Despite old music hall jokes, my late mother in law was a lovely lady. She had mastered the art of not answering the question. Any attempt to find out the cost of anything was met by the phrase “money and fair words”. When her son wanted to know what time the evening meal was going to be served her reply was always. “It will be ready when it is ready”. Wanting to organise his teenage social life caused her son much annoyance. 

If you care to watch political interviews you will probably get just as annoyed as me. The Sunday interview by Laura Kuenssberg of the Prime Minister got me so frustrated that I had to switch off the television.  There is clear documented evidence from No 10 Downing Street that when the Prime Minister was Chancellor he was not a supporter of the Rwanda Scheme. His response to questioning was to claim that he had not seen the documents. That they exist is beyond dispute. That they are accurate is also true. Under pressure to answer the question he said he had to ask difficult questions to justify the expenditure of taxpayers’ money. Much of his replies were to talk about an arrangement with Albania. He claimed that it was the same as the Rwanda scheme. He knows this is not the case. More than once Kuenssberg asked him to answer the question but each time he repeated a well-rehearsed mantra about Albania. When asked about article 39 he again avoided a direct answer. 

He is not alone in not answering the question. The Home Secretary was asked about the backlog of asylum seekers claims. He said the backlog had been cleared. When challenged about this claim he ducked and dived. 17,000 have gone missing and 4,500 are still in the system. This does not include the 100,000 now in the system since last summer. Instead of giving the true answer he decided to put a positive spin on the situation giving a totally false impression of the reality of the asylum position. 

Politicians arrive for media briefings with a pre-planned agenda and just repeat their prepared answers. The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary are not alone in ducking questions. Pulling the plug mid-interview might shake up politicians to realise that we will no longer put up with smokescreen tactics.

The biggest question of the day must be the scandal surrounding the treatment of subpostmasters. It is tragic that they have not had proper answers to their legitimate questions. It has taken a television programme to finally get any action. 

The Post Office and the Government have failed these people in a most disgraceful way.  We are in an election year. The electorate has the right to expect those that wish to represent us to give straight answers to questions. It is fine to avoid giving a straight answer to a young child asking about where Father Christmas lives and if he will come down the chimney on Christmas Eve. 

The electorate expects much more clarity about key questions. Will the economy improve? Will the government really speed up compensation for postal workers that is at a proper level?  Will the government really meet its climate change obligations? Why are flood defences so poor? When will the NHS function effectively? The list of vital questions is endless. Is it too much to ask “Just answer the question”.