Archive for February, 2012

Questionable Time #19

questionable time 19 david dimbleby marilyn monroe

Good morning Lemmings and welcome to a fairly inconsequential episode of Question Time but one that does contain a few points of interest worthy of further examination. They are as follows:

1. Tunbridge Wells cares not for the NHS.

Assuming you haven’t spent the last week living under a rock or reading The Daily Express (these activities are pretty much one-and-the-same so far as I’m concerned) then you will doubtlessly be aware that the nation has its collective knickers in a twist over the seething cauldron of electoral cyanide that is the NHS reforms. It’s been everywhere and even those who couldn’t usually give two hoots for matters political can’t have failed to notice this train wreck in the making looming ominously on the horizon. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that instead of the NHS being the question at the top of last night’s bill, it didn’t even get a mention during the course entire show. Nothing. Zip. Nada. And how did this strange anomaly come to pass? Well I suspect that it may have something to do with The Cast Iron Law of Town Naming Conventions which can be summed up in two handy bullet points:

  • If a town has a double-barrelled name there’s a better than evens chance that it will be quite posh. Think Chipping Norton, Boston Spa and Alderley Edge.
  • The same odds are also applicable to triple-barrelled town names but in the opposite direction. In this case I called to the stand Messrs Stockton-on-Tee’s, Burton-on-Trent and Southend-on-Sea.

Granted, there are plenty of exceptions to this rule (like the wilfully uncooperative Royal Wootton Bassett. They tired of lending weight to my theory and deliberate bolted on a ‘Royal’ in order to make me look stupid) but for the most part it’s a pretty solid thesis and if one takes a cursory look at the polling data for Tunbridge Wells (and leaves aside the inconvenient matter of the ‘Royal’ that its inhabitants occasionally flirt with), it’s safe to say that Tunbridge Wells is itself pretty posh. And what does that leave us with? Questions about bankers, Europe, Syria, the Work Programme and Murdoch but nary a whisper about the NHS – a point that leads us neatly on to this:

2. Ed Vaizey is a blagger of the highest order.

You may have noticed a strange new development in the Tory party over the last few years and that’s the emergence of contemporary hairstyles amongst some of its newer members. In the past, male Tory MP’s (assuming they had hair) were permitted to wear one of two hair styles: The straight-as-a-die side-parting that reached it’s apex under the stewardship of John Major or the more caddish swept back bouffant favoured by the likes of Alan Clark and Michael Heseltine. This state of affairs held true for a good half-century and it has not been until very recently that frontbenchers such as Ed Vaisey, Jeremy Hunt and Grant Shapps have challenged this natural order and bought forth a third option, The Trendy Barnet. Now, I’m bringing this up because it serves as a handy identifier for this new intake and sits well with their other shared characteristic: They are all absolute blaggers.

In the case of Vaizey’s performance this didn’t really become apparent until the second question as he seemed to handle the bonuses issue rather well. Sure, he nearly got caught out with some old quotes that Dimbers threw at him but for the most part he managed to dance his way out of trouble and presented himself as a likeable and very human guy. However, it was downhill from there and the rest of the show was mainly spent with him trying to affably bluster his way out of situations that he clearly hadn’t prepared for. Take the Work Programme question for example: Here he tried to extricate himself from a tight spot by admitting that he only really knew about one very tiny aspect of it and wouldn’t it be nice if we all talked about that rather than the far more foreboding issue of why the whole scheme is going to hell in a handcart. In the end he got away with it but let’s put this into context for a moment: This was a Tory MP playing to probably one of the safest Conservative crowds in the entire country and this should have been his day in the sun. It wasn’t and at times his performance started to look like an episode of The Thick of It, a state of affairs that was in no way helped by trying to shut down the argument with the line “I’ll tweet about it later”. And that’s the problem with these guys – they all work on the basis that the detail isn’t really that important and that if you look the part, you’ll probably get away with it. Given what we witnessed last night, I’d suggest that the detail probably does matter and that unless this new crop of Bright Young Things start boning up on the dull stuff, life will get very tricky for them in the next couple of years. In short, they call it ‘pragmatism’, I call it ‘shenanigans’.

