marr
Eddie Mair, standing in for Mr Marr during his stroke recovery, might have been seen as something of a soft touch in March 2013 before he destroyed the London Mayor on the BBC’s flagship Sunday current affairs show. Mair presented a series of anecdotes about the harsher side to the fluffy-seeming Mr Johnson’s rise to power and concluded: “You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?” Boris didn’t quite seem to know how to respond.
3/6 Ed Miliband on Good Morning Britain
Labour’s leader faced some slightly inevitable accusations of being “out of touch with reality” from ITV’s Susannah Reid after she surprised him with a “how much does X cost question”. This time it was during an interview on how much he knew about his much-vaunted “cost of living crisis” – and Mr Miliband underestimated the average household grocery bill per week by about a third. He admitted he was wrong – but later tried to wriggle out of the situation by claiming he was only referring to “basic groceries” not his “overall shopping bill”.
4/6 Rachel Reeves on Daily Politics
The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary got very mixed up on whether Labour were promising “a freeze or a cap” – when energy prices actually stopped rising and fell. Refusing to accept that her party had enacted a u-turn on policy, she said: “It wasn’t us who changed – it’s the world that changed.” She later couldn’t give any examples of retail prices being successfully fixed by governments – stumping for “the minimum wage – the price of labour”.
5/6 David Cameron on Gay Times
Grilled on his MEPs’ voting records on gay rights in the European Parliament, a pre-prime ministerial Mr Cameron suggested they could vote any way they liked. But he also said the right not to suffer discrimination based on sexuality was a fundamental human right – meaning it should not be subject to an open vote. The former PR man got so flustered he had to ask for the cameras to be turned off because he was getting “distracted”.
6/6 Nigel Farage on LBC
Nigel Farage’s image as a plain-speaking, not-like-that-lot-in-Westminster politician suffered one of a number of dents in May 2014, when a tense 22-minute confrontation with LBC’s James O’Brien had to be cut short by his spin doctor. Patrick O’Flynn – who is now an MEP for Ukip – had to step in when Mr Farage was repeatedly questioned on his views on race and why he would be uncomfortable if a group of Romanian nationals moved in next door to him.
He went on: “I would love to do that [be respectful and caring], but that doesn’t happen on TV, so…”, to which a clearly bemused Mr Corbyn interjected: “Why can’t it?”
Holmes's rambling response included the passage: “See, people might say your outlook is a bit hippy, like, you know, you sort of want to hug everybody…”
HIs questions were subsequently ridiculed on social media.
@SkyNews what's is wrong with Eamon Holmes? Appalling interview, what is his trying to prove. Smug, rude and patronising!— David Wheeler (@woty99) September 30, 2015
Why does Eamon Holmes have to lower the tone by asking inane questions and continuing to dumb down British politics to football & image?— Joanne Moorhouse (@JoMoorhouse) September 30, 2015
The others on @SkyNews this morning trying to help Eamon Holmes to stop digging a hole for himself. You can't show your contempt do clearly.— Kevin Pascoe (@KevinPascoe) September 30, 2015
News@sky.com Eamon Holmes you made yourself look stupid and I am NOT one of the people you just patronised.— Marky L Wilson (@dayofthecacti) September 30, 2015
He insisted "caring and respect" couldn’t be executed during his interview because he would be accused of “sucking up” to him and then interrupted Mr Corbyn to ask a “nasty question” about his decision to use lines offered to previous leaders in his speech at the Labour party conference in Brighton on Tuesday.
“The speech was over 5,000 words, 350 words were provided by a friend of mine," said Mr Corbyn. "I like the words that he used and the way he put them forward so I used them in my speech. Is thats much a bad thing? I quoted poets […] I quoted Maya Angelou.”
Holmes returned once again to the theme of caring and respect. “You don’t love and respect anybody," he told Mr Corbyn. "Why don’t you just admit you hate the Tories? I mean, you can’t talk about respect and love, you actually hate them!”
Mr Corbyn slowly replied: “No.”
Holmes later returned to football analogies, telling Mr Corbyn: “Look, let’s talk football. Your man's Arsene Wenger my man’s Alex Ferguson. Do you think they go into a dressing room and they say, 'listen boys, how are we going to line up tonight, what are we going to do tonight?' […] No they don’t. Fergie always said he had to make it clear, there was one boss. That’s not your way of doing things though.”
Mr Corbyn responded: “My way of doing things - because it’s politics, it’s community, it’s people, it’s Government - is actually not the same as managing a football team, to which Holmes insisted: “Oh it so is - if you want to be a winner, do you want to be a winner?”
Smiling, Mr Corbyn tried to answer as Holmes repeatedly shouted, “do you want to win?”, before bursting into laughter and protesting: “Eamonn please! Of course I want to win, and of course Labour wants to win.”
Holmes concluded his interview by asking if someone had lent him the tie he wore for his speech, before explaining how the colour of a tie can signify a lot about a political leader.
Clearly amused, Mr Corbyn responded: “The tie came from a friend of mine, because someone on my team didn’t like the colour of the tie I was suggesting.”
The exchange finished with Holmes telling Mr Corbyn: “Stop trying to pick a fight with me. I’m trying to be respectful and caring I hope you felt it was a respectful and caring interview in a new era of politics, and a new era between you and I.”
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