Posts Tagged 'Derby'

Questionable Time #138

qt 138

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to another beauteous edition of Questionable Time! It’s sure to be exactly as exciting as the Labour leadership race, which is to say not at all. Most likely, anyway. Let’s get ready to bumble!

Owen Jones leaves One Direction – 100k retweets

Our panellists tonight include Not Michael Gove, a kawaii manga woman, a child on his first day of school, Edina from Ab Fab, and a ginger egg. Hilary Devey, in particular, is described as a ‘former Dragon’, which brings to mind images of her burninating the countryside, burninating the peasants, and burninating their thatched roof cottages. I mean, sure, whatever you like to do in your free time is cool, I guess. Meanwhile, Owen Jones has a natty new haircut and is looking sharp ‘n’ serious. They may call him Babyface, but get on his bad side and he’ll kneecap you at twenty paces.

Our first question: “is it realistic to reduce net migration by under 100,000?” – it remains to be seen if this is just a random figure plucked from the air, or an actual target, written on an Excel spreadsheet, which gives all things gravitas. Nicky Morgan, Gove’s underwhelming replacement who looks constantly startled to still even be in her job, thinks it’s a great plan, and very fair and fairful in a fair fairness-y way.

Tim Farron – upon hearing his name, one can only think of that Malcolm Tucker rant about what kind of men are actually named Tim in this day and age – gets a big ol’ clap for saying immigration is more of a blessing than a curse. A rare event on Question Time! The Lib Dems, cut down in their prime like a cheeky hedgerow, are more than a little peeved that Davey C is updating his ‘mess we inherited’ line to target his former coalition partners. Vince Cable, the former Business Secretary, is notably in the line of fire for blocking tougher immigration rhetoric. It’s incredibly obvious that Ginger Egg is gunning for the lefty vote in his leadership contest: the leadership of his eight MPs, including himself. Meanwhile, the SNP roar in agony that none of their bazillion MPs got picked to go on t’ telly. If they find the one that looks most like an egg, it might raise their chances!

Nicky disagrees that there was any sneaky demonisation going on, carefully ignoring the long shadow of those ‘go home’ vans that drove around a couple of years ago, looking ugly and not even featuring a novelty car horn. She goes on to say we need more control, reform, and most importantly: exit checks.

At this point, Owen appears, here to make the most retweetable comments of the night. This fear campaign is not bringing down numbers, says he. It wasn’t hard-working migrant nurses who caused the crash. It was the bankers. The bloody bankers. Put that on a t-shirt: the bloody bankers, innit? I’d buy it.

Hilary, ex-dragon, with a voice like an old motor to match, doesn’t see the problem if immigrants help the economy, it’s just that the infrastructure isn’t there to accommodate them. Stella Creasy bursts in, and my head promptly explodes from how earnest she is. Her pleading tones, sparkly eyes and appeals to common decency have been well-documented here at Questionable Time – she’s like a My Little Pony character with a degree (and a love of indie music). The Prime Minister, she says, is a silly-billy because he pledged to make “illegal working a criminal offence”. Everybody laffs/larfs/laurghefs. Nicky looks horrified and hits back. Didn’t you know, Stella? We’ve got this one. We’ve got Sajid Javid on the job.

A very loud man in the crowd begins to hector the panel about the EU. Tim is grossly offended and says that going on and on about keeping out the EU-ers makes Britain look like a “nasty” place. And, by extension, that means you, audience man. You’re a nasty ass. That can be Tim’s campaign slogan, by the way.

Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living

Is a 7-day NHS really viable? Hilary wants to know where the money is coming from. As she croaks out her concerns, Nicky merely looks at this strange person, with her sparkly epaulettes, in utter confusion and shock. She says that it can’t be right that if you go to the doctor’s on Sunday you’ll drop dead in the waiting room. Saw it happen just last Tuesday. Tragic.

Stella agrees with the need for more MONAY but criticises the Tories for breaking everything up and selling it off so people are left running helplessly around trying to find a doctor like in a Scooby Doo chase scene. Owen Jones then goes on about the top-down reorganisation of the NHS, and the crowd loves this – goodness, this is quite a left-wing audience, isn’t it? Last week was Uxbridge, though, so it balances out.

Nicky is, frankly, hurt that you’re all doubting this cool pledge. This is just anti-Tory bias. Toryism. And she, for one, won’t stand for it.

Eggman, on the other hand, says that there is one way to solve this problem: a TARDIS. The Lib Dems have now gone so far over the edge that time travel has become one of their new policy pledges. Why not? It’s not like they have anything else left to lose.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Knowing me knowing EU

Next up: is the British economy strong enough to pull out of Europe?

