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…

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