SEE VIDEO: Fenland asparagus stars in Wisbech Grammar School’s Any Questions debate
It was the night that Wisbech – and the “fabulous Fenland asparagus” took centre stage.
Radio 4’s long-running Any Questions programme came to Wisbech Grammar School on Friday night and attracted a bumper audience of 600 people to the hall to listen to the live broadcast, which was expected to attract an audience of some 2 million people, when its Saturday lunchtime repeat was taken into consideration.
Taking the questions were Yvette Cooper, from Labour, Ed Davey for the Liberal Democrats, Pritti Patel for the Conservatives and Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of UKIP.
The asparagus starred in one of the questions put to the panel, one of the pivotal issue of immigration.
“The fabulous Fenland asparagus is just coming into season ... does it matter whose hands pick them?”
Chairman of the panel, Jonathan Dimbleby, pointed out that this was a live issue in Wisbech were between a third and a half of the population were Eastern European, with most working in agriculture.
Not surprisingly, the UKIP representative on the panel thought it did matter.
Mr Nuttall, an ebulliant Liverpudlian, said that with 850,000 under-24s unemployed, it was “nonsense” that foreigners were being imported to do the work in such huge numbers.
This, however, brought a sceptical response from the hall, with numerous cat-calls and heckles along the lines of, “British people won’t do it!”
The subjects debated across the 50-minute recording touched upon the NHS and Labour’s likely relationship with the SNP.
The mood in the hall seemed lively with all of the participants likely to attract heckles – perhaps reflecting the general mood of the electorate to its politicians.
The first question was from school pupil Olivia O’Connor who said that this would be the first election she can vote on – “is this as good as it gets?”
Perhaps a pity they didn’t do one of the questions from the audience referenced in the warm-up but not used in the progoramme: “What is you party’s worst policy? And why do you continue to defend it?”