Questionable Time #121


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Good morrow lemmings and welcome to a saucy edition of Questionable Time, now with extra sauce. Apologies for the horrible lateness, but I have a stomach ache (possibly due to ingesting all that sauce) and my motivation for analysing this very D-list edition was not exactly stratospheric. I mean, Dimbleby doesn’t even have an interesting tie on. That’s not a good sign. Let’s trudge on, shall we?

Girls just wanna have fun

Dimbles begins with an unexpected load of feminism, praising Question Time for its increased percentage of female panellists. Good work, QT. This isn’t Mock the Week. Women should have the same right to be equal parts boring and inane just like the boys. Then we go on to a question about Page Three. Ah, society!

Esther McVey goes out of her way (there’s endless limerick potential there) to point out how dated the feature is. There’s a-clamourin’ for a new style of Page Three, you see, filled with pictures of Simone de Beauvoir. At least there is in the fantasy kingdom ruled by myself. Paul Nuttall, Nigel Farage’s right-hand slaphead, looks piteously at the silly wimmins getting in a fuss over nothing and mansplains that there are more important things to be concerned about, e.g. FGM, because apparently feminist activism can only focus on one thing at a time. Diane Abbott, meanwhile, says that she is concerned as a parent about the example it sets, and Amoj Rajan, the Independent guy, plugs the Independent. This is getting off to a good start.

It’s ~*~cool~*~ that feminists came up with a hashtag, warbles Amol, wearing his cool sparkly earring and using words that the older half the audience probably don’t even recognise. Tim Farron, your next Lib Dem leader, says that Page Three was never cool and that everyone hates it, but sadly there’s nothing they can do about it because #jesuisjordan.

Well, that was pointless. Diane ‘n’ Paul predictable argument count: #1.

Ruff ‘n’ tuff choices

Next up, Chicken Cottage. I mean Chilcot. The inquiry. Yeah. I’m not hungry or anything.

There’s a lot of knowing looks about ‘Mr Blair’ and ‘Mr Straw’ which sounds like they’re gangsters in fedoras with machine guns working for Big G Bush or something. I hope those are the exact words of the inquiry whenever it finally gets published. Also, can we please not make the phrase ‘sexed down’ a thing? Thanks.

JUST PUBLISH IT, Amol half-yells to no avail. Diane is in her element, gleefully dissing Tony Blair and his civil servants. Paul too, funnily enough. Maybe they’ve finally made up and are about to kiss.

Oops, wait, the next question is on Ol’ Nige’s comments about the NHS (they just keep on comin’!). So I guess not! His deputy thus sombrely steps up to the pulpit. Apparently, the NHS is too large. Large and in charge. The only solution is to kick it about a bit. I mean – have a mature discussion. Involving UKIP, and large private companies. Large. I just like typing the word large.

Diane is Not In Favour, of course, and says so although in many more words. Dimbleby is constantly trying to get her to shut up, but Diane will not be silenced. Diane ‘n’ Paul predictable argument count: #2.

Apart from that, however, this particular NHS debate is dull. Maybe it’s just the medication talking but I was tuning out – which I usually don’t do when it comes to NHS debates. However, there’s only so many times you can look at Esther McVey’s boring face and boring voice and boring words and hear the words “tough choices” before you start to nod off. Get Jeremy Hunt and Andy Burnham on the programme and have them duke it out, possibly Gladiators-style with big foam spears and obstacle courses. I’d pay good money to see that.

By the way – uh, Tim, social care is in a state because you, um. Cut it. Oopsie.

Snerps

Our final question is on the SNP. There isn’t an SNP representative here. That seems a bit unfair, like when the popular girls in your school get together to giggle about you behind your back. Or is that just me?

Anyway, Nuttall goes the heck in.

“THEY’RE TAKING YOUR TAX!” he bellows, pointing out all the cool stuff they have and all the nasty stuff they don’t have while we, the poor, beleaguered English, suffer in silence with nary a badly-designed modern parliament of our own. This is some top scaremongering. Like the SNP are a race of bloodthisty beetledemons from space.

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I for one welcome our new Scottish overlords, although that is mainly because I am a little terrified of the so-called ‘CyberNats’ massing upon my ass and tearing me a new one. Digitally. A digital new ass.

Thankfully, Tim Farron is here to calm the tensions between the nations. He wuvs Scotland. He will hold it close, to his breast, and never let it go. Never. (Finally: Diane ‘n’ Paul predictable argument count: #3. We did it! We climbed this whole mountain.)

Time for the scores!

McVey: 4/10

Drone(d on)

Abbott: 6/10

(Had a good old) Moan

Nuttall: 6/10

(In the) Zone

Farron: 6/10

(That bird has) Flown

Rajan: 5/10

(I want to eat a) Scone

The Crowd: 7/10

(Had a) Bone (to pick)

Wrexham next time. Hopefully for our panellists, it WRECKS ‘em. Dohoho!

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #120


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Good morrow lemmings and…you know what, I’m not even going to try this time. We know what’s coming. We know the drill. We know what’s been squawked and squealed about on Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, all the dank fetid corners of the internet. It is merely my job to further poke the weeping scab of depravity until it oozes more putrid, pestilent pus and gets the nice rug all dirty. That’s right…it must be a David Starkey edition of Question Time.

