Posts Tagged 'Harriet Harman'

Questionable Time #134


qt 134

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to the last Questionable Time before utter armageddon hits next week. I speak, of course, of the Cameron/Clegg/Miliband threesome that will no doubt draw a lot of special attention to this blog and win it squillions of awards and so on. Or perhaps not. In the meantime, though, we’ve got a panel where bald men outnumber women three to two. Put your shiny heads together and let’s get started.

How do you solve a problem like migration? How do you stop a boat and let it drown?

We begin with the grim affair of hundreds of immigrants dying horribly in the Mediterranean. Cheerful! One would rightfully assume that this isn’t the best material for topical humour, so we’ll have to take the piss out of the panel instead. Thankfully, each and every one of them is a rich source of comedic gold.

Paul Nuttall from the UKIP zone starts us off. He’s wearing a St. George’s Day pin, and a frankly horrible tie. I know it’s the colour of the UKIP logo, purple and yellow, but it just reminds me of an ugly school uniform, and therefore of sitting in school eating lumpy mashed potatoes and ‘mystery gravy’. That’s what you are, Paul, to me. Mystery gravy.

Anyway, he states that to tackle this crisis the Med should become the most heavily policed piece of water in the world. Clearly he’s never been on Brighton beach on a Saturday night. To sum up, we must sort out them there migrants, separating those that are “true asylum seekers” and those we can just throw back in the water. Because #yolo. (Disclaimer: I am not alleging Paul Nuttall spends his spare time playing water basketball with immigrants.)

Nothing’s worked, shrugs William Hague. We did something once, then we tried something else, so, like, shruggie.

Harriet Harman interrupts to practically weep with sympathy. Think of all the proto-feminist women that are dying! By the way, why is she wearing an entire gigantic rose on her jacket? This is what Labour politicians used to do in the 1980s when they changed their logo as part of Peter Mandelson’s rebranding plan. I think this is a moth-eaten 1987 vintage jacket that Harriet’s taken out of her wardrobe and forgotten to take the twenty-five-year-old rose off of. At least it’s not her giraffe jacket.

(In the spirit of gender equality, I’d also discuss the male panellists’ wardrobe choices, except that I physically cannot tell Paul Nuttall and John Swinney apart. Only Hague’s caveman brow prevents confusion with the others. One has a slightly uglier tie and that’s about it.)

But what happens to the immigrants when they get asylum in Italy, Dimbleby asks. Will they make their way elsewhere? Because, like, who’d want to stay in a shithole like that, am I right? The panel does not know, but a hero emerges to cut through the nonsense. That hero is John Swinney, who may look generic but is actually Paul Nuttall’s good/bad (delete as appropriate according to political allegiance) Scottish alter ego like in that episode of Star Trek but with no evil beard. He pledges to restore the cut rescue services somehow and gives everyone else the middle finger.

The audience are not satisfied, though, and at this point Natalie ‘not Caroline Lucas but isn’t she great?’ Bennett finally gets her turn. I’m sure as an Australian immigrant who constantly has to hear about ‘Strayan PM Tony Abbott’s mysterious points-based system all the time, she takes grievous offence to being compared to that weirdo onion eater. She blusteringly repeats the word ‘rescue’ approximately one hundred and forty seven times and concludes that the Tories are evil. Nailed it, Natalie. Slow clap.

Hague is shocked and appalled at her gumption. It’s not true what you say, NatBen. We’ve been excellent at being Baywatch.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Barnett formula: for dry and greasy locks

Would the SNP be a catastrophe for Britain? Three guesses how this one’s going to go…

William grins cheesily and agrees enthusiastically. Hoho, laughs John, and indeed the audience, who are all amused by the frequency of this question. I am too, except I have to write about it. Harriet’s face is stony as Wllm excitedly says that the election of a Labour government would signal the end of the world as we know it, not only of the union but of other beloved-by-all institutions such as the Queen and Waitrose. The only thing to prevent it is a Tory majority. Yes! Vote for our posters of Alex Salmond nicking your wallet! It took five whole minutes in Photoshop to do, much like most of what I post!

John Swinney is mortally offended and is definitely about to post an indignant article on his blog about it and about how much he hates austerity. Harriet explains that the only way to get rid of the Tories to have a Labour majority. What the SNP claim and what their plans actually are is another matter. John is even more offended and we go round and round in circles forever until we die.

Natalie cites a total lack of respect for voters as the cause of all our ills. In response, the beleaguered crowd vow to show our hardy panellists absolutely no respect either. “Talking about getting rid of austerity is all very seductive,” says a man in the audience, which I was rather terrified by. The topic is abruptly changed, however, by Paul Nuttall roaring into action and loudly declaring that the only way to sort all this out is 1) English votes for English laws and 2) reforming the BARNETT FORMULA (yes, it’s that again!). Sounds like something Russell Brand puts on his hair.

Hague rattles off the Conservatives’ plan for an ‘English Manifesto’, but sounding like he’s either having too much fun or not particularly caring to make it as passionate as he’s capable of. He’s got two more weeks of this, and then he’ll be free. Forever. Away like a leaf on the wind.

With the topic hastily devolving into talk of devolution, the crowd grow even more restless. Talk about something more interesting, a guy in the crowd heckles! Like welfare spending plans! And funnily enough, that is exactly what the next question is about. Well, whaddya know! Employ this guy to predict the election outcome!

Money money money, must be funny, it’s a Dimbles’ world

Harriet patiently explains, for the twenty-thousandth time, Labour’s entire manifesto commitments. It’s online. You can read the whole thing. Nope, it’s still too vague!, responds Dimbles. Harriet’s voice wavers in exasperation. She has officially Given Up (in capitals so you know it’s serious). To be fair, literally no political party or indeed anyone ever would advertise themselves with the bad stuff they’re going to pull in office. That’s how they get elected, so appealing for transparency is pretty naïve.

Hague shrugs again and rattles off some examples of cutting benefits. That’s what you like, right? You like that? Mmmm, delicious welfare cuts. You want more of that? Well, how about this: Labour won’t tax squijillionaires: they’ll tax you, Joe Bloggs! William leans back and knows that it doesn’t matter if he gets away with this or not, soon he’ll be sipping margaritas in a hammock.

Slash foreign aid! adds Paul. And HS2! And…wait for it…THE BARNETT FORMULA!

