Archive for May, 2014

Questionable Time #101


questionable time 101 david dimbleby wolf gladiators

Good mornings Lemmings and oh boy, do we have a random one on our hands today. Novelty panel? Check. The odd spectacle of the entire show being stuck airside in trans-national limbo? Check. A textbook case of brain-in-foot/foot-in-mouth blooperism that’s going to ensure that ‘Joey Barton Ugly Girls’ is going to clog the search terms section of this site’s stats page for the next 6 months? Check check check! Break out the Sharks Off Cornwall Repellent Lemmings, Silly Season has landed early this year and is currently boarding in Terminal 2. To the departure lounge we go!

The relentless tide of fresh Kippers shows no signs of abating…

Another week, another spin of the absurd tombola marked ‘UKIP Talking Heads Who Aren’t Nigel Farage’ and what do we get for our trouble? We get the Purple Team’s latest bid to convince us they’re not in fact the paramilitary wing of the Rotary Club but a party that can also do ‘normal’ (‘normal’ being a highly subjective term that essentially means ‘someone who sounds a little Northern’ and doesn’t look like a potential suspect in a game of Cluedo). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Louise Bours or – as she was formerly known before dropping her suspiciously continental sounding stage name – Louise van de Bours.

So how did she do? Well, I’m a little torn to be honest. In her defence, this was never going to be an easy pitch, what with a panel made up of big-ego civilians and two politicians desperately playing the Voice of Reason card (there wasn’t even the hope of distracting them with the gory results of this year’s annual Lib Dem Cull as the Yellow Team wisely decided to stay at home this week) but her approach wasn’t exactly an exercise in subtlety. No, instead she’s been boning up on the latest revision to the UKIP Field Manual which can basically be summed up thusly:

1. When assaulting enemy held positions, deploy the terms ‘The Establishment’, ‘Political Classes’ and ‘Media Spin’ while juxtaposing ‘Ordinary People’ and ‘the 5 million you’ve just insulted’ into the mix. Should this strategy fail, simply combine or rearrange the words (‘Political Establishment’, ‘Media Classes’, etc, etc), rinse and repeat.

2. In the event of inevitable counter attack on the grounds of policy, simply insist that the new manifesto will solve EVERYTHING.

From a short-term point of view (and let’s face it, pretty much everything in UKIP-land appears to be based on short-term reasoning) this is quite a canny play and one which Bours – what with her surfeit of aggression – is actually quite good at. Alright, so it wasn’t the most polished affair, what with the calling everyone ‘Sir’ and ‘Mr’, not to mention just how proactive she was at getting in people’s faces but this was her first time in the Major Leagues and I can’t deny that there was an appetite for what she said amongst a sizeable chunk of the crowd.

The problem is that her style of QT-ing has a shelf life and it only works at the moment because UKIP have ended up in this sort of Goldilocks zone where they can legitimately claim some sort of mandate but effectively dodge scrutiny because of the rapidity of their rise. That won’t last, not when the new manifesto inevitably turns out to be the same old bag of spanners that the last one was. When (not ‘if’, ‘when’) that happens, Bours’ brand of pushy DON’T TREAD ON ME-ing will be looking a lot less like an authentic insurgency and a great deal more like the melodramatic whinging you get when a bunch of cockeyed yoghurt tops hang out together and pretend they’re a political party.

Until then though, credit where credit’s due: This wasn’t a bad performance for a first timer on a hostile panel. Enjoy it while it lasts Louise, enjoy it while it lasts.

Gone for a Barton…

Given that I know absolutely nothing about football I only had a vague inkling as to who Joey Barton was prior to the show (the gist of it being a domestically produced Cantona knock-off with a bit of a Napoleon complex, a propensity to throw around Nietzsche quotes and a dazzling command of the French language – see Fig. 1) but that inkling sat well with me. It said ‘Watch this guy. He has the sort of form that makes for good QT-ing’ so I was – dare I say it – actually a little excited that he’d be on. Alas, despite a promising half a minute where he seemed to be building up to something rather good, he then went and blew it all by saying to Louise Bours:

If I was somewhere and there were 4 really ugly girls, I’m thinking ‘Well, she’s not the worst’ because that’s all you are”

KLANG!

So yes, that was a monumentally boneheaded/dumb-as-rocks thing to say that roundly deserved all the derision it got but I think the worst part of it all was catching that split second where his feedback loop finally kicked in, just about when he first mentions ‘ugly girls’. At this point the crowd take a sharp intake of breath and a flash of panic crosses Joey’s face.