Ahmed, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes

The first question is on free speech, and thus everyone gears up to do some free-speechifyin’. Mehdi Hasan begins by solemnly pointing out the true meaning of Islam and seamlessly leads in to a string of fart jokes. Incredible. There should be more discussions about farting on Question Time, instead of the verbal farts that are usually uncontrollably spilled from panellists’ mouths.

Unfortunately David Starkey then jumps in, and Dimbles has to intervene to prevent a punch-up from starting. Alright then, what does Starkey apparently have an urgent need to say? Let’s at least give him a chance, shall we? Okay, I’m not a big fan of using the term ‘primitive’, but then he seems to have calmed down…talks about how feeling strongly about something doesn’t necessarily protect you from criticism…okay David, nothing’s gone tits-up so f- OH HE’S JUST BLOWN IT! You can literally feel the ‘I’m sorry, WHAT did he say?’ ripple through the studio as he refers to Mehdi by the name…Ahmed. Because, like, all brown people are named Ahmed. Ahmed A. Ahmed of Ahmedson, Ahmedland. Listening in, Anna Soubry vibrates her muzzle back and forth like a soggy basset hound.

Yes, that perennial Questionable Time favourite, Chortles – aka the Conservative Anna Soubry MP – so named for her jolly hockey sticks manner (she was gurning before the questions even began!) has jumped into the fray. She barely gets five words in before David Starkey interrupts her again. “Isn’t that free speech? Allowing somebody else to have a point of view?” she quibbles, but Starkey is undeterred. He’s on a roll now, and will interrupt as many women as possible throughout his reign of terror. #jesuisahmed, goes the joke that by now everyone else has already made.

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Douglas ‘interesting’ Alexander hasn’t talked yet, thankfully, because he always puts me straight to slZzZzZz. He too disses Starkey in the most monotone mumble he can muster. Meanwhile, Baroness Sal Brinton (who I’ve never heard of up to this point), wearing a cool Liberal Democrat phoenix glittery brooch, recites that Voltaire quote which approximately one million people on the internet who know absolutely nothing else about Voltaire have already slapped across a Twitter status. What a groundbreaking discussion. Let’s move on.

Snoopers’ poopers

Here we have the obligatory Lib Dem civil liberties blubbering, because this is an important issue to them! You know, despite the whole support for the Lobbying Act and secret courts thing. There’s a warning against the tracking of web browsing history, which I can sympathise with as you probably don’t want to look at mine. A million sweaty nerds would probably turn out in protest against this prospective law, if they can manage to tear themselves away from their tentacle hentai.

Chortles isn’t chortling any more. One is sadly reminded that she’s a Tory after all, despite her ‘having time’ for the Lib Dem coffee-making drones in the government. Douglas says that this is an issue that is “far, far too serious” to be discussed on Question Time. Oh, sorry, he means bickered over in the coalition. But the first one is clearly what he really means.

Mehdi points out that our much-lauded right to ‘freedom of expression’ is actually being kicked in the bum. How does the state accessing ‘your most private emails’ help anyway, says he? Ooh, ‘most private emails’…tell me more, Mehdi. At the same time, Starkey says that “essential human goodness” is bull. Mehdi points out that is true due to the mere existence of David Starkey. This is turning into ‘laugh at Starkey’ show and it’s brilliant. If one can ignore the racism, sexism and general arseholery going on, then the entire experience becomes hilariously ridiculous. Hasan and Starkey sniping at each other will never cease to amuse. At least it won’t to me, but I am easily amused.

The next question is on the claim a judge made that a 16-year-old girl ‘groomed’ a 44-year-old man into having an affair with her. This is obviously a serious subject, and rightly most of the panellists condemn the judge’s remarks. Indeed, as pointed out, Anna and Douglas even used to be lawyers, so they do have experience of this kind of thing, maybe we should listen to th- NOPE DAVID STARKEY WANTS TO PLAY. He is as offensive as you can imagine. Can I use my freedom of speech to tell him to shut up and stop claiming that the girl seduced a pathetic dude who should have known better?

It’s about the abuse of power, Anna Soubry explains, as if to a particularly dense child.
“SHUT UP”, yells Starkey (really!). Soubry looks genuinely shocked that anyone could be such a bellend. As he blathers on about ‘sexually mature’ 13-year-olds, Soubry groans and moans in possibly physical pain. “Oh no…” she mumbles, “ohhhh noooo.”

Same here, Chortles. Same here.

Daffy deficit

Finally, next up is…the deficit. A dull and generic discussion compared to the exciting scenes that came before. Douglas is predictably soporific. “Thirteen years!” says Anna. I’m so bored of these endless back-and-forths that I can’t wait for the slightly different generic arguments that will come about after the election, whatever the result may be. Just think of the new, exciting buzzwords and catchphrases! Endless possibilities!

“We’ve got to start choosing,” says Starkey. I choose a world without David Starkey. Will that save us money?

We end with Chortles calling Mehdi a naughty boy, which I must confess I was slightly freaked out by.

Time for the scores!

