Jeremy Guy Vine is an English author, journalist and news presenter for the BBC. He is known for his direct interview style and exclusive reporting from war-torn areas throughout Africa. He is the current host of his self-titled BBC Radio 2 programme, which presents news, views, interviews with live guests and popular music.
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I operate the 3D graphics for British elections. I love politics, Elvis Costello, and cycling in London. I also present Britain's Number One radio news show, the "Jeremy Vine Show" on BBC Radio 2. You can also ask me about: Eggheads; Points of View; Chelsea football club; The Smiths.
Update: Thanks for your questions. Heading home! Really enjoyed seeing all the subjects raised.
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!
With Labour unwilling to form a coalition with the SNP and UKIP, and the Conservatives only looking likely to make an agreement with UKIP/Lib Dems, as well as countless other disagreements about potential coalition partners and both Labour and the Conservatives expecting an absolute majority, despite the unlikelihood of either situation, 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 LibDems' "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 tradeable.
Has 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.
Thanks for the response /u/JeremyVine. Would you possibly be able to answer my other question - with the rise of several minor parties (UKIP, SNP, Greens), how strong do you think the case is for a PR electoral system and do you think the UK will ever adopt one?
Well, we had a referendum on AV and the result seemed to be one gigantic raspberry to it.
Who will you vote for?
What do you think it would take for a new political party to break through into the mainstream? It's happened partially this election with UKIP and the Green Party, but neither party will be in a position of real power, despite millions of people agreeing with their policies.
I think it takes a couple of election cycles.
Cycle One: stand everywhere and lose lots of deposits.
Cycle Two: work out where you are strongest (with UKIP it seems to be coastal places like Grimsby) and focus ruthlessly on them.
Cycle Three: Make you case for equal status with the so-called 'main' parties, on the basis that 35% of voters now do not back them. We are in changing times. And it's very exciting.
You've covered some pretty good topics on your Radio 2 show, but what has to be the story which you've found the most comical or with the funniest replies?
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.
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.
Hi Tim Vine’s brother,
Just wanted to know what if there’s anything that you’ve ever been asked to do for an election broadcast that you refused to do. Also, have you ever looked at the running order of one of your radio shows and thought that some of the topics for the day were too out there?
Too "out there" - ?! What, you mean like too interesting or wild? The only items I have forcibly vetoed on Radio 2 are the ones where I feel there is no one who will speak with passion or no real disagreement - nothing at stake. I guess what I am saying is that my biggest fear is the item that is bland.
As to graphics - we are proud of our mistakes. When I wore a cowboy hat, we were a bit embarrassed for a while, and then we realised we had accidentally transmitted the most high-impact LibDem graphic in years. Not that I would do it again. Generally speaking I'm against doing anything that undermines the fundamental seriousness of the process. People really do want the graphic to be freighted with information - one fact at the very least!
Firstly, I just want to say thanks for the Radio 2 show, it's very entertaining. I first started listening a few years ago when I was working in an orchard and it was great company during long periods of being alone.
My question is this : 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?
Thanks, all the best!
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 ... 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!): how do you stay neutral? And the answer is that it is a small price to pay for the best job in the BBC.
PS The one I get asked even more is: Who chooses the music on your show?
What is Kevin's secret to his unknowing knowledge? My theories are - eats human brains (but not gash), or secretely a robot. Which is true?
I don't know. It is truly incredible. The other day he told me the year Bach and Shostakovitch were born; and died. And that was just small talk.
How do you respond to claims that the BBC license fee is in fact a TV tax?
Do you think it fair that the BBC prosecutes hundreds of thousands of poor people every year for not being able to afford the license fee?
The answers: (a) It is a TV tax isn't it? Is that such a bad thing? Doesn't it work? I had a satellite service provider for a while and they charged me £45 a month for less.
(b) It's against the law to evade it. That is just the way things are set up. Decriminalising it would have a serious knock-on for the BBC. If you want the BBC to close, just say so. It's quicker that way.
Do you one day hope New Order will reform and tour as I do?
Yes. I have seen them live, and they played "Atmosphere."
What's your favorite Elvis Costello song ?
Today, it is Party Girl from Armed Forces: "They say you're nothing but a party girl - just like a million more all over the world."
Eggheads fan from the Netherlands here! Thank you for doing this AMA Mr Vine! As expected, I do have a few 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 favorite egghead (apologies to the other eggheads!)
- Why are people and especially your co-host always picking on poor Judith? Or is it just me thinking that?
- Just out of curiosity: when the "Egghead" and the person from the opposing team leave to answer their questions, do they both end up in the same room backstage next to eachother or are they separated in different rooms?
Thank you for answering any of my silly questions!
Last one first: the question-answerers sit beside each other on a bench in a different room.
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.
What has been your favourite moment/s in the 12 years you have been on Radio2?
Thanks for this lovely question. When I pressed the CD button on Jan 6, 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.)
How much control over the election graphics do you personally have? Are you advancing the "slides" using a weather-style clicker, or has it all been prepared and timed in advance?
Physical control - about 50%. They load a graphic and I fire it with a clicker that is converted from one of those car door opener things. It's all a bit less hi-tech than you might imagine.
Where abouts on the political spectrum do you place yourself on?
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.
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 [blank] because my dad/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.
Do the callers on your show go through any kind of vetting process? I question their sanity and intelligence, sometimes.
They are vetted for passion. Sanity does not come into it.