Oh bollocks oh bollocks oh bollocks I’m too deep into this sentence that I haven’t really thought through to turn back so I’m going to have to run with it but why am I looking Louise Bours straight in the face while I’m saying this oh bollocks oh bollocks oh bollocks”

Yeah, pretty toe curling all told and unsurprisingly it scuppered the rest of the show for him. Oh well never mind Joey, doubtless they’ll have you back on again in which case I advise that you try doing the whole thing in a French accent.

joey barton napoleon

Fig. 1

And the rest of ’em?

Time is of the essence so let’s be quick:

Willetts straddled the thoughtful/boring line with some aplomb but never once threatened to add anything more than some gentle chin stroking and an aversion to confrontation while Margret Curran breathlessly said the same sentence over and over again in slightly different forms before occasionally pausing dramatically as if she was going to say something very important only to then go and breathlessly say the same sentence over and over again in slightly different form. Finally, Piers Morgan put in an annoyingly good performance that was only really marred by him barking orders for airports to be built in every town in the land like some sort of jumped up Luftfuehrer. Bah. I hate it when Piers does well.

Tl;dr

Bours: 6/10

(Isn’t) Shy

Barton: 4/10

*Sigh*

Willetts: 5/10

(Can be adequately summed up as ‘Some) Guy(‘)

Curran: 5/10

(Should) Try (talking a little slower)

Morgan: 7/10

Why?

The Crowd: 6/10

(Probably came to the airport to) Fly (somewhere but never made it to the plane).

Well, that was a load of half-term silliness, wasn’t it? Not that I’m complaining mind – sometimes a good all-heat-and-no-light episode is needed, even if it does occasionally mean I have to award Piers Morgan annoyingly high marks from time-to-time. Right, Wales next week, undoubtedly to be set in the newly constructed Llandudno International Airport as per Luftfuehrer Morgan’s orders…

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Advertisements

Questionable Time #100


questionable time 100 david dimbleby photoshop montage

Good morning Lemmings and no, your eyes do not deceive you – Questionable Time is 100 posts old today and yes, you should all be very excited about this. What? What’s that? Why should you be excited? Well I don’t bloody know – I’m 100 now and easily confused so unless you’re the dispatch rider with my telegram from the Queen I’ll be asking you to take your leave now thank you very much indeed.

(Incidentally, due to arbitrary changes in naming schemes, this isn’t the 100th post at all. No, it’s actually the 149thor the 151st if you’re being particularly thorough. Either way though, Questionable Time is now officially old).

Anyway, to celebrate this ‘exciting’ turn of events, QT has got all giddy with excitement and sent us not 5 but 6 flesh bags to play with which works out as 20% extra ire to vent. Best get on with it then…

The sum of Tristram Hunt’s parts…

Cast your eyes on Tristram Hunt and what goes through your head? Well, if your answer is something along the lines of ‘A jaw line that says ‘rugged’,a pre-politics profession that says ‘bookish’, a voice that says ‘plumby’ and a constituency that says ‘authentic, grinding poverty” then not only are we on the same page but we’re probably both experiencing that weird sensation of witnessing something that shouldn’t really be. That sounds harsh – particularly as we often consider some of these traits to be positive things when dealt with in isolation – but when we take them as a combined whole they make this odd melange that just doesn’t quite cut it and leaves him in this strange netherworld of unconnected dots and verses that never quite make it to the chorus.

Take for example his response to the question about whether the UK is inherently racist: Here’s where he pitches his voice down to just shy of ‘solemn’, dons the look of a man wracked with concern, and gravely intones that maybe the Red Team took their eye off the ball when it comes to the worries of the great unwashed before swiftly concluding that it’ll all be ok in the end because Labour understand the cost of living – providing it doesn’t have to go into specifics about the price of milk, bread or any other essential component of this whole ‘living’ business. On paper, this is a perfectly reasonable play which, if deployed properly, should naturally segue into a soaring crescendo of Labour being the best placed party to right these wrongs but with Hunt it never quite does: Instead it just sort of judders along, never quite finding biting point as the listener tries to match the incongruous vision of this clearly clever and privileged man trying to ‘engage’ with people who might as well have grown up in a completely different universe.