Soubry: 7/10

(Will probably get a) Promotion

Alexander: 4/10

(Showed no) Emotion

Brinton: 5/10

(Going through the) Motions

Hasan: 7/10

(My) potions (are too strong for you, traveller)

Starkey: 3/10, 10/10 for sheer hilarity

Caused a (commotion)

The Crowd: 6/10

(Do the) Locomotion

Next time, Paul ‘get some nuts’ Nuttall. Who’s been hankering after ol’ Nige’s job, apparently. Bow down to your future king.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #119


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Good morrow lemmings and welcome back to Questionable Time! Now that we’ve all finished our annual Christmas bloat, I’m sure you’re practically dying to work off those pounds by angrily sweating out a storm while watching a ridiculous political panel show. I know I am! Sure, this may not have been the most classic episode in the world – but as the beleagured Tesco slogan goes, every little helps.

Free speech, £4 a barrel

New year, same story: after Dimbles predictably advertises the Twittersphere – yet still, no matter how many times he does it, with the look of a man who knows absolutely nothing about what he is blabbering about – we begin our humble harrumphathon. Unfortunately, due to the recent tragic events in Paris, the first question is a rightly sombre affair. This makes my job harder since there’s less to take the piss out of aside from tallying to see which panellist can be the most self-important about free speech. (Liz Kendall looks disappointed. She must have eagerly agreed to appear this week, perhaps with a cheery ‘Boy howdy! Gadzooks!’, thinking she could do a little dance about A&E statistics and leave. Now, however, she’s got to contend with Julia Hartley-Brewer threatening to get the whole show bombed by throwing Mohammad cartoon confetti everywhere. Pray for Liz. Pray for her.)

David Davis answers sensibly, quietly arguing that unforgivable acts of terror should not be used as an excuse for tighter controls on civil liberties. Then Julia kicks the door down and screeches that were she not peeing herself at the prospect of getting killed, she’d wear a comfy Mohammad t-shirt just to rub everyone’s noses in what a upstanding and fair-minded citizen she is. Julia, perhaps that would be a bad idea, not even because it’s not actually a triumph of free speech, but because it’s a dickbag thing to do. No you shouldn’t be killed for it, but you should probably be tutted at. Freedom to tut, that’s all I’m arguing for here. Less guns, more grumbling.

Meanwhile, Vince Cable also sensibly points out how it’s unfair to tar Muslims with the same brush when no white people were urged to apologise for the actions of neo-Nazis such as Breivik in Norway, and Liz herself – looking resplendent in taramasalata pink – drones out something boring. Jimmy Wales is just there to ask for a donation. Alles ist gut.

Empty chairs at empty tables

Next up, is David Cameron a chicken? A big old chicky-chicky-chick-chick? Buh-gawk! Buh-gawk! This is some intense and mature debate going on here. Even Jimmy Wales suddenly turned into a Sassmaster, accusing Cammers of being a closet Green, what with his newfound love for them. David Davis rubs his hands with glee at a chance to ‘ave a go at his fiercest enemy. Him, bitter? Nah, surely not.

Then everyone laughs at person who says that Dave merely wants the Greens there to show how fair he is. They guffaw at him. They howl at him. They chortle themselves to death. ANNIHILATED.

Apparently, Nick Clegg has called on his ex-BF to stop making excuses and get out there and slap him across the chops (harder, Dave, harder!). Vince blushes and shifts uncomfortably. I frickin’ hate Clegg, he no doubt thinks. Him and his demotions.

We end this round with audience calls for a no-holds-barred knockout competition between the small parties to see who can take their place amongst the big boys and give them the finger. Or they could just take part in a Super Smash Bros tournament, it would likely have the same outcome.

Sadly we then go from silly to serious, as the next question is on Ched ‘scumbag’ Evans. Liz Kendall doesn’t hold back in telling us how gross she thinks he is, and Julia responds by being even grosser. She’s a better judge of a rape case than a jury, don’tchaknow. I mean, that woman was ~drunk~. She can’t be taken ~seriously~. Not by ~media types~ like ~her~. Liz responds by glaring in a frightening way, threatening to vaporise all in her path with her furious stare.

Julia seems alone in this fight, though, as even David Davis thinks ol’ Cheddy should feck off. Jimmy Wales, likewise, is not really that bovvered if he can’t get a job. However, Kendall Mint Cake is getting annoyed with a blue-haired woman (another one?!) who has been yelling for the majority of the programme. Careful, blue-haired woman, or Liz will come down to your local Sainsbury’s and deliver Ched Evans there herself.

Fig. 1

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Ayyyy and E

After some more shouting, the next question is about, finally, A&E. Time to put on some Goldfrapp!

Alas – we only have five minutes to discuss this important topic, a topic that dominated the headlines before a group of laughable tossers decided it would be fun in a bun to brutally murder some cartoonists. So in summary: Vince defends things, Jimmy the King of Wiki calls for calm, Liz-who-looks-a-bit-like-Rachel-Reeves-but-isn’t ignores this and goes in fightin’, and David Davis escalates the punch up. Dimbleby, in despair, finally pulls the plug.

Time for the scores!

