Posts Tagged 'Louise Bours'

Questionable Time #145


qt 145

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to the last Questionable Time of the season. It’s time to kick off our dancin’ heels and take a lounge in the hammock, perhaps while enjoying three jugfuls of Pimms and watching UK athletes fail at tennis, football, and indeed every other sport in existence. Alternatively, it’s time to make jokes about Anna Soubry. Again. It’s this blog’s preferred mode of entertainment. Let’s hustle!

We are the 43%

We start with the news that Question Time has had 43% female panellists this season, its highest ever percentage! Yay! I, for one, am all in favour of women being allowed to make fools of themselves just as much as the men. Equality to be an embarrassment! On a surely unrelated note, Anna Soubry was actually drafted in as a replacement for Ken Clarke in this episode, thus lifting the total even higher. I doubt, however, that he would have given quite such a scrappy performance as dear old Chortles, because…well…we’ll talk more about her later.

First up! “Is the Chancellor’s living wage pledge as good as it sounds, given tax credit cuts will make people worse off?” Chuka Umunna has been given an open goal and somehow still manages to saunter away from it because it might get his shoe muddy. I like some things in the Budget, he says, but if you’re below 25 you’re screwed. DCam broke his promises at the Leaders’ Debate and is a disgrace. Despite cheers (unusually loud due to the weird echoey hall they’re in) and using the snoutpuncher of a word ‘disgrace’, he still approaches every subject as if he has yellow rubber cleaning gloves on. Chuk-a-Cheese very rarely raises his voice about anything, even the impending doom of the youth of the country. Anna Soubry, on the other hand…

Chortles blurfles her jowls. Dave didn’t break no promise, man! she flubbers. He’s getting the deficit down, which is, of course, “the right thing to do”. How would you “balance the books” to “live within our means”, eh, Chuka? Faced with a barrage of three cliches in a row, Chuka looks concerned and hunky. They both get clapped again, and the ear-splitting echoes of the lost art of political debate resound off the dusty walls forever.

Louise Bours of UKIP is all about the social mobility. Without tax credits she couldn’t have fed her children or got through university, so that’s out of the question. What should we cut, then? Ah, yes…it’s all so simple in retrospect. The bloody international aid budget! This gets a mixed response, but either camp is a loud one due to this frickin’ frackin’ un-soundproofed hall.

Tommy Sheppard, an SNP new bug, looks like a skunk who’s been given an electric shock. He says it’s profoundly crap that the Tories are trying to rebrand themselves the new “workers’ party”. They don’t even own any flat caps that could give them awful hat hair, like he so obviously is victim to. Dimbles then cuts in to ask Rachel Johnson, “as the only non-politician on this panel”…yep, she’s really unconnected, isn’t she? Can’t think where I’ve seen her face before…but anyway. Gorgeous George (not Galloway, Osborne – the new one) had to cut something, she pleads! So he threw a dart at a board and came up with tax credits. Anna looks strangely outraged for some reason, as if Rachel daring to be not 100% supportive is a crime against humanity/Toryism (to Anna, there is no difference) and even now is planning a coup with her blustery brother to unseat the blessed Cammerz.

“We have to support our economy!” Chortles interrupts. Rachel looks genuinely confused. Please, Anna – she’s on your side. Maybe you should take after Dave himself and chillax a little.

You could…not cut those taxes for millionaires, says Tommy innocently, like a small toddler encountering a cruel and unforgiving world, as I admire his bushy, permanently-worried eyebrows.

Then a man says something about maintenance grants but we’re all distracted by his colourful hat. He gets into an altercation with Chuka, though, which is just embarrassing for all involved.

Greece joins the 1p Club

Next, the exact same question but not asked by rainbow hat guy: “is the scrapping of maintenance grants the death knell of social mobility for this generation in the UK?” Well, as a young’un under 25 myself, I’m currently enjoying a particularly terrified shit. Don’t know about you, fair reader. You’re probably older than me, in which case I hate you.

Louise says yes. There are too many university places, meaning lots of loans. The solution to this is to ban ‘David Beckham studies’ (does this exist?) and that nurses shouldn’t go to university. RUBBISH says Anna, loudly and proudly. Told you she was in prime fightin’ mode tonight. Chuka merely smirks and nods, clearly enjoying himself.

