I’ve been trying towork out why I am so frustrated by all the Liz Truss interviews. Sure, she’s
wooden, she’s not a good performer, she trots out the same lines over and over
again, and she promises no sunlit uplands . Not even a hint of a sunlit upland.
But on reflection, I think part of the problem is the interviewing techniques
that we’ve seen become the norm over the last decade. The core technique is…. “Attack,
attack, you’re wrong, this proves you’re wrong, we all agree you’re wrong”…
coupled with…”ah…caught you out. “
So, what do you get.You get…attack – defend, attack, defend and the same old lines trotted out over
and over as the subject tries to keep their flight or flight response under
control. What we don’t get in that scenario is any clarity, any explanation,
any opportunity for people to trip themselves up and catch themselves out and
show us that the policy decisions they’ve made are ideological (or worse) and
not driven by realities in the real world. Question Time audiences sometimes do
a better job, to be honest.
What I would like to hear is more of those how, what, why questions. I can’t help but feel that we
let her off the hook by sticking to the hackneyed lines around ‘but the IMF
says it won’t work’; ‘your own MPs say it won’t work'…etc etc ad nauseam.
What would happen if you asked Liz to explain exactly how cutting the top rate of tax will help the
people at the bottom to get better paid jobs, when that will happen, what it
will take, where the opportunities are likely to be. Or why exactly, in her opinion, the IMF intervened,
why interest rates had to go up, and S&P downgraded the UK. If we dug forensically around in her
answers, it would all be quickly shown to be a sham. Would it not?
Interviews are challenging conversations and challenging conversations don’t go well when both
sides are simply beating the other over the head with the rightness of their
own positions. Take a breath, ask the what, why, how questions; keep asking
them forensically till you get to the nub of the issue…which in this case is
whether this strategy will deliver more jobs, more money, more opportunity, better
public services and more wealth.
Perhaps I’m being naïve but I haven’t heard any of that from anyone. I don’t understand how paying
bankers more, funding tax cuts through borrowing, cutting public services to
pay the borrowing and putting the markets into a state of fear and alarm helps
the majority. I’m not sure that she does either and better questions would
quickly and efficiently flush that out. Same goes for challenging conversations
in the workplace. Seek to understand and the problems usually sort themselves