Natalie, with a lead-in from the crowd, rounds on Hague. Your benefit boasting is illegal and gross, she says sternly, with the air of a substitute teacher who nobody listens to telling off a naughty, unapologetic child. You have a choice this election, she recites by rote: austerity, or Austerity Lite Max Protein Shake™. Harriet is still too despondent to whump her one, but claims there is a “trust deficit” among the public anyway, and if you don’t like it, she’ll run you over in her pink bus.

The panellists then try and fail to have a go convincing separate members of the audience to their cause, but nothing really changes until the klaxon sounds and we can all go home. As the last regular Question Time of this government, you’d think they’d go out with a bang, huh? Sadly not – except for Paul Nuttall merrily proclaiming the UKIP manifesto has been verified by an independent think-tank. Don’t worry, lemmings. Questionable Time is not one to be outdone. Next week, we’ll be the most verified ‘news’ organ in town. The mostest.

Time for the scores!

Hague: 7/10

Cheeky

Harman: 5/10

Peaky

Nuttall: 5/10

Cliquey (and the Scots and their Barnett formulas and not allowed in the treehouse)

Swinney: 7/10

Squeaky (wheels but thankfully didn’t crash)

Bennett: 5/10

(A) Freaky (Friday with Cazza Lucas would’ve been better)

The Crowd: 7/10

Leaky (with excitement for next week’s champion match, no doubt)

Next time: the big guns are unloaded.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #109


qt 109

Good morrow lemmings and it seems that the rapture has come at last. By the time you read this we will most likely be in full swing of The Kippening. How will the world keep turning with its first UKIP MP? It is a time of desolation, chaos, and uncertainty. Brother pitted against brother. Babies having babies.

The end is nigh. Or perhaps, it is merely…the beginning? Or somewhere around the middle or something. I don’t know. Here’s Questionable Time, live and alive from Clacton, high five!

Chasing Carswell

Dimbles has exchanged his pink shark tie for his turquoise frog tie, and reminds us that another by-election is also happening, but since that won’t be referenced any time later in the show that doesn’t matter. The first question is about UKIP, of course, and nobody cares exactly how it’s worded as they’ll use it as a stepping stone to discuss absolutely everything relating to UKIP for the majority of the programme.

Harriet Harman, that QT stalwart, is up first, and is trying very badly to diss the Kippers while simultaneously not pissing off the entire audience. She’s off to a rocky start but Harriet very rarely gets hit with a knockout blow in situations like these – the Labour wranglers, no doubt, often opt to shove Harriet on with her metaphorical umbrella to take shelter against the shower o’ shit during unpleasant and turbulent moments in the politisphere (and the coming of a first MP for the purple team certainly counts as one of those for the Labs.) She’s alright at keeping the umbrella aloft, even though there’s nothing you can do other than cower beneath it, if you catch my drift and I’m not spreading this metaphor too thinly.

However, what about our peachy purple representative himself? The very first response he gives gets a playful “don’t curry favour with the chair” from Dimbleby, and that ought to tell you a little about where Patrick O’Flynn is going to pitch himself. I have a strong suspicion he was a last minute replacement as all the other Kippers are out screaming on the battleground, and also because he may actually be the smarmiest man in existence next to Grant Shapps. Maybe that’s just due to the answer he’s giving, which basically boils down to a badly edited UKIP party political broadcast. Come on Patrick, now we just need the soft focus stock images of ~ordinary people~! Talk to the producers, for goodness’ sake!

No, no, that’s being unfair. It’s not a PPB, not really. They’d have to have Nigel Farage on again for that to be true.

It’s always disconcerting to hear a Yorkshire accent coming out of Eric Pickles’ ’18th century MP for Dunny-on-the-Wold’ face. Also, he sounds a little hoarse – or is that just normal? He’s oddly soft-spoken. Maybe he’s trying to entice floating ex-Tories over to his side with his charm and masculine virility. He attempts to crack a joke about hoarding Ralph Lauren scarves or whatever, but UKIP dropped that potential source of hilarity like it was hot before any comedic capital could truly be made of it. Shame, as it’s probably too ‘radical’ for a lot of Labour MPs.

(Incidentally, why does Patrick have a permanent half-smile on his face, like the Joker? Why does he sound like Jeffrey Archer? Surely UKIP have representatives that don’t terrify me stashed away somewhere, maybe at the back of a cupboard?)

Jeanette Winterson takes this opportunity to opine that if Nigel Farage died tomorrow then UKIP would die alongside him. The panel doesn’t get too excited at this prospect – they know that Nigel has already survived a plane crash and is thus unkillable. He is the Terminator. And he’s coming for your seats. (P.S.: remind me to Photoshop Nigel Farage as the Terminator the next time he’s on the panel. It must be done.)

On a side note, away from UKIP, Malcolm Bruce – the Deputy Lib Dem leader guy – has a cute Lib Dem phoenix pin. That’s all I can say about him so far. He seems like a nice old man. A little confused. A kind face. Didn’t really get angry or upset or anything other than ‘pleasant’ for the whole show. It’s…kind of soothing? Reassuring? Maybe all Question Times should include a token ‘nice old man’ to offset the shrieking and poop-slinging going on on the other side of the table.

I…I’m so conflicted. I don’t even care about his policies any more. Questionable Time, I have a confession to make: I need this man to be my new grandpa.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

“Could I ask for some clarification on the health service?” pipes up Eric, sweetly yet suddenly. He asks, with a soft, offended tone to his voice, if the health service would be broken up and sold off under UKIP rule. Perhaps Eric is unaware of the chainsaw noises and maniacal laughter routinely coming from the Department of Health, but Jeffrey Ar- I mean, Patrick O’Thingy doesn’t point it out for him. He says that UKIP want the NHS exempted from TTIP, which not even Labour has committed to, despite the fact that…Labour did commit to that. Oops.

…Wait a second, Harriet, why didn’t you jump on that like a starved and goaded monkey? Too busy holding the smelly umbrella? No, for Harriet is too busy ignoring earlier calls to avoid taking the moral high ground by…taking the moral high ground, and warning against division. Yes, let’s all be the same, and all wear tasteful giraffe jackets. It’s the best kind of freaky cultish uniform.

By this point I swear more audience members have spoken than panellists. In fact, let’s drop the panellists altogether and arrange a giant general public brawl-out, still chaired by Dimbleby. It’s what we all really want. One such eager-to-wrassle participant enters the ring with this doozy:

“If ol’ Dougy Carwizzle is re-elected,” they smartassedly smirk, “how long before a leadership election?”

Wry laughter breaks out, but Patrick is on the case. Nigel was only just re-elected and guess what – he, Patrick O’Archer himself, was his campaign manager! The sound of slurping is only drowned out by the barks of even more wry laughter. Thank the Lord we’re finally escaping this tenth circle of Hell.

