Posts Tagged 'Maria Miller'

Questionable Time #52


questionable time 52 david dimbleby pope

Good morning Lemmings and come, let us grab a body from the pile, shuffle grimly forth and then hurl it on to this, the Funeral Pyre of Dignity. That’s right, once again the nation has dutifully assembled for this exercise in collective catharsis and so it is that we find ourselves in Leicester, home of Englebert Humperdinck, Showaddywaddy and other, more sensibly named musical acts. Lemmings, it is time… Time to get Questionable Timed…

My dreams will be forever haunted by George Galloway’s stare…

Jesus QT, any chance of a warning the next time you choose to open with a shot of George Galloway dressed in full Bond villain regalia and with a stair so intense that it actually killed several hundred pixels on my TV screen stone dead? I mean seriously, that thing was so overpowering that I feared the Earth’s magnetic field was in danger of flipping polarity or that the fabric of the universe itself might be torn apart in the wake of his fearful glare.

Ok, so that might be a slightly over-dramatic way of putting it (a natural consequence of having just watched an hour of Gorgeous George over-dramatising pretty much everything) but I’m bringing this up for a reason: This is not the first time I’ve seen the Gallowstare. At around this time last year, I was in the audience for the Leeds show and one of the panellists that week was none other than George Galloway. Just before the recording got underway, I noticed that he and the other protagonists were loitering just off-set, killing time and making ready before things kicked off. Understandably, they all looked a little nervous but with Galloway there was more to it: He looked utterly terrified and as he gingerly made his way to his seat, I saw the Gallowstare in all its harrowing, appalling glory for the first time. Now, being the forgiving soul that I am, I chalked this up as a legitimate case of the jitters as he’d been off the scene for a while but having witnessed it for a second time I’m thinking that it runs a little deeper than that. Now I’m thinking that it’s a result of the kind of existential terror that only a true blagger can know – the terror that screams “This is it! This is the night when they finally discover that I’m nothing but a chancer who’s not really thought the plan through beyond the stage labelled ‘Shameless Self Promotion’!”. Yet all it took that night was the slightest whiff of blood and that was it: He was back in the game, confident beyond all reason and completely free of self-doubt.

So did he manage to shake the monkey off his back this time around? Of course he did because crippling though his fear of being rumbled may be, you give him a chance to fling around some derisive epithets (“Gordon ‘Goldfinger’ Brown” anyone?) or recycle his “third cheek” gag again and he’s off. That’s something that I sort of have to admire because as knowingly disingenuous as his tactics may be, it takes a specially kind of guts to pull them off: Acting like a self-obsessed megalomaniac is one thing. Acting like a self-obsessed megalomaniac who knows he’s a self-obsessed megalomaniac is quite another. So well done George,  here’s a little something I knocked up to honour such an unstinting commitment to the cause of oneself (see Fig. 1)

george galloway flag socialist realism

Someone’s doing well out of horsemeat…

…And that person is Mary Creagh, Labour’s Johnny on the Spot for all things foody and safetyish. Now, until very recently you could be forgiven for having not known of Creagh’s existence but in the last week or two she’s been making plenty of hay at the dispatch box and a cursory scan of her credentials says that – potentially – this is someone whose time has come. For example, her background (scholarship girl from a plausibly ordinary background) fits really well into the whole One Nation/Striver narrative while her very insistent style of delivery marks her out as someone who is more than capable of looking after herself on the field of battle. Couple that with her backing of the winning team in the post-Brown Labour leadership election and things start to look very promising for Creagh.

However, I say ‘potentially’ for a reason: First off, she’s really got to watch that ‘insistent’ doesn’t turn into ‘preachy’. Secondly, threatening to slap George Galloway’s bum cheeks after the show can be easily misinterpreted and thirdly, it doesn’t pay to boast about how much time you spend “at the school gates” of your Wakefield constituency and then go on to endorse Leicester as the rightful resting place of Richard III. They have long memories in Yorkshire. 528-year-long memories to be precise.

Let’s not beat about a bush, Maria Miller is a bit crap at this QT lark…

There are two problems here:

  1. She’s just not the sharpest tool in the drawer. Generating vast quantities of verbal styrofoam in order to gloss over awkward issues is an acceptable and legitimate QT play but it must be done with some panache. All we seem to get from Miller is a day-late/quid-short answer that doesn’t even attempt to disguise its intent.
  2. The Oh For God’s Sake look isn’t a good one. We get it: It’s annoying when people don’t agree with you but that’s your job. You’re in government. People are supposed to hate you. Suck it up. It’s what we pay you for.

Something weird happened to me at around twenty minutes in…

I swear I heard Fraser Nelson advocating accruing more national debt in order to improve the lot of the poor. I blame the Gallowstare. It must have jiggered my pokery.

And finally, some good news…

…Susan Kramer has predicted an early spring! That’s right, last night QT’s answer to Puxsutawney Phil emerged from her slumber, poked her head out of her winter quarters and saw no shadow. Sunnier times are on the way! Obviously, this is good news for all concerned, none more than Kramer herself who made clear her delight by opining in a particularly loud and jaunty manner. All I can say is that I’m delighted that warmer weather is on the way and I look forward to seeing her in the autumn for the Annual Kramer Hibernation Ceremony. It’s nice that there are some constants in this world.

