Jeremy Vine on Reddit
The BBC's election analyst, Jeremy Vine, hosted an 'Ask Me Anything' (AMA) Q&A session on the Reddit website on 8 April.
Here are 17 things he shared:
1. With countless disagreements about potential coalition partners, how can the public expect to see any cooperation between the parties, instead of them all refusing to work together?
We may be entering new territory - where, for example, a promise like the Lib Dems' "we will scrap tuition fees" simply becomes impossible to make. Politics will move away from what was called "sofa-style" under Blair, where a small number of people go into number 10 then emerge and tell us what they are doing. It will move towards much more open bartering between parties. Promises will just be suggestions; everything will be tradable.
2. Would you rather fight one Dermot Murnaghan sized duck, or 100 duck sized Dermot Murnaghans?
100 Dermots sounds easier. Craziest question of the night award!
3. As a presenter, you always seem able to maintain a fairly neutral point of view no matter which topic is being debated, with each speaker given enough time to put forward their opinion. Were there any debates in which you found it particularly difficult to remain neutral?
In some debates I find it very hard. I always think a presenter can have values but not views. So I can think (or say) that I hate litter and people who litter but I can't be angry about dirty hospitals, because that's political. You've asked the question I get asked more than any other (apart from one!) which is how do you stay neutral? And the answer is that it is a small price to pay for the best job in the BBC. By the way, the one I get asked even more is: Who chooses the music on your show?
4. Eggheads fan from the Netherlands here! Thank you for doing this AMA Mr Vine! As expected, I do have Eggheads questions : Is Daphne really as lovely as she looks on screen and do you miss her already? Why do I like CJ so much? He is strict, tough, hard, direct and still my favourite egghead (apologies to the other eggheads!).
Daphne is adorable. When she retired, my mum wrote her a lovely letter and Daphne wrote a long and charming letter back. CJ is likeable, if you don't mind him walking around between shows stripped to the navel and covered in butter. I was joking about the butter.
5. What is Kevin's secret to his unknowing knowledge? My theories are - eats human brains, or secretly a robot. Which is true?
I don't know. It is truly incredible. The other day he told me the years Bach and Shostakovitch were born and died. And that was just small talk.
6. Nicola Sturgeon looks more and more likely to be the kingmaker in the general election. Just how much will the rise of "regional" parties like the SNP and PC affect British politics in generations to come?
Hugely. Someone said "all politics is local", and the system we have - first-past-the-post - emphasises the local, in that the most important thing is to concentrate your vote. The SNP and Plaid (in Wales) do this almost by definition; the LibDems are past masters at it. We are watching with interest to see if UKIP get say 15% but struggle to win seats because their vote is spread rather than zoned.
7. Have there ever been any humorous incidents involving graphics going wrong?
I did trip on a virtual step into 10 Downing Street once. When there is a real object (a green doorstep) and it is overlaid by a virtual projection (a real doorstep that is not real) it can get very confusing. Sometimes I get home and wonder if my wife is actually just a graphic.
8. You've covered some pretty good topics on your Radio 2 show, but what story have you found the most comical?
We did a story today about a guy who built a boat with loft insulation and staples and had to be rescued by the RNLI. When he came on the air I asked him how he could set sail in a boat that cost nothing, and he said it didn't, it cost him £9, which was the silicone adhesive he used to glue it together. Utter madness.
9. What has been your favourite moment in the 12 years you have been on Radio 2?
Thanks for this lovely question. When I pressed the CD button on 6 January 2003, and heard Thunder Road (that opening signature on the piano) - and heard the lyric "you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't so young anymore". My predecessor was Jimmy Young.
10. What is your favourite book ? And what book inspires you in your life?
I just read Gone Girl. Then I thought "Gillian Flynn is ace" and read Dark Places. Then I thought she was actually close to a crime genius, and am reading Sharp Objects. Love you Gillian!
11. Where on the political spectrum do you place yourself?
I am keen not to - not even in my sleep - not even in conversation with my wife over a candlelit dinner and especially not here.
12. Who chooses the music on your Radio 2 show?
Michael Banbrook, and me. Michael calls it "the plot", because he's a music guy. Are you happy with it?
13. When presenting on election night, do you write your own scripts when describing the graphics?
There are no scripts. There is a brilliant young producer called Ed Brown who can write notes on a projector. If I stall completely @Benowatt will say in my ear "The SNP section is next".
14. Is the current rise of minority parties like the Greens, UKIP, Plaid, and the SNP a flash in the pan protest at the two party system or here to stay?
I can't know - but I think it's here to stay. Partly because what is happening in Scotland feels so huge. And also because society is less tribal now. When did you last see a working men's club full of cigarette smoke or a red-coated toff on horseback with a hunting trumpet? People almost never say "I've always voted X or Y because my dad or mum did" so I get the feeling politics is being broken up and broken down, and it is scaring the pants off people who thought it would give them a job for life.
15. Which newspapers do you read, if any?
I don't read them on paper. I read them on my phone, where I have the Mail, Indie, Guardian, Telegraph, Economist and New York Times apps. Sad to say, I haven't yet paid for any online newspaper content. (No - sorry - I do pay something for the Sun, because I get their Football Goals add-on). I mourn what we have lost in the newspaper industry, as I started on the Coventry Evening Telegraph.
16. How do you rate the chances of each of the parties in the election?
Very broadly: 30% Conservative, 30% Labour, 30% elsewhere. For a more exact answer, join us on the night.
17. Short and sweet: Who's going to win?
I have a view but - no, I mustn't. I really mustn't.