The sad thing is that we caught a fleeting glimpse of the authentic Tristram this week. This was Historian Tristram who when asked about the comparisons between Hitler and Putin suddenly became enthused, animated and coherent. It was a good answer as well, robustly delivered and neatly tying up his specialist interest with a sly pop at The Daily Mail – a confluence of factors that made him (for a brief moment at least) a thing that was supposed to be. The problem is that these moments are not only so few and far between, they also tend to be sandwiched between those awkward encounters like the race question or the bluster he hid behind when Labour’s education policy was put under the spotlight. Oh Tristram, if only there were such a thing as a Minister for History…

…And the winner of this year’s Panelist I’d Never Thought I’d Like But Actually Have A Lot Of Time For is…

…Ladies and gentlemen, the Rt Hon. Jeremy Browne MP! Woop woop! So yes, Jeremy Browne is in the house and for one I am delighted because:

A: He’s the polar opposite of Tristram Hunt who knows what he is (a veritable trouser press of a man who is probably insufferably enthusiastic during any event that involves the words ‘Team Building’) and gives not a hoot if you don’t care for his ways.

B: The whole panda thing makes him ridiculously easy to photoshop.

And C: I think he got a really raw deal when he was thrown under a bus for the whole ‘Go Home’ debacle.

However, I must admit that it was a fair to middling performance last night where he never quite hit his stride and I suspect I know why: He got rid of his beard. To those who may not have spotted it, Browne spent much of this year with not only a beard attached to his face, but a majestic one that dominated everything within a 100 ft radius. Seriously, (and I say this as a bearded man) it was a thing of utter beauty that made him look like a Special Forces operator who’d just rolled in from the hills of the Hindu Kush with a clutch of sexy superficial wounds and a haunted look that says “I’ve seen things no man should see” (see Fig. 1). Alas, he now appears to be sans beard and as a result we’re back to plain old Vanilla Browne – not the worst thing in the world but certainly not a patch on Jeremy ‘Instrument of State Sanctioned Murder’ Browne. I really got on with that guy.

jeremy browne panda special forces beard

Fig. 1

Grayling and the love/hate of the game…

Hmmmm… A quiet one from the Justice Minister last night but one that was not without its own story to tell. Basically, the key to Grayling is not what he says – that’s usually your standard boilerplate ‘the mess Labour made’ stuff – but the way he reacts to things. For example, whenever an opponent is getting it in the neck you can always hear this little laugh come from Grayling and it’s not a nice laugh. No, instead it’s one of those ‘Fade away, jerk!’ laughs that you get when you ask a bus driver if they have enough change for a tenner and on top of that it’s usually packaged with a subtle sneer.

And thus is the problem with Grayling: Satisfaction for him comes not from the furthering of The Plan (whatever that may be) but from the game itself and, more precisely, the smiting of one’s enemies. Now, as a political tool this is certainly a handy disposition to cultivate but, in the wider battle of winning hearts and minds? Nah, it just reminds people of that look that Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs fame pulls when the amateur developers tell him that they’re project managing themselves and funding the job on their credit card. Schadenfreude: It’s a double edged-sword.

And the rest?

Time is short and so is this paragraph.

Allsop – Likes saying “ought to” a lot, talks about the property market in a very ’round the houses’ sort of way, conflates fertility with housing status.

Hamilton – Real life panto villain who represents the truly terrifying nexus of UKIP, bent Tories and bow ties.

Monroe – The only logical outcome of putting both Lily Allen and Owen Jones into the Large Hadron Collider, pressing the big red button and hoping for the best.

Tl;dr

Hunt: 5/10

(A right old) Jumble (of a man)

Browne: 5/10

(Not much to) Grumble (about)

Grayling: 4/10

(Would laugh long and hard if he saw you) Tumble (down some stairs)

Allsop: 6/10

Bumbles (amiably about in a twee sort of way)

Hamilton: 5/10

(Does the sinister) Mumble (quite well)

Monroe: 6/10

(Reputedly makes good) Crumble

The Crowd: 6/10

(Made for a perfectly serviceable) Fumble (in the dark).

Gah, I can never get my head around these six-for-the-price-of-five episodes but then again, I am 100 so just getting to the end of this piece without major incident is an achievement in itself. Right, that’s me done and next week we return to bog standard, non-celebratory Questionable Time, hopefully with the more traditional compliment of five panelist. Until then, that’s your lot and GET OFF MY LAWN YOU BLOODY WHIPPERSNAPPERS!