3. I don’t know who Emily Thornberry is but she’s definitely one to watch.

In stark contrast to the fast-and-loose approach adopted by Vaizey, QT n00b Emily Thornberry turned what could have been a stinker of an episode for the Red Team into a quiet triumph and achieved this mainly because she seems to have a knack for tempo. While it may not seem like a big deal getting the right rhythm in debates is a really hard thing to master and she’s found herself right in the sweet-spot: Measured enough to sound like she’s really thought things through but not so slow as to allow others to butt in. Now, if we combine this with her ear for tone (everything was delivered with a comforting firmness that leads me to suspect she might be a Northerner trapped in a Southerners body) then you’ve got quite a potent mix. Did this mean that she trounced the opposition? No, but what it did do was allow her to retain the initiative and that is absolutely vital when you’re on hostile turf (remember that Labour only got 10% of the vote in Tunbridge Wells in the last election). So well done Emily, you have caused me to take note. Consider yourself on the list. The Good List that is, not the other one.

4. There is another member of UKIP.

And if that’s not enough to blow your socks off, hold on to your hats because it also turns out that Paul Nuttall hails from Liverpool, a city not known to be a bastion of cockeyed, twitching Europhobes! I know, I know, it’s all a little much to take in and I must say that I thought I might have had a little too much to drink when he came across as a paragon of social justice on the question about bonuses. Happily though it soon returned to UKIP business-as-usual when we got on to the matter of Syria (he even managed to shoehorn the Falklands in to that one) and by the end we were back on the familiar turf of how Europe will spell the end of everything for everyone. Phew! Anyway, enough of the cruelty as he actually did pretty well and while UKIP are easy to mock, there did seem to be genuine sympathy for his position in Tunbridge Wells. Oh and there was one other thing I noticed about him: His head is so wonderfully, pristinely shiny that it appears to be entirely unmarked by the trammels of existence and the only explanation I can come up with for this is that he secretly retracts it into a hidden cavity in his chest when not in public (see Fig. 1). It’s just a theory but I’ve yet to see any evidence to the contrary.


Fig. 1

5. Christina Odone cannot out-gesticulate Simon Schama.

Silly Christina. I know what you were up to. You thought that you could out-gesticulate Schama simply by flapping your arms about a little and occasionally deploying the ‘inverted comma’ gesture. Well Ms. Odone, I hate to break it to you but you can’t out-gesticulate Schama. No one can. The man’s like a rag doll in a washing machine and I have it on good authority that even his spine is double jointed. So next time, don’t even bother. It’s not worth it. That man will gesticulate you into a fine powder and then disperse the resulting dust high into the atmosphere with the jerk of a flailing limb. Now be off with you for I have to use the remaining space to reproduce some of the rather lovely Schama-isms that occurred last night. Here they are:

My historian’s nostrils…”

Handsome, deep rose-coloured suit”

A dagger in the throat of capitalism!”

Egregious acts of monstrosity!”

I don’t give a toss”

Oh Schama, you are a card…


Vaizey: Blaggy


Thornberry: (The opposite of) Raggy


Nuttall: Flaggy


Odone: Daggy


Schama: Waggy


The Crowd: Craggy?


So there you go, not much of import but enough to keep me occupied. Right, I’m off but before I disappear there’s just enough time for me to engage in the periodical reminder that you can follow Questionable Time on both twitter and facebook. Quite why you would remains to be seen but if it’s good enough for Ed Vaizey, it’s good enough for me.

Next week Lemmings, next week…


Questionable Time #18

questionable time 18 david dimbleby depression

Good morning Lemmings and let’s make this snappy as I have much to do today. Ok, I don’t really have that much to do but I would really like to finish watching the fantastic Russia, Putin and the West for the following reasons:

  1. It’s gripping
  2. Putin is clearly as mad as a box of frogs.
  3. The Russian Defence Minister – Sergei Ivanov – is now my #1 Guy on Earth purely by dint of a) looking uncannily like Christopher Walken, b) leading Condoleezza Rice astray at meetings of great diplomatic import, c) literally telling the Taliban to “F – off” and d) being an all round wag of the highest order.

It’s unfortunately disappeared off iPlayer but a cursory search of youtube should see you right… Get amongst. Right, enough of this off-topic waffle and on to the question in hand: What, dear Lemmings, did we learn last night? This.

1. Despite him being in Parliament longer than I’ve been on this earth, I still struggle to know exactly what John Prescott is for.

