Posts Tagged 'Jill Kirby'

Questionable Time #140


qt 140

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to another supercalifragilisticexpialidocious edition of Questionable Time! It’s such a lovely sunny day outside, and yet you’re reading this. Good choice, sport!

IPSA me, Mario

We begin by duly noting the four women/one man ratio of this Thursday’s panel, which is definite cause for a warm-hearted cheer at how far society has come (or teary sniff, or excessive blowing of your nose). Unless you notice the actual issues discussed, that is – immigration, Europe, petty Labour bickering – which are, of course, as old as time itself.

Our first question is one of great, fist-shaking import: is an MPs’ pay rise justified considering George Osborne even now cackling and waving about a giant pair of comedy scissors in the general direction of the public sector? Up-and coming young turk Justine Greening says…nah. Forget if it’s ‘justified’ or not, the public hate this proposal so damn much that anyone even attempting to take the rise will get hung, drawn, and quartered by order of the Queen. Why don’t you vote it down then, says Dimbleby. Because we need to…’deal with’…IPSA, Justine replies menacingly. She came into politics not for the pay – but for the free wine and nibbles at events! Don’t you just love those little sausage thingies?

Mary CREAGHEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA steps up to the plate (sadly a plate with no sausages on it). She’s running for the Labour leadership, obviously, not that you’d know because she has about, ooh, four nominations? And they each need 35 to get on the ballot paper. Poor Mary. I met her once, and she offered me some of her chocolate brownie. So I can’t totally slate her. Last time she was on QT, she accused Russell Brand of sexism, so let’s see if she can pull it out of the bag now…she goes on to state that if the government can reject the independent pay review board for nurses then it can reject this! She gets some applause, but it’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel.

Meanwhile, Susie ‘Fleet Street Fox’ Boniface is rambling on about headmasters and nurses – you know, the ‘people that people like’, according to Spitting Image. Norman Lamb does similarly, fightin’ for the rights of the werkers – like his competitor Tim Farron, he’s also angling for the leadership of the Lib Dems. Yes, that’s right – that now-statuesque role. Honestly, what is QT going to do with the Lib Dems now – cycle through their remaining eight MPs for a season and then give up? Oh dear. I suppose there’s always Shirley Williams, eh?

At the same time, Jill Kirby, Theresa May’s twin, is protesting why the pay rise powers were farmed out to IPSA in the first place. Interesting that a Thatcherite policy wonk wants to centralise power and not take it elsewhere, huh? Norman is appalled and shouts softly (ever so softly…like a little white-haired, bespectacled mouse) about how no other workplace lets its workers decide their own pay increases. Except if you’re a banker awarding yourself a nice bonus, that is. Trebles all round!

Looking like a true survivor feeling like a little quid (as opposed to a NASTY EURO)

Next up: Europe, and what sort of renegotiation would you like to see Dave bravely wring out of Juncker ‘n’ co at the top table. Jill is at least blankly honest and admits that she wouldn’t be satisfied with any deal. If anything, those Europoors should be begging to do deals with us! They should be grovelling at our feet, she outright implies, and not trifling with failures like Greece. They’re not allowed at our cool pool party any more. “We should be standing alone,” she declares, and the siren song of Elton John bursts into my head.

B-but they’ve given us cheaper roaming charges! says Susie ‘Fleet Foxes’ Boniface, helpfully forgetting everything else Europe has ever done at the worst possible moment. Way to go, Suse!

Then some people in the audience get into a fight about Romanians, or whatever. A Romanian doctor protests scapegoating, causing another man to blurt out that he has…wait for it…a Romanian friend. People around him chuckle merrily like medieval bards. “Why are you laughing?” he splutters. Oh Question Time, what a tangled web you weave!

As the panellists bicker over immigration/the free movement of labour/inspecting the specks of dust on the table, another brave soul from the crowd pipes up to remind us all of the original question. It was about what changes you’d like to see before the referendum, remember? Well, oops, no time for that now! We spent all our time on pointless mumbling, and there’s already another question incoming…

North Korea hacked my Neopets account

Will further cuts to the defence budget leave David Dimbleby a hollow shell of a man, faced with the prospect of repeating these same few questions over and over for the remainder of all time in the universe? On the plus side: more usage of the word ‘helicarrier’, which you have to admit just sounds cool.

We have no way of knowing what kind of wars will happen in the future, so they are by definition cutting in the dark, says Susie, surprisingly sensibly. Norman knows, however. “Cyber terrorism!” he blurts out (slightly more loudly), obviously just remembering that his password is ‘12345’ and that North Korean hackers are going to take over his email account.

