Posts Tagged 'Cristina Odone'

Questionable Time #141


qt 141

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to a sweltering, summery Questionable Time! We’re predicting light rain showers and intense humidity caused by sudden extreme emissions of hot air. Remember to stay hydrated, and watch out for shifting and sweating in your seats!

Fractional reserve wbanking

As the evening June light bursts into the studio through great glass windows, the entire audience is blinded and unfortunately unable to sit through the rest of the show. Oh well, guess we’ll all have to go home. Bye.

…Or perhaps not. Question one, then: is the Chancellor right to sell off RBS shares at a loss to the taxpayer? Ooh, burn. Sick burn. Ice burn. We’re off to a no-nonsense start, you’d think, but then Chris Bryant, supreme Gingerbonce and chief trollererererer of John Bercow in the House of Commons, as well as a renowned purveyor of entertaining nonsense himself, steps up to the plate. He’s seen a challenge and he’s rising to it in his own special way. He leaps upon this question like an angry weasel, which he also resembles. The Chancellor, he says, should go back to his original position and prepare for government! We have a deficit to be dealing with, remember? Although it looks like, in the aftermath of May 7th, we’ve all temporarily forgotten about that/ceased to care. Hooray!

Matthew Hancock, the blue team representative, obviously disagrees. He has a weird round forehead that doesn’t fit on his chin. Remember Northern Rock, he weedles? Eh? Eight years ago? Under the previous government? The one before the coalition, that is, so not technically the previous government, but whatever? Anyway, this is all for the greater good and will mean that RBS performs better, says he. What about Royal Mail, dude, Chris squeaks, outraged.

Douglas Carswell gets off to a flying start with a withering comeback about ‘fractional reserve banking’. Riveting. I understood less that 7% of what he said. Even Dimbleby needed help with it, and he’s been running this shebang for years. Christina Odone puts it more simply: we need lots of little banks running around like chihuahuas, instead of a few big ones like scary rottweilers. However, much like the dogs themselves, will they merely do the same amount of shit? The Gateshead audience seems to think so, so it’s up to new SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh to play to the crowd. She says it’s a bad time, what with the continuing austerity – also, Gordon Brown sucks, she mentions off-hand. Just throwin’ that out there.

Witness me!

Next up, should 16 and 17-year olds be able to vote in the #euref? (Is that the official hashtag now? See, I’m down with the kids too!)

Douglas says this is all very exciting, and the product of his life’s work (or his work ever since he defected to UKIP), but you know who can’t join in on the excitement? 16-year-olds. You suddenly become fully knowledgeable about politics at age 18 and that’s that. Also, you may be less likely to vote to stay in the EU the older and the more scared of the dirty forrins you get. So, y’know, swings and roundabouts.

Christina is in favour of this proposal, however, because the youngins “see the light”! They are the “agents of change” foretold in the prophecy! Matthias Handycock rebuffs her with a blunt ‘no lol’. Meanwhile, Tamsina says to look at the #indyref, and the huge participation of young, idealistic SNPers, and understand that angry young people can be easily moulded and twisted into an army of fanatics eager to lay down their lives for a cause, much like those albino pricks in Mad Max: Fury Road (out now in all good cinemas!). She also takes aim at Chris, alleging Labour voted against an SNP clause to give the yungins the vote. Chris says this was conveniently attached to an amendment that would block the referendum completely. She denies this charge, with a snippy “I think I know what I tabled”. “Nah,” replies Chris, even snipplier. Majestic debate!

Isn’t this debate great? Matty Handball raves, watching gleefully as Tamsina and Chris snip-snipe at each other. Finally, Bryant signs us off with an ultimatum: the age of consent is 16, and yet voting is out of bounds for these youngsters. You can legally be a parent, but you can also “FLY A GLIDER”, he proclaims, which is, quite obviously, far more important.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Up next, a somewhat related topic: Is DCam using dirty tactics to get his way in the EU referendum? Dougy C beams with pride, imagining himself to be a much less photogenic (or, like, paintogenic) Joan of Arc about to be martyred. At the same time, Chris admits that “I don’t like David Cameron very much”. The majestic debate continues! Christina claims that Cammers is slowly turning into John Major, scared of Eurosceptic ‘bastards’. Indeed, the ‘bastards’ have now gone mainstream. Matt Hackysack has a good reason for not being afraid of them, though – if we leave the EU/encourage UKIP, businessmen would feel too sad to come to the UK! Instead, just wait for DCam to come back from his negotiation. Then all will be well.