Obligatory NHS screeching

The NHS and competition shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence, begins Jeanette. I mean, competition? This isn’t a school sports day sack race. Luckily, Malcolm is here to win the sack race. Here’s some extra money we won’t get to deliver, because the Liberal Democrats are doomed and feeling kinda okay about it all things considered! Mental healthcare? Well, a lot of Lib Dem MPs are going to be in need of that come 2015, do ho ho! “We’ve just had a referendum in Scotland, by the way,” he says. NO, REALLY? I HADN’T GUESSED.

Finally Eric Pickles gets another chance to speak. He says that everything is running smoothly on board the good ship Coalition, and the following conversation goes as follows.

“But what about blah and blah?” says Malcolm.
“I’ve been working with Danny Alexander on blah and blah so [flips the bird].”
“No, but we still say blah and blah.”
“Well gee I’m SORRY you’re being pissy little bastards about blah and blah! Hmph!”

There, I saved you five more minutes of your life.

Eric isn’t living in reality, says Harriet. He’s in an alternate dimension. The Picklezone. With extra ketchup. Pickles fights back and there’s a predictable NHS scuffle, being the most emotionally charged issue of them all. The solution is for big companies to pay their taxes, yells Harriet triumphantly and vaguely, and that gets a convenient round of applause to allow her to suplex Pickles and move on.

“I don’t understand why you’re obsessed by this!” boggles Pickles as he is suplexed. Jeanette then asks him six times for an answer on…something? Profits before people, people before profits, I don’t know, it all got a bit muddled in the confusion, but it was very entertaining nonetheless. Pickles got in a bit of a pickle! I bet that pun has never ever been made before!

Ebola-ing for Soup

The next question is on foreign aid, and we’ll keep this short: foreigners can suck it! yelps Patrick. Or at least corrupt governments can. But not Ebola, we need to stop Ebola or we will all definitely die horribly by the end of the week. It is known. I read it on the internet.

Harriet disagrees. Foreign aid is 100% cute as it’s less than 1% of GDP, and we shouldn’t be mean, narrow-minded, Scroogey bastards. (Like a certain purple team she could mention.) Pickles agrees with her. It’s like all their past disagreements have melted away. Aww.

What does Nice Old Man think? Well, all these foreigners are “our brothers and sisters” and we should help them and hug them close, of course! Aww, again. I’d like to hug Nice Old Man too. Jeanette joins in with the agreeing! We’re all nice people with an obligation to be nice to each other, apparently! Aww, once more!

What a lovely conclusion to a bitter opening – wait, there’s another question?!

Ah, it’s only on MPs’ wages and there’s five minutes left so you bet your sweet bippy that there won’t be any sort of deep discussion going on here. Absolutely no MP who doesn’t want to get egged, stoned, and/or tarred and feathered in the street will say they won’t take their pay rise and will shake their head vigorously at any potential increase proposed. What about MEPs’ pay, Harriet almost giggles at Patrick. The panellists try to out-frugal each other as I grumble about the lost fuzzy-cuddles ending that could have been – but then Dimbles asks how many audience members have voted, and…guess what…it’s all of them! It just goes to show that the QT audience isn’t as ‘normal’ as they’d have us believe: they’re closet political nerds too. Thank you, Saint Dimbleby, for showing us the light.

Time for the scores!

Pickles: 5/10

Befuddled

Harman: 5/10

(Standing in a) Puddle (Under her umbrella)

O’Flynn: 5/10

(In a threatening) Huddle (with the rest of the East Side Kippaz)

Bruce: 6/10

(Deserves a) Cuddle

Winterson: 6/10

Ruddle (is apparently a red ore used in dyeing and marking, yeah she was alright)

The Crowd: 7/10

TROUBLE!

Chazza Kennedy had better come covered in phoenix pins next week if he’s to keep anybody’s attention these days.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #96


questionable time 96 david dimbleby blade runner

Good morning Lemmings and thank your lucky stars that I’m not going to do what I thought I was going to do today. And what did I think I was going to do? Well, having just finished James Ellroy’s LA Quartet I was toying with the idea of penning a Questionable Time Noire but have hastily reconsidered given the pure weight of political incorrect invectives that’s required to pull it off (not to mention the prospect of an angry Twitter mob arriving in my Notifications tab as soon as I refer to Harriet Harman as ‘some broad’). Nope, just plain old Questionable Time today so get those lucky stars thanked and let’s be on our way… Shitbirds…

Sooooo… The new Culture Secretary…

Has a fascinating head. Unorthodox in shape, lustrous in sheen, it looks like the sort of bonce that if poked would give a little before springing back to its original form with a satisfying ‘Boing!’. Looks can be deceiving though because underneath that pleasing smile and placid eyes lies quite the QT ruffian who should only be trifled with cautiously. We’ll leave aside the matter of the expenses questions for now as a) it’s just as dull as it was five years ago and b) he had no other option than to play dumb given how he’s just slipped into a politically dead woman’s shoes. No, let’s go straight to the next (and far more interesting question) about the London housing bubble for it is here we begin to see another Sajid emerge – a steely, hardboiled Sajid with a bandolier full of economic data and a shoulder holster packed with animus for those who cried ‘Bubble!’ (which at this point is roughly 98% of people with half a brain). All of a sudden that serene and unassuming visage dissolved into something much more bellicose and hostile: ‘A bubble you say? Well try THESE NUMBERS ON FOR SIZE!”. In fact, so robust was his defence of a position that is self-evidently indefencible that I nearly ended up going along with it until he spoilt it all with the now customary It’s All Labour’s Fault manoeuvre.

This though was only a taster of just how unboingy his head is as his real party piece came later on with the question about tuition fees and the fact that they’re probably never going to get paid. After some perfunctory sparring with Harman, Sajid did the unthinkable: He craned his neck to the left, casually scanned Dimbers’ notes and then called codswallop on them. Now, that may not seem like a big deal but considering how most panelists treat Dimbers (like an angry and wrathful deity who must be venerated lest he bring down great terror upon their homesteads) it is, doubly so given just how nonchalantly he pulled it off – almost as if to say ‘Yeah that’s right, I’m violating the inviolable Dimblesphere. What are you going to do about it’. And what did they do about it? Nothing, because they were all too busy cowering under the desk and bracing for the swarm of locusts that inevitably follow a Dimbers scorned.

