Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party, went through the politician’s equivalent of writer’s block during an interview on LBC Radio to launch the party’s election campaign. The launch was a total disaster. Several party members described it as a “car crash interview”.
Ms. Bennett seemed completely unable to answer the most basic questions about key policies.
When the interviewer asked questions, most of Ms. Bennet’s answers consisted of giant lakes of total silence interrupted by mumbles and fumbles, much like Christopher Lloyd in the early 80s comedy series Taxi. (You can hear the interview at the end of this article.)
When questioned by the wily and experienced presenter Nick Ferrari on the Green’s proposal for building half-a-million social rental homes, Ms. Bennet said it would be financed by removing tax relief on mortgage interest for private landlords.
Ms. Bennett said she had a “mind blank” and was nursing a bad cold during the interview. (Image: nataliebennett.co.uk/)
However, when pushed on the subject, especially regarding how much money that would raise, she appeared totally at a loss and answered with “erms” and “ahs” and “…that’s part of the whole costing…”
When Mr. Ferrari asked her about how much it would cost to build the homes, Ms. Bennett again responded reluctantly with what sounded like jibberish. “Right … well … that’s … erm .. you’ve got a total cost …. Erm …. That we’re … that will be spelt out in our manifesto …”
When Mr. Ferrari suggested she did not know the answer, she said “No … well … err …”
The stalling became painful for the listener. It must have been devastating for her and members of her party.
A mind blank
At a press conference officially launching the Green Party’s election campaign, Ms. Bennet was asked by reporters whether she felt she had let her party down with the interview.
Event chairperson, Baroness Jones, tried to intervene and said “She is not going to answer that, OK?”
However, Ms. Bennett, who was nursing a bad cold, thanked the peer for her “kind attempt to protect me,” and continued “It was absolutely excruciating in the studio. All I can say is occasionally one just has a mind blank, that happens.”
Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror commentator tweeted: “Greens should abandon TV debates after this @natalieben solar collapse.”
This is not the first time Ms. Bennett has botched an interview. When taken to task by Andrew Neil of the BBC in January over how the Green Party would pay for their policy to provide a Citizen’s Income, things did not go very well.
Later in the day, Ms. Bennett told BBC 2’s Daily Politics “I had a very bad interview on housing this morning. I’m very happy to confess that and I’m very sorry to the Green Party members who I didn’t do a good job, any kind of job of presenting our policies on.”
“That happens, I’m human. One can have a mental brain fade on these things.”
If a session with Mr. Ferrari wiped her mind clean, one wonders what the effect might be if the Greens won the general election and she had to face a weekly grilling at Prime Minister’s Question Time.
Sky Video – Natalie Bennett’s Car Crash Interview