Ok, so there’s the obvious things like he’s good at punching people (both physically and verbally) and there was a time when he provided the Old Labour brigade a much-needed sugar-coating to the bitter pill of New Labour but aside from that, can you think of a single thing that John Prescott has done that isn’t about him? As it stands, I am left no wiser by last night’s Question Time as all he appeared to do was grin mischievously whilst lining up a series of well rehearsed jabs for Ken Clarke (rehearsed to the point that he even bought props with him). That this was an entertaining spectacle is of little doubt but I still can’t escape from the fact that once you strip away all the bluster and bombast, there really isn’t a great deal to Prezzer other than an eye for self-promotion (Police Commissioner Prescott anyone?) and a good rhetorical right-hook. Oh, and I’ve totally got his ‘what to do when you’re caught off guard’ strategy pegged: It’s basically ‘deliver a pile of vague and flakey platitudes in the thundering tones of Absolute Certainties’ – like when he said he’d fix the economy simply by chucking loads of money at it. So yes, whilst all the heat generated by his presence was certainly warming, the light was dim and flickering.

prescott clarke boxing

2. I totally get what Ken Clarke is for.

I shan’t go on about this too much as I’ve written plenty about it in the past but the main point of Ken Clarke is to be a Tory who doesn’t fill me with certain dread and for the most part he does this pretty well. However, I can’t help feeling that the poor old sod has grown rather weary of this damnable coalition business and he spent most of last night looking knackered and harried. To be honest, I’d look a little harried if I was being mercilessly assaulted by a lump of Humberside belligerence but I get the feeling that it goes a little deeper than that and all the old boy really wants to do is quietly resign himself to a twilight of gout and jazz 78’s. And well he may for despite being one of the most successful Tory chancellors of all time he is now treated by his own party like a weird and embarrassing uncle that should not, repeat NOT be allowed anywhere near 6th form girls college without strict supervision. You deserve better than that Ken and should you ever feel the need to disappear in a fog of cigar smoke, I for one will be entirely sympathetic…

3. Dimbers clearly doesn’t like Susan Kramer.

Ok, so I’m not exactly a card-carrying member of the Susan Kramer fan club and her QT appearances always end up being a bit ‘meh’ but for Christ’s sake Dimbers, cut the woman some slack! Sure, she didn’t exactly bring a great deal to the show and yes, her hair is quite terrifying but did she really deserve a full hour of shirtiness and being cut off mid-sentence? I think not. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Dimbers, that insect tie: No.

4. Owen Jones is clearly the frontrunner in the race for Angry Young Man of the Year award.

So this was Jones’ first ever appearance on QT and boy did he do well. The trick with him is that not only is he self evidently very bright but he also does the whole Righteous Indignation thing with considerable aplomb and without appearing to be an unhinged wingnut (a la the likes of Douglas Murray and – if he’s having a bad day – Mehdi Hassan). That the crowd loved him is without the slightest doubt and barring a late surge from Liam Burns, the new President of the NUS (and very much one-to-watch in my opinion), that Angry Young Man award is in the bag. Now, naturally all of the above should inevitably lead us all to believe that I’m going to award him top marks at the end of this post but I’m afraid I can’t quite bring myself to do that for the following reasons:

  1. No-one is ever going to get top marks on Questionable Time as I feel it would set a dangerous precedent.
  2. He’s five years younger than me and that is manifestly a perversion of cosmic justice.

‘Jealous’ you say? Well maybe just a little.

5. Julie Meyer is actually the worst Question Time panelist I have ever seen.

So I just said I’d never give out a 10 on Questionable Time and until last night, I felt the same about giving out 1’s for very much for the same reason: It creates an artificial hard ceiling/basement that can only ever be equalled but never bettered. In the past I have stuck rigidly to this rule and even the most wanton displays of wrongheadedness have escaped without the shame of being 1’d. For example, remember when Carol Vorderman went from being a relatively-innocuous-if-creepy-dork-turned-vamp to a screaming-torrent-of-reactionary-twaddle? Yeah, she got away with a 3 that time and even Melanie Phillips at her most poisonous has never sunk below a 4. Why? Because although I consider both to be pretty repellent figures, I can actually figure out what they’re on about. Julie Meyers? Well, I got the impression that she likes “entrepreneurs” and all things “digital” but beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. That on its own would push her deep into ‘2’ territory but it’s what she represents that really irks me: That weird collision of Big L ‘Fuck You’ Libertarians with the nebulous/vacuous world of ‘e-commerce’. Now, I find hard-line Libertarians to be a weird enough bunch in the real-world but when you slather another coating of unreality on them in the form of the internet then they stop making any sense whatsoever. Julie Meyer is the living incarnation of this unholy nexus, a walking absurdity who lives in a rickety virtual construct of her own making and has no place opining on matters that pertain to the real world. So here you go Julie Meyer, here’s a gift from one “digital native” to another: A big fat ‘1’.