Rachel meeps that children won’t go because of the piles of debt. Anna brushes her off and says her figures are wrong. Chuka disagrees, saying what Labour would do if they were in government, which is kind of irrelevant. These poor shmoes, or rather mini-shmoes, can’t pay off their debt, and the taxpayers will end up saddled with it, says he. This all sounds awful, says our Scottish representative – good thing I’m in Scotland. Louise and Anna get into a fight again. I am already tiring of this and Dimbleby looks like he wants to go on holiday. Let’s move on.

Was Greece right to “show two fingers to the EU”? Louise larfs and calls the EU (more like pee-yoo, amirite?)…Wonga. (If you listen closely, you can hear Stella Creasy screaming in horror in the distance.) What episode of Deal or No Deal are we on now? adds Rachel helpfully, which only succeeds in conjuring up horrifying images of Angela Merkel as Noel Edmonds.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

In any case, the EU has not “covered itself in glory” re: Greece, says Tommy, and has alienated its lefty supporters. Chuka counters this with the aural equivalent of a wibbly-wobbly hand gesture, but we all know he would (smoothy, suavely) tear his hair out if he had any. Anna classily compares Greece to Labour’s OVERSPENDING OMG. Referring to Chuka’s calls for restraint, she smirks that he’s “talking like a Tory”. He offers no concrete comeback for me to go on in response to this, so the jury is still out on whether he thinks this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Louise wants to go on, but we have to move ever forward like the march of time itself. Dimbles says she’ll still be able to say everything she likes “regardless of the question”. Ooh, bitch, you did not!

The real reason Chuka dropped out of the Labour leadership contest was because he didn’t want to take part in the ceremonial cage fight at the end

“Who, if anyone, can lead the Labour Party to success in 2020?” Cue much concern-trolling for Chuka’s chances. I was sad when he withdrew so soon, wibbles Rachel. Chop Socky Chuka offers a small smile in response, but it’s okay – he already knows he’s smokin’ hot. Then things get weird, with Rachel refusing to comment on Tory leadership plans…despite bringing it up in the first place. And mentioning Boris’ name in the first place. Okay, Rachel. You do you.

Meanwhile, the Blairite honking continues. Tommy steps up, at this point, to be the SNP voice of reason/smug superiority (delete according to political position). The Labour Party needs conviction, he convicts. Chuka rises to the challenge and ends with a pitch for his future leadership bid. Louise guffaws once again and says she’d like to see Chuka in a working men’s club. Can yer imagine it?!?!?!?! Anna smugly smugs that Labour is doomed because of the lefties in silly hats infiltrating it. Liz Kendall will save us, says Chuka. She won’t win, smugs Anna smugly, and also snugly, because everyone is starting to fall asleep at this point. Oh well.

Time for the scores!

Soubry: 6/10

Fighty

Umunna: 6/10

(Used a deft) Sleight-y (of hand)

Sheppard: 7/10

(Nicola Sturgeon is) Aphrodite

Bours: 5/10

(Luvs dat) Blighty

Johnson: 5/10

Flighty

The Crowd: 7/10

Lord Almighty!

Next time: we’ll be back in September, in WEMBLAYYYY. Mark it in your diaries! …You know, if you’re a sad person.

Next series Lemmings, next series…

Questionable Time #111


qt 111

Good morrow lemmings and it looks like the most wonderful time of the year has come around once more. That’s right – it’s poppy season, and everyone’s got one on their lapel despite it being not even the last week of October. It starts earlier every year, doesn’t it? Soon we’ll be fully emersed in the Poppy Wars, where politicians try to out-poppy each other by pinning bigger and bigger paper flowers to every inch of their bodies in an attempt to be the most sincere.

Anyway, as you may have noticed, the Big Man has come to town. Actually, several big men. Alex Salmond’s admission that he may be getting back into the ring of Westminster politics was headline news, but Len McCluskey was also on hand to metaphorically punch his enemies into the stratosphere. All standard for a Liverpool edition of QT. Let’s do this shizzle.