Cable: 6/10

(Sitting in a pool of) Stagnation

Kendall: 6/10

(A&E) Fixation

Davis: 8/10

(Question number one’s) Salvation

Hartley-Brewer: 4/10

(Her head soon succumbed to) Inflation

Wales: 5/10

Citation (needed)

The Crowd: 6/10

(Let out their) Frustration

Next time: CHORTLES AND STARKEY. I need say no more.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #118


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Good morrow lemmings and a very merry Dimblemas to you all! We’re in Canterbury for this edition, and lemme tell ya, it’s a real doozy. What even is a doozy. I don’t know. This is merely the first bout of confusion and distress you are no doubt about to experience in this week’s razzmatazz rendition of Questionable Time. Onwards!

There are actually more women on this panel than men, but who cares about that! It’s time to let the chaps speak for once. Where would we be without them

First up is a question about petty adversarialism. It is somewhat predictably answered by…petty adversarialism? Actually, no, for these are the five minutes at the beginning where everyone pretends to be ‘mature’ and ‘diplomatic’ before inevitably descending into the standard shit-slinging that goes on every week. When will they learn? At this point panellists shouldn’t even try to fight it, but should get their shit in early.

Panellist number one is Niggle Farridge. This is a man who needs no introduction, so I won’t give him one. He looks like the hhhehehe lizard of some internet repute. He also mentions that he experienced twenty years in business, which he no doubt spent most of heheheing. With, like, a cigar…and a pint…or whatever…yeah. Quality satire!

Panellist number deux is Russelly Wusselly. He has the wild hair and eyes of a discombobulated lion being poked in an illegal zoo. He calls ARE NIGE a ‘dude’ and then a ‘fella’ while bemoaning the state of absolutely everything. He gets a little too carried away about, oh…[checks watch] seven minutes in and Mary Creagheyyeyaaeyaaaeyaeyaa has to smack him down to remind him not to call women he doesn’t know ‘love’. Russell apologises. He is working on it. He tearfully tears away a page in his calender – it now reads ‘there have been 0 days since your last mildly sexist incident’. Tragic. And he was on such a winning streak.

Penny Mordaunt is also here. I have no idea why. She was plonked on immediately after her truth-or-dare swearing in Parliament fiasco, where she made copious references to a rooster, as I seem to recall. Apart from this COCKsure upstart (look ma, I can demean democracy too!) we also are in the presence of Camilla Cavendish, Times columnist, who will be performing the role of ‘obligatory even-handed journalist type’ for the duration of tonight’s programme. Riveting!

Speaking of swearing, Nigel waxes lyrical about Australia – not just their immigration policies but the way they all flip each other off in the chamber. Meanwhile, in contrast, Penny continues to be boring. ‘There are many great debates in Parliament’, she says, or something like that. I don’t remember. Probably not any of the ones she was in. Unless she started going on about poultry again.

I think it was here my troubles began

The next question is when people clearly started to hallucinate due to the spiked QT sandwiches. It’s about overcrowding – Nigel agrees that we are far too full, like post-Christmas dinner bloat, and it’s for that reason he can’t get anywhere on the motorway.

Dimbleby turns his head. It is time for a response.

…Does anyone else have the sneaking suspicion that Russell Brand is not a great fan of Nigel Farage? There’s only one way to find out: FIIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHTTTT!

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While Russell declares Nigel to be the biggest meanest rotten old racist in the world, Nigel bites back by rolling his eyes – but not even with any particular malice, which is just rude, to be honest. At least give me some classic insults to work with here. Russell even comes out with an admittedly great line about Nigel being a ‘pound shop Enoch Powell’ which I predict will be all over Twitter graphics in the weeks ahead. He even reads a teeny tiny pre-prepared note, which is quite cute, and tries to get the other panellists to acknowledge some rather alarming statistics, which they of course all valiantly fail to do. Nigel even chortles and shakes his head along the way! OMG, rude! Look, I don’t care if you also think Russell is being rude, this is exactly the kind of petty adversarialism you all tutted about ten minutes ago. Somebody please take the moral high-ground, quick.

But apparently this was not to be. Two audience members almost get in an actual, real-life fight. A Kippery sort of gentleman rails against Russ – apparently in order to campaign for/against anything you have to actually get elected to Parliament first, so I guess we should all start working on our election pledges – before a woman in the back row goes for him. And I mean freakin’ goes for him.

‘ES A RACIST

‘ES NOT

I’M COMING FOR YOU FARAGE

What does it mean to truly live a life?

This woman is bafflingly not escorted out of the premises, but needless to say a great many Kipper Komplaints to the BBC were made tonight as well as many warm-throated drunken student cheers. Grievous Bodily Harm Woman is now a living legend in the making. I’m A Celebrity 2015 awaits.

Camilla calms us all down, and Mary mentions Labour balancing the books or whatever new wacky catchphrase they’re trying to force now. Nigel thinks Labour are a bunch of WEAK BABIES. Then GBH woman interrupts another person, who was going on about vetting and not the type that has kittens.

David Dimbleby is clutching his head in pain.

Where are the Lib Dems? Crying in a corner

Time for some NHS screeching! Hooray!

Mary mentions the Conservative and Lib Dem health bill – wait a minute, there aren’t any Lib Dems on the panel for her to point the finger at. Where are they, anyway? Well, someone had to get kicked in order to make room for Ye Blessed Nige. Sorry Libdibs, that’s life!

What is privatisation? We just don’t know. Dimbles repeats something the Lib Dems pulled out of their bums about a privatised hospital which still had an NHS bid in the running when Labour left office. I mean that’s not the greatest argument in the world, sure, but it is in fact an argument. This is something more than Camilla can do, who doubts that proper privatisation exists ever and that it’s not so bad even if it did. Even Nigel disagrees, what with his new MP posse voting for the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act in a recent debate ‘n’ all. The whole ‘looking at different systems’ thing was just an idle daydream he had one day. Like a homosexual fling at university, he’s over that shit now.

After Russell’s brief drift into becoming a werewolf earlier in the programme, he’s back to acting sensible again. He points out some more figures, which he’s becoming surprisingly adept at doing, about the 70-odd MPs who stand to gain from the privatisation that definitely isn’t happening. Penny reminds us all about how much she cares about a four letter word staring with c: care. An old man in the audience then raises the subject of NHS workers’ pay being crapola while MPs dance naked under golden champagne fountains. “I completely understand that,” says Penny, to general giggles.

Five minutes remain, which is apparently enough time to tackle the subject of grammar schools. Russell answers with something entertaining but off-topic, while the others try for boring but on-topic. Nigel of course is in favour of bringing grammars back, because they are apparently completely classless and 100% meritocratic. Heckus yeckus.

Meanwhile: Penny sends us back to sleep, Camilla demonstrates middle-of-the-roadism to an almost unbelievable degree, and Mary is basically your sensible aunt trying to soothe the array of crying children back into watching Frozen for the 357th time. The usual holiday cheer.

Then it ends.

Thank you. Thank you for ending.

(Immediately afterwards there’s an advert for a programme on drugs starring…Russell Brand. Looks interesting actually. More interesting than this programme.)

Time for the scores, and they’re a little special this week to celebrate the sheer ridiculousness of this episode and to prevent Nigel Farage’s fanboy fraternity from coming after me with torches and tweets.

Farage: Bathtub/10

(His party is no longer) Small

Mordaunt: Wombat/10

(Good at) Stall(ing with naughty words)

Creagh: Space Jam/10

(In for the long) Haul

Cavendish: π/10

(Has an unchallenging type of) Drawl

Brand: Heat death of the universe/10

(Gawd bless ‘im,) Y’all

The Crowd: 10/10

(All-out) Brawl

We’ll be back on the 8th January for some more Dimbletastic fun. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Season’s Bleatings from all of us here at Questionable Time! Do let us (that is to say, me) know what you thought of this first run under new management. If I suck, I’ll go and retire like Gordon Brown and make a mint on after-dinner speeches. It’s the honourable way.

Next year Lemmings, next year…

Questionable Time #117


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Good morrow lemmings and welcome to another splendiferous edition of Questionable Time, live from Doncaster! This, incidentally, is where Ye Greate Laboure Leadere Ed Miliband keeps his counsel and apparently was in danger of getting the boot but now isn’t, according to some Ashcroft dude you may have heard of. Whatever, I’m sure nobody actually cares. My goodness this was a boring episode, though, so I’ll just expand this little opening paragraph for as long as possible. Hm hm hm. Lalalala. Okay, that’s enough. We really should get started. Don’t worry, my friends – it won’t be like this next week [imagine foreboding music playing here].

The 1930s were like the 1920s only crappier and with the characters in Downton Abbey probably had to sell their house because of the recession. Tragic. Isis the dog didn’t die for this

Sajid Javid starts us off, with his weirdly disproportionate head, talking about ~*~the challenges~*~ of dealing with the deficit and how that happens to involve cuts, and you’re all just gonna have to get used to it, sry2say. I hope you like the 1930s ‘sack dress’ aesthetic! By the way, I can’t read his lapel pin. It looks like a pretty blue flower. Anyone with any insider info on what the heck it is, give me the deets.

Why don’t we ask the people where the cuts should or should not come from, says Omid Djalili. After all, we don’t trust folks who moo like they do in that there House. Having watched a great many PMQs in my time like a saddo, I can confirm that they do indeed moo a great deal. Just pad the benches with hay and they’ll be happy. Wait, do cows even eat hay?

Meanwhile, representing the red team, Yvette ‘pixie woman’ Cooper is up to bat. It’s strange, for the last few weeks we’ve had the most likely future Labour leadership candidates in quick succession: Burnham, Umunna and now Cooper. Feel free to debate amongst yourselves what their respective QT showings say about their chances, but for now let’s all concentrate on Yvette bellowing about the great unfairness of it all. So unfair! These cuts are just so unfair, mum, she cries, practically stamping her heel but in a much more boring way. We’ll balance the books…but…fairly. Sajid demands to know exactly how, but his interruption is interrupted by the arrival of Jill Kirby on the scene.

Looking like Theresa May’s older, even scarier sister, she makes a worryingly long diet-related metaphor and finishes it off with an order to ‘please clap’, which for a moment I thought was a frightening threat to the terrified audience. I can see how she was formerly head of a think tank set up by Maggie T.

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Shirl the Pearl, one of the QT old guard (I am thankful, at least, that there is a QT old guard still remaining, who can remember the glory days of Robin Day and whoever it was that came after him) umms and ahhs, and the general public are not satisfied by her or indeed any of this nonsense. Tell us exactly what’s going to happen, they cry in unison. Yvette rattles off some Labour policies and the panel scoffs at her, or at least Sajid and Jill do, and presumably high-five under the table afterwards. Jill wants us to be exactly like the blessed USA. ‘They have a much more balanced economy’, she gushes, conveniently forgetting that they also have barely any truly public services and certainly no proper health service. But maybe that’s the best way forward, eh?

