Posts Tagged 'Alastair Campbell'

Questionable Time #136


qt 136

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to Hell.

Let’s get right to it, although this may be a somewhat late and truncated edition as I have spent a lot of my time in recent days either a) trudging around for ten hours straight following the campaign trail and getting attacked by dogs, b) bellowing like a harpooned whale at my television screen, or c) sleeping. I am currently in the middle of an existential crisis which has left me inhabiting no physical form to speak of. Nevertheless, I have typed this round-up for you…with my trembling, ghostlike hands.

You can leave your hat on

David Dimbleby is back from his nap and ready to rumble. Appaz UKIP was not available for this edition, so we’ll have to go on without them. Maybe they were locked out due to the voting system?

Besides which, we have to focus on the most pertinent issue of this election: Paddy Ashdown eating his hat. Though now an elder statesman, he has become an late game Twitter meme (replacing #EdBallsDay, RIP) when he promised to eat his hat if the now-infamous exit poll results were true. They were. If anything, they were even more shocking than we shockingly thought. Hatgate has been the sole highlight of a devastating night for the Liberal Democrats – and so, with the country having officially gone mad, Ashdown is presented with a confectionery hat live on television. Alastair Campbell is also presented with a chocolate kilt. Sadly, they do not scoff them down, and we can only wonder at their fates now. Did the audience have a party afterwards, or did the cameramen just nick them?

Honestly, I thought the hat would be bigger. Looking at the scale of the Lib Dems’ (and of course Labour’s) defeat, I was imagining Ashdown shoving an entire sombrero down his gob. There’s still time – some wag needs to do this and put the video on Vine.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Is Scottish independence now inevitable? With our first question comes the oily arrival of Francis Maude. Francis is a happy bunny, and cheerily (well, cheerily for him, which is to say a tad livelier than a corpse) says nah. The SNP fandom (#sturgeonfandom?) didn’t die down, it went TURBO THROTTLE, and the Tories never had a chance there anyway so it’s like…shruggie. Ruth Davidson was clearly having a great time, she never expected to win so just fed Soleros to people every day.

Alastair Campbell intervenes and says yeah probs. It’s Dave’s fault for stoking division. We should respect the SNP, most certainly fear them, but secretly envy them. What do they have that we don’t? Other than a charismatic leader, mobilised ground base, excellent organisational skills, and passionate policy prospectors? Like that’s a big deal!

Paddy says, sadly not with chocolate around his mouth, that we’re doomed.

John Swinney, the SNP dude, who appeared on this programme only two weeks ago but it feels like so much longer now, is having a nice day, now that you mention it. “I love living in Scotland,” he says. Everything is going super-duper for him. Until the Tories hit Scotland with their cuts, that is, but like that’s a big deal! Dimbles asks him to get to the point. Do you hope for fiscal independence? Well yeah, Swinney responds, but we, like, kind of want independence for everything. That’s sort of our ~thing~.

Julia Smugly-Brewer has her own strong opinions and unfortunately decides to air them. “Why are we always talking about Scotland? Why don’t we talk about England,” says she, and the answer to that point is because the question was about Scotland. Francis’ gloating continues, and John is offended and hates David Cameron for subtweeting about his beloved country that he loves to live in. Scotland, that is to say. Just in case you all forgot about it. Like that’s a big deal!

Labouring the point

Next up: is Labour too right-wing for Scotland and too left-wing for England? But where does that leave Wales? Everyone always forgets Wales ;_;

Campbell does his best and waffles a bit. He’s the official Labour Party damage control [insert Iraq joke here], plonked on when they’re having a particularly bad time of it, and nothing could be worse than living in The Now. He declares that people were afraid of JOHN AND HIS HORDE, and simultaneously Scottish people were tired of lazy Labour MPs havin’ a snooze. He sums up by stating that Labour needs to move away from Blairite/Brownite, New Labour/Old Labour divisions and go forward, perhaps crying a little bit, into the future.

‘Who is considering the interests of the poor, beleagured English?’ insinuates some judgey woman in the audience. She later interrupts and is generally annoying. I am short-tempered from electioneering and have no time for her sassy mouth. Paddy can’t even say anything worthwhile in response, his mouth is too full of hat.

Julia extols the virtues of David Miliband. But he is gone. And if he ever comes back, it will not be in time for the leadership contest. Class warfare that, suckas.

LABOUR RUINED EVERYTHING, gloats Francis, clearly enjoying himself.

MURDOCH DID IT!! says another shouty woman from the audience, this time even shoutier. (My ears hurt.) Don’t patronise me, huffs Francis, finally displaying some emotion. Julia interrupts to talk about the real issues. We’ve been talking about Scotland for 25 minutes of the scheduled hour…that’s why people are disillusioned! says she. Eh? What’s your problem with Scotland, Julia? Did Scotland kick your dog or something?