Owen says that while he supports staying in the EU, Labour should have supported a referendum. Stella shrugs and argues her magnificent point: that we’ve got one now, so whatever lol. Hilary wants more education about the issue, and Nicky bites back by saying that we shouldn’t be frightened of what people think (especially when they’ve just thought they’d like to elect the Tories again).

Owen concludes by appealing to give UKIP voters hope. Perhaps he’s making his pitch for the Labour leadership? Which brings us on to our next topic (going through ’em quick today!): are trade unions the kiss of death for a leadership candidate?

Jonesy cracks his knuckles, ready for another Twitterstorm. He goes on about Keir Hardie, probably because he named his cat after him. The trade unions have done more with their little toe than most of the underwhelming SPADS that fill politics today, he says. Why is it that they are the ones demonised, when rich nasty dudes fund the rich nasty Tory Party? Take that, society!

Nicky says that she liked Jim Murphy (chief disser of Len McCluskey) very much, probably because he lost all those Labour seats in Scotland. Tim is in favour of collective bargaining but not the union link: good job he’s in the Lib Dems, then, and not the Labour Party! Stella praises the unions, tears practically glistening in her eyes, and Owen gets in a tiff with Hilary, who is shrugging at MAXIMUM SPEED and questioning why we even need trade unions in this day and age. We have Candy Crush Saga instead, which is, like, almost the same thing.

For some horrible reason, we still have a few minutes remaining. Therefore, we come to the most important question of the week, or perhaps even our entire age: IS THE GAY CAKE PROBLEMATIC?!

Everybody agrees that it was. Does that mean we could get an infinite money cheat out of it, says Dimbles, by forcing anti-gay cake bakers to repeatedly pay fines for eternity? The answer, Nicky says, is yes. w00t!

Stella, however, remains too earnest for he own good. What if someone did it to you?, she says, looking at Dimbleby with hope in her heart. In response, Dimbleby looks…shocked. More shocked than he’s ever been in his life – and chairing this programme, he’s seen some seriously shocking shit.

Stella valiantly continues. She keeps referencing his sexuality, which is something nobody needs to consider. NO HOMO, screams Dimbledore’s facial expression. Stella shoots a glare at people laughing. This is a serious issue! Just what exactly is so funny? Funny how? Funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to amuse you?! Huh?!

With that bombshell, I think it’s time to wrap up.

Time for the scores!

Morgan: 6/10

(Sitting stiffly in her) Seat

Creasy: 8/10

(Tooth-rottingly) Sweet

Farron: 7/10

(The Lib Dem to) Beat

Jones: 8/10


Devey: 7/10

(Probably frightening to) Meet

The Crowd: 7/10

(In for a) Treat

Next time: maybe an SNP panellist? Incredible!

Next week Lemmings, next week…


Questionable Time #34

questionable time 34 david dimbleby pet shop boys actually

Good morning Lemmings and please try to bear with me as I attempt to rearrange the whirlpool of annoyance, vexation and ill will that’s currently spinning in my head into something comprehensible. You see, I try – Lord knows I try – to keep Questionable Time at least a little bit objective and usually I do an OK-ish job. For instance, remember when I gave Melanie Phillips the highest marks on a show simply because whatever nonsense she was flapping her gums about was more entertaining than the sub-par dross everyone else was coming out with? Well, that was me trying to be ‘objective’: I can’t stand Phillips but at least she managed to keep me vaguely entertained. Alas, I think I’m going to have to check any sense of reasonableness at the door today because I simply can’t abide John Lydon and despite straining every fibre of compassion in my body I just can’t find anything good to say about the man. And why is this? Let us count the ways:

It’s all about bloody John.

Let’s just briefly set aside the standard charge sheet of this self-styled ‘solid working class lad’ (as opposed to a “middle class twat from Tring”) who is beholden to no one yet finds the time to advertise butter and marry wealthy heiresses, to see if we can’t actually figure out what he said last night: Struggling? Me too and that’s because he doesn’t actually say much. Instead he just oozes a sort of malevolent animosity towards anyone and anything that isn’t John Lydon. Ok, so the points that he did make semi-coherently were that he doesn’t much like politicians, is no fan of bankers and apparently likes taking drugs. I don’t have a problem with any of these views but I do have a problem with the way he frames them: These people/things are good/bad because I say they’re good/bad and if you’re in the market for reasons as to why I hate/love them then you are out of luck. Not only that, but in John Lydon’s eyes, John Lydon’s opinion takes primacy over that of anyone else’s. You’ve got something to say that might contradict my world view? Well how about you try saying it as I talk all over you, butt in and disparage your existence with a sneer, buddy! The good news is that he ran out of road on that front pretty quickly and by the end almost everyone was telling him to shut up but still, it’s a horrible way of making a point. What’s even worse is that I somewhat agree with him on the drugs issue but he totally squandered any capital he might have accrued in that department by making it personal between himself and Louise Mensch. And why did he do that? Because it’s all about bloody John.