Mary and Justine begin to bicker about exactly how many dollarydoos have been/should be put into the defence budget. They’re both in favour of further spending on the front line, but it’s hard to know who wins this bout – only that I’ve just noticed that Justine Greening looks like a garden gnome. You could definitely imagine her sitting with a tiny fishing rod next to a pond. Am I the only one who sees this? Look at this comparison shot – coincidence? I think not:

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Next, a more sombre question. What legacy will Charles Kennedy leave British politics?

Well, for one, he was a perennial Question (and Questionable) Time favourite, as David Dimbleby rightfully points out. The Question Time website has put up a small compilation of some of his 42 (!) appearances, which you can view here.

The other panellists agree – Mary says he had “poetry” in his language (something I imagine a lot of people want more of from the Labour leadership battle). Susie says we mustn’t let any more potential be wasted by the tragic illness that is alcoholism. Jill notes that most people think he was right about standing against the Iraq invasion, arguably his finest hour. Norman, who gave an emotional tribute in Parliament, was his PPS for a time – and concludes that he’ll be missed greatly as someone who could be honest and sincere in any sort of debate.

Unfortunately, we don’t end on this genuinely moving note. Back to mud-flinging, everyone! With our last question: what is the point of the Labour Party now?

Justine gets a chance to gleefully gloat, although her expression doesn’t evolve further than ‘scary scowl’. Mary, in an attempt to scramble together a few more nominations, bombastically expresses her belief that WE WORK TOGETHER, WE DIE TOGETHER. And redistribute some power and wealth in a mild social-democratic format. Hell yes, she’s tough enough!

Jill and Norman shake their heads – Jill making a none-to-subtle jibe about a certain extravagantly-belashed contender and Norman disagreeing with the union link. Well Norms, it’s a good job you joined the Liberal Democrats and not the Labour Party, then, eh?

Finally, an old man hijacks the show and praises his true messiah Clement Attlee. Mary gives a thumbs up (she named her son Clement, after all). Justine continues to scowl. Better wrap up before she gets any scowlier.

Time for the scores!

Greening: 7/10

(Looks like a garden) Gnome

Creagh: 7/10

(Far from) Home (and dry re: nominations)

Lamb: 6/10

(Has hair the colour of) Foam (and I realise now I may be stretching these rhymes a bit)

Boniface: 5/10

(The EU gives you lower) Roam(ing charges! Wa…hey?)

Kirby: 5/10

(Reading blankly from the Thatcherite) tome

The Crowd: 8/10

(When in) Rome

Next time: the one before they go to High Wycombe!

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #117


qt 117
Good morrow lemmings and welcome to another splendiferous edition of Questionable Time, live from Doncaster! This, incidentally, is where Ye Greate Laboure Leadere Ed Miliband keeps his counsel and apparently was in danger of getting the boot but now isn’t, according to some Ashcroft dude you may have heard of. Whatever, I’m sure nobody actually cares. My goodness this was a boring episode, though, so I’ll just expand this little opening paragraph for as long as possible. Hm hm hm. Lalalala. Okay, that’s enough. We really should get started. Don’t worry, my friends – it won’t be like this next week [imagine foreboding music playing here].

The 1930s were like the 1920s only crappier and with the characters in Downton Abbey probably had to sell their house because of the recession. Tragic. Isis the dog didn’t die for this

Sajid Javid starts us off, with his weirdly disproportionate head, talking about ~*~the challenges~*~ of dealing with the deficit and how that happens to involve cuts, and you’re all just gonna have to get used to it, sry2say. I hope you like the 1930s ‘sack dress’ aesthetic! By the way, I can’t read his lapel pin. It looks like a pretty blue flower. Anyone with any insider info on what the heck it is, give me the deets.

Why don’t we ask the people where the cuts should or should not come from, says Omid Djalili. After all, we don’t trust folks who moo like they do in that there House. Having watched a great many PMQs in my time like a saddo, I can confirm that they do indeed moo a great deal. Just pad the benches with hay and they’ll be happy. Wait, do cows even eat hay?

Meanwhile, representing the red team, Yvette ‘pixie woman’ Cooper is up to bat. It’s strange, for the last few weeks we’ve had the most likely future Labour leadership candidates in quick succession: Burnham, Umunna and now Cooper. Feel free to debate amongst yourselves what their respective QT showings say about their chances, but for now let’s all concentrate on Yvette bellowing about the great unfairness of it all. So unfair! These cuts are just so unfair, mum, she cries, practically stamping her heel but in a much more boring way. We’ll balance the books…but…fairly. Sajid demands to know exactly how, but his interruption is interrupted by the arrival of Jill Kirby on the scene.

Looking like Theresa May’s older, even scarier sister, she makes a worryingly long diet-related metaphor and finishes it off with an order to ‘please clap’, which for a moment I thought was a frightening threat to the terrified audience. I can see how she was formerly head of a think tank set up by Maggie T.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Shirl the Pearl, one of the QT old guard (I am thankful, at least, that there is a QT old guard still remaining, who can remember the glory days of Robin Day and whoever it was that came after him) umms and ahhs, and the general public are not satisfied by her or indeed any of this nonsense. Tell us exactly what’s going to happen, they cry in unison. Yvette rattles off some Labour policies and the panel scoffs at her, or at least Sajid and Jill do, and presumably high-five under the table afterwards. Jill wants us to be exactly like the blessed USA. ‘They have a much more balanced economy’, she gushes, conveniently forgetting that they also have barely any truly public services and certainly no proper health service. But maybe that’s the best way forward, eh?

It seems that direct democracy is the way2go, even if it would probably end up in a huge screaming mess. Everyone wants referendums! You get a referendum! I get a referendum! We all get referendums!!

The next question is on the British Identity: what is it? We just don’t know.

Isn’t it all about being a jolly nice chap? asks Yvette innocently. Dimbleby is also somewhat confused. He corners the man who asks the original question – about the name ‘Mohammad’ and how it is scary – in his own, Dimble-ish way that makes you pee yourself but very quietly. However, it is the audience who really answer this question, by taking part in many people’s favourite pastime of all: dissing the Daily Mail. Now that’s what I call British Identity!

Gordon Brown, texture like sun

Now here’s a question about (guess who?) nail-chewer supreme, Grumbly Gords. Jill Kirby blames Gordy for everything except keeping us out of the Euro. Thanks Obama Gordon. But – wait, what’s this? It’s Shirley Williams, riding to the rescue! She passionately defends the departing ex-PM which takes everyone a little aback for a moment. However, the Eggman/Sajid has the master plan, and he fights back, claiming that while Gordon was a smart dude ‘n’ all he was also a complete dingus. Yvette disagrees, obviously (although doesn’t praise Gordo to the high heavens or anything either – Labour know he’s a liability, deserved or not. Isn’t it sad, Gordon?).

Then everyone gets into an argument about zero-hours contracts. We’re abolishing them! No, we are! No, we are!! A zero-hours contract is better than no contract at all, says Jill, to general uproar, and a man in the audience yells ‘go back to London!’. So say we all.

Question Time must be stopped

Our final question of finalness is finally about obese people and whether we should care about them and their lives. Jill is not in favour (surprise surprise) and wants people to help/heft themselves. The rest of the panel shake their heads with varying degrees of ferocity.

Omid, who so far this programme has been the only source of non-boredom by actually cracking a few jokes (which I hear is something he does for a job, imagine that) is grotesquely offended! I am also offended. My roast potato addiction isn’t going to go away on its own, you know. It’s terminal. And slathered in gravy.

Dimbleby closes the programme with a bombshell, but first:

Time for the scores!

Javid: 5/10

Tumbled (down the hill with his big egg head)

Cooper: 5/10

Fumbled

Williams: 6/10

Rumbled (in a stern grandmotherly sort of way for you young people to not be so gloomy)

Kirby: 5/10

(Was not) Humbled

Djalili: 6/10

Jumbled (his jokes all together)

The Crowd: 7/10

Grumbled

Well folks, it’s Nigel Farage and Russell Brand next time round – ‘if we survive that’ according to Dimbledore. The two greatest minds of our generation. Merry Christmas one and all.

And, by the way, another plug: I’ve created an Ed Miliband Adventure Game in my spare time. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a comedic text-based adventure game starring Ed Miliband. Because that’s just the kind of thing I like to do. Go play it if you’re interested – which if you’re reading this blog, you should be.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #93


questionable time 93 no cow

Good morning Lemmings and apologies for the lateness – I had both stuff and things to attend to that have now rendered the line ‘Good morning Lemmings’ somewhat redundant but hey-ho: You’re here, I’m here, let’s do some words.

Ladies and gentlemen, The Andy Burnham Show!

Here he is, caked to the eyeballs in make-up (seriously, his face looked like a you could quarry foundation from it) and fluttering those enormous fronds that double as eyelashes – it’s Andy Burnham! That’s right, local-lad-come-good and all round grandstander Andy B was in the house last night and boy did he know which buttons Warrington wanted pushing. And what buttons might they be? Well, how about the one labelled ‘The Raw Deal The North Gets’? You like that one Warrington? Good, because he’s mashing it like he was about to set some sort of record on Track and Field. How about the one marked ‘It’s Probably All Thatcher’s Fault’? Does that baste your chicken? Well I hope so because he’s spamming away on that one like a man possessed before effortlessly seguing into a sustained hammering of the switch labelled ‘Look Outraged Whenever Danny Alexander Opens His Mouth’. Woooooo! Everyone go nuts!