Why did the Lib Dems die in a ditch? Paddy audibly sighs. He mumbles that there are things they need to consider, and basically admits he’s too tired and sad to do that right now. People are a bit sympathetic. Julia tries to hug him but he rebuffs her, sinking a potentially beautiful ship before it even leaves the harbour. The Lib Dems were “honourable” and cool beans, intercuts Francis, perhaps also hoping for a hug.

“You didn’t say that during the election campaign,” Paddy bitches, obviously not in the mood for any kind of hug.

John Swinney places the blame squarely on Danny Alexander’s yellow budget box, saying it looks silly, and I think that’s the one thing we can definitely all agree on.

Europe all night to get lucky

Two UKIP-focused questions next, despite a representative not being there (nelsonmuntzhaha.mp3): Is UKIP’s performance fair, when they got a helluva lot of votes?

Don’t care, don’t like ’em, says John.

Don’t care, don’t like proportional representation, says Francis.

Don’t care, the public don’t care, says Julia.

The crowd disagree vocally. John says he is a beneficiary of FPTP, but believes in PR, as does Paddy. Well, that’s nice. Pity it’s not a big deal to the majority party, eh?

Secondly: can David Cameron keep Britain in Europe? Alastair says this is Bad News Bears. The debate for the next couple of years will be dominated by this, as will the press. We’re for a referendum, says Francis, sticking to the party line as ever (boo, I wanted more gloating, while irritating it’s at least 1% more interesting), but need a renegotiation. Also it distracts from all the other stuff we’re going to do, which is a bonus!

Y’all are arrogant, not letting us get a say, squeaks Julia. We have a right to say no! Just say no, kids! Paddy is offended by this, of course. In fact, you could even say that if Britain leaves the EU…

…he’ll eat his hat.

Time for the scores!

Maude: 6/10

Gloat(ing)

Campbell: 6/10

(Ready to grab you by the) Throat

Ashdown: 6/10

Bloat(ed from all the hats he’s had to eat)

Swinney: 8/10

(Pretty chuffed about his share of the) Vote

Hartley-Brewer: 6/10

Quote(d as saying Scotland LITERALLY killed her dog)

The Crowd: 8/10

(I’ll get me) Coat

Next time: five more years.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

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Loudribs Curmudgeonry Corner Post Question Time Match Report #34


Morning Lemmings. So then, the traditional title picture and title itself all seem to indicate that things are back to normal at this end, right? Wrong! No Lemmings, I’m afraid to say that I’ll be messing with the format yet again, mainly in the interests of keeping these reports a little shorter and thus emancipating me from 6 hours chained to a keyboard every Friday night. As a result, those of you with strong OCD tendencies may find themselves all at sea but my advice would be to view this as a form of treatment: We’re pushing the boundaries, breaking new ground, feeling the fear and doing it anyway…this is our Brave New World. Anyway, if this sudden wrenching away of the familiar leaves you feeling out-of-sorts, please feel free to let me know but if you couldn’t give a toss (and I strongly suspect that 99.9% of you don’t) then sit back and prepare thyself for what turned out to be quite the epic Question Time last night. Welcome, Lemmings, to Burnley.

Perhaps the best way to describe last night’s Question Time is to look at it as some fraught tale of maritime woe. Imagine if you will a dingy, probably named ‘Coalition’, adrift in the ocean and occupied by the now very guilty conscience of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes and the ever fishy (what with all the expenses, nannies and whatnot) Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman. Life on the Coalition isn’t that fun. Neither of them really wanted to sign up for this trip, the dingy appears to have sprung a few leaks of late and there is no disguising the fact that Hughes and Spelman clearly can’t stand each other. Nevertheless, here they are and for the most part, they at least try to make a pretence of some united front, even if that means extended bouts of lying to themselves.

But wait a second…what’s this? Two triangular fins, poking above the water and moving erratically? Clearly they were shark fins and if I’m not mistaken, they belonged to the well-known man eaters that are Gorgeous George Galloway and Malcolm Tucker Alastair Campbell! Sensing that some first class flesh tearing and access to carrion action could be in the offing, a flock of seagulls began to gather whilst another boat containing Clever Footballer (purely on account of appearing on Countdown… the bar’s pretty low, OK?) Clarke Carlisle approached from a safe distance.

I nearly went with "FUCKCHOPS"

Fig. 1

Oi! You guys down there!” squawked the gulls, “What do you think about Alan Johnson resigning and Ballsy getting the job?”

We bloody love it!” growled the sharks in unison. “Balls is just as sharky as us and he’s going to duff Osborne up good and proper! Go sharks! Go sharks! Go sharks!” Sensing that things probably aren’t too rosy when the killers of the deep circling your boat start chanting “Go sharks!”, Spelman did her best to look imposing and immediately launched into the now well-past-it’s-sell-by deficit/’living beyond means’ spiel, but failed to convince anyone that she wasn’t heading for a sticky fate in a matter of moments. Hughes however, knew that this was a doomed venture and instead tried to placate the sharks (by paying “tribute to Alan Johnson in passing”… He’s resigned Simon, he’s not dead) before bopping the marauders on the nose with a well delivered ‘Balls = Brown’ jab, much to the amusement of the seagulls.