So yes, as performances go this was pretty impressive – for a Treasury Minister in Osborne’s Forbidden Palace of Divine Pain and Economic Punishment that is. However, that’s not his job any more. Now he’s the Culture Secretary and I’m pretty sure that his particular skill set may not translate so well to the more touchy-feely, wavy-gravy world of the arts. Still, what’s done is done and I for one will be seeking to placate our new Cultural Overlord which is why the next Questionable Time will be presented in Excel form.

Harman, Harman everywhere…

…But not a drop to – wait that makes no sense. No, I think what I was trying to get at is that Harriet Harman is now so ubiquitously ubiquitous that I no longer have any feelings – either good or bad – towards her: She’s just always there, like lampposts and unread emails. With this in mind I was half tempted to just copy and paste one of the millions of write-ups from her previous outings and see if anyone noticed but eventually thought better of it. No, instead I shall try to sum up her performance in a line:

Good at having cake. Also good at eating cake.

Job’s a good ‘un.

Kirsty Williams and the Perils of Doing Things Right…

I felt a little sorry for Williams last night, mainly because she was trying so hard to do QT right and that nearly always leads to people getting QT wrong. The big mistake here is to take the general public at its word because we say an awful lot of things we don’t mean – like that we want politicians who propose solutions and appear relatively normal. This was the approach that Kirsty went for, dutifully listing policies and appealing to our sense of the ordinary but it just didn’t quite cut it because her answers didn’t leave any space for us to get a sense of what she’s all about: Sure we got the gist of what she’d do, but not who she is. So how can she straighten this out? Well if the opinion polls are anything to go by it’s to get a silly haircut, a clutch of outlandish views and never be photographed without a fag or a pint.

Sorrell and Bragg: A buddy movie that’s just waiting to happen…

It’s no secret that I have trouble with Billy Bragg (or to be more precise I have trouble with folk music and purveyors of folk music who are unconditionally doted on by every colleague who’s over the age of 40 and owns a pair of Dr. Martins – which given I work in mental health is all of them) so it is once again somewhat galling to confess that yes, he was very good last night. However, the real revelation was how well he and Martin Sorrell got on together – they just kept giving each other these knowing nods and unspoken glances that said ‘You’re alright you are’. Granted, it helped that they were strangely in agreement for most of the show but still, the spectacle of Man of the People/Salt of the Erf Bragg and Bottom-Liner/Champion of Capitalism Sorrell’s little bromance gave the show a nice little subplot. Whether this means that Bragg will be the new face Nestle remains to be seen but in the meantime, here’s the now traditional pshop of Billy Bragg Hanging Out With People He Doesn’t Like (see Fig. 1).

https://spreadhead.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/billy-bragg-cheney-blair.png

Fig. 1

Questionable Time: It’s nothing if not petty.

Tl;dr

Javid: 6/10

Tough

Harman: 5/10

Stuff

Williams: 5/10

Duff

Sorrell: 6/10

Gruff

Bragg: 7/10

Scruff

The Crowd: 6/10

(Live roughly 21 mile east of) Slough

Yeah yeah yeah, ‘Slough’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘tough’ BUT THEY LOOK THE SAME OK?

Right, that’s me done for Easter so enjoy the Dimblebreak and I’ll see you in May when QT will be in Leeds and I will undoubtedly be trying to infiltrate proceedings for Leeds is my turf. In the meantime, please feel free to acquire this rather lovely Questionable Time t-shirt.

In a few weeks Lemmings, in a few weeks…

Questionable Time #70


questionable time 70 david dimbleby will t sherman bbcqtwarquotes

Good morning Lemmings and before we get under way let us take this moment to give thanks that whatever the hell happened to Tuesday’s edition of Newsnight has not yet happened to Question Time. For those of you that missed it, it started out as a run of the mill ‘let’s have a QT-style debate on Scottish independence’ type thing (cementing Kirsty Walk as my #1 choice for QT-Tyrant-if-anything-nasty-should-happen-to-Dimbers in the process) and ended up with bagpipes, blazing torches, sweeping boom shots and a dodgy looking ‘voting procession’. It’s what I’ve always imagined The Antiques Roadshow would like if it was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Anyway, enough. Let’s get on with the job in hand.

I shuddered when I saw this week’s line up…

I’ve got nothing against Ken Clarke, Harriet Harman or Shirley Williams and on an individual basis I tend to welcome their little jaunts into QT-Land. However, the thought of this combined ensemble of highly seasoned veterans – none of whom are really that far apart in terms of outlook – just sort of sucked the wind out of me. This wasn’t going to be the white knuckle roller coaster ride of a show I’m hunkering for, this was going to be a suburban commute.

My mind, addled by the familiarity of it all began to drift as soon as I got on the train: Look over there. There’s Ken in an aisle seat, head bobbing lower and lower as sleep overcomes him before it finally settles on the shoulder of his nervous looking neighbour. Occasionally he jolts violently back to consciousness, realises where he is and then re-surrenders to sleep all the same. Oh Ken, when will you learn! Further down the carriage we see Shirley Williams sat ramrod straight whilst silently policing the carriage with the threat of stern looks. The teenager opposite moves to put his feet on the seats. ‘Not so fast, Sunbeam’ says Shirley’s eyebrows as they pinch together. The teenager backs down and order prevails. You get ’em told Shirley! And finally there’s Harriet. She struck up a conversation with the woman next to her when she got on but that conversation has now run its course and her co-commuter is beginning to fiddle nervously with her phone while Harriet continues to talk at her. Good old Harriet! You just can’t keep her down!

And that’s pretty much what the first half of the show was like – the panelists peacefully co-existing as the train pulled out of Niqab Central and headed for Free School Meals Interchange. However, something strange happened at the midway point: Both the seniors decided to have moments.

The first was Shirley who after giving free school meals her usual dose of forthright barnstorming suddenly took it upon herself (after some Dimblegoading I should add) to have a go at Simon Hughes for his past opposition to the scheme.

“I think Simon is not a parent. If he was he would

have never had made those statements.”

It was as if she had just stood up in the silent carriage, pointed at a fellow commuter and said “You sir, your suit. It’s silly and I don’t like it” before sitting back down as if nothing had happened (and that’s even before taking into account the fact that a Tory MP just got himself into a great deal of bother for making essentially the same point about Sarah Teather).

Not to be outdone, Ken then jolted back to life a few moments later and started accusing Harriet Harman of embellishing a very good spiel she did on the bedroom tax. “She added the epileptic attacks to make it appealing” he blurted out as every eye in the carriage tried to find somewhere else to look. In fact, so shocking was this outburst that you could even hear a quiet murmur from Anthony Worrall Thompson – “You’re a hard man Ken”. Ouch.