So yes, as the above suggests the Shadow Health Secretary relentlessly levered his home advantage last night and for the most part (barring an impromptu Paxo-ing from a particularly single-minded audience member) he got away with it – largely because he is quite the accomplished showman who can switch between pit-pony and show-pony with ease but also because you’d have to be the biggest klutz in the land not to romp home in the week when the Tories read the last rites to satire with that bingo poster of theirs. However, it’s not Burnham’s ability that worries me, it’s his ambition: You can just see it written all over him (not to mention the fact he’s already made a run for the Labour leadership) and I suspect that the reason he wears so much make-up is to stop it oozing out of his face and all down his shirt. He’s got to be careful with that because ambition is one of those funny traits that instantly sets off alarm bells in our minds and it also – as our amateur Paxo nearly exposed – leaves one very vulnerable to overplaying your hand in the quest for approval. That, and no-one wants make-up all over their shirt. It’s not a good look.

Dominic Raab may have accidentally solved economic libertarians’ presentation problem…

Economic libertarians have many problems – such as how exactly do you sell an ideology based on enriching the few to the many or just the daily struggle of trying to stay in tenuous contact with reality when you’re all hopped up to the eyeballs on Randian twaddle – but the one you come across most on QT is a presentational problem: They all sound too bloody certain. Take Jill Kirby for example – she’s pretty sure that the North is poor because of those goddamn pinko peaceniks and their tree hugging taxes (not to mention those damn CRB checks singlehandedly destroying the teaching profession) so lets just get rid and everything will be hunky-dory ok? Granted, it doesn’t help that these little nuggets of batshit are served with a side of words like “unremunerative” or a mispronunciation of “rhetoric” (“Reht-oar-ric”) but the main problem here is one of overconfidence combined with oversimplification. This is where Dominic Raab comes in because while he was coming out with a lot stuff that’s lifted straight from the Libertarian Playbook, the delivery wasn’t the usual bish-bash-bosh, here-let-me-amputate-that-for-you tour de certainty you expect from his ilk. No, Raab’s delivery was more cautious and considered – almost halting at times – while there was the occasional acknowledgement that the world isn’t an entirely straight forward place. Now, I’m not familiar enough with Raab to know if he’s always like this or whether the QT nerves cooled his jets a little but the effect was tremendous: I actually bothered to listen. True, I didn’t agree with any of the stuff I listened to but at least he got a foot in the door. So well done Dominic, long may that feeling of nauseous terror continue to serve you well.

The Danny List

Aside from the shocking absence of glasses – and the corresponding abundance of bulging eyes – this was pretty standard Danny Alexander fare… Standard enough to be standardised in the form of a standardised list as it happens. Observe:

  1. Repeated use of the phrase “the mess we were left” – Check
  2. Constant look of nebulous dread – Check
  3. Lacklustre audience response to lacklustre joke (“No deal!”) – Check
  4. Moment of abject horror when it all goes wrong (food banks in Germany) – Check
  5. Endless parade of monotone policy ‘achievements’ to act as filler – Check
  6. Photoshop of him as some raunchy male model (see Fig.1) – Check check check!

All’s well here then…

danny aleaxander fit sailor

Fig. 1

…And Val?

Can’t complain, truth be told. Alright, so there was one sticky moment right at the start when I thought she was going to go down the ‘all politicians are untrustworthy’ road (a road I’m so familiar with that I’m long past contempt) but it actually transpired that she didn’t like politicians blaming each other and that’s alright in my book. Also, a bonus point for saying she quite liked the budget with regards to her own finances whilst simultaneously slating its effect on others. The lack of a faux hair shirt was refreshing to say the least.

Tl;dr

Alexander: 4/10

Same (as always)

Burnham: 6/10

(Had more slap on than a panto) Dame

Raab: 6/10

Overcame (my deafness to libertarians)

Kirby: 4/10

(All a bit) Lame

McDermid: 6/10

(Writes books about people who like to) Maim

The Crowd: 5/10

(Find) Haim (to be somewhat over-hyped by the music press)

Right, all done, that’s your lot, nowt to see here. Elizabeth’s running things next week for Brighton is her turf and she is much better placed to judge the implications of tax breaks for moustache pomade, subsidies for dreamcatchers and the best type of blue nylon rope to make a dog lead out of. Oh Brighton, you are such silly.

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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