That drawl… I can’t… Even… Arrrrghhhh!

Seriously, is it just me or is Lydon’s vocal inflection the sonic equivalent of rubbing a cheese grater against your face?

The left and right are both co-neck-tiiiiiiid”


Helloooooooo? HELLOOOOOOOO?”

Gah! Just stop already! It’s too much! Oh, and one other thing… The Bill Grundy Show was 36 years ago and since then calling people “shits” has lost a little of its shock value. Just saying John, just saying…

The Bottom Line: John Lydon is a creature.

Not only that, but he is a creature created by another man (the late Malcolm McLaren) and then foisted on the world in a horribly cynical and successful attempt to enrich the creator. In that respect I do have a little sympathy for Lydon: His destiny was never his own and he’s just playing out a role assigned to him by someone who saw the The Manchurian Candidate as less of a cautionary tale and more of a blueprint for commercial success. However, this does not excuse the not wearing of a shirt. John, if you’re feeling a little too hot, why not take off the cocking bomber jacket?

Enough. If I carry on with this I’m going to do myself a mischief.

Confession time: I think I’m actually growing to quite like Louise Mensch.

In the general scheme of things Louise Mensch should really annoy me: She has a tendency to get very shrill, has a habit of over-playing the righteous indignation card a little too often and her skin looks like it’s been applied by a process not dissimilar to vacuum forming. However I must confess that I was actually quite impressed with her last night, largely because she has a mind of her own. Sure, she’s a backbencher with numerous irons in the fire which gives her an advantage over her ministerial colleagues but I will say this: She didn’t need to bring up her Class-A drug use last night and although I have a slight suspicion that she did it to head off anyone else at the pass it was still quite a gutsy move. I was also impressed by her pouring of cold water on the citizenship test and the fact that she held her own against the very seasoned Alan Johnson is also to her credit. So yes, Mensch’s stock is on the rise in my book, not withstanding the fact that she keeps some very dodgy company.

And the rest of ’em?

Assuming you managed to see beyond the Lydon induced red mist (and God knows that was difficult) you may have noticed the presence of three other people. Their performance can be summed up thusly:

  1. Alan Johnson proved once again that being a Generally Nice Bloke is a potent political weapon that is extremely difficult to counter. Granted, it’s always a little jarring when the Generally Nice Bloke mask slips momentarily (which it always does when anyone brings up the sacking of Prof. David Nutt) but taken as a whole he did very well. Alas, his being on Question Time meant that he wasn’t available for a shirt-off with Portillo on This Week but I’ve done my best to recreate the experience (see Fig. 1… There’s also a Questionable Time sticker in it for anyone who can tell me where the shirts originally came from. Answers in the comments please).
  2. Ed Davey once again proved that trying to portray yourself as a Generally Good Egg is only a partially successful strategy and one that’s liable to be eclipsed by the Generally Nice Bloke. There’s no shame in it, it’s just not that exciting.
  3. Poor old Dominic Lawson gets the lion’s share of my sympathy this week as he had some genuinely interesting stuff to say but was largely drowned out by The John Lydon Show. Hard luck there Dominic… Come back again when the show is less twatty.
  4. And finally The Crowd… They deserve praise for putting Lydon in his place and also for being generally seditious. I love it when people from Derbyshire get all hot under the collar because their accent simply isn’t capable of conveying anger. Comical Annoyance, yes. Furious Wrath, no.
michael portillo alan johnson this week shirts

Fig. 1


Mensch: 7/10

(Deserves a) Pat (on the back)

Johnson: 7/10

(Is a full) Fat (politician)

Davey: 5/10

(Was a bit) Flat

Lawson: 6/10

(Was unfortunately) Sat (on the sidelines).

Lydon: 1/10

(Is a total) Twat

The Crowd: 7/10

(Were more gloss than) Matte.

So that’s that: A racy little number marred only by the second 1/10 I’ve ever had to give out (I thought about giving him a zero and then stopped dead in my tracks…. That’s exactly what John Lydon would want me to do!). Alas, it was the last in the series so you guys are just going to have to get through this ‘summer’ without me. Still, many thanks for reading and hopefully Questionable Time should be back in September while John Lydon should be back in California, smoking his duty frees and annoying someone else. We can but hope.

Next September Lemmings, next September…

P.S. Thanks to the kind people at the #BBCQT Watchalong for their help this week. Much appreciated.

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March 2023

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