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:
- It’s gripping
- Putin is clearly as mad as a box of frogs.
- 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.
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:
- No-one is ever going to get top marks on Questionable Time as I feel it would set a dangerous precedent.
- 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
Kramer: (Got treated a little) Crabby
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…