So what to make of all of this as a whole? Well it’s neither one nor the other – neither a roller coaster nor a suburban commute but more a weird fusing of the two, like driving to work in a dodgem. Actually, scratch that…. This wasn’t as fun as driving to work in a dodgem.

What to do with Penny?

Be Nice To Penny – that was the gist of a text I received from a good friend just prior to last night’s show. The gist of my mental response was ‘That’s odd, I can’t remember being nasty to her in the past’ but my friend was on to something – there is a part of me that makes me want to go to town on her and that troubles me (don’t panic though, it doesn’t stem from a dark pool of vile misogyny that I’ve somehow managed to conceal for years… Everyone step away from their Twitter accounts…).

Let’s start with what I do like about Laurie Penny. I like the fact that she operates on principles rather than tactical calculation and I like the fact that she’s dogged in her approach. I think she writes well and I’m pleased that she’s become a permanent fixture in the landscape of opinion but there’s still a snag that I just can’t unhitch: As I’ve got older, people who operate purely on principle have started to frighten me a little. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t lie awake in abject terror every night waiting for Laurie Penny to haul me off to a re-education camp or anything like that but I do get this jarring sensation when I see people divvying up the world into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts. Take the niqab question for example. Here we have a situation where one of Penny’s ‘goods’ (women having a choice in what they wear) collides with what should be one of her ‘bads’ (women being forced by men to wear something in the name of religion) and totally annihilates it – Niqabs are good, end of. That there may be an ill-defined and porous no-man’s-land where both good and evil roam at will is never really considered and that’s a real shame because it’s within this mess of swirling ambiguities that most people’s lives actually take place – you can try to will it out of existence but that won’t make anyone’s lot any easier. This is the snag I can’t unhitch.

AWP came good in the end…

I’m massively overrunning so I’ll be brief: Anthony Worrall Thompson started the show looking like he hates life, hates the world and probably hates you. He ended the show sounding like he hates Nick Clegg, hates David Miliband and probably hates David Cameron. That sounds pretty dour but it was actually quite fun in a grumpy sort of way. Now here’s a very jolly gif of him on a spacehopper (see Fig. 1)

anthony-worrall-thompson-space-hopper-gif

Fig. 1

Tl;dr

Clarke: 4/10

(All a bit slap-) Dash

Harman: 6/10

Cash(ed in on Ken’s slapdash approach)

Williams: 6/10

(Can still) Bash (heads together)

Penny: 6/10

(Got a little too) Rash (over the certainty of it all)

Worrall Thompson: 5/10

(Reputedly cooks very good) Mash

The Crowd: 5/10

(Consider Megadeath to be a more authentic purveyor of) Thrash (metal than Metallica)?

Hmmm… Not a bad episode but not a great one either. I guess it’ll do. Now, before I go I should alert you to yet another side project I’ve got going with the good people at Red Molotov. It’s called Celebribellum and involves cutting famous brains in two. I’m told that it’s suitably stupid so give it a look. Right, that’s your lot, see you on the other side…

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #42


Good morning Lemmings and welcome to Corby, a town that I recently discovered has absolutely nothing to do with trouser presses but does harbour an enormous amount of Scottish people. Who knew? Anyway, the other big thing about Corby is that it’s a classic bellweather constituency that happens to be holding a Mensch induced by-election. Now, conventional QT wisdom would suggest that this would make for a solid show, one riven with partisan bile and political rowdyism but somehow that just didn’t happen last night. Here’s why.

Chris Grayling was surprisingly tolerable…

He’s been an irksome thing of late has Grayling. It’s not the fact that he does the whole puff-chested, ‘Tuff On Crims’ thing – I expect that from Tory Justice Ministers who aren’t Ken Clarke – it’s because he seems to enjoy it so much and that gives him quite an unpleasant edge. However, I’ve got to say that he really didn’t wind me up that much last night and that’s mainly because the questions were a bit duff. With the exception of the obligatory Who Will Win The By-Election question (in which he put in a reasonable effort at damage control), the rest of them concerned matters where there isn’t a huge gulf between the parties. Sure, minor blows were traded on matters pertaining to paedophiles, Abu Hamza and Israel but there was no great set-piece where he had the opportunity to really wind me up. That’s a problem because I need a baddy in my QT line-up just like I need Ride of the Valkyries as my alarm clock tone: It’s not that I particularly like either Wagner or waking up, it’s that at least the combination of the two give the otherwise mundane an air of drama. Grayling was my best shot for a baddy last night and on that front he failed. However, I suppose I can take solace in the fact that he appeared a little slippery when questioned about why he didn’t frequent Starbucks. “I don’t like coffee” came the just-too-quick response. Slippery. Like his head. His big, baked bean of a head (see Fig. 1).

chris grayling baked bean

Fig. 1

I almost ended up making Harriet Harman a cup of tea…

There are some constants in this world like cycle of life and death, the turning of the seasons and automatically flicking over the channel whenever you hear The One Show theme. Harriet Harman appearing on QT is one of those constants and it’s now so routine that when I went to the fridge for another beer I caught myself saying “Can I get you anything Harriet?” out loud. So yes, this was another problem as every time she started talking I just sort of phased out and nodded along politely, like you do when a friend tells you a long and involved story that you’ve heard a million times before. It’s not that it’s a bad story, nor can I find particular fault with her recounting of it, but seriously Harriet, we need to spice things up a little. How about going on I’m a Celeb? At least it’d give Dimbers another excuse to talk about “eating testicles”.

I didn’t feel fully Faraged by the end of play…

Here he is, my forbidden fruit, my furtive fumble in the dark, my sordid little crush. Yes, Nigel’s back for those who are not aware, I have all the time in the world for the UKIP leader. It’s not his politics – I find them to be little more than drunken scrawlings on the political toilet wall – it’s the fact that he seems never more than two steps away from slipping on a banana skin that he himself just dropped. With this in mind, I can’t help feeling a little short-changed by last night’s show. Fair enough, he did come across as quite potty when he started yelling “THAT’S HOW IT WORKS” as he desperately tried to frame Europe as the source of all tax avoidance but he could have gone so much further. In fact, my dream scenario was that he’d get so giddy about UKIP’s frighteningly good prospects in the Corby by-election that he’d prematurely call the whole deal an outright win for the Red, White and Blue Team before spending the next couple of years living down endless VT footage of him erroneously bellowing ‘IT STARTED HERE, IN CORBY!’. Alas, it was not to be and while he was quite mad, he could have been madder. Dammit UKIP, you’ve really got to stop with all this We Might Actually End Up Being Something Resembling An Actual Political Party business. It’s getting scary.

