Posts Tagged 'Claire Perry'

Questionable Time #54


Questionable time 54 david dimbleby green chinese lady portrait

Good morning Lemmings and rejoice for unless I am mistaken, we appear to have a by-election on our hands. Now. I’m a by-election fan at the best of times but this one’s had it all: The suitably dramatic demise of an incumbent to kick the whole thing off? Check. The first real prospect of a Blue on Yellow electoral throwdown where the stakes are high enough to matter? Check. A Conservative candidate who’s in the process of wandering off the reservation, the off-chance of a UKIP upset and a Labour attempt to both have/eat cake (‘We knew we didn’t have a chance so we put a comedian up to show how unbothered we are about losing.’/’OMG! You guys got beaten by a comedian!’)? Check check check! Today, Lemmings, is a good day to be alive… providing you happen to be a politics dork with a predilection for mid-term ballots. Right, let’s do this…

Am I the only one who hears The Archer’s theme tune whenever Claire Perry’s about?

My god, Claire Perry’s got an abundance of jaunt. That gymkhana posture, the liberal use of exclamation marks, her sharp elbows, they all just scream Le Creuset and the ability to absolutely dominate PTA meetings. Anyway, I bring this up because last night was an instructive guide to both the benefits and perils of employing Jolly Hockey Sticks as a QT tactic. Let’s start at the very end, with the question about banker’s bonuses. In this case Perry stormed in, Jolly Hockey Sticky flailing wildly above her head and hellbent on reorienting the question to Labour’s less-than-stellar record on regulating banks. “I’m absolutely gobsmacked!” was her battle cry and the force of jaunt that built up behind her was enough to yank the crowd violently around to her point of view. Clapping ensued and so it would seem that Jolly Hockey Sticks are perhaps one of the most potent weapons in QT arsenal.

However, this conclusion can only be arrived at if one actively ignores the rest of the show, an episode which should act as a cautionary tale of Jolly Hockey Sticks Gone Bad to Shire-Tories across the land. Here’s how it happened: For most of the programme we saw Perry waggle her stick so vigorously in Angela Eagle’s direction that Dimbers was forced to intervene and what should have played out as righteous-indignation-spliced-with-the-invigorating-whiff-of-the-outdoors ended up coming across more like GTA:Waitrose (a game where the only car you can drive is a Volvo… Unless you buy the Saab DLC). 

So yes, despite a late rally, this was a largely avoidable tragedy brought about by a surfeit of pushiness and a fatal misunderstanding of the way people react to unbridled confidence: Where you see a defiant call-to-arms, they see a wagging finger.

What to do with Angela?

Ok, so I had a bumpy ride with Eagle last night. At first, I was all ‘Boo!’ as she squandered probably the biggest open goal we’ve seen in ages. I mean seriously, how hard is it to take apart a government that spends numerous years buggering up numerous lives in the self-proclaimed quest to retain the UK’s AAA rating only to go and lose it? It doesn’t get any easier than this – it’s like QT Christmas, birthday and new year’s all at once – yet thanks to a monotone delivery and a stare so vacant that the middle-distance started feeling uncomfortable, Angela fluffed it and the only injuries Perry suffered were largely self-inflicted.

Having said that, when it came to her response to the question about whether politics is a safe place for women, my ‘Boo!’ turned to a ‘Yay!’. All of a sudden, she appeared to be animated, engaged and talking a fair bit of sense. The crowd agreed, applause was applied liberally and for a moment, she looked like she was back in the game. Alas, this run of form was not to last and as she slowly faded towards the end, my overall impression was sort of a ‘Meh’… A doffed cap to her stout defence of women’s rights followed by a cocked snook for her inability to articulate the easy.

Oh Jeremy Browne, you so funny…

I’ve often wondered how Jeremy Browne ended up being a Liberal Democrat MP. The only scenario that seems vaguely plausible was that someone at LDHQ got drunk, phoned up Central Casting and demanded a more youthful version of Colonel Blimp. Upon delivery papers were signed, implicit contracts were formalised and the Yellow Team inadvertently took ownership of perhaps the most entertaining face in British politics: A slightly confused looking scrunch that never seems more than two minutes from yelling ‘Now just you wait a bloody second!’.