What about the EU nationals being excluded from voting, says Tamsina, her outraged tone growing ever more outraged. This never gets a satisfactory answer as we already have to move on. Don’t worry, Dimbleby assures us, we’ll return to this…”week after week”, according to him.

Oh Lord, save us.

Pants for the memories

Next, some quickfire questions. ‘Northern Powerhouse’: yay or nay?

For once, Chris ‘n’ Tamsina agree on something (side note, I keep misspelling her name as Tasmina, as if she comes from Tasmania, one would imagine). The North-East has been shortchanged! Luckily for Tazza, she’s in Scotland so she doesn’t have to worry about that shit. Matt Hanky-Panky repeats the the words ‘Northern Powerhouse’ approximately twenty more times until my ears start to bleed. Douglas, however, advises us to “follow the money” – putting on his shifty shades and looking smug. The North is saved.

Second: why are we becoming a surveillance state just like 1984 OMG!!!! #makesuthink. Possibly because y’all elected only eight Lib Dem MPs? That’s…you know, kind of their thing (maybe their only thing). The main parties on the panel squabble just as you’d expect them to, with a little addition of ~Ron Paul Revolution~ Libertarianism from Douglas, until Chris elects to remind us all of that whole phonehacking dealio that happened a while back, and how he felt so heavily violated by its intrusion into his life. Unfortunately, this just dredges up the memory of that infamous photo of him in his pants and nothing else into our expectant brainholes. I don’t want to post it, though…that would be an invasion of privacy, after all.

Finally, the traditional heavy-as-hell question in the last woefully inadequate few minutes. How do we stop ISIS fascism?

Christina says that young people aren’t being convinced by our own down-with-the-kids narrative. Well, do they have pizza in the so-called ‘Islamic State’? I seriously doubt it. #makesuthink. “A liberal democratic way of life is the best way of life possible,” says Douglas Carswell, summing things up. Well, yes, except possibly if you’re a Liberal Democrat. Tamsina says something about the Angel Gabriel, messenger of God (you mean Nicola Sturgeon?). Matt In The Hat urges us to show disaffected youths a ‘better way’, through the medium of his Cameron-alike forehead. And lastly, Chris splurts out some mouthwords as well. Although I wasn’t paying attention, because I was still too terrified by the memory of his pants to write anything down about it.

Time for the scores!

Hancock: 5/10

(Brows were) Knit(ted)

Bryant: 6/10

Pit(bull on the panel)

Ahmed-Sheikh: 6/10

Wit(ness her!)

Carswell: 6/10

(Comfortably sat…uh, I mean) Sit

Odone: 6/10

(Does not want to) Omit (youngsters from the referendum)

The Crowd: 6/10

(True) Grit

Next time: High Wycombe! My nan used to live there. Er…not much else to say about it, to be honest.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #88



Good morrow Lemmings, and a wet and windy welcome to this week’s edition of Questionable Time! I’m Elizabeth, the robot they programmed to stand in for the mighty webmaster. This week, in honour of Valentine’s Day, we’re in Scunthorpe, the most romantic place on Earth. Let’s get to it.

Damn, Green!

I always mix up Damian Green with Chris Grayling for some reason. Don’t ask me why, I just do. So considering the low impact Green has had on me thus far I went into this edition expecting very little, and by and large Green rose to the challenge as adequately as possible. He wasn’t appalling, just confused.

Confusion was the main theme of this week’s Question Time. What is this mysterious sky water? Who is to blame for it? And most importantly, does Scotland really exist? Or have we been greasily lied to all this time?

Dimbles, at least, knew the answer to the second question. ‘Mr Pickle,’ said Dimbledore accusingly, expecting Damian Green to cover for the hitherto-undiscovered new Mr Man’s interventions earlier in the week. Damian Green tried and failed. ‘Er, um, er,’ he said, confidently. Green seems befuddled by Mr Pickle, like he seems befuddled by most things. To be fair to him, when the (wet, angry) audience is throwing out suggestions such as building a massive wall around the country to keep out the water, the Vikings, and the roving bands of man-eating giants, it’s hard not to be befuddled.