This is a local panel for local people. There’s nothing for you here

Dimbleby starts us off by addressing a cameraman who’s wandered behind the stage, and then leads on to a question about life sentences.

Alex Salmond isn’t here to talk about this. It’s England’s fault, wotevs. So we move on, knowing that Alex’s time in the sun will come (on this particular edition I mean, since he’s been basically everywhere the past two years – I’ve got Salmond fatigue/Salmondella). Meanwhile in the blue corner is Mark Harper, who is clearly doing this show as a punishment for sinning in a former life. He simply must have got in trouble somewhere along the line – maybe he accidentally kicked Michael Gove’s dog – because no Tory with half a survival instinct would willingly go on a Liverpool Question Time. Five seconds off the starting gun and he already looks like he’s about to pee himself. I mean, for goodness’ sake, he’s the minister for disabled people and he’s being trotted out immediately after ol’ Freudy put his foot in his mouth! But ah, what the hell, that was one whole week ago. Everyone’s got over it now, right? Well apparently so because it doesn’t get brought up once. The cosmic ballet goes on.

His trundling dullness is interrupted by Louise Bours. Life should mean life, she says. Okay, the audience nods along. Nod. Nod. Nod nod nod. N- wait, what the hell did you just say? Bringing back capital punishment? I turn up the volume on iPlayer because things have suddenly got a whole lot livelier. The audience is groaning! Louise is struggling to be heard! Kill a cop, get your head chopped off!

“Is that UKIP policy?” Caroline Flint asks, baffled. Louise responds excellently. UKIP don’t have a policy. And the crowd goes wild! This is great fun.

The next question is even more fun. It’s about Hezza lamenting the state of the North and London trampling all over it. Len McCluskey’s ready for this one. He was born ready. We need regional banks! Regional jobs and growth! There’s money but the dirty Londoners are sitting on it having cocktail parties. The Tories don’t understand because “there are no Tories north of Birmingham”. This gets a predictably ecstatic reaction from the crowd, including some whistles (take it off, Len!) and Mark continues to pee himself. He does his best, pointing out that Len wouldn’t mind if Ed Miliband fell under a bus. Seems like the audience wouldn’t mind either. Mark valiantly rattles off some statistics but what he really needs to do is bring out his owl.

Caroline agrees with Hezza, unlike those mean old Tories – ignore the fact that Tarzan is also a Tory. “Mark is living in fantasy land”, she says, and then a member of the audience echoes her: “you’re living in cloud-cuckoo land!” This is quickly turning into the gang-up-on-Mark Harper show and it’s only about to get worse for him.

“The Labour Party doesn’t have an economic plan!” he squeaks (Mark, please speak up, I can barely hear you). Then he gets thrown into the dumpster by King of the School Alex, who proposes we run over George Osborne instead. More applauding. Gosh, this is a worryingly violent programme.

Louise smooths over her earlier brush with unpopularity by supporting “true localism”, health workers on boards etc, which is nice I guess but then she gets steamrolled by the audience, who appear to be preparing to join Len in storming the government and unleashing the glorious revolution. Len’s on a roll now: he only needs yell the words ‘zero hours’ and a great wave of emotion rolls across the studio drowning all in its wake. Alex suggests Liverpool and Scotland skip off into the sunset together. This is beautiful. I’m having a great time watching this, although I do feel a bit sorry for poor Mark.

I’m never gonna dance again (though Alex Salmond apparently will)

Next question: it’s the election-winning issue, the NHS! Out of nowhere Louise turns into a killer robot. Destroy all managers. Destroy all managers. No, we need health and social care brought together! says Caroline. She’s not letting Dimbleby interrupt her, she’s roundhouse kicking all who stand in her way no matter what the question and/or answer actually is. DESTROY ALL MANAGERS, blasts Louise.

Mark now comes to the crux of the matter. The report vindicates us, he says, and we need a strong economy to achieve a strong NHS. Mark, for a small, shining moment, believes he’s on top of this one, but then he gets pushed in the lockers by Big Alex again. It’s almost sad. Caroline is enjoying watching Owl Man get beaten up. She doesn’t even need to intervene. Just lie back and enjoy the bloodbath.