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #99


Good morrow Lemmings and let us relive a comparatively more sombre Question Time experience than the trainwreck (akin to Thomas the Tank Engine, only instead of the trains bearing friendly, non-threatening faces they all feature a giant laughing Farage) that was last week. Still, there were still a number of amusing moments to be had, three-quarters of the show wasn’t devoted to one question, and whenever everything was in danger of lagging one could always entertain oneself by peering at Paddy Ashdown’s scrunchy face. So, without further ado:

I am neither in this programme nor out of it but somewhere in between

When Paddy Ashdown is lost in thought his eyes roll up into his skin like an angry hedgehog. Happily, this fun feature was also present last night. Paddy began, blind as a bat, as he meant to go on. The Lib Dems have saved the economy and everyone is happy and chillaxing. Yes, those ruddy Conservatives may have been involved just a little, but it’s the Lib Dems’ victory really.

Funnily enough nobody made any comment on how this extremely long and meandering speech related to the Gary Barlow question, or when he then repeated the exact same points he previously said when it came to covering the free school meals dealio. Not even Humza Yousaf, who clearly disagreed with everything he said, butted in. Everyone was too entranced by Paddy’s wonderfully waxen face to care.

Paddy seems like he was specifically grown in a laboratory for the role of the serious elder statesman, making respected comments about war crime allegations. He could do the entire show wearing a sparkly party hat and Dimbledore would merely sit there, transfixed, drawn into the endless craggy abyss that is Ashdown’s eyeholes.

Also, he still might be able to suplex you. Fear is the greatest motivator.

Ahh, the Chilcot inquiry, it burns!

Caroline Flint wants tax avoiders rounded up with a net and shot. Or at least that’s the perception you’d get after her most recent QT performance. At one point, Dimbleby interrupted her – you realise, Caroline, you can’t just put all the tax avoiders in a big hole in the ground and leave them there to rot? Caroline couldn’t answer that, but you could almost hear her thinking: why not? What’s the big deal? WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL, DIMBLEBY?

Then she and Esther (or as I nicknamed them, Betty and Veronica) had a bit of a bust-up over free schools. And then she and Tim had a bust-up over free schools. Caroline wants everyone to forget about free schools! Let’s talk about the million billion other schools instead! What’s the big deal? WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL, EVERYONE?

Unfortunately she ran out of steam when it came to the last question and the British public engaged in the only form of national sport that can truly bring them all together as a happy, loving family: Blair-bashing. She turned white as a sheet. It was quite a sight, let me tell you.

“Tim, whatever you’re on, can we all have some?”

I was going to have Esther McVey, as the official Tory Party representative, as one of the main sections for this edition – but you know what? Nah. Nah, nah, nah, nah, because another has stolen her crown. Oh, she put in a decent performance, but was utterly outclassed: whether it came to Scotland or education, a lone shadow stalked through the night, goshing and crikeying until he was blue in the face. And that person’s name is Tim Stanley.

I scoffed as I heard his profession being read out. Blogger. Yes, for a national newspaper, but still. I’m a blogger. I write many interesting pieces about the right way to cook a roast potato (boil ’em first). What did Tim have that I lacked? As it turned out…drugs. Possibly.

Aside from being a grown man named Tim, which is warning enough, even Dimbleby looked on in horror as TStanz engaged in what was possibly the wettest, smelliest incident of brown-nosing I’ve ever seen in my life. Or perhaps it should be termed Gove-nosing? Free schools are so popular! Coventry! You’re getting new free schools! “You’re very very fortunate!”

Coventry reacted in a predictable manner. Later on, the ‘Yes’ campaign gained a zillion more supporters as Tim began to verbally lick and kiss the entire nation of Scotland in a terrifying, quasi-incestuous manner. We’re brothers and we love you. Stay with us. Staaaay.

Fig. 1

Tim was a bit more sensible later on, when he explained that politicians create the context for war crimes to be able to happen in the first place. Whether you agree with that statement or not, at least he managed to say it without the entire audience breaking out into loud groans, which is a significant improvement from what came before.

I’m fairly sure Coventry isn’t in Scotland but don’t tell Humza that

Finally, inexplicable SNP panellist Humza Yousaf got off to a good start by revealing he is a Take That fan to much mockery and merriment. His broad Scottish accent makes his angry damnation of The Evil One (Gary Barlow) ever more entertaining. (Clearly he is Team Robbie.) “THURRTY FIEV MULLION POONDS”, he declared, to the proudly anti-Barlow audience’s glee.

