What's worse than Ukip? Not enough kip...


I'm not sure why I agreed to go on the BBC World Service to be a guest on a show starting at 6.30am. I think that I partly just didn't register the early start when the offer came through, but also I have a deep love for the World Service that made it very difficult to say no.

As a child growing up in Lebanon, it would almost always be on in the background, a constant voice of reason and balance amid the chaos of the civil war there. Often we would find out who was shelling us, or what was going on down in Beirut, via the refined voice in London rather than any local source. Many friends and relatives dotted around the world listen to it, and this pleased me as I plonked myself down in the chair of the studio in BBC Gloucester. I was hungover and half asleep but tried to prepare myself to speak to the globe. It was a two-hour show in which the presenter meandered through every news story around, and then asked me to express an opinion.

It started OK; we talked about the Syrian crisis and I was able to use some of my experience of travelling around the country along with my role as an ambassador for Save the Children to talk about the appalling refugee crisis there. Then we moved on to a story about phobias, and I admitted to my crippling fear of spiders. So far, so good. But the programme rolled on and I soon longed to just say "Do you know what? I don't really have any opinion on this subject."

This, however is not an option when you are a guest on this kind of show, so I found myself talking while almost watching myself do it and wondering what on earth was going to come out of my mouth. I pretty much got away with it apart from when we were discussing the legalisation of the 11 million "illegal" people living in the US. All I was keen to do was not to sound like a Ukip type and I ended up proposing unlimited open borders, which even the presenter picked me up on. I then backtracked and refined my view and thanked the Lord I wasn't a politician.

The following day, I happened to see that Lily Allen was on Loose Women – a daytime television show in which a guest is plonked in the middle of four rather anodyne ladies. I sensed that Lily Allen might be a tad uncomfortable with the format but she behaved well and was not afraid to say, "I don't really have a view on this" when asked about whatever topic the Loose Women were tenuously debating. The Loose Women, however, were not having it, and poor Lily was bullied into giving an answer, whether she liked it or not.

This has spurred me on to be braver. I have promised myself that the next time I am invited on to a show as a talking head I shall answer every question with either "I have no idea" or "I don't really care." It'll probably be my last television appearance but what a gloriously nihilistic way to go out.

More importantly, it'll mean that my lie-ins are safe.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ed Miliband addresses an audience in the Brooks Building of Manchester Metropolitan University on April 21, 2015  

If socialism means building homes and getting the rich to pay their taxes, then bring on Red Ed

Kiran Moodley

Prevention is better than cure if we want to save the NHS

Tanni Grey Thompson
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before