It seems that direct democracy is the way2go, even if it would probably end up in a huge screaming mess. Everyone wants referendums! You get a referendum! I get a referendum! We all get referendums!!

The next question is on the British Identity: what is it? We just don’t know.

Isn’t it all about being a jolly nice chap? asks Yvette innocently. Dimbleby is also somewhat confused. He corners the man who asks the original question – about the name ‘Mohammad’ and how it is scary – in his own, Dimble-ish way that makes you pee yourself but very quietly. However, it is the audience who really answer this question, by taking part in many people’s favourite pastime of all: dissing the Daily Mail. Now that’s what I call British Identity!

Gordon Brown, texture like sun

Now here’s a question about (guess who?) nail-chewer supreme, Grumbly Gords. Jill Kirby blames Gordy for everything except keeping us out of the Euro. Thanks Obama Gordon. But – wait, what’s this? It’s Shirley Williams, riding to the rescue! She passionately defends the departing ex-PM which takes everyone a little aback for a moment. However, the Eggman/Sajid has the master plan, and he fights back, claiming that while Gordon was a smart dude ‘n’ all he was also a complete dingus. Yvette disagrees, obviously (although doesn’t praise Gordo to the high heavens or anything either – Labour know he’s a liability, deserved or not. Isn’t it sad, Gordon?).

Then everyone gets into an argument about zero-hours contracts. We’re abolishing them! No, we are! No, we are!! A zero-hours contract is better than no contract at all, says Jill, to general uproar, and a man in the audience yells ‘go back to London!’. So say we all.

Question Time must be stopped

Our final question of finalness is finally about obese people and whether we should care about them and their lives. Jill is not in favour (surprise surprise) and wants people to help/heft themselves. The rest of the panel shake their heads with varying degrees of ferocity.

Omid, who so far this programme has been the only source of non-boredom by actually cracking a few jokes (which I hear is something he does for a job, imagine that) is grotesquely offended! I am also offended. My roast potato addiction isn’t going to go away on its own, you know. It’s terminal. And slathered in gravy.

Dimbleby closes the programme with a bombshell, but first:

Time for the scores!

Javid: 5/10

Tumbled (down the hill with his big egg head)

Cooper: 5/10

Fumbled

Williams: 6/10

Rumbled (in a stern grandmotherly sort of way for you young people to not be so gloomy)

Kirby: 5/10

(Was not) Humbled

Djalili: 6/10

Jumbled (his jokes all together)

The Crowd: 7/10

Grumbled

Well folks, it’s Nigel Farage and Russell Brand next time round – ‘if we survive that’ according to Dimbledore. The two greatest minds of our generation. Merry Christmas one and all.

And, by the way, another plug: I’ve created an Ed Miliband Adventure Game in my spare time. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a comedic text-based adventure game starring Ed Miliband. Because that’s just the kind of thing I like to do. Go play it if you’re interested – which if you’re reading this blog, you should be.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #116


qt 116
Good morrow lemmings and welcome to sunny Romford-in-Essex! We’ve got a veritable cavalcade of weirdos on the panel today. Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it, strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.

“You gotta work bitch” – acclaimed scholar Britney Spears

Oh boy, oh boy, I wonder what new and interesting topics Question Time will cover this week? Plebgate? Ferguson protests? More Twitter storms that aren’t Thornberry-centric? No! It’s 25 uninterrupted minutes on immigration, because nobody’s talking about it and it’s a conversation we need to have, apparently! Nigel Farage’s ghostlike grimace floats over the panel, his laughter cascading off the walls and echoing into their very eardrums.

Chuka, you’re up. I am constantly baffled by this man. Once hailed as the great hope of the Red Team, everyone seems to have backed away from him slightly due to the fact that they’re a bit weirded out by the extent of his smooth, succulent silkiness. Chuka may well be the smoothest man who has ever lived. With his crisp dark grey suit, neatly preserved dark grey spotted tie, and World AIDS Day ribbon perfectly clasped on his lapel, he’s immaculately groomed and never puts a foot wrong, or indeed a word wrong – thus raising questions if he was actually bred in a lab somewhere, or created in Peter Mandelson’s sinister Machine for easy programming.

Anyway, Umunna Droid Version 2.0 talks nicey-nicely about higher education and doesn’t cause too much of a fuss. Tolerance! Respect! Fair play! Handsome Chuka will save us all, especially from rival leadership candidates Anime Andy and Pixie Yvette. Meanwhile, Michael Gove prissily clasps his hands together and peers over his glasses – perhaps seeking to unnerve Chuka, but you can’t unnerve a man who runs on pure undiluted smoothgroove.

Michael launches into his first attack. Immigrants come here because our economy is booming, which is good, but we need to control our borders anyway. Chuka raises a neatly crafted eyebrow. Suddenly he’s unceremoniously pushed offstage by Jo Brand, who asserts that certain areas of the press encourage scaremongering, looking pointedly at Amanda Platell, the Mail woman. Amanda isn’t taking that lying down, though – you gotta werk ‘ard, and don’t expect a meal ticket!! she declares, which only succeeds in making me feel hungry.