Sadly he then went quiet for a while, perhaps exhausted by the ferocity of his Robbie-fandom. He interjected to agree that the Tory/Lib Dem fights are faker than Harry Styles’ and Taylor Swift’s relationship, but that was it until the actual question on Scotland (!!) that popped up.

Then he mainly just laughed at David Cameron. Come on Humza, we can all do that. Give us something a bit more POONDing.

Well, that’s about it for this week, but not before leaving you all with the best line of the night, from dear old forgotten Esther herself: “in England we need to know why we’re rubbing up against each other”. Why indeed, Esther. Why indeed.

Incidentally, it’s scores time.

McVey: 5/10

(Missed her) Boat

Flint: 6/10

(Sort of keeping) Afloat

Ashdown: 7/10

(Knows his party line by) Rote

Yousaf: 5/10

(Wants a ‘Yes’) Vote

Stanley: 6/10

(Probably owns a) Moat

The crowd: 5/10

(On teachers they) Dote

The next edition of Questionable Time is the 100th! Wow! Not sure if that actually means anything, but bask in this simply amazing achievement anyway. Bask in it.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #98


questionable time 98 david dimbleby rambo

Good morning Lemmings and if you’re feeling a little shell-shocked by the box of frogs that was last night’s show then stop crying because we only have ourselves to blame. Oh sure, we all thought we were being so clever, inviting Farage on week after week so we could all smugly mock his rubbery face and outlandish views. We thought we were doing it ‘for the lulz’ but now? Now he’s looking like he might actually win an electoral contest and it’s all our fault: We’re the ones who created this monster. We’re the ones who thought everyone else was in on the joke and we’re the ones who’ll be crying into our quinoa the day after the European elections. So answer me this Lemmings, where are your lulz now? WHERE ARE YOUR LULZ NOW?!?!

Anyway…

I love the smell of mania on a Thursday night…

So, Nige is back after his 5 month QT exile and if first impressions are anything to go by then he’s all hopped up to the nines on either a) green room booze, b) unshakeable self-belief or c) a mixture the two. Why do I say this? Well, the shouting was a bit of a giveaway (“They never tamed me!”) but most of all it was just how relentless he was in making the point that I Am None Of The Above (And I Am Most Definitely Not Grant Shapps). Got a problem? Well these guys won’t help you (particularly Grant Shapps). They don’t care, they don’t understand, they CAN’T understand because they’re not like you and me. Sure, they’ll try to paint me as part of the establishment, but you know better. You’ve seen me with my fag and my pint. You know I’m a chancer. You know that I’m probably not that competent but you don’t care. Why? Because you’re sick of being by fobbed off by these guys. Go on, give me a vote and I’ll tell them to naff off.

It’s not the most sophisticated message but it’s effective and very tricky to counter (as evidenced by the rest of the panel’s inability to decisively knobble him). The problem is that sometimes it works too well and last night might just have been one of those occasions. Allow me to explain:

Nigel Farage’s greatest gift is The Knowing Wink that he appends to every interaction – that look on his face that says ‘I know! I can’t believe I’m getting away with it either!’ (see Fig. 1). That’s the thing that we can relate to in Farage, the inner-blagger in all of us that cackles heartily when we’re given too much change or accidentally jump a queue. The problem last night was that The Knowing Wink was being subtly overpowered by The Prospect of Success: You could just see it on his face – he’d caught a whiff of his own hype and quite liked the smell. That gave his delivery this certainty and – dare I say it – a tinge of mania that made it all just a little scary.

Nigel Farage Ladbrokes

Fig. 1

This is a problem because Farage’s entire pitch (and thus by extension UKIP’s) has been that he’s just like us despite the fact that he patently isn’t and the thing that makes that pitch work is The Knowing Wink. Lose that and what have you got? Well, funny you should mention that because the bit on Grant Shapps is about to start.

How not to blag…

Ha! I’ve waited a long time to say this – Grant Shapps is now officially a busted flush and the proof of it is in just how thoroughly trounced he was by Farage last night. Seriously, it was embarrassing at times, watching him try to referendum his way out of the corner the Tories have painted themselves in to but no-one was buying it. And why weren’t they buying it? Because Shapps’ brand of blagging is an entirely different strain to Farage’s and an ugly one at that.