Later on, he got more into his stride, uniting with Chris Bryant to disagree with Janice Atkinson on as many points as feasibly possible, including making a fairly reasonable argument for renewable energy and more long-term plans to stop sogginess in its tracks. Ahh, cross-party unity, don’tchajustluvit?!!!??!!!

Bryant is Tryant my patience

I was excited when I heard Chris Bryant was going to be on this week, even though up until the last minute the website displayed Alan Johnson’s name instead (who I found on This Week afterwards, cuddling up to Michael Portillo in the midst of Flappy Bird-centered VTs, which seems much preferable to Scunthorpe). But after viewing some of Bryant’s brilliantly realised tactics in the House of Commons, a strategy one can only describe as ‘annoy everyone then tweet about it’, I was looking forward to a devilish QT performance.

Sadly the questions didn’t deliver, and he had to look somber as someone mentioned the death of thousands of innocent chickens, and one dog. I henceforth dedicate this edition of Questionable Time to this dog. RIP Rover, may you never have to experience Scunthorpe again.

Anyway, Bryant was practically bursting to become all combative. He finally got his chance at the end, when the subject of Europe was raised: should we go the way of the Swiss and give the EU the double deuce? The very thought offended Chris to his core. He looked as though he’d just stepped on that dead dog. He was adamant that it was emotions that would decide the outcome of the Scottish referendum earlier on, and now his emotions were bubbling up to the surface, ready to burst the flood barriers of his heart.

How “pathetic”, he cries, that you would so cruelly insult fair Europe! How dare you, you scoundrel! Take that back or I shall challenge you to a duel. We shouldn’t snub the EU, he said – and at this point I was delighted to note a little wobble in his voice – we should “seize hold of our membership”! Yes! Seize hold of it! Seize it and kiss it! And smooch it! And ravish it! And [For more steamy Valentine’s Day Eurolovin’, please enter your PIN now.]

Winston pain

Considering all this excess water, you know what we need? A plumber. Perhaps…a mustachioed plumber. Yes, Mario would be perfect in this situation. But since Nintendo is being stingy and hogging him to themselves, we’ll have to make do with his looky-likey instead – Robert Winston.

Fig. 1

Mario here was killin’ it this time around. No-one really fought with him or had a bad word to say about him, because he seems like such a nice bloke – a kindly uncle foreboding horrible prophecies of doom. Climate change was the order of the day and according to the gentle, reassuring tones of Lord Winston, we’re all going to a watery grave unless somebody gets off their bottom and steps it up. His suggestion of Westminster being flooded to motivate the politicians prompted a cheerful shot of enthusiastic crowd members applauding. This week’s lively, annoyed audience appeared to mainly be on his side, but then again everyone did. Even Janice Atkinson sometimes, who attempted to channel the spirit of Lord Lawson to have a go at the clusters of wind farms springing up everywhere, unstoppable, destroying everything in their path.

In conclusion: we’re all screwed, basically, but Winston put it in such a nice way that nobody really minded. Also he made a joke about Bitcoins and that’s worth the license fee alone.

The wimminz

I feel kind of bad for lumping the others together, but whatever, they didn’t speak as much. I’m pleased that neither one of them were as blamey-shamey as I thought they’d be, with Cristina Odone making a surprisingly well thought-out point about otherisation, but then she had to go and ruin it by yelling about the smoking ban. At first it seemed the usual nanny-state argument, but an unfortunate turn of phrase made her position transmogrificate into ‘I don’t like laws that tell me not to harm my children! I have every right to harm my children!’ Could have played that one better, Crissy-mate.

As for Atkins Diet, she got into a heated argument about immigration with an audience member, scoffed at Brussels and nearly made Chris Bryant flip a table at her head, was the only person to disagree with Saint Super Mario and wore a weird snakey necklace that frightened me every time I looked at it. So a standard UKIP performance really.

(In the interests of equality, I will also comment on a man’s fashion choice here so I’m not just picking on Janice: cor, what was that pretty daisy tie Dimbles was wearing? Trying to remind us of Spring? Of terra firma? Of something that’s not water?)

Time for the scores!