In your opinion, has the BBC's media coverage contributed to the rise of UKIP, with examples being the regularity of Nigel Farage's appearances on question time, and the overall alternative feeling of the coverage compared to other that of other political parties?
No, I don't think so. UKIP would argue that it took us too long to realise how high they were riding in the polls. But I think we judged it right: they won the European electionns after all.
Do you think that UKIP is popular because the other parties fail to address the immigration question in a concrete manner? Do you think that a coalition Cons-UKIP would have the conservatives support UKIP's stance on immigration? I ask because it seems that once this question is dealt with, the UKIP will have a hard time surviving elections or have any leverage in the context of a coalition.
Also, are you hiring any helpers or interns? If so, is it possible from outside the UK? :D
Thanks in advance for the answers!
Hi there Sam. POlling shows very high concerns about immigration and there has definitely been a reluctance to get into that area because of the fear of being accused of racism. UKIP seized that opportunity and have performed well as a result of that (and other factors). Interns - the BBC has a portal - check it out - and good luck.
I heard that one, how do you not just burst out laughing...
I always think that the silliest items need to be approached with the most overwhelming level of seriousness.
Do you see UKIP as a genuine challenge to the three (well two) party dominance in the UK or is their influence exaggerated by the media?
It's not exaggerated! They were until recently scoring 15% in the polls. The system works against them somewhat, if we are looking at Westminster elections, because they actually need to come first in seats: in our system, to quote Yogi Berra, "second place is nowhere." Any UKIP person might worry that so much is invested in the undoubted charisma of Nigel Farage. I am not making a party-political comment when I say that he is one of the most effective political communicators British politics has ever seen. To that (short list) I might add Boris; Blair... and quite soon you start to struggle.
Short and sweet: who's gonna win?
I have a view but - no, I mustn't. I really mustn't.
What new graphics would you include if you could? Also, have there been any ideas that were much too over-the-top to use, and if so, how is it possible to be too over-the-top?
I wanted to do a graphic where I floated up in a balloon, drifted, and settled on a constituency. There were about 84 reasons why we couldn't. Part of the problem with an idea like that is that you are trying to render a lot of moving image in one go. And also, the graphic might not have meant anything: which is a rather more serious issue.
Where do you think the industry of journalism will be in 10 years time? Are newspapers dying out/is freelance journalism going to become the norm?
I feel bad saying it but I think in fifty years newspaper journalists will be obsolete like alchemists; child chimney sweeps; and knocker-uppers (the people who used a long stick to bang on bedroom windows in the days before alarm clocks). I worked for a newspaper and it was magical: in 1987 it had 85 editorial staff. Now it has 7.
Hi Jeremy, I'm a big fan and a bigger political geek so thanks for doing this.
Do you think Labour's implosion in Scotland will be severe enough to erase the greater vote efficiency they've enjoyed until now?
Also, do you see the nondom announcement today impacting the polls in any material way? It feels like the first development in a long while with something to it.
Hi there - BringBackHanging??? Um, the non-dom announcement does feel like a proper election story: you're right. I am not sure that we will get any real gap opening up between Con and Lab between now and election day. Re the voting inequity, which is technical but I know as a geek you are ready for this - it's caused by Tory votes piling up in safe seats and Labour squeaking wins in smaller, urban seats on far fewer votes. In a peculiar way parts of Scotland function for Labour like the shires do for the Cons. The small advantage for Miliband is that it is twice as bad to lose a Labour seat in England to the Cons as it is to lose a Scottish seat where his main rival is not effectively contending. The worry for Labour is more a political one: the more they attune their message to Scots to stop the haemorrhage, the more the danger of alienating English voters. So they may have to write off seats in Scotland rather than fight for them.
How did you get involved in hosting Eggheads? It obviously used to be Dermot Murnaghan hosting - was just wondering how you got involved and why he left?
Oh, complicated story, but we were doing 160 a year which was too much for one person. Now we do either 80 or 100 and the one person is me. He did a magnificent job establishing a show that has now run for 1,400 episodes.
Do you think Eden Hazard should win PFA player of the year? Also do you think he should win young player of the year or should that go to someone less proven at the start like Harry Kane?
Kane will win it. Love his attitude. And he is not Belgian, which helps. (Much as I love Eden).
Hey Jeremy, what's your favourite Smiths song?
(mine's Nowhere Fast)
I love Nowhere Fast myself.
Love the show, I listen most days to distract me from the monotony of revision!
I remember when i was younger your show would scare me due to all the stories about bird flu and global warming. Has there ever been a story that has truly terrified or disturbed you?
Keep up the good work!
A story that terrified me? When the London bombings happening in 2005 my wife was pregnant with our second, and I remember wondering if we needed to travel differently or whatever. It all felt very close to home. The health scares like bird flu and even Ebola are usually - I fear - the focus of quite painful overreactions, in my journalistic experience. Working as a foreign correspondent I did once get ambushed and nearly died: that scared me. A bullet literally whistled past my head, and I still have the tape of it.
What's your sleep pattern like in the run up to election night? Assuming you'll be up all night as the results come in, as is usually the case
I will be up! I expect the studio will be on air from 10pm till 6pm the following day. It will be the longest election night I've done.
What are your thoughts on the covering up of paedophilia within the BBC, and its hounding out of journalists who have exposed it?
Paedophilia has NOT been covered up in the BBC. For God's sake, when the Savile scandal emerged it hit the place like a firestorm. George Entwistle, a personal friend of mine, had been DG for about ten minutes and had to resign.