The main problem Shapps has is that his face just seems to constantly militate against sincerity and always ends up coming to a rest in a smug little pout – not a good look at the best of times but doubly so when you’re being taken to the cleaners by the closest thing politics has to Alan Partridge. However, the real kicker is how that look reflects on us, the blaggee. It says ‘I’m taking you for a ride because I’m better than you. Because I hold you in contempt.’. You don’t get that with Farage (who quite frankly seems delighted that anyone’s paying attention to him at all) and when you stack it up next to Shapps’ list of past offences, it becomes clear that it’s going to take more than just cheap beer and bingo to sort it all out.

It’s all coming up Umunna…

A good innings from Chuka last night and one that was aided greatly by both AstraZenica and Nigeria being on the agenda. However, it wasn’t all luck as the Europe question could have gone just as badly for the Red Team as it did the Blue Team had Chuka not been so on the ball when it came to denying Farage the space to make mischief. It’s also personally heartening because I can end up getting quite cross with Umunna for over thinking things and getting hobbled by hesitancy. Not last night though so pointy-points for the Ridiculously Good Looking man in the Red Corner.

Shirley’s bid to outlive Questionable Time…

I can just see me in 40 years time looking at this crap netbook of mine and wondering just what the hell I’m going to say about Shirley Williams after her 10,000 QT appearance. Seriously, she was knocking on a bit when I started doing this but now she’s properly old and still shows no signs of slowing down apart from isolated senior moments (the “country of Asia” anyone?). But still, I won’t complain when that day comes because despite over familiarity, there is an enduring appeal to watching a very forthright woman tell everyone off in turn before conjuring up some anecdote about the mid-20th century. Consistency: There’s a lot to be said for it.

If claps translated in to votes…

Then surely Caroline Lucas would be Queen. Alas, it appears that this not the case and despite a) a very solid performance and b) dressing up as a Christmas present I’m not predicting a Green landslide any time soon. In fact it’s almost like we’ve friendzoned the Greens, telling them how much we love their progressive policies but never actually taking them to the ball. That must be a pretty galling thing to deal with, particularly when they see us getting out of the limo with that weird kid from UKIP. Stay strong Caroline, there’s plenty more fish in the sea.

Tl;dr

Farage: 6/10

High (as a kite)

Shapps: 3/10

(The end is) Nigh

Umunna: 7/10

Aye

Williams: 6/10

(Still surprisingly) Spry

Lucas: 7/10

(Must wonder) Why (the Greens get such a raw electoral deal)

The Crowd: 7/10

(Were pretty) Fly

Well, there you go – a messy affair in which Farage nearly overdosed on himself and Shirley Williams finally took on the form of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. That’ll do for me.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #97


questionable time 97 david dimbleby wolves moon native americanGood morning Lemmings and apologies for the pshop atrocity above – some men just like to watch the world drown in a tidal wave of Outer Glow blending options every now and then. Anyway, what’s it to you? Do you want me to come after you with a piece of “sharpened bone” because that audience member was right – that’s exactly the sort of thing we denizens of Leeds routinely carry around. Ha! Not so brave now, are you? Right, let’s get going…

D-I-V-O-R-C-E

How do you know when a marriage is on the rocks? Well, one of the more reliable methods is to see what happens when one half of the partnership gets in from work. In the case of Tim Farron’s union with the rest of the Yellow Team there has been a marked deterioration in the civility of the 6pm homecoming over the years but last night really did throw into stark relief just how strained things have become at Chez Farron.

Take for example the early years of the coalition: Here you got the sense that Tim – troubled though he was by the way his bride’s outlook and behaviour had recently changed – was at least trying to make it work. There was the obligatory peck on the cheek, the ‘How was your day?’ followed by that state of semi-listening and obligatory ‘uh-huhs’/’mmmphs’ before he’d plant himself in front of Pointless and try to push the awful thought that he may no longer be in love with the rest of the Yellow Team to back of his mind. As time has gone on though this act has self-evidently become harder to sustain and by the back-end of last year you could really see the wheels coming off:

Darling, did you manage to sort that redistribution of wealth out?”

Dammit Tim, I told you before – we’re not teenagers any more! Now for god’s sake put down that bloody SDP manifesto and help me raise these tuition fees!”