Tessa Munt has a way to go…

I usually give out good marks for talking slowly as it makes a nice change from the usual frenetic babbling whilst also fostering a feeling of solidity and trustworthiness. Unfortunately, Tessa Munt took the whole slow talking thing just a little too far and found herself deep within Playing For Time territory. The paedophile question was particularly instructive in this instance: She embarked on what looked like a nice little warm-up about how she’d been talking to some lad about something or other and there was a moment where she could have segued seamlessly into an actual point… Except she didn’t. Instead, she just kept going and going, eventually ending up exploring all the permutations of how children and adults could do violence to one another. The feeling I was left with was ‘you don’t really have a point, do you?’. Still, great name. Munt. Muuuuuuuuunt.

Moray MacLennan could use a hobby…

What’s with all the 5th panelists they trawl on from the world of business, finance and, in this case, advertising? They all seem so consumed by the game they’re in that I want to grab them by the lapels and yell “WHY NOT JUST STAY IN AND WATCH CRAP TV ONCE IN A WHILE?!?!” Alright, MacLennan does have a sick note in this department as the subjects of the corporate tax question happened to be his clients (Google and Amazon) but still, when he started going about ‘value crystalising’ and ‘the customer experience’ I honestly thought he was going to whip out a PowerPoint presentation and talk us through some focus group findings. Except that he’s the sort of jagged looking advertising guy who wouldn’t use Power Point. He’d use whatever the Apple version is. iDon’tTheseGraphsLookEdgy or something.

Tl;dr

Grayling: 5/10

(Looks a little like a baked) Bean

Harman: 5/10

(Has been on Question Time since I was about) Seventeen

Munt: 3/10

(Could use a little) Caffeine

Farage: 6/10

(Should never be allowed near) Gasoline

MacLennan: 4/10

(Probably talks about work in the) Canteen

The Crowd: 6/10

(Regress towards the) Mean?

 

So damn and blast, this episode felt like a missed trick. It had a baddy, it had a wildcard and the crowd were certainly willing but somehow all these things just failed to come together. That, and I’m still reeling from the trouser press revelation.

 

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #35


questionable time 35 david dimbleby battlefield 3

Good morning Lemmings and welcome the hell back from what has been one of the strangest ‘summers’ I can remember. Strange how? Strange because we actually ended up winning things, a turn of events that struck me as deeply, deeply unpatriotic. Do not fear though for normal service has resumed. Wall-to-wall rain? Check. An economy that wants quietly taking out the back and shooting? Check. A political landscape where policies are actually announced through the medium of satire? Check, check, check. God, I love the smell of collective failure in the morning. So then Lemmings, what better way is there to celebrate this return to comfortable malaise than with a spot of Questionable Timing? None that I can think of. Go!

Danny Alexander may well be the Most Tragic Figure in the Most Tragic Party of a Tragic Coalition…

I got home early from work the other day, flicked on News 24 to kill time before Pointless and found myself watching Danny Alexander’s Q&A at the Lib Dem conference. I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying but what I did pick up was just how relaxed he looked. Usually, Alexander has this weird meerkat-on-sentry-duty gait about him and you can see him twitch at the slightest sound, just waiting for that inevitable moment when someone will have a go at him. Not last week though. Instead, he actually seemed comfortable in his own skin, reclining in his seat as the party faithful softballed some tepid criticism his way. It was nice – in a weird sort of way – as while I don’t have much love for the things he’s done, it just seems a little too easy to pick on the YTS kid who’s inexplicably been left in charge of the petty cash tin. Unfortunately for Danny the respite was short-lived. Fighting Season is here once more, the vultures are circling and if that haunted look in his eyes is anything to go by, he is more than aware that his number will come up repeatedly.

So it was that he spent the first half of the show wedged firmly between a rock and a hard place, desperately trying to fend off blows from the left whilst also ominously aware that Jacob Rees-Mogg had zero intention of keeping the right flank secure. “Oh Christ,” I could hear him think, “here we go again. Another year of getting my dinner money stolen. Another year of ‘kick-me’ signs stuck to my back”. So far, so tragic, right? Well yes and no because what happened next I actually found to be rather heartening. It was on the ‘plebs’ question: He started with the standard line that wasn’t it all such a rotten business but well done Mr Mitchell for apologising. Then, out of nowhere, he turned on Harriet Harman, bringing up the matter of her ‘ginger rodent’ comments, yet doing it with quite a bit of dignity. And that, dear Lemmings, is why Danny Alexander may be the Most Tragic Figure in the Most Tragic Party of a Tragic Coalition, but probably isn’t. On paper, it’s all there… We might well have asked Central Casting to supply us with a Treasury Minister from their Vulnerable and Easily Ridiculed Nerd portfolio. Yet somehow, he endures and can occasionally – like last night – surprise us with his capacity to carry the fight in the other direction. That, and Nick Clegg really is putting in a stellar performance in his quest to win the title of Most Tragic Figure in the Most Tragic Party of a Tragic Coalition. Now, that’s a contest I can really get behind.

I had a faint dread Harriet Harman being on…

I’ve got nothing particularly against Harriet Harman. Yes, she was an integral part of the toxic stew that New Labour eventually became but she was one of the more minor poisons and the fact that she winds up the Daily Mail so effectively means she must be doing something right. No, the reason for my faint dread was that she’s been on so many times before and I’ve never really managed to get a proper handle on her. I’ve already done the whole Minister of Nothing In Particular thing and the fact that I once had to spend several hundred words trying to make serviceable riff about her posture should be evidence enough that the well was becoming increasingly dry. So yes, I wasn’t looking forward to her being on. However, I am delighted to announce that about half way through the show something came to me that should just bail me out of this situation. Harriet Harman: She’s Labour’s supply teacher.

When I was at school, supply teachers could be broken into three distinct categories. First, there were the Damaged Goods. These were the ones who maybe couldn’t cut it in a permanent position or who had possibly been so thoroughly beasted by successive generations of savage little creatures that they now exhibited all the primary symptoms of Educational PTSD. I liked those ones, or to be more precise, I liked the hour of anarchy that their lessons inevitably descended into. Harriet Harman is not one of those supply teachers.

The second category is the Not A Toss Givers. These guys (and they usually were guys) tended to be towards the end of their careers and were simply wearily biding their time until their pensions kicked in. I remember one bloke who you used to cover for geography who would throw out some text books before putting headphones on and listening to the cricket for the entire lesson. I was as ambivalent towards the Not A Toss Givers, just as they were to us. We didn’t want to be there, they didn’t want to be there but we had all reached a mutual and silent accord that a truce would prevail throughout. Again, Harriet Harman is not one of these supply teachers.

No Harriet Harman belongs to the last group, the Steady Awayers. These were the teachers who still possessed a vague measure of competence, willingness and gumption yet were far enough removed from the long-term consequences of their actions that they would let the little things ride. Again, it was an unwritten contract: We won’t give you a hard time and will jump through most of the hoops providing you do the same. Essentially, they are the Good Step-Parents of the educational sector.

Back to Harriet: Harman is a Steady Awayer because while she always seems to be filling in (Caretaker Leader, Deputy Leader, Go-To Talking Head in Generic Crisis Situations), she’s still very much permanent, a bit like a price tag you forget to remove. The thing about long-term consequences, that’s also there as well. As I mentioned before, Harman was part of the New Labour pantheon when they were up to no good and was in Cabinet for some of their more cockeyed calls, yet the mud doesn’t stick to her in the way it does to others as she never seemed to be in the posts that actually mattered.

So that’s why Harriet Harman is like a supply teacher but the more important question is ‘how did she do?’. Not bad, all said. Her relentless pressing of the inequality line was effective whilst the pantomime cringes she deployed during Gingergate were enough to contain any serious damage. And for someone who remains so bloody hard to pin down, that’s not bad going.

I was totally ready to go to town on Jacob Rees-Mogg, but…

I was so stoked when they announced Moggingtons was going to be on. I mean c’mon, just look at the guy. How low can fruit hang? The weird thing is though that I just can’t seem to build a decent head of steam up about him. Why? Because I’m not sure that he’s actually real. No, what I think is going on is that a rift has opened up in the space-time continuum between the present day and the early thirties through which Jacob Rees-Mogg has fallen. How else can you explain the appearance of a relatively young man who looks like he turned up to the studio in a Junkers Ju52 after having just ticked off the League of Nations for being a bunch of cry-baby do-gooders?

Not only that, but I find it hard to get personal about him because he’s more of a symbol than a sentient entity: He’s the human incarnation of the Tory party’s immense capacity to propagate eternal stasis. So with these two factors so readily present I just can’t bring myself to do a proper hatchet job on him as it would be like accusing the rain of being overly wet. He is right on one thing though: The universal assumption that he may be the sort of guy to use the word ‘pleb’ does have something to do with his “vooooooooice”.

Kirsters and Coogers walk a fine line.

Here’s a first: An official Questionable Time retraction. Earlier in the week I got a little giddy that Kirstie Allsopp was on because I’ve had a pretty darn good photoshop of her kicking about for ages and I took to Twitter to make my delight known. Within said tweet (see Fig. 1) was a fallacious assumption that Kirstie’s non-appearance when she was slated to be on was because she cancelled. As you can see, this was clearly not the case so egg and bacon all over my face. Please call Phil Spencer and tell him not to break my legs.

kirsty allsopp tweet

Fig. 1

Anyhoo, red-faced grovellings aside I’m still very much split on Allsopp as she skirts dangerously on the border between the sororal and the matronly. You see, I like it when she does the outspoken thing and starts shouting “bollocks” on live television and she clearly believes in what she’s saying. However, I think she’s just a little too removed from the lives of most people to really have a trustworthy compass and this means she often sounds like she’s casually telling off vast swathes of the population when she probably only means to gently chide them. Still, not a bad run and her call to ‘kick the banks’ (“Kick ’em hard!”) had a wonderfully jaunty-yet-threatening ring to it. Now here’s that photoshop (see Fig. 2).

kirsty allsopp tennents super

Fig. 2

On to Steve Coogan and again, I’m terribly conflicted because it’s all or nothing with him. Remember when he was on the phone hacking episode earlier this year? He was so evidently pissed off that he forgot himself and was absolutely great as a consequence. This time though, not as great. Shorn of an issue to really get his teeth into you could really see him wrestling with that self-awareness and self-doubt that constantly stalks him. What’s even more of a pity is that the stuff he was on about was good. I really liked the fact that he made an issue of how he should pay more tax and he was right to probe some of the more uncomfortable aspects of the Rochdale case but he could never quite seem to generate the confidence to really run with those ideas. Overall, I find that pretty heartbreaking as I’ve got huge amounts of respect for Coogan as a comedian and there is great potential for him to excel on QT. All it needs is for him to have a little more faith in what he’s saying. Or to come in character as Alan Partridge. Steve, please come in character as Alan Partridge.

Brighton confuses me…

The Frau Ribs and I had a brief break in Brighton over the summer and – much like the time before – I came away suffering from cognitive dissonance. You see, I love the idea of Brighton. I love the idea of a city by the sea full of great record and book shops and I love the idea of a place being so wilfully contrary. The problem is that I don’t understand the logistics of Brighton. How can an economy be sustained by neo-twee cup cake boutiques and bespoke yurt manufactories alone? Why does the population need so many spurious sounding therapists? How? Why? These riddles remain unresolved. Anyhoo, how did they do? Pretty good, in a scatty sort of way. For example, there was great level headedness from one young lady on how cutting resources makes social workers’ jobs much more difficult followed by pure bat-shit insanity from the gentleman who shrieked “LIFE NOT 4 YEARS!”. That pretty much nails my definition of ‘scatty’.

Tl;dr

Alexander: 5/10

Twitchy

Harman: 6/10

Switchy

Rees-Mogg: 5/10

Richy

Allsopp: 6/10

Kitschy

Coogan: 5/10

Glitchy

The Crowd: 6/10

Itchy?

So there we have it, first blood in what is likely to be a violent and brutish parliamentary season. Man, it’s good to be back.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #27


questionable time 27 david dimbleby che

Good morning Lemmings and pardon my yawns – I stayed up well beyond my bedtime last night, suckered in as I was by the local elections. Just in case you were wondering it wasn’t really the politics I was interested in (although watching Warsi stick her foot in it was pretty entertaining) as a trouncing for the coalition seemed like a foregone conclusion. No, instead it was graphs that did for me – or more precisely the combination of graphs and maps. It’s my kryptonite. Anyhoo, that’s about the long and short of that and you don’t come here to learn about my weird little psephological fetishes – at least I don’t think you do – so let’s get on with some Questionable Timing. Here’s what we learned.

Iain Duncan Smith’s face is incapable of lying.