Tl’dr

Miller: 4/10

Bah!

Creagh: 7/10

Ha!

Kramer: 6/10

Fnar!

Galloway: 6.5/10

Gah!

Nelson: 5/10

Pah!

The Crowd: 6/10

Dah?

So there we go, a scrappy little tussle marred only by its lack of Pope-related questions and the subsequent irrelevance of my Popified photoshop that took an inordinate amount of time to construct. You’ll pay for this, Leicester… I don’t know how but you’ll pay…

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #29


questionable time 29 david dimbleby weasles ripped my flesh

Good morning Lemmings and a slight change of plan today thanks to some unforseen circumstances. You see the thing is that when I usually turn in on a Thursday night there tends to at least be some dull flicker of inspiration lurking in the recess of my mind of what line I’m going to take the next day but last night proved to be an exception to this rule. No, instead I went to bed with a head that was essentially a yawning vacuum of nothingness and 8 hours of sleep has done precisely zero to rectify this situation. I am without opinion, lost in a featureless desert of zilch and unsettled by the creative squalor caused by a poverty of ideas. And why would this be? I reckon that one or more of the following may to blame…

The show was just a bit… meh.

Come on, admit it: Deep down we all know that Question Time is basically panto with a slightly elevated reading age and what does every panto need? Goodies and baddies. Unfortunately there was no clear hero or villain amongst the political panelists (Peter Hain seemed happy to take it a little easy now that he’s resigned from the frontline while Marie Miller wisely decided to stick rigidly to her  brief and Leanne Wood just said Plaidy things that get Plaidy claps in Plaidy Wales) so I was banking on Kelvin MacKenzie and John O’Farrell to fill the Wicked Stepmother/Cinderella roles. Initially this seemed to go to plan as MacKenzie got all sweaty and ranty about this and that but I later found myself actually agreeing with him on the alcohol question and that makes him a rather ineffective Wicked Stepmother. Similarly, O’Farrell got to showcase some good lines but I always find it a little jarring when a 5th panelist has a clear party allegiance. I don’t mind it when they have clear views that may run in concordance with a particular party line but I find it hard to root for Cinderella when Cinderella is a fully paid up member of the Downtrodden Domestic Workers Union. It doesn’t exactly make for underdog status and underdogs are what good panto is all about. So yeah, there wasn’t much to be had from this bunch.

I pine for a Grexit…

I’ve found myself in an unhappy predicament over the last four years: I’ve boned up on economics, read a ton of books with complicated titles and have arrived at the inescapable conclusion that something big and nasty has to happen as the current system is just too knackered to stagger on much longer. Naturally I’m not overly keen on big and nasty events but I will say this: A full-on, pant-shitting crisis is looking increasingly preferable to going over the same old ground that we’ve done to death over the last four years. Seriously, I find myself consciously inviting disaster because I’m just so bored of going through the same charade of ‘yes, everything is totally buggered and no, no-one’s got a clue what to do about it’. So just hurry up Greece and do something spectacular because I can’t take the suspense any more. Default and default quickly otherwise Question Time is simply going to continue being Aren’t We All Glad We Didn’t Join The Euro Time and that does not good telly make.

Just what the hell happened to Brian May?

So QT has a shiny new website and this shiny new website has spent the last few days loudly proclaiming that Queen guitarist Brian May was going to be on the show this week (in fact it still does at the time of writing). This was something I was quite looking forward to as Brian May is an oddball of epic proportions and I considered it highly likely that he would say some very weird things about some very weird subject matters. However, the chief reason for my angst is that I spent way too much time on Wednesday night photoshopping his hair on to all the panelists’ heads (see Fig. 1) and I feel cheated by his non-attendance.

brian-may-question-time-hair-gif

Fig. 1

Yeah yeah yeah, I know what you’re thinking – ‘So what? It’s just a stupid .gif that looks like it was put together in a matter of minutes’ – but let me ask you this: Have you seen Brian May’s hair? Have you even the faintest idea of how difficult it is to cut all those absurd little tendrils of wiry craziness out? No? Well it’s a bloody nightmare and one that nearly pushed me over the edge (note to anyone who may be vaguely interested: The Colour Range tool is your friend). Consequently I was in a bad mood from the get go and spent most of the evening chuntering menacingly about how untrustworthy badger loving astrophysicists who collect Victorian stereophotographs are rather than watching the show with an eye to putting together something halfway decent the next day. Basically, it’s all Brian May’s fault.

Tl;dr

Hain: 5/10

Meh…

Miller: 5/10

Bleh…

Wood: 5/10

Feh…

MacKenzie: 5/10

Peh…

O’Farrell: 5/10

Geh…

The Crowd: 5/10

Pleh…

Brian May: 0/10

HAS STUPID HAIR

So there you go, not a great deal of fun to be had there and to add insult to injury there won’t be any Questionable Time next week either. No, I’m afraid that you’ll have to struggle on without me as I’m off to Berlin to see whether a man can survive on a purely wurst based diet for a week. That, and I also plan to indulge in a spot of Eurovision hooliganism. Come on Humperdink! This is our moment! Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of overwrought crooning!

In a couple of weeks Lemmings, in a couple of weeks…


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