"I Felt Like I Was on Jeremy Kyle" - How Should I Vote? The EU Debate (Behind the Scenes)

31/05/2016 16:15 | Updated 31 May 2016

This post is coming from the heart. No political ulterior motives, it's just how I feel.

I was in the audience of the first EU live debate with Victoria Derbyshire on BBC One in Glasgow. When I got home, I felt a mixture of emotions. I was happy to have met some great people, who I had some awesome discussions with before and after the show. But I was sad that our views didn't get truly represented.

We all took a lot of time out to travel to Glasgow. Coming from Exeter, I took a flight up there. I won't deny that the BBC did a stellar job with the organisation - my journey up was smooth, the hotel was great, and those of us who had travelled a long way (450 miles!) were given money for our evening meals. But my overall impression of the show is reflected most accurately in a comment that was made in my mini bus back to the airport on Friday morning: "They've turned political debate into soap opera".

I know that all of the young people in the room, myself included, were excited to have an intelligent debate about a hugely important decision. We wanted to come away from the debate satisfied, happy and more informed. Instead, one guy on my bus to Glasgow airport said: "I woke up this morning feeling angry, used and let down."

That's because the debate on TV made a lot of people look a certain way. One girl who was prominently featured was staying in my hotel. Myself and a friend saw her in the morning. She was shaking slightly. "I really hope this blows over soon, I'm all over the news. I didn't mean to sound so vicious or have a fight with anyone live on air, myself and the other person apologised afterwards."

On the show, we came across as biased. Placed into the show with our minds made up and ready to slam anyone who disagreed with us. All too happy to argue with each other on set like we were in an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show. When, actually, behind the scenes, nothing could be further from the truth.

A group of us went to the pub afterwards. It had been a long day, and we wanted a drink. When we all got talking, we found that great, polite, intelligent debate was had. As an afterthought, the question: "What side are you on?" was sometimes asked. When someone found out they'd been talking with a person who shared the opposite political views on the EU referendum or in general, they verbally - or literally - shrugged their shoulders. It wasn't always obvious, because the debate was so polite. We certainly didn't start having the tit-for-tat, shouted arguments across the room that were televised.

I actually wish there'd been a camera on us in the pub last night. In the hotel when we all discussed how let down we felt over breakfast. On the buses to the airport. Because I bet mine wasn't the only one where people from across the board, as far as their EU vote goes, were bonding over how upset they felt that their time had been wasted. How they wished their questions had been put forward so their side could be better represented. One girl said: "I wish those of us who watched the debate last night could see us now." We all agreed with her.

Here are some of the quotes I picked up from people from all sides of the political debate over the course of my short stint in Glasgow. They reflect how I know a lot of us feel.

"The whole thing was manufactured from the start."

"We've had much better debate amongst ourselves."

"I feel you all had much more credible questions than me."

"We should have discussed it without politicians. A lot more ground would have been covered."

"I felt like I was on an episode of Jeremy Kyle."

It's not in my nature to be negative about experiences. I'm not trying to be, either. All I'm doing is explaining how it made me - and a lot of other people - feel. What we have taken from this experience is new friendships. It was fantastic to be in the same room as some cutting edge debate with truly intelligent and informed people.

It's just a shame that room wasn't the one that got televised live on BBC One.


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