The 20th Century called and it didn’t sound happy…

Ken Loach: He likes to harsh your buzz, usually through the medium of social-realist cinema but also through the occasional QT appearance as well. Anyway, Ken was on last night and despite the general bleakness that comes with all things Loach, he was actually the star of the show and won by a country mile. Part of this is down to making some fair good points but for me the bulk of it is due to a sense of nostalgia: Ken reminds me of a world where ideologies actually had to compete and politics was able to look beyond the narrow confines of the electoral cycle. So yes, a good innings but I should really take this opportunity to warn younger readers: Never go to a Ken Loach movie on a first date. Yeah, I know… You think you’ll come across as a compassionate-yet-edgy firebrand but you won’t. Trust me, the film will bum you out so much that the walk home will be conducted in muted silence and no good will come of anything. Just… Just take it from me.

You can’t argue with the logic of Neil Hamilton joining UKIP…

Once upon a time, Neil Hamilton wasn’t just a Thatcherite, he was an uber-Thathcherite – the sort of guy whose total faith in the virtues of the free market became almost sinister. Then his political career fell apart in a blizzard of scandals and for the next decade or so he wandered around the public’s peripheral vision in various states of absurdity, wife dragged willingly in tow. Now, let me see… Where could I find a home for a man who is both ludicrous and unhinged. Oh wait! I know just the guys!

Tl;dr

Perry: 4/10

Duffy

Browne: 5/10

Stuffy

Eagle: 6/10

Scuffy

Loach: 8/10

Scruffy

Hamilton: 5/10

Enoughy

The Crowd: 7/10

Puff?

So there you go, some adequate by-election lulz to give us hope (Joanna) ’til the morning comes. Now, seeing as I’m feeling a little guilty for ragging on Browne so hard I’ve decided to make it up to him with this gif. Lemmings, I give to you an animated rendition of Jeremy Browne doing what he does best: Hanging out with his panda (see Fig. 1)

jeremy-brown-panda-gif

Fig. 1


Questionable Time #39


questionable time 38 david dimbleby the office david brent

Good morning Lemmings and welcome to Sluff, famous for Mars Bars, tragicomic depictions of the UK workplace and for a bloody great fictional crematorium that featured in Brave New World. In fact,I find it rather apt that Slough turned up in Huxley’s novel as it’s always given me the sense of a place where the utopian and dystopian rub uncomfortably against each other. On the utopian side of the coin it can proudly boast of having the most ethnically diverse population outside of London and although not a New Town per se, it certainly has echoes of that period in British history where we thought we had the future licked. As it happens, we didn’t and the future turned out to be a much more drab and roundabouty affair than we initially anticipated, an unhappy occurrence that leads us to the more dystopian flip side of Slough: Aberrantly high crime rates, ‘The Slough Stench’ and that unshakable feeling that everything is – well – slightly crap.

Still, it’s not my job to bum out the people of Slough, not that there seems to be a shortage of people willing to do just that. No, my job is to see how the people of Slough react to a damn good Question Timing and so without further ado let us bravely put our collective heads into the maw of the beast.

Am I still on the Vince Train? I honestly don’t know anymore…

Back in 2008 when the whole world looked to be collapsing around our ears, one man stood forth and boldly donned the mantle of The Voice of Reason. That man was Vince Cable and in 2008 the one place I and many others wanted to be was in the first class carriage of the Vince Train, a doughty locomotive of yellow livery powered by pure Keynsianism. At first the ride was great fun, speeding along while the Hayek Express was forced into the sidings and I felt vindicated in having purchased my first class ticket at the station rather than experiencing the potential ignominy of having to upgrade on board. This train, I thought, was going places… Next stop, Government Central!

That, however, was where the problems started and if you ask me, Government Central has a lot in common with Birmingham New Street in that it’s a cold, dark, subterranean place that’s awfully hard to find your way out of. The effect it had on the Vince Train was no less baleful and there soon developed an ominous sounding creak from the axles while the Tanoy spoke of inevitable delays, usually attributed to signal trouble in the vicinity of Wilmslow. Looking back, I probably think that I should have got off at the next stop when I had the chance but I didn’t. Why not? Because for all the disappointments and that entire year where Cable carried a pained expression on his face like someone had just jellied his stapler, he had this look that made me stay on board. And it was just a look. A glint in the eye, a tap on the side of his nose that said ‘Just you wait. The chips may be down, but let me assure you that I’ve still got a couple of tricks up my sleeve’. Well, it’s now four years down the line and I must confess that I’m leaning so far out of the window of the Vince Train that there’s a good chance the next tunnel will take my head clean off. Could his performance last night coax me back safely into the carriage? To put it bluntly, no.