Clarke: (A little) Flabby


Prescott: Jabby


Kramer: (Got treated a little) Crabby


Jones: Grabby


Meyer: Shabby


The Crowd: Blabby


Well, well, well… A Questionable Time first. Please take note of your surroundings so that you can spin a good yarn when your grandchildren ask “where were you heard that Julie Meyer got a ‘1’?”. You’ll thank me when this situation inevitably comes to pass. Right, I’m off to watch more despotic shenanigans with Mr. Putin…

Next week Lemmings,next week…

Questionable Time #17

questionable time 17 david dimbleby alan partridge

Good morning Lemmings and – assuming you haven’t all frozen to death – welcome back for what was quite the humdinger of a Question Time last night. Now, there are plenty of reasons as to why this was an especially zesty show but lets start with the obvious: The highly engaging spectacle of two very capable yet somewhat compromised panelists taking a big stick and applying it to the chops of the Daily Mail. I am of course talking about Dark Master of the News Cycle Alistair Campbell and the knowingly imperfect Steve Coogan. The beauty of this coupling lies not only in the fact that both men are masters of the invective who have every reason to despise the Mail but also because they themselves are in absolutely no way paragons of virtue who can claim that their integrity is beyond reproach.

Let’s start with Campbell: Now, here’s a man whose one goal while in power was to bend the media to his will and largely succeeded in doing so by dint of being the physical embodiment of terror itself. Seriously, every time I look at Campbell I think of that scene in Apocalypse Now when Willard gets on the boat for the first time and the Chief, alarmed by this turn of events, clocks him in an instant:

My orders say I’m not supposed to know where I’m taking this boat, so I don’t! But one look at you, and I know it’s gonna be hot.”

Yup, that’s Campbell all over: A man who’s been fighting a dirty, nasty and vicious war for so long that he’s actually become the war itself. A man who knows where the bodies are buried because he buried them there. In short, he’s no angel when it comes to media ethics.

Coogan by contrast is less straight forward and harder to peg down. Anyone who is a fan of his work (and I am) can’t help but feel a certain affection for him but he doesn’t always make it easy for us to like him – the whole Courtney Love thing being the example that sticks out in my mind. This always leaves me feeling slightly bemused when I see him as I really can’t fathom out as to whether he’s just a misunderstood soul who’s been given a raw deal in the press or whether he genuinely is a bit of a dickhead (a debate made no easier by the excellent yet frighteningly post-modern The Trip… My jury is still out).

Still, what cannot be doubted is that both of theses guys know how to handle themselves in a debate and were positively relishing the chance to stick the boot in to the Mail. Now, had the person fighting the corner for Britain’s Premier Hate Rag been the likes of Melanie Phillips, Jeremy Clarkson or Richard Littlejohn then this would have been a massacre: All these guys take is a cursory winding up and boom! Here comes the crazy! However, none of the above were present last night and instead we got QT veteran Ann Leslie. This turned out to be a very canny pick for the following reasons:

  1. She’s actually a proper journalists rather than a lurching tangle of jerking knees.
  2. She is tough as old boots.
  3. I never know whether she’s drunk or not.

All of the above conspire to make her a much harder target than some of her flightier colleagues and the result was a show full of crowd pleasing set pieces from Coogan and entertaining spats between Campbell and Leslie – both of whom clearly despised each other. In terms of who won, well lets just say that the Daily Mail doesn’t seem to be the periodical of choice for this particular crowd but Leslie does deserve some credit for looking like she couldn’t give a toss either way. I suspect that gin may have played a part in this.

