Given the date you might have expected a mention in the Sunday politics shows of a certain plot timed to take effect on November 5. Not this year.

It was as if consensus had been reached that there was quite enough combustible material in politics at home and abroad without dragging history into it.

Unless, that is, you were on one of the panels of commentators playing an increasingly important part in the Sunday shows. These Greek choruses can be as provocative as they like – within reason.

The panellists on BBC1’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg were Green co-leader Carla Denyer, former UK health minister Lord Bethell, and Piers Morgan.

Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips went for an all-journalist line-up of Andrew Marr, LBC and New Statesman, Danny Finkelstein, Times columnist and former adviser to John Major and William Hague, and Dorothy Byrne, former head of Channel 4 News, now president, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.

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While all are capable of robust comment, the morning’s most strongly expressed sentiments came from the unlikely source of Oliver Dowden, the Deputy Prime Minister. The genial Dowden has a reputation as one of the coolest heads in the Sunak cabinet, a minister who can be relied upon to end fights rather than start them.

Dowden did not hold back, however, when asked about the pro-Palestinian marches that had taken place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and other cities There had been “hateful conduct in those marches” he told Kuenssberg.

“You have had those chants of things like jihad — they are an affront not just to the Jewish community, they should be an affront to all of British society. All of us should be calling out that kind of thing, and people who are on those marches need to ask themselves whether they are lending support to that kind of thing.”

In an earlier interview with Phillips, Dowden said: “People need to understand that antisemitism is racism, full stop. And the same abhorrence that we show to other forms of racism, we should show towards antisemitism.”

Asked about plans for protests on Armistice Day, he said the police were operationally independent but he had “grave concerns”. Shadow defence secretary John Healey hoped it would be possible to hold events and marches at different times in separate places.

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On Phillips’ panel, the three journalists were as one that people should be arrested and prosecuted for antisemitism on marches.

Suella Braverman has described the protests as “hate marches”. Were those comments helping, Phillips asked Byrne.

“Does anything that Suella Braverman says ever help anybody?” Byrne replied.

The Israel-Hamas war would have been enough to fill hour on its own, but this had been the week when the Covid inquiry had dominated the news.

Kuenssberg had a question for the minister that she thought, not unreasonably, straightforward enough. In the run up to the first lockdown, Dowden was Minister of State for the Cabinet Office. It was his job to make sure the government was ready to deal with major emergencies. Had he read all the plans that had been prepared to deal with a pandemic?

Dowden said he had addressed “all of this” in the three hours of evidence he had given to the UK Covid-19 inquiry. Kuenssberg tried again, only for the minister to start talking about a “lead government departmental model”.

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After several more attempts the interview was heading for Paxman/Howard stand-off territory. Kuenssberg then accused the minister of trying to “bamboozle” viewers with a technical explanation. He denied this, saying he had told the inquiry under oath that he had read all the “relevant” parts of the Covid plan.

Kuenssberg was not done yet. The Civil Service head of the department of health, Chris Wormald, told the inquiry the first lockdown was a week too late. “Yes or no,” said Kuenssberg. “Was he right?”

Dowden said he was not going to give a “running commentary” on what had been said at the inquiry. He must hope he is not on Sunday duty on the week his former boss, Boris Johnson, or the current one, gives evidence.

On the panel, Piers Morgan said it was news to him that there had even been a minister for preparedness for the pandemic.

“I remember challenging minister after minister, pretty aggressively, about the lack of preparedness and what I felt was a chaotic, clueless, almost clownish way they were going about handling the first days of the pandemic.”

Morgan said he had been accused at the time of being too hard on ministers. “Having seen what’s already come out in this inquiry I’d like to apologise for not going hard enough.”