Len’s leading his troops – let’s get the elite to pay their taxes! Yeah! Just grab ’em in the street and steal their wallets. The audience wolf-whistles their approval and for a moment I’m scared Len really will start taking it all off. Alex and Len then share an intimate moment of mutually gazing at each other. The saxophone solo from Careless Whisper plays sexily in the background. This edition of QT is too much for me. I’m literally dabbing my sweaty forehead right now.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Nite Owl bristles at Len’s accusation that he’s posh. How dare you call me posh. I’ll tell you whose fault it is, it’s Labou- DESTROY ALL MANAGERS! comes the cry from…the audience? Oh.

Then Alex drops the bombshell covered in the opening paragraph. Maybe Liverpool can adopt him? He’s certainly tried to adopt Liverpool.

I could only think of two bold headline thingies

Final question is on Scotland and whether they’ve been given the middle finger or not. Caroline says yes, Mark says no. All pretty standard. What does Alex think? Could he possibly be a little bitter? Surely not! He does, however, come out in favour of Liverpudlian votes for Liverpudlian people, and disses the “three amigos” that make up the world’s worst boyband – Cameron, Clegg and Miliband. All popular with the audience, as is Len’s admission of “positive neutrality”. Louise crests the wave by gleefully continuing Alex’s diss verse. Things have gotten out of hand again. Time for Dimbles to wrap it up.

One thing’s for certain though: this debate ain’t ovah, although I think Mark has finally finished weeing himself.

Time for the scores!

Salmond: 7/10

Here’s (Alex!!)

Harper: 4/10

(Almost broke out in) Tears

Flint: 6/10

(About average level with her) Peers

Bours: 5/10

(Unlike ol’ Nige, not someone you’d want to have a couple of) Beers (with)

McCluskey: 8/10

Fierce (shut up that rhymes)

The Crowd: 8/10

(Exploring new) Frontiers (for the coming revolution)

Next week has that fountain of charisma Tristram Hunt, and hopefully a crowd full of angry teachers.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #101


questionable time 101 david dimbleby wolf gladiators

Good mornings Lemmings and oh boy, do we have a random one on our hands today. Novelty panel? Check. The odd spectacle of the entire show being stuck airside in trans-national limbo? Check. A textbook case of brain-in-foot/foot-in-mouth blooperism that’s going to ensure that ‘Joey Barton Ugly Girls’ is going to clog the search terms section of this site’s stats page for the next 6 months? Check check check! Break out the Sharks Off Cornwall Repellent Lemmings, Silly Season has landed early this year and is currently boarding in Terminal 2. To the departure lounge we go!

The relentless tide of fresh Kippers shows no signs of abating…

Another week, another spin of the absurd tombola marked ‘UKIP Talking Heads Who Aren’t Nigel Farage’ and what do we get for our trouble? We get the Purple Team’s latest bid to convince us they’re not in fact the paramilitary wing of the Rotary Club but a party that can also do ‘normal’ (‘normal’ being a highly subjective term that essentially means ‘someone who sounds a little Northern’ and doesn’t look like a potential suspect in a game of Cluedo). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Louise Bours or – as she was formerly known before dropping her suspiciously continental sounding stage name – Louise van de Bours.

So how did she do? Well, I’m a little torn to be honest. In her defence, this was never going to be an easy pitch, what with a panel made up of big-ego civilians and two politicians desperately playing the Voice of Reason card (there wasn’t even the hope of distracting them with the gory results of this year’s annual Lib Dem Cull as the Yellow Team wisely decided to stay at home this week) but her approach wasn’t exactly an exercise in subtlety. No, instead she’s been boning up on the latest revision to the UKIP Field Manual which can basically be summed up thusly:

1. When assaulting enemy held positions, deploy the terms ‘The Establishment’, ‘Political Classes’ and ‘Media Spin’ while juxtaposing ‘Ordinary People’ and ‘the 5 million you’ve just insulted’ into the mix. Should this strategy fail, simply combine or rearrange the words (‘Political Establishment’, ‘Media Classes’, etc, etc), rinse and repeat.

2. In the event of inevitable counter attack on the grounds of policy, simply insist that the new manifesto will solve EVERYTHING.