I’ve noted in the past how IDS has this strange innocence about him but I don’t think I realised just how incapable he is of bluffing until last night. It’s his face: Those sad, sad eyes crowned as they are by those funny little demi-eyebrows. They’re like a direct line to whatever is going on inside that perplexing head of his. Now this in itself isn’t that remarkable as all politicians have certain tells (like that regal shade of crimson that David Cameron turns when he’s jolly angry about some jumped-up little chap on the opposite benches or that Cheshire Cat-like grin that Ed Balls does when he’s lying his face off) but the emotions that IDS’s face cannot but help to broadcast are remarkable because they give us a clue about how his mind operates. And how would that be? Well, from the evidence on display last night I can only conclude that he’s a man with an emotional repertoire that belongs to a different age or if we’re being more precise, the 1950’s.

Allow me to explain: When I was watching IDS last night his face did things that most faces do but the sentiments it conveyed were unique to the man in question. For example, he spent most of the first half of the show with his ‘eyebrows’ cocked down at the edges and up in the centre while his lips sucked in on themselves. If I saw this look on a generic face I would say that the person in question was ‘anxious’ or ‘apprehensive’. However, when IDS does it the word that pops into my head is ‘squiffy’. Similarly, when someone’s eyebrows reverse their polarity from their above state (so sides out, middle in) and their mouth sets into a scowl I tend to think that their owner is ‘angry’ or ‘pissed off’. Not with Duncan Smith, uh-uh… He looks ‘cross’.The list goes on: Regular person looks ‘happy’, IDS looks ‘gay’ (in the old-fashioned ‘My, isn’t this workhouse full of toiling urchins a gay sight to behold’). Regular person looks ‘odd’, IDS looks ‘skew-whiff’. Regular person looks ‘excited’, IDS looks ‘all aflutter’. You get the picture.

Anyway, the long and short of all this is that I can’t really give you an objective analysis of anything that he actually said because I was simply too entranced by watching the spirit of a Macmillan-era verger being channelled through the body of a 21st century cabinet minister. In fact, I’d like to go one further than that: I will never be able to give IDS an objective score because he’s just too bloody fascinating. As a consequence, he will no longer receive a numerical mark at the end of each report and will instead be assigned the punctuation mark that I think best describes the experience of watching him. Now here’s a .gif I made of him playing with an imaginary cube (see Fig. 1).

iain-duncan-smith-cube-gif

Fig. 1

I’ve finally realised that I don’t actually know what Harriet Harman does.

Have you ever had one of those weird moments when you’re thinking about someone you’ve known for years and realise that you don’t actually know what they do for a living? Well I had one of those with Harriet Harman last night. It’s not that she doesn’t do anything – she’s been a central figure in the Labour party for as long as I can remember and is regularly on our TV screens – but if push-came-to-shove and I was forced to cite an example of some specific action she was responsible for I’d be completely flummoxed. Given this startling realisation I took it upon myself to have a quick read up on her past appointments and with the exception of some rather solid pre-’97 shadow roles (as well as a brief period as Secretary of State for Social Security) all of her jobs in government have been a little, well, wanky. Take for example some of the following: Lord Privy Seal, Solicitor General and Labour Party Chair. All of these are roles which are undoubtedly important and have impressive sounding titles but they give us no clue as to what such a job actually entails. Similarly, when she’s found herself in positions with titles that let us know what they are actually about I still find that they are the ones that people really care don’t much for (lets face it, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport sounds about as profound as Minister for Interior Design, except when said minister may or may not have been up to his neck in shenanigans).

None of the above means to say that I have anything against Harman as I generally think she’s a pretty able performer and the fact that she inspires such loathing from the Daily Mail means that she must be doing something right, but I still can’t get past the fact that I’m unable to identify her purpose (an affliction also suffered by Frances Maude and John Prescott). Still, she’s not quite as bewildering as IDS so Harman can remain on the numerical scoring system… For now…

The Tories are rattled on the economy.

And well they may be given the events of the last two weeks. However, the really telling thing is not how they try to explain their approach to all matters fiscal but how they try to frame Labour’s. Over the past two years this has involved the relentless drum beat of ‘all you guys want to do is spend, spend, spend like lunatics’ but last night saw the emergence of a new line: Labour are ‘deficit controllers’. As to why they’re taking this line is a mystery to me as ‘deficit controller’ doesn’t actually sound that bad-a-thing (it’s hardly ‘J’accuse!’) but the fact that they’ve had to bin what was up until now a pretty successful stick to beat the Red Team with is interesting. I don’t know, maybe it was just that IDS was on some lone mission but I suspect it runs deeper than that. Watch this space Lemmings.

And the rest of ’em?

Ok, I’ll be honest, I couldn’t really get behind this episode. In its defence, the crowd were pretty sparky (I loved the grammar school boy of yore who had been sent 30 years into the future to defend the rights of ‘hard working people in the financial sector’) and the last 20 minutes on the economy had some decent stuff in but the following put the dampeners on it for me:

1: I grow weary of entrepreneurs equating every single problem in this world to the fact that the world is not friendly enough to entrepreneurs. Yeah, I get it… You guys think that making money is a pretty big deal but while I don’t know a lot of firemen, I’m pretty sure that they don’t equate every problem in this world to the existence of fire. Having said that, I’m inclined to let Theo Paphitis off the hook a little as he appears to be congenitally mischievous.

2 : Ming Campbell is still doing that thing where he looks really surprised to be on Question Time, almost as if he was supposed to be doing something else but got lost and just wandered into the studio.

3: Inclined as I am to agree with much of what Mark Serwotka has to say I just can’t help thinking that he sounds a little, well, smug.

All of which adds up to this:

Tl;dr

IDS: ~

(By) Jingo (he’s an odd puppy)

Harman: 5/10

(Would make quite a convincing) Flamingo (if spray painted pink and covered in feather).

Campbell: 5/10

(Is looking like the Lib Dems’) Ringo

Prophitis: 6/10

(Speaks the) Lingo (of money)

Serwotka: 5/10

(Probably likes to) Tingo

(Supplemental brackets: If you’ve never come across the word ‘Tingo’, please, please click the link… It’s possibly my favourite word ever, closely followed by this one)

The Crowd: 7/10

(May have had their babies stolen by) Dingo(s)?

So there you go, a so-so affair that was the start of a very long evening for poor old Dimbers. That’s it from me, I’m off to do the washing up and wonder why my better half has used an exclamation mark on the calendar where it says ‘Green Bin Day!’. I mean c’mon, I realise Green Bin Day doesn’t come around that often but is it really that exciting? I must get to the bottom of this.

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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