Question Time (BBC1) **

DAYS after the official declaration of a General Election and BBC1’s Question Time rolls around, this time in Glasgow. Perfect timing, you might think, a chance for the party leaders, or their seconds in command (even Jo Swinson has one, I believe), to rock up and have their say. No ITV or Sky News to limit the number of speakers, just come on down Boris, Jez, Nicola, and Jo.

But what did we get instead? While the panel was not without note, it was like turning up to watch Barcelona v Real Madrid and finding instead the weans from up the street kicking a can about. A lot of noise, a few scuffed knees, but no-one had their windows panned.

Question Time has a history in Scotland that could most charitably be described as eventful. Blunders include having failed UKIP candidate Billy Mitchell on the show not once, twice, three, but four times. Then there was the time former Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon appeared in the audience, the vetting presumably failing to spot that she was a Conservative MSP for 16 years.

Outwith Scotland, it has only been a week since host Fiona Bruce wrongly corrected an audience member who pointed out that the Vote Leave campaign had broken electoral law over spending limits. (Last night she issued a correction, but no apology.)

All to play for, then, as the opening music struck and Bruce, Fifi to her pals, wafted into view clad in a Clydeside red trouser suit. The first questioner, after paying tribute to his baby nephew, born that day, asked why the public should trust politicians when they did not trust each other.

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Barry Gardiner, Labour, born and bred in Glasgow, said the choice was clear: vote Labour. Next was Kirstene “Nice” Hair, Conservative, who said Jeremy Corbyn was unfit to be PM. SNP MSP and Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf piped up for independence at regular intervals. It is quality debate and original thinking like this which keeps viewers watching long past their bedtime (not). Yousaf also took the evening’s prize for the number of times he interrupted other panellists.

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Business was represented by Iain Anderson, the executive chairman of the Cicero Group, a political consultancy firm whose clients include Nissan, Uber, Cuadrilla and HS2. He said none of the politicians up for election was good enough. Angela Haggerty agreed.

Hair got the biggest laugh of the night when she said Boris Johnson, who had visited Scotland that day, really cared about the country. If it does not work out for her in Angus on December 12, Ms Hair has a future in stand-up.

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This was certainly different from other episodes of Question Time from Scotland in that it was deadly dull. Over a long hour the audience only really came alive whenever views for or against independence were expressed. Was anyone’s mind changed by watching this? Were any assumptions overturned, any sides switched? Glasgow or Guildford, Aberdeen or Leeds, this show, this format, has had its day.