Here’s the thing: I actually quite liked the content of what Cable was saying last night. He played it very cautiously on the GDP figures, made it very clear that he wasn’t going to lend a hand to some of the Blue Teams pottier ideas (like IDS’s new stance on breeding) and was generally pretty reasonable about the Savile scandal. Instead, the problem for me was that he looked absolutely knackered, spent to the point that he simply couldn’t bring himself to flash me that look. Well, dammit Vince, I need that took! So what if you never back it up by actually pulling a rabbit out of the hat, at least the look seriously implies that you might be thinking about it. Last night, that look was nowhere to be seen. Should this situation persist, consider me off at the next stop.

There’s a wonderful mismatched buddy movie just waiting to be made starring Emily Thornberry and Claire Perry…

I think it’s fair to say that Emily Thornberry and Claire Perry aren’t exactly bessies, what with all the blow trading and eye-daggers we witnessed last night. For Perry’s part, I suspect that Thornberry’s rather measured and deliberate responses jangle her How Dare You Patronise Me nerve whilst Perry’s very assertive presentation scratches some very long fingernails across Thornberry’s Why You Jumped Up Little blackboard. Anyway, Perry generally had the better of it and emerged the less bruised of the pair but there was a brief and telling moment that stopped me dead in my tracks. During the Jimmy Savile question Thornberry said, very sincerely in fact, that she agreed with Perry and Perry responded with a genuinely heartfelt sounding “Thank you”. Well that was it Lemmings, after that my mind was set adrift on what could be the UK legislature’s answer to Point Break: Claire Perry as Keanu’s fresh-out-the-academy hotshot, Emily Thornberry as Busey’s seen-it-all-before jaded veteran, a pair who will never see eye-to-eye but find themselves thrown together by fate and the quest for justice. The only unresolved matter is who would take the part of Swayze’s ‘you can’t cage me bro!’ adrenaline junkie. Jacob “I’ve never sworn in my adult life” Rees-Mogg could be quite fun but I’m open to suggestions.

Paul Nuttall actually makes UKIP a little scary…

I’ve got all the time in the world for UKIP in the same way I’ve got all the time in the world for Made In Chelsea: If taken in isolation, they’re both a toxic mess of things I’m no great fan of but this is balanced out by their inherent absurdity, a factor that renders them ultimately harmless yet mildly entertaining. Well, this was the case until Paul Nuttall somehow managed to become the only other UKIP member allowed off the compound unsupervised… Now I’m just plain scared. You see, I can happily dismiss UKIP as a slightly dotty group of people with too much time on their hands when they’re fronted by the likes of Farage, but Nuttall? No, he has an edge and a hard one at that, what with all the talk of punishing people in death and “lunatics” having the vote. What’s worse is that he comes across as a guy who might actually hang out with some vaguely ordinary people. It’s at this point that UKIP stop resembling a harebrained cult that recruits exclusively at village fêtes and starts to become something a lot more worrying. Still, you know what makes Paul Nuttall slightly less worrying though? A nice .gif of him with Gareth Keenans hair (See. Fig. 1).

gareth-keenan-paull-nuttall-resized-gif

I was going to tell Mehdi Hassan off for not smiling enough…

I spend a lot of time looking at QT panelists on Google Images, mainly because I need to photoshop them into ridiculous scenarios but also because it’s good to have a hobby. Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is that I’ve had to do quite a lot of staring at photos of Medhi Hassan and one thing that’s struck me is that you rarely see him smiling and that this is a shame because it makes him come across as A Very Serious Man. Now, I like Hassan, I think he’s generally on the money but the Very Serious Man thing can get a bit much and I thought a gentle chiding was in order to get him to lighten up a little. As it happens, I need not have bothered as the first thing out of his was mouth a joke and not a bad one at that (he said the government’s Plan B was “Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis”). So what did this get him? A slight titter and nothing more. Gah! What more do you people want?! Unperturbed by this lack of audience reciprocation, he had another go during the question on IDS’s new wheeze and once more, it was a serviceable little number (“Tough on babies, tough on the causes of babies”) but yet again, nothing. So fair play to you Mehdi, you tried but maybe you were just born to be A Very Serious Man… Them’s the breaks kid…

Tl;dr

Cable: 5/10

Tired

Thornberry: 4/10

Acquired (a role in a fictional movie)

Perry: 5/10

Wired

Nuttall: 4/10

Conspired

Hassan: 6/10

Retired (any hopes of being a stand-up comedian)

The Crowd: 5/10

(Were suitably) Attired?

As those numbers imply, I can’t really chalk this up as triumph of of an episode, yet can I write it off as a total defeat. So quite a lot like Slough then…

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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