All bar the last five minutes was devoted to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
The Labour and Tory panelists were marginal to the debate. The Tory suit got slapped early on, over the government's prevarication on holding an inquiry, and then shut up for the rest of the night, barely making eye contact, and only speaking to criticise the Labour guy on grounds of hypocrisy. The weasly Labourite initially thought he could join in as one of the jury, but was quickly dragged back to the dock beside the Tory, and so he faded from the debate as well.
This left us with Hugh Grant, Shirley Williams and John Gaunt.
Hugh Grant was very sharp, and unlike the usual celeb on QT, had many informed and rational points to make. Where he stumbled, in my view, was in calling for regulations on the tabloid press, which would I think threaten press freedom. John Gaunt served admirably as the populist, standing up for a free press for the right reasons, and even Shirley Williams came across well, whereas usually she annoys the hell out of me.
Then, with five minutes on the clock came a change of subject and a question on the awarding of the train-building contract to a German company and the loss of jobs at Bombardier.
John Gaunt got in a call for us to leave the EU, Shirley gave a defence of free trade (wow, a classical liberal position!) and Hugh, after saying he believed that the benefits of EU membership probably outweighed the losses, made an incredible statement about the nation losing its morale and losing its identity and needing it back. This wasn't incredible in itself, so much as who said it. Could it really be that the educated, 'liberal' middle classes who Hugh seems to personify, are finally grasping the existential problem with the EU? We can but hope.
Other things to note: when the vast influence of the BBC was mentioned once and briefly, there was a slightly embarrassed shuffling of feet, and then we moved on. The role of the police was discussed, but there seemed a slightly simplified understanding of how the media and the establishment, including the state, inter-relate.
I'll come back to this later, I need to step back and clarify my thinking on some of the issues.