The other big news on last night’s show was how well Philip Hammond did given that he was surrounded by some pretty big beasts. I say this because Hammond isn’t exactly the most charismatic of politicians and I reckoned it likely that Alistair Campbell was going to blow his head off using some satanic powers he acquired in trade for his soul (see Fig. 1). As it happens, Hammond managed to hold his own rather well and came out relatively unscathed in what should have been a fairly torrid week for the Blue Team. Ok, so he wasn’t exactly thrilling to watch and his attempts at humour were a little on the crap side but considering the amount of trouble he could have got into on the NHS question I think he did all right. However, the thing that really wins him points for me is his role in what has become a rather rare thing in QT: A Spontaneous Outburst of Collective Agreement. This occurred on the Syria question and Hammond won his spurs by doing something I’ve not seen from a Defence Secretary for years: He admitted that there really isn’t a whole lot we can do about Syria. Having spent the last decade listening to Defence Secretaries telling us that we can bomb this or shock ‘n’ awe that I was really pleased to hear the opposite sentiment for once. If that wasn’t enough to give me a warm fuzzy glow then imagine my surprise when the entire panel echoed that sentiment including Alistair Campbell, chief cheerleader of the Iraq calamity. I nearly fell off the sofa.


Fig. 1

So yes, Philip Hammond is still an unremittingly dull man who’s going to look terrible in body armour (I can’t wait for his first ‘In Theatre’ photo-op) but he seems pretty level-headed and that will do for me right now. And as for Shirley Williams? Well same-old, same-old really: The human personification of some of the 20th Century’s better ideas wrapped in the language of the Crimean War (it’s all “holding the line”, “powder kegs” and other such ironclad pronouncements). It also seems like she’s caused something of a sartorial stir with women of a certain age as I got a fair few search queries along the lines of ‘where did Shirley Williams get that jacket from?’ last night. Apologies to all those who were bitterly disappointed when they ended up here. I can photoshop the crap out public figures but fashion procurement is not this blog’s strong point.


Hammond: Did well


Campbell: Gave ’em hell


Williams: Excel(led)


Coogan: “Ruddy hell, it’s Soft Cell!”


Leslie: Was a bit of a bombshell


The Crowd: Were perfectly acceptable clientele


Well would you look at that? Sevens all round. That’s it from me this week as I’m off to mentally steel myself for the prospect of the Ken Clarke/Prezzer face-off next week. You know when male Elephant Seals fight over a mate? Yeah, it’s going to be like that.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #16

questionable time 16 david dimbleby lasersGood morning Lemmings and oh god oh god oh god, how in the name of all that’s holy am I supposed to write-up last night’s episode of Question Time? You see, I’ve been doing this for a good long while and without wanting to sound like self-satisfied know-all, I’ve usually got a pretty good idea of how any given episode will pan out ahead of time simply by running the following equation through my head for each panelist:

If A = The propensity of a party political panelist to stick their foot in it

at any given moment (on a scale of 1 to 10).

B= The audience’s capacity for forgiveness of anything stupid uttered

by said panelist (on a scale of 1 to 10)

and C = The likelihood of any allied third-party to say something nonsensical/outrageously unpopular in support of said panelists position (on a scale of 1 to 10)

then (A/B) x C = The chance that the panelist will emerge victorious

(the lower this value is, the more likely the outcome).

So let say Tony Benn (a super safe pair of hands when on friendly territory) is set to appear in Liverpool Walton (one of Labour’s safest seats) and his principal ally on the panel is Labour supporting crowd pleaser Eddie Izzard, then the equation would look like this:

1/10 x 1 = 0.1

There you go, a nice low value that bodes well for Benn’s chances. However, let’s say that on the same show we also have well-known Tory wrecking ball Ed Pickles and his principal ally is the ever-unhinged Douglas Murray then we get this:

10/1 X 10 = 100

Woah! That’s a big fat whopper of a number and should this scenario ever actually play out, I doubt that Pickles would be able to leave the studio without being tarred and feathered. So that’s the equation and by-and-large it works. Sure, some random issue may come up that upsets the balance or a panelist may display uncharacteristic brilliance/stupidity but it’s a good rule of thumb that allows me to come up with a narrative well ahead of time. However, all of the above is contingent on a steady supply of good data and I have to admit that last night, my data was off. Waaaaaaaay off. Here’s why:

Bad Dataset #1: ‘Merseyside’ does not automatically equate to ‘Twinned with Moscow’.

Ok, I’ll admit it, I didn’t do my homework last night. Prior to a show I usually take a look at where the venue is and if I don’t feel very clued up about the location I have a trawl through the electoral results for the past twenty years to get a better idea of where it sits. Not this week though… Oh no, Old Clever Clogs here thought he was better than that and made the mistake of simply assuming that because Southport’s a stone’s throw away from Liverpool it must be entirely populated by die-hard Trots. Wrong, wrong, wrong! In fact, Southport is about as Yellow as they come with a strong Tory vote making up the rest of the picture. In fact, it’s so anti-Labour that they failed to even make the 10% mark in 2010. So not only did that mean that my value for ‘B’ was wildly out of kilter, it also throws the ‘A’s out of the window because ‘A’ cannot not be defined in isolation to its context.

Bad Dataset #2: My opinion of the TaxPayers’ Alliance may not be universal.

I like fringe groups. I like them because they provide the much-needed milk to the otherwise dry Alpen of politics and so far as I’m concerned the more bonkers they are, the tastier the breakfast. So it was that I rejoiced when I saw that Emma Boon, Campaigns Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance would be taking a seat at the table because in my mind the TA are about as fruity as they come – think UKIP with some intensive media training, less flag waving and a copy of Atlas Shrugged stuffed in its back pocket. Nor is this assumption without evidence: Take for example the fact a former director of the group hadn’t actually paid any tax in Britain for years or that they take advice off the Tea Party movement and you get an idea of quite how potty they are.

So that was me all set up: One of our ‘C’s is going to act like she’s just escape from a RAND Corporation experiment that’s gone horribly wrong while the sheer craziness of her position coupled with the group’s cosiness with the Tories will spell trouble for Alan Duncan. As it happens, I was very wrong on the first count and partially wrong on the second. In the first instance it turns out that rather than appearing to be a hairy-palmed moonhowler, she’s actually quite a steely performer who held it all together rather well. Sure she used the word ‘taxpayer’ so many times that I lost count and the TA’s position as a whole is about as plausible as the financial affairs of Harry Redknapp’s dog but the crowd liked her and she didn’t make any major blunders. On the second count, I was right that she did cause Alan Duncan a fair amount of grief but it wasn’t for the reasons I originally envisaged. I thought this would all be about guilt by association: Boon would support most of what Duncan said and then drop a clanger near the end – like proposing the sale of Northern Ireland to the highest bidder or something – and this would lead to audience doubts over the political company that Duncan keeps. But no. In actual fact she was a pain in the neck for Duncan because she kept having a go at him about aid (and if there’s one thing the TA hate, it’s foreign aid).

Damn. There goes a ‘C’.

Bad Dataset #3 – Digby Jones is way more of a wildcard than I thought.

I don’t mean in any political sense as we all knew he would spend the entire show banging on about how great the private sector is but there’s something about his presence that brings with it an element of chaos. Maybe it’s because he spent the entire episode shouting over everyone, maybe because his head always looks like it’s about to explode but the one thing I can tell you is that I spent most of the show worrying that he may actually eat Sadiq Khan. Like physically start noshing on his arm whilst complaining loudly that he doesn’t taste very good. That just threw all my remaining numbers straight out of the window.

So given the fact that I was going off some very dodgy numbers lets look at how my before-and-after equations look for party political bods Sadiq Khan and Alan Duncan.

Sadiq Khan (projected performance)

A = 3 (He’s hardly electrifying but he’s usually pretty measured on

friendly turf)

B= 9 (based entirely on faulty intelligence about Southport)

C = 3 (Assumed because Phillip Redmond is usually

somewhat sympathetic to the Red Team and

despite his overpowering eyebrows – see Fig. 1- he

usually puts on a good turn)

(3/9) x 3 = 1

Sadiq Khan (actual performance)

A = 7 (not so much ‘putting his foot in it’ as

‘looking constantly terrified of Digby Jones’)

 B = 2 (based on reliable intelligence)

 C = 3 (as Phillip Redmond turned out a very

respectable and level-headed performance)

(7/2) x 3 = 10.5

Alan Duncan (projected performance)

A = 7 (because every time I see him on TV I always assume

that the next words out of his mouth will be “…and I can assure

you that it’s all entirely legal…”. He has that look about him)

 B = 3 (again, faulty intel)

 C = 10 (based on the assumption that Boon would go nuclear)

(7/3) x 10 = 23.3

Alan Duncan (actual performance)

A = 4 (he was largely steady)

 B = 7 (good intel)

 C = 5 (thanks to Boon’s unanticipated levity/hostility to aid)

(4/7) x 5 = 2.85

phillip redmond eyebrows

Fig. 1

Well look at that. I couldn’t have been wronger. None more wrong. Thanks for nothing, Southport! And as for the rest of the scores? I’m afraid you’ll just have to come to your own conclusions as four hours of inventing spurious equations has led to something breaking in the numbers department of my brain. Expect a return to a simpler – but no less questionable – time next week.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

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February 2012

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