Last night though, well that was a different kettle of fish because for the first time he couldn’t even bring himself to step over the threshold, opting instead to stay in his car and listen to Born to Run on an endless loop while the neighbours looked on with a mixture of glee and anxiety (‘Hey, have you seen Tim from Number 3? He looks like he’s proper lost it! That’ll never happen to us, right darling? Right?’). Not once did he mention a coalition policy or even pretend to speak as part of a family unit, preferring instead to pretend that the wedding never took place and that he was still living the pre-2010 social democratic dream.

So what now for this unhappy household? Well, before last night I was happy to chalk Tim’s recent behaviour to a case of simply being on maneuvers (see Fig. 1) – you know, that sort of 7 year-itch posturing where he intentionally stays out late and switches off his phone in an act of measured defiance but now I’m not so sure. No, I think it’s deeper than that: I think he knows that divorce is inevitable and he’s laying the ground work to make sure that he gets his half of the house and access to the kids. What’s even more interesting is just how attractive (justified barbs about hypocrisy aside) this ‘I’ve Still Got It’ Tim was to the audience. They knew he was kind of living out a fantasy but it was a fantasy that they were more happy to indulge. Watch this space Lemmings because if the 2015 election pans out as badly for the LibDems as conventional wisdom would suggest then don’t be surprised when you get an invite to a housewarming at Tim’s new bachelor pad.

tim-farron-on-maneuvers-gif

Fig. 1

Bad news and good news with the Blue Team…

First the bad news: Nick Boles, the wobbly headed junior minister who I suspect will be absolute QT gold has once again stood me up and escaped a damn good Questionable Timing. He’ll keep, I guess. However, it’s not all woe and misery because his replacement – backbencher Conor Burns – has appeared from nowhere and pulled off perhaps the single greatest Response To Tragic Events in recent QT history. Seriously, his answer to the Corpus Christie question was exceptionally good – sincere, without schmultz and pitched perfectly in tone (it was actually like a really well executed sermon). The rest of his performance wasn’t bad either so keep an eye on this guy: If he can keep a lid on calling hecklers “spastics” he could be going places.

The Thwarting…

Last night should have been Yvette’s for the taking – after all she knows the turf around these parts, Leeds is genetically Labour and having a shiny new (and left leaning) policy in the bag never really hurts the cause – but she didn’t quite manage to seal the deal, largely because Tim At Number 3 was stealing a lot of her progressive thunder. That’s not to say it was a bad performance (it wasn’t) but you did get the impression that having to look both left and right threw her a little off-balance. Either that or the Ed Balls Day celebrations were really heavy this year.

Sighs of relief all round at UKIP HQ…

Watching Suzanne Evans last night reminded me of a PE report I got back in school:

Loudribs has done well this year despite himself”

And that’s because she did do ok – she didn’t seem too bonkers and gave the impression of being vaguely clued up by having a statistic for absolutely bloody everything. However, it was a close run thing that could have very easily gone sideways thanks to a) her permanently looking very pleased with herself and b) by claiming ownership of things that aren’t really hers (“my countryside”, “my beautiful rural school”). For a party that’s pitching itself as the bane of vested interests this probably isn’t the best semantic road to go down.

One ticket to Jenkoland please!

What would the world be like if Simon Jenkin’s ran it? Incredibly entertaining, that’s what. We’d all be free to do really stupid things in a land littered with lovingly conserved stately homes and sites of great cultural import. You want to drunkenly do handbrake turns in the grounds of Castle Howard with your hair on fire? Good for you! Go nuts! Just make sure you don’t damage the house. Fancy smoking PCP and racing diggers around Stonehenge? Then go, race diggers for it is your god given right! Just watch the stones ok? It would be like Downton Abbey meets Jackass.

Tl;dr

Cooper: 6/10

Thwarted

Farron: 6/10

Transported (himself back to 2010)

Burns: 7/10

Comported (himself well)

Evans: 5/10

(Would probably like to see a lot of people) Deported

Jenkins: 6/10

Snorted (at airport security in schools)

The Crowd: 6/10

(Were) Assorted

Hmm… pretty solid episode that (and I’m not just saying that out of fear of my sharpened bone wielding neighbours). Right, we’re done here. Go back to whatever it was you were doing and I’ll go back to figuring out just what I’m going to wear to Tim’s housewarming party…

Next week Lemmings, next week…


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 109 other followers

May 2014
M T W T F S S
« Apr   Jun »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

RSS Feed


%d bloggers like this: