Questionable Time 11

questionable time 11 david dimbleby bath

Good morning Lemmings and welcome to what is likely to be a very speedy edition of Questionable Time as I have awoken feeling somewhat grotty. Given that my plans for tomorrow are largely contingent on an absence of grottiness I think it’s for the best that I keep things compact so let us not shilly-shally about: Onwards, to Bath.

Ok, so let’s get things under way by asking ourselves “just what the hell has happened to Chris Huhne?”. I mean c’mon, two years ago he seemed like a pretty regular, off-the-shelf middle-aged politician who could occasionally get a little hot under the collar but was rarely in danger of being described as ‘exciting’. Now? Well now he’s suddenly turned into this affair-having, maybe speeding-points-transferring ruffian who may or may not turn up at the Commons wearing a leather jacket and smoking a cigarette in the near future. If any further confirmation were needed that his position is somewhat tenuous at present we need only to look at his performance last night as he testily skidded from one round of boos to the next. Is he fatally compromised? Well, not quite. There’s still some fight left in him and he does at least appear to be trying to stick to the coalition line but the omens aren’t good for Chris… When a LibDem can’t get much love from a crowd in Bath you know something’s up.

So that wasn’t great news for one half of the government but there was still the (albeit remote) possibility that Uber Euroskeptic Daniel Hannan could pull something out of the bag (and hopefully not the severed head of a high-ranking Eurocrat). As it turned out, he treated us to a rather unnerving display of single-mindedness, almost as if he was some sort of cyborg whose operating system had been replaced by a digitised version of Atlas Shrugged. Seriously, every point he made contained at least one reference to how ace free markets are and why governments will be the death of us all. Economy up the swanny? Well that’s what you get for having stupid things like ‘taxes’. What to do about a press ran amuck? Nothing that involves those parasites at Westminster, that’s what! Dropped your toast butter side down this morning? Blame the jackbooted hordes in Brussels! So yes, his was a frankly weird turn but one that was still quite entertaining in a horrific kind of way, not unlike watching footage of nuclear explosions… If you can consciously forget that they’re the ultimate expression of mankind’s brutality they are actually quite pretty.

Next up is a first time appearance for the Red Team’s Liz Kendall and I must say that it was a pretty good show that she put on. Ok, so I do get a little peeved when politicians take it upon themselves to tell me how mad keen they are on Twitter and she’s not quite the finished article yet but there is potential there: Give her another couple of outings and we could have a contender on our hands.

Sticking to the theme of ‘pleasant surprises’ we now come to Sainsbury’s boss Justin King, a man who should have by rights got it in the neck last night, what with him being a well paid CEO of a mammoth company and all that. As it turned out he actually got clean away with it and I can’t quite work out whether that’s because he represents a new and scary breed of capitalist (one who appears so reasonable that it’s impossible to feel narked about their colossal salaries) or just a genuinely nice bloke who does actually have motives beyond profit. I can’t really give you a definitive answer one way or another but I will admit that I nearly fell off my sofa when he stuck up for the union’s on their decision to ballot their members in September. That very much caught me off guard but in a very good way.

Lastly for the panel we have Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales who has taken time out of his busy schedule of berating me for money (see. Fig. 1) to appear on Question Time. Actually, I have to admit that I don’t resent Wales getting all up in my face and demanding cash because I’d be lost without Wikipedia and genuinely think it’s the best invention since tracky bottoms. Anyway, he was an odd choice seeing as he understandably knows little about UK politics but that’s not to say it was a bad performance by any measure. In fact, he struck the balance just right by pleading ignorance on the things he couldn’t possibly know about whilst making sure that his line on the things he did have some expertise on, like freedom of the press, was pretty robust. Not bad going in my book.

jimmy wales question time

Fig. 1

Ok, so that was the panel and despite being a pretty mixed bunch they did make for an entertaining episode. The crowd was also a fairly lively lot who helped grease the show’s wheels with an appreciable level of rancour but I am inclined to knock off a point for the following statement, made by a woman with regards to the government’s targets for nuclear power: “I’ve read it in the papers so you can’t say you’re not [increasing nuclear power]”. Apparently someone hasn’t been watching the Leveson Inquiry this week.

Huhne: 4/10

Beset (by demons)

Hannan: 6/10

(Doesn’t like the) National Debt

Kendall: 6/10

Safe Bet

King: 6/10

Well Met

Wales: 7/10

No Sweat

The Crowd: 7/10

(Is from) Somerset

Alright, I’m done and shall now be returning to the sofa where I shall stay for approximately the next ten days. This being the case, there will be no Questionable Time next week as I am officially on holiday (that and I’ve just purchased a copy of Arkham City) but normal service will resume the week after. Struggle on, dear Lemmings, struggle on.

In a fortnight Lemmings, in a fortnight…


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November 2011

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