Good morrow lemmings and welcome to a sad, sad edition of Questionable Time, direct from bright and sunny Bolton. By which I mean the Questionable Time that time forgot. You may not have noticed, but there’s actually been things called ‘debates’ going on, although the first one wasn’t really a debate, and – but I digress.
I must confess I actually forgot about Question Time’s existence for a while, hence why I’m late today, so caught up was I in Ed Miliband half-threatening to punch Jeremy Paxman in the face and claiming that, yes, he’s tuff enuff. I didn’t know it was possible to cringe and cheer at the same time, you’d think those would be opposite sides of the emotional spectrum, but Ed has shown me the way and now I feel a far broader range of human emotion than I ever did before.
Anyhow, this ought to be a short, perfunctory round-up, as will the dead-duck QTs for the next few weeks: but soon, friends. Soon. Something is coming. Something…relevant.
I’m late, I’m late, for a very important debate
Sure enough, even our first question is about – what a surprise! – the debates. This time – indeed, for the hundredth time – debating whether the debates should be debated. I mean, are worth it. Well, considering that 2.5 million people tuned in to the first double interview…don’t worry, Dimbles. Your time will come. In about a month, I’d say.
Anyway, everyone in the studio has apparently been watching the showdown and most likely eating pizza and yelling, as I did. Seems like because expectations for Miliband were so low, people were just impressed that he didn’t vomit on stage. Every little victory counts.
In any case, a somehow even less popular Labour leader shows up to annoy us all: Jim Murphy. The first real grilling comes quickly – are you going to spend all the mansion tax in Scotland? People are chuckling at whatever the hell he says, which may annoy that one lady who wants people to take the whole debates affair seriously, but I think everyone’s been at the bar at least once by now.
Janet Street-Porter warns about ‘attractive’ Clegg and the Cleggmania effect happening again. Don’t get burned again, people! Not like last time! She also complains about political cliches, which is in itself a cliche. Clicheception! Then a young man in the audience interrupts to show us all his many feelings on Ed Miliband getting bullied. ;______; The dude thinks that Ed should just act ‘the way he is’, although the problem is that many people want him to do the exact opposite. Still, at least he’s got some support!
He’s right to be bullied, warns Nicky Morgan, the Gove replacement that was presumably built in a lab somewhere. Labour’s dirty money is going to come from “people’s pockets”, warns she. Um, Nicky, isn’t there where all tax comes from? Meanwhile Leanne Wood goes straight in about Cameron fumbling on foodbanks, but also states that despite his protestations Ed still isn’t tuff enuff.
Steven Woolfe, the UKIP finance spokesperson, has such a monotonous voice that he’s threatening to even eclipse the rest of the panel (save Janet and Leanne) in the robot stakes, but he soldiers on to claim that it is the humble UKIP that will defeat the dreaded zero-hours contracts. Of course. They put it so highly on their list of top priorities. When people think UKIP, they think zero-hours contracts. They’re almost a single-issue party!
Jim Murphy also soldiers on, trying to give a name to every single member of the audience. Jim, please, it was awkward when Ed did it and it’s even worse with you. At least he’s not up in Scotland, where the more frightening crowd would no doubt have given him some choice examples. He goes for the predictable, but always hilarious, line of attack that Cameron was simply too chicken to face Miliband. Chick-chick-chicken. Bawk bawk bawk.
Nicky is outraged, her voice squeaking. How dare you call delicious Dave a chicken! Roasted in a thick wine sauce! Mmmm…Tory sauce. (I apologise for any brains broken during this QT edition.)
Kiss kiss fall in love
Next question, and we’re actually getting serious now, on where ~*~the money~*~ is coming from. Both the Tories and Labour have ruled out VAT and National Insurance increases. Will it come from further cuts in welfare? There’s only one way to find out…
“No,” says Jim Murphy.
JSP is here to generally rile people up, as usual. She thinks politicians saying that they’re going to cut benefits would be popular, thanks to the mean old media drumming it into people’s heads all the time. As a Media Studies student, I nod sagely, safe in the knowledge that my analysis of cultural hegemony is useful and accessible.
Leanne Wood is here too, of course. According to Dimbleby, she’s representing the SNP as well as Plaid Cymru, and that “you and Alex Salmond are like that” (with appropriate hand gestures). Leanne smiles broadly. Honestly, I ship it. (Look it up if you’re not sad, but want to swiftly become sad.)
We want austerity to burn, says Leanne, and if Plaid Cymru were running the campaign then everything would be better somehow. Well, what about this happiness index!! says JSP, getting hectic. While that’s all going on the UKIP dude continues to be disappointingly uneventful. It almost makes you miss Nigel Farage. At least you’ve always got…something…to say about him.
On the subject of coalitions/pacts, which inevitably comes up for no reason, Jim tries to emulate his boss by coming out fighting. Alex Salmond likes the sound of his own voice and is a poopyhead, says Jim, who probably is sick of the sight of the Saltire by now. Is that the Alex Salmond you recognise?, says Dimbleby slyly to Leanne. David, please, you make it sound like they’re married! Although…
JSP goes after Leanne again. Does she just not like her or what? It bothers people, these deals, she begins, before Nicky Morgan leaps in with some much-appreciated input of her own. Mainly about how she respects David ‘breaking the’ Laws and how coalition was hunky dory. When asked if she’d like another coalition, though, she frantically backtracks to great comic effect. She’d like a majority, duh, you guys! Whew, just avoided ‘doing a Pym’ there, Nicky.
If you say ‘Peter Mandelson’ three times facing a mirror at night, you wake up the rest of the house
Last(ish) question. Why is Ol’ Nigey Boy castigated for saying English jobs for English workers, when Greg Dyke said something similar about football at some point? Good one, Greg! You increasingly irrelevant man.
Leanne stops momentum to gush about trade unions for a bit. UKIP Steve takes to the stand instead. UKIP has nothing against immigrants, says Steve. When Gordon Brown said something similar back in the Noughties everyone loved him. Uh, no they didn’t, Steve. I’m fairly sure Gordon was hated 100% of the time. But apparently Nigel is being discriminated against. Steve talks constantly for about five minutes and to his credit sounds reasonably reasonable but I got distracted thinking about what would happen if Ed Miliband and David Cameron got in a punch-up.
Nicky reminds us of the existence of Peter Mandelson and we all cry. Screw Peter Mandelson, I’m proud people are coming here, replies Jim, or words to that effect. Everybody get in here! Get in the paddling pool! There’s room for everyone! Woo, getting a little crowded in there…says Steven while pointing and yelling in a low drone. (Don’t mention the British ex-pats!)
Someone from the crowd lowers the tone yet again. There’s too much positive discrimination, appaz. Whatever happened to getting a job on merit…says the white man. Thank you for your contribution. I shall now proceed to get trolled by angry white men on the Internet.
Finally: Jezza Clarkson. Should he have gone? Could he have got away with it if he’d only slapped, not punched?
To summarise, since I seem to be doing that a lot with the final ‘jokey’ question: Leanne brings up trade unions again, JSP throws a hissy fit again (this time about snobby BBC execs), Jim throws in a Hislop-esque ‘allegedly’ in there not again, and lastly, some guy in the audience asks for everyone to stop talking about this godforsaken topic.
Time for the scores!
(Run off the) Rails
(Trying not to think about Scottish Labour being a bunch of) #Fails (, lolololol)
(Did it for) Wales
(Why isn’t Nigel here to) Bail[s] (him out)
(What) Ails (you, Janet?)
The Crowd: 8/10
(Wants the) Details
Next time: who even knows?
Next week Lemmings, next week…