Green: 5/10

Drippy

Bryant: 4/10 (7/10 for the voice wobble)

Blippy

Atkinson: 4/10

Snippy

Odone: 5/10

Trippy

Winston: 8/10

Quippy

The Crowd: 7/10

Zippy

I will leave you with one final point: hey, wouldn’t ‘Dredge’ be a great name for a band? Have that one on me.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #37


questionable time 37 david dimbleby grant shapps caroline flint zephaniah hair plus flag

Good morning Lemmings and welcome back to this, Our Hour of Reckoning. Should you have been lucky enough to remain unmolested by the collective gnashing of Blue Team teeth that was the Conservative Party Conference, let me bring you up to speed: It’s sink-or-swim, dog-eat-dog, kill-or-be-killed out there and if we’re not careful Johnny Bloody Foreigner is going to end up eating our lunch, breakfast and dinner. Happily though, you needn’t fear because Messrs. Cameron and Osborne have let it be known (via a rather charming Bad Cop With A Heart/Bad Cop routine) that they’ve got this all under control. It’s about striving and it’s about jolly well ensuring that the feckless poor stop getting paid for this silly breeding business. Most of all though, it’s about doing exactly the same thing that hasn’t worked for the last two years but doing it with a bit more gusto. As plans go, that sounds pretty watertight to me.

Anyway, how did the good people of Birmingham respond to this invitation to tragedy?

How indeed…

Grant Shapps is either very, very brave or just flat-out mad…

Oh happy day! Happy, happy day! In the three years I’ve been covering Question Time, one panelist has repeatedly stymied my attempts to draw a bead on him. You see, on paper Grant Shapps’ appearances have always been pretty solid. He does that whole bright-eyed and bushy-tailed thing that Nick Clegg used to before life had its way with him and not once can I recall him committing any screaming errors. However, there was always something niggling at me about Shapps, a nagging doubt telling me that he had something nasty in the woodshed that he’d rather not show us. Well now we know what’s been stowed away at the bottom of his garden and it’s not pretty: Grant Shapps has been making several names for himself through some – how shall I put it? – very iffy sounding business ventures. You can find a good run down of what’s come to light so far here but the short version is that Shapps has been engaged in some legal-yet-dicey sounding practices that don’t exactly have the invigorating whiff of propriety about them.

Now, should a veil of suspicion ever envelope my life, I’m guessing I’d probably hole up for a while, issue a few statements about how the allegations were pure claptrap and wait for things to blow over, but oh no… Not old Shappsy. No, he’s got a better idea: Why not put myself in front of a braying mob comprised of worked-up Brummies and political enemies? Yup, that sounds like a winner.

Luckily for Schappso the whole Michael Green line of attack was a bit of a busted flush as it didn’t get its own question and ended up being shoehorned in by Dimbers towards the back-end of the show. Naturally, it wasn’t an edifying spectacle, watching him try to laugh it all off whilst everyone else formed an orderly queue to have a pop, but it could have been worse. Much, much worse. This, however, is not to say that last night was in any sense a victory because it wasn’t. Far from it in fact. No, what happened was that the threat of the Michael Green question emerging was enough to put the zap on Shapps and what we got was an hour of the muted twitchiness that haunts a man who knows his fate all too well.

So what is to be done about it? Well, I’m no expert but if I was the Shappsarino, maybe I’d start thinking about knocking this whole ‘politician’ thing on the head. Ok, so for a while you looked like something new and shiny but that’s the problem with shiny new things: They tarnish easily. Don’t worry though… If it all goes completely pear-shaped we can tap up this guy I’ve heard about. He can turn $200 into $20,000. Michael Green, I think his name was…

I was genuinely looking forward to Caroline Flint being on…

Here she is, Ol’ Flinty McFlinterson, a panelist who has grown on me quite considerably over the years. Now I’ve been pretty hard on Flinters in the past, mainly based on the fact that she had a habit of getting into avoidable scraps that had a tendency to go very sideways very quickly, but what has always endeared her to me is that no matter how badly Ol’ Flinty got mauled, she’d always dust herself off, spit out a few broken teeth and then carry on as if she had nary a scratch on her. The other reason I was looking forward to her appearance was how self-evidently stoked she’s been to have first dibs on beasting Shapps – stoked to the point that she’d taken to winding him up on Twitter earlier in the week. ‘My,’ I thought, ‘how well this bodes’.

Alas, as mentioned earlier, the whole Shapps Shenanigans went off half cocked (partly because Flint had been so obviously dying to stick the boot in that she fluffed her lines) but the rest of her performance was solid. Ok, so she overplayed her hand a couple of times near the start and the Sword of Damocles hanging over Shapps’ made it a slightly uneven playing field but the message – that the Tories don’t care – was direct, effective and well received. On top of that, her bit on abortion was great and was also the moment when she finally found her pace. That’s the big tell with Flint, the pace. When she’s anxious or blagging the tempo goes up, but at that moment last night she was 100% on the level. And ‘on the level’ gets points…

I’m never sure which Simon Hughes we’ll be getting…

So come on then, which Simon Hughes is it this week? The self-loathing, long dark night of the soul Simon Hughes who can’t square the circle of trading principles for power, or the bloodied-but-unbowed, from my cold dead hands Simon Hughes who doggedly defends the foxhole of Social Democracy to the last round? Happily, it was mostly the latter, what with him getting all hot under the collar about Housing Benefit and having the odd to-do with Shapps , but there was still this sense that the last two years have really taken their toll. Don’t get me wrong, the resolve is clearly still there and he looked much better than some of his recent outings (there have been times when I’ve thought of ringing the Samaritans on his behalf) but I can’t help thinking that deep down, he’s flagging. Of all the Lib Dems, he’s had one of the most ideologically wrenching experiences with the coalition and bit-by-bit, it’s chipping away at him.

Still, he’s in better shape than I expected and that’s good because I’m really rather fond of Simon Hughes. Yeah, I know, he’s got the air of a man who’s out to atone for some unspecified thing that probably wasn’t his fault but I think he probably is a genuinely decent guy who’s in politics for the right reasons. And it’s not very often that I get to say that…

Lovely Benjamin is lovely…

I usually have a go at Benjamin Zephaniah because he’s always just so close to getting it right but never quite makes it. On the face of it, it’s all there: He’s a very gentle yet eloquent guy who knows about people and can convince them to listen to him. However, the problem in the past has always been that he’s rubbish at homework. So many times I’ve sat here going “Come on son! Get in there!” as he hits the nail on the head at the start of a question only to see him stall halfway through when he realises he hasn’t got much to follow-up with. We got a little bit of that tonight and there were instances where he was clearly playing for time, but by and large it was pretty good. I will say this though: His hair is a total nightmare to cut out in Photoshop.

I’m still very ‘meh’ about Cristina Odone…

Here’s the thing: I don’t actively dislike Cristina Odone. We have different views but at least she thinks them through. No, my problem With Cristina Odone is that I wouldn’t like to be stuck in a lift with her. Why? Because she just has this look she sometimes pulls that says very clearly ”This was your fault”. I can see it all so vividly now… Me and Cristina in the lift. A sudden jolt. It stops. Then… That look…

This was your fault”.

Nah. Sorry Cristina, but it just puts the jibblies up me. No shame in your QT performance though.

The Crowd.

Well, I gotta say that this wasn’t what I was expecting. I dunno, maybe I was all strung out on Shappsenfreude and got too greedy but I was hoping for a right bloodbath. That’s not to say it was bad because it wasn’t. The panel was mostly strong, the crowd were vocal and if I were the Tories, I would be more than a little concerned. However, the entirely-appropriate-yet-grimly-consensual nature of the first question sort of nixed the fight in everyone and that critical mass of anger/mischief that was needed to turn this into a great show was never really achieved. Still, kudos to the girl who was wearing half a dead peacock on each ear lobe. At least she tried…

Tl;dr

Shapps: 4/10

Cowed

Flint: 8/10

(Has reason to be) Proud

Hughes: 6/10

Ploughed (relentlessly on)

Zephaniah: 7/10

(Is) Allowed (around my house whenever he wants)

Odone: 5/10

(Can, at times, be) Loud

The Crowd: 6/10

(Live – on average – 61.4 miles away from) Stroud

So there you go… A nice, even spread of points for a fairly evenly spread show. Now I know what your thinking – ‘Where’s the other goddamn pshop?’. Well, I had a lovely (if slightly creepy) .gif of Tim Farron all set up and ready to go but as you may have noticed, he didn’t end up being on. However, what I do have is this rather saucy pin-up of Dimbers that should just fill the gap (see Fig. 1) and was rather fun to make. I don’t know why but there’s always a certain thrill to applying make-up to an old man’s face.

dimbleby pinup

Fig. 1

Right, it’s 3am, one of my eyes has decided that it no longer wants to remain open and the cats are demanding the sofa back. Time for me to go…

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 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

RSS Feed


%d bloggers like this: