Questionable Time #30


questionable time 30 david dimbleby marie antoinette

Good morning Lemmings and rejoice for I have returned from Berlin, a city rife with vexing contradictions. And what may these contradictions be I hear you ask? Well try this one on for size:

      1. Berliners smoke all the time and everywhere.
      2. Berliners drink all the time and everywhere (including when pregnant).
      3. Berliners eat processed meat all the time and everywhere.
      4. Berliners appear to be ridiculously athletic/healthy all the time and everywhere.

Yeah, I know, makes you sick doesn’t it? Anyhoo I could go on about what a great/strange place it is for hours but that’s not why you turn up to this corner of the internet. No, you come here for Questionable Time and Questionable Time is what you’re damn well getting. Here’s what we learned:

We have a n00b on our hands.

If I was a Labour MP who was due to make their debut on QT then I would be praying that it would occur on a week such as this one. I mean c’mon, the news has just been an unrelenting conveyor belt of horrific things for the government (so much so that I could hear the clangs of policies being fumbled and dropped all the way over in Germany) and I’d have to be a right idiot to walk out of the studio with anything other than a crushing victory under my belt, right? Wrong. You see, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing and unfortunately for Red Team QT Virgin Stella Creasy this abundance of seemingly bountiful news combined with a number of other factors actually conspired against her. Here’s why:

      1. When you’re in such a target rich environment it’s easy to lose your focus and simple start grappling madly at anything that happens to cross your line-of-sight. The main way in which this manifested for Creasy was that it (no doubt combined with first time nerves) made her talkreallyreallyfastallthetimeabouteverything. Now I’m knocking her for this as it’s an entirely human and understandable thing to do but it does put the mockers on the whole Crushing Victory thing a little. Why? Because when I was watching her I felt like I was vicariously sitting an exam: You could just see her brain going like the absolute clappers as it desperately tried to recall what her line on this debacle or that fiasco should be, all of which left me with that sweaty feeling that accompanies the sight of desks in a school gym.
      2. Creasy had a payload to deliver. I’m not sure whether she had fashioned it herself or whether the party had a hand in its creation but she had a definite mission last night: A dawn strike on Tory HQ with a cluster bomb of fresh text messages know to be highly pathogenic to Jeremy Hunt. On paper that sounds pretty straight forward: Locate the target (that’s a doddle as they’re sitting right next to you), come in low and steady, release your munitions and then fly off into the breaking dawn whilst cackling maniacally (the cackling’s technically option but that’s the way I’d play it). The problem in this case was the whole ‘dawn raid’ aspect: In an ideal world Creasy would land her big hitter during the first question thus leaving her unencumbered to mop up any survivors not caught in the initial strike. Since it seemed highly probably that the first question would be one on the Leveson Inquiry the plan seemed solid but alas, QT is rarely so straight forward and she had to make numerous runs at the target (all the while dodging flak put up by the steady handed Alan Duncan) only to find it covered in cloud. As anyone who’s read Catch 22 will know the bombing run is the most terrifying aspect of any mission and the fact that she had to conduct the maneuver three times before the conditions were adequate only served to heighten her jitters. You could see it horribly clearly every time a new question was about to be asked: Creasy, clutching at the joystick for dear life whilst noting that her airspeed is dangerously high…Don’tbuggerthisupdon’tbuggerthisupBUGGERI’VEBUGGEREDITUP! Eventually she did get to deploy her ace-in-the-hole but it wasn’t until the fourth question and it scored only a glancing blow that left Duncan intact enough to carry on the fight.
      3. The whole ‘Papa/Nicole’ thing? Had she been a little calmer she might have been able to play it for laughs. Instead she played it for weirds.

So yes, it was all a bit of a pickle but one that I do feel is largely forgivable given the circumstances. My advice, Stella? Maybe spend a little more time in the simulator before your next combat sortie.

The British lose all rationality when doctors are mentioned.

Ask any fellow citizen what their opinions on doctors are and you will doubtlessly hear that they are either a) saintly angelic souls whose hearts pump not blood but liquid compassion or b) venal robber-barons who hypocritically break their Hippocratic Oath. Seriously, can we not countenance a world where there may be doctors from both strains in existence? According to Rugby, clearly not. Still, I was heartened to see that nurses still have the capacity to trounce doctors in the Unconditional Assumption of Goodliness stakes. That’s something that you can always take to the bank: Nurse always beats Doctor in any match of Altruism Top Trumps… Except when Panorama film them shouting at old people. Then it’s a draw.

I have very conflicted feelings about the other panelists.

I’ll keep this brief…

Duncan

For: Has had a genuinely interesting life, first openly gay Tory, isn’t half as mad as most of his peers, seems vaguely competent, did a good turn in damage limitation last night.

Against: Has an untrustworthy and spivvy haircut that is becoming of some rather untrustworthy and spivvy antics.

Oaten

For: Has had a genuinely interesting life, looked great in a hoody on Tower Block of Commons and would look even better in a hoody in the actual House of Commons (see Fig. 1).

Against: Seems to be a walking self-destruct button, head’s a funny shape.

mark oaten scally outfit commons

Fig. 1

Nelson

For: Clearly saner than comparable young right-wing Scots (Douglas Murray, I’m looking at you) and I appear to have grown strangely fond of him.

Against: Editor of The Spectator.

Coren

For: Everyone I know seems to think the sun shines out of her bum, can produce something genuinely funny from time-to-time.

Against: Everyone I know seems to think the sun shines out of her bum, voice cuts through me like a jaunty knife.

Let’s just leave it at that…

Tl;dr

Creasy: (Was in a bit of a) Rush

5/10

Duncan: (Looks) Plush

6/10

Oaten: (Has had many a reason to) Blush (in the past)

5/10

Nelson: (Is becoming the subject of a faintly disturbing man) Crush

6/10

Coren: (Did) Gush (much about doctors)

6/10

The Crowd: (Have) Thrush?

7/10

So there you go, a show where the Tories got away comparatively lightly thanks to some sterling defensive work from Alan Duncan and understandable over-eagerness on the part of Stella Creasy. Now if you’ll excuse me I must get back to enduring the symptoms of wurst withdrawal. Seriously, I’m having trouble adjusting back to a society where you have to walk more than 10 yards before encountering a vendor of sausage based snacks. This country, I tell you…

Next week Lemmings, next week…

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