Our last panellist, Norman Baker, has a weird voice. He came to my university last week and got heckled by free education protestors. You’d think students would agree with him, though, considering he’s all pro-drug and pro-aliens and pro-David Duchovny. However, today, he’s disappointingly unweird. Boooo.

Well, things haven’t been too bad so far. Nobody’s shouted or screamed or cried, so maybe there is hope for QT after all -

The war of Tristram’s ear

I spoke too soon. We’ve all been drafted into the Class War without noticing. Oh, the humanity!

While a Daily Mail journalist criticising the ‘metropolitan elite’ is a bit of a larf, what was even more shocking in this episode was the behaviour of Michael Gove. Actually giving old loaf face the benefit of the doubt? Agreeing with some aspects of Labour policy? Quietly and unobnoxiously setting out his beliefs? Reader, I was shocked. Gove must know that he has the public image of a pile of dog vomit, so maybe he’s appeared on QT in order to tackle it. Bless our new Saint Gove, for he will lead is into a free school future of fun and frolics.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Hilariously, Jo Brand’s not havin’ any of that. Screw lovingly serenading public/private/whatever you wanna call them schools, THREATEN THEM UNTIL THEY CRY. Smooth Chuka tries to calm things down by hoping that one day state schools can be good enough that private schools are redundant =^w^= (that’s my attempt at a cute cat face). He doesn’t ask how, but maybe Jo Brand can be sent into battle to win this war.

Everything is awesome! Gove practically sings, echoing The Lego Movie. Dimbleby asks why he lost the support of teachers, then. Gove shrugs.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯, he says.

White vann diagram

There’s a big kerfuffle (although not too big, nobody here is swivel-eyed enough to start shrieking) about benefits and are they HIGHER or LOWER, ladies and gents? Everyone agrees that Something Must Be Done, or Has Been Done, but Does it Go Far Enough or should we Keep a Safety Net or just Drive This Bastard Off a Cliff. Then the next couple of questions are very quick, so I’ll just cover them in brief:

Facebook! Jo Brand and Amanda Platell have a passive-aggression-off! Should the website give a shit? Norman says this may be problematic! Gove and Umunna cry, no, YOU’RE problematic! Facebook continues to not give a shit.

White van man! QT almost completely missed this shitstorm from last week. Jo recounts a beautiful tale of pulling some sexist white ven men’s windscreen wipers off and has a go at Dimbleby. Jo’s practically aiming to become prime minister! Mr Smoothie looks uncomfortable and metropolitan. Daily Mail woman says something about UKIP representing the workers – and Ocado, which makes me even hungrier. Overall, I think people just need to understand that some white ven men are perfectly nice people, and some are complete dickheads. No need to lump ‘em all together like lumpy custard.

Finally, Norman says we need less career politicians, and presumably more conspiracy theorists. With that, let’s stop this nonsense.

Time for the scores!

Gove: 7/10

(Tried to) Restore (his reputation)

Umunna: 6/10

Wore (nice clothes)

Baker: 4/10

(A surprising) Bore

Platell: 5/10

(Warns against class) War

Brand: 7/10

(Unleashed a great) Roar

The Crowd: 6/10

(Found it a) Chore

Next week has obligatory Shirley Williams. Uh…yay?

Also, a plug 4 u: Ye Olde Webmaster, the former Glorious Leader of this blog, has a new t-shirt out! It’s cool and fresh and funky and I urge you to buy it, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #115


qt 115

Good morrow lemmings and today we’re in Boiminghem! But nobody will care by Friday because of the inevitable new UKIP MP tomorrow and the fact that a member of the shadow cabinet has resigned over a freakin’ tweet. We live in interesting times, my friends!

“UKIP more like POOKIP” – Nigel Farage’s liberal comedy conspiracy

We begin with a question about UKIP, I guess, except that it flies all over the place and by the end people are crying. I was crying. In fact I’m crying right now.

Putting Ken Clarke on QT this week was a stroke of genius, I must admit. Well done whatever person from Toryville thought that up. If you had picked some snicker-worthy IDS figure, for example, or Michael Gove (don’t worry! He’s next week!) then the Tories might as well have put their hands up and conceded the match to Yasmin and Andy, or to Douglas Carswell exchanging knowing looks with moustachioed men in the audience. As it happens Ken Clarke has an inherently sensible aura, and most people tend to like him at least a little. He’s Ye Olde Mastre. He’s been around the block a few times. He’s seen young turks come and go, and isn’t the least bit impressed by any of them.

Meanwhile, as slouchy Ken’s polar opposite, Andy Burnham runs on nothing more than unfiltered earnestness. He’s either smiling benignly or pouting at someone (in this case, generally Douglas). Last time he was on the panel he got an extremely easy ride because he was on his home turf, but this time he had to wibble and grin and emote until he practically exploded to get through the programme unscathed. He just about managed it, due to his sheer sincere outrage at anything and everything. He even swore! Andy will not be stopped. It doesn’t even matter what question he’s asked, he’ll answer with WHATEVER HE DAMN WELL LIKES. Which is mainly the NHS. Or Everton football club, but sadly that didn’t come up.

Also, I’m not just saying this because I think he’s cute. Don’t look at me like that! I’m not biased. (I am incredibly biased.) (Seriously.) (My mum heard who was on QT and immediately exclaimed “oh it’s your boyfriend!”. I am just that biased.)

And yes, he still looks like an anime character. Cue the pictorial evidence.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Anyway. Douglas Carswell waxes lyrical about the virtues of the Australian immigration system, but Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is baying for his blood. Maybe it’s due to her sitting next to him, but she would just not stop biting his leg like an enraged pitbull throughout the entire programme. When asked about Reckless’ repatriation rumble – no need to worry about it, Douglas, I suspect quite a few of your voters chirpily cheered his comments – he cited tiredness as an excuse, and then said something #sorandomlol about Europe. Ken, even now, slowly shakes his head, like a disappointed owl.

Our last panellist, Dia Chakrathingy, from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, is another UKIP representative apparently. She speaks at approximately 10,000 words per minute and constantly employs a mock-confused little girl voice. In fact, her tone of voice is probably the most annoying thing I’ve ever heard on television. It’s not even her opinions – but the way that she tuts and tilts her head and chatters on and on and fricklin’ fracklin’ ON and oh look my skull just cracked open. Look what you’ve done, Dia. Look at this mess. It’s all over the carpet.

“MASS DEFECTIONS,” interjects Douglas. Dimbleby sighs. It can’t get any worse than this.

Apparently it can

What do failed reality stars have to say about taxation? Well, Yasmin ain’t having any of that, whatever it is, and derides the Klass Kwestion for coming from a “pretty” millionaire. Dia is disgusted! Diasgusted, in fact! How dare you be so patronising, Yasmin, she says, patronisingly.

She’s not done yet. Then she rounds on Man-Candy Andy. I feel sorry for you, she patronises. You’d be a good leader. Better than Miliband. Pity you’re out here, she almost-flirts, answering questions on Ed’s blustery blunders, when you could be back at my place…hot stuff…with those pretty eyes of yours…

Andy looks embarrassed and afraid.

However, things aren’t even halfway done yet and Mangaman wants to talk about the NHS. During his answer about the mansion tax, he gets into a scuffle with the chair himself – something very rarely done! – and it goes a lil somethin’ like this:

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE NHS bellows Andy.
But…Andy, stop…that’s not the question…says Dimbles, head in his hands.
YES IT IS says Andy, ripping open his suit to reveal his I LUV NHS t-shirt which he wears at all times.

The audience are getting heated. They round on Dia McMean Girls. YOU KNOW THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING AND THE VALUE OF NUFFINK, they cry. Regina George/Dia is appalled, and tilts her head a little more to the right. It’s going to fall off if you don’t watch out, Dia.

What’s the deal with NHS food

When there’s an actual question about the NHS, Burnham explodes.

“After you,” smirks Carswell, knowing that this means Anime Andy has less time to think.

“Oh boy! The NHS sure is great,” sighs Andy wistfully, or words to that effect, swatting away pesky doctors and people at meetings who allege that he said the exact opposite of what he says every minute of every day, even at home, even while asleep, where he constantly chants “compulsory tendering must die” while his wife no doubt cries herself to sleepybobos every night. He finally understands what that one woman was trying to say later in the programme, and everyone laughs at him, and the Seinfeld bassline plays in the background. Or inside my tortured mind, anyway.

Douglas has got him now! UKIP has the plan. They also have the Man with the Plan, Nigel Farage, who will lead us to a glorious new revolution.

What’s up with that video then, says Dimbles. You know the one I mean. Yasmin is now so baffled that her baffle-ometer has reached 100% and she launches into another pummelfight directed at Douglas’ face. She’s baffled about what he and UKIP have and haven’t changed their minds on! But Douglas remains serene. All he needs to do is lie back, think of England and wait for the MPs to flood in. They can change their minds a hundred times and it wouldn’t matter. He’s surrounded by a circle of members, all throbbing and alert to ejaculate their worthy opinions on to an eager-faced public.

Ken Clarke remembers to wake himself up to verbally slap every panellist round the chops (take that Dougie! Take that Andii-chan!) praising Blair as he does so. Honestly, Ken has more in common with a lot of Labour politicians than most of his own party these days. They should skip off together and form a hot sexy new party. Or join the Lib Dems – haha, only kidding, they do have some sense.

Then it’s the final countdown, or rather question, and everybody joins together in peace and harmony to rightly condemn a nasty, nasty man. Hooray! Even Dia is on-side! Well done everyone, we got there in the end.

“I’m a dad :3,” Andy reminds us with his emoji-like face.

Time for the scores!

Clarke: 7/10

(Speaks) Sense

Burnham: 7/10

(Was) Incensed (About Every Conceivable Subject)

Carswell: 6/10

(Wants to fix up the) Fence (the fence meaning ARE BORDERS)

Alibhai-Brown: 8/10

(Get thee) Hence(, Carswell!)

Chakravarty: 5/10

(Did not want to spend her) Pence

The Crowd: 6/10

Tense

GOVE NEXT WEEK and smooth buttery Chuka and weird Norman and…Jo Brand? I leak enthusiasm.

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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