From a short-term point of view (and let’s face it, pretty much everything in UKIP-land appears to be based on short-term reasoning) this is quite a canny play and one which Bours – what with her surfeit of aggression – is actually quite good at. Alright, so it wasn’t the most polished affair, what with the calling everyone ‘Sir’ and ‘Mr’, not to mention just how proactive she was at getting in people’s faces but this was her first time in the Major Leagues and I can’t deny that there was an appetite for what she said amongst a sizeable chunk of the crowd.

The problem is that her style of QT-ing has a shelf life and it only works at the moment because UKIP have ended up in this sort of Goldilocks zone where they can legitimately claim some sort of mandate but effectively dodge scrutiny because of the rapidity of their rise. That won’t last, not when the new manifesto inevitably turns out to be the same old bag of spanners that the last one was. When (not ‘if’, ‘when’) that happens, Bours’ brand of pushy DON’T TREAD ON ME-ing will be looking a lot less like an authentic insurgency and a great deal more like the melodramatic whinging you get when a bunch of cockeyed yoghurt tops hang out together and pretend they’re a political party.

Until then though, credit where credit’s due: This wasn’t a bad performance for a first timer on a hostile panel. Enjoy it while it lasts Louise, enjoy it while it lasts.

Gone for a Barton…

Given that I know absolutely nothing about football I only had a vague inkling as to who Joey Barton was prior to the show (the gist of it being a domestically produced Cantona knock-off with a bit of a Napoleon complex, a propensity to throw around Nietzsche quotes and a dazzling command of the French language – see Fig. 1) but that inkling sat well with me. It said ‘Watch this guy. He has the sort of form that makes for good QT-ing’ so I was – dare I say it – actually a little excited that he’d be on. Alas, despite a promising half a minute where he seemed to be building up to something rather good, he then went and blew it all by saying to Louise Bours:

If I was somewhere and there were 4 really ugly girls, I’m thinking ‘Well, she’s not the worst’ because that’s all you are”

KLANG!

So yes, that was a monumentally boneheaded/dumb-as-rocks thing to say that roundly deserved all the derision it got but I think the worst part of it all was catching that split second where his feedback loop finally kicked in, just about when he first mentions ‘ugly girls’. At this point the crowd take a sharp intake of breath and a flash of panic crosses Joey’s face.

Oh bollocks oh bollocks oh bollocks I’m too deep into this sentence that I haven’t really thought through to turn back so I’m going to have to run with it but why am I looking Louise Bours straight in the face while I’m saying this oh bollocks oh bollocks oh bollocks”

Yeah, pretty toe curling all told and unsurprisingly it scuppered the rest of the show for him. Oh well never mind Joey, doubtless they’ll have you back on again in which case I advise that you try doing the whole thing in a French accent.

joey barton napoleon

Fig. 1

And the rest of ’em?

Time is of the essence so let’s be quick:

Willetts straddled the thoughtful/boring line with some aplomb but never once threatened to add anything more than some gentle chin stroking and an aversion to confrontation while Margret Curran breathlessly said the same sentence over and over again in slightly different forms before occasionally pausing dramatically as if she was going to say something very important only to then go and breathlessly say the same sentence over and over again in slightly different form. Finally, Piers Morgan put in an annoyingly good performance that was only really marred by him barking orders for airports to be built in every town in the land like some sort of jumped up Luftfuehrer. Bah. I hate it when Piers does well.

Tl;dr

Bours: 6/10

(Isn’t) Shy

Barton: 4/10

*Sigh*

Willetts: 5/10

(Can be adequately summed up as ‘Some) Guy(‘)

Curran: 5/10

(Should) Try (talking a little slower)

Morgan: 7/10

Why?

The Crowd: 6/10

(Probably came to the airport to) Fly (somewhere but never made it to the plane).

Well, that was a load of half-term silliness, wasn’t it? Not that I’m complaining mind – sometimes a good all-heat-and-no-light episode is needed, even if it does occasionally mean I have to award Piers Morgan annoyingly high marks from time-to-time. Right, Wales next week, undoubtedly to be set in the newly constructed Llandudno International Airport as per Luftfuehrer Morgan’s orders…

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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