Then something weird happened: Just as it seemed that it was only a matter of time before the good ship Coalition would be condemned to a toothy death, another onlooker (called David Starkey no less) chirped in with a question about the Iraq Inquiry and all hell broke loose. Suddenly, the sharks lost interest in mauling the Coalition and instead squared up to each other, much to the visible relief

of both Hughes and Spelman. The first to lunge was Gorgeous George who lost no time in popping open a bottle of Vintage Dastardly Rhetoric from which he poured references to “establishment stooges” and “war crimes” before climaxing with a shower of likening Tucker Campbell to “Goebbels” and “Lord Haw Haw”. This drove Tucker Campbell into a frenzied semantic defence (and a hairy moment where narrowly avoided confirming that he should stand trial if the Inquiry found him to be a big fat liar) whilst Spelman and Hughes looked on with bewildered delight. Surely these sharks are drunk! Also notable at this point was Clarke Carlisle’s first intervention (that wasn’t based on purely sports based analogies) which involved a rather impassioned tract about his cousin being in the forces and how those in power should be “held responsible”. The seagulls loved that and heartily brayed their approval before throwing him completely off-balance with a question about the NHS (“I’m not familiar with the complete mechanics”).

Sadly for Hughes and Spelman, the respite did not last and by the time the NHS question got round to Tucker Campbell, both he and Gorgeous George swiftly sobered up, dusted themselves down (if you can ‘dust yourself down’ underwater) and returned to original object of their blood lust. First up was Tucker Campbell with accusations of “broken promises” and the seagulls all bundled in, dive-bombing the coalition in formation whilst Galloway harried their flanks and got Lansley’s name wrong (“Stuart” Lansley?). Presented with this renewed onslaught Spelman did the political equivalent of clicking her heels three times whilst repeating the phrase ‘there’s no place like home’ by claiming she was delivering a “message of hope”. No-one bought it and the beasting continued. Even more interesting was Hughes who was clearly aware of how much trouble he was in and began flat-out pleading with his assailants: “I’m not a Tory!” he wailed to which Tucker Campbell replied “you’re getting there…”. Ouch.

By now, the once pristine dingy was rapidly being reduced to matchwood but worse was to come when one of the seagulls chipped in with a question about youth unemployment, driving his brethren into a maelstrom of murderous intent. Tucker Campbell got the ball rolling by shifting the argument in the direction of EMA’s but to be honest, the sharks were pretty much surplus to requirement as the gulls descended to peck out the eyes of Spelman (who was just whittering bollocks at this point) and Hughes (who finally gave up pretending that he was in any way on board with most of this and was consequently spared quite the hammering Spelman took). Broken, battered and listing heavily, the dingy managed to limp onto the final question about Oldham, but it was clear that they had only just escaped with their lives. Moments later, the gulls dispersed, the sharks got bored and went to look for something else to bite whilst Carlisle weighed anchor and pootled off into the sunset leaving Spelman and Hughes to ponder just how much fun the next four years of bailing/arguing over the freshwater/watching each other pee/mutual loathing would be. A cautionary tale if ever I heard one but a ripping yarn nevertheless.

TL;DR

Spelman: 3/10

I try very hard to be impartial, but something about her just stinks. Lucky to leave the studio alive.

Malcolm Tucker Alastair Campbell: 6/10

Yes, he’s an unrepentant ball of belligerence with a book to plug and possibly a war criminal too, but you have to admire just quite how proficient he is in the Dark Arts.

Hughes: 5/10

A valiant and spirited effort, but it’s actually rather disturbing to watch a man rend his soul apart on live television.

Gorgeous George: 7/10

Pompous and self-serving rabble-rouser that he is, it has to be said that he still represents Question Time Value For Money on a par with Farage.

Clarke Carlisle: 6/10

Actually quite good, despite the nervous start, occasional manglings of his own arguments and inherent sportiness. Kind of makes me feel a little guilty for doing a sarky pshop of him (see Fig.1).

The Crowd: 9/10

A well deserved whopper of a score for the most awesome crowd I’ve seen in ages. Reet Northern, reet pissed off and reet keen to get amongst it. Burnley: Walk tall this week… you’ve bloody well-earned it.

So that’s that. If this slightly different format has left you pining for the old/enthralled by the prospect of a brighter future, feel free to let me know. Oh, and just before I go, remember how I said ages ago that Ed Balls is probably the world’s least effective liar? Well, I think I might have just found the most compelling piece of evidence to date…

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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