Posts Tagged 'Matthew Hancock'

Questionable Time #141


qt 141

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to a sweltering, summery Questionable Time! We’re predicting light rain showers and intense humidity caused by sudden extreme emissions of hot air. Remember to stay hydrated, and watch out for shifting and sweating in your seats!

Fractional reserve wbanking

As the evening June light bursts into the studio through great glass windows, the entire audience is blinded and unfortunately unable to sit through the rest of the show. Oh well, guess we’ll all have to go home. Bye.

…Or perhaps not. Question one, then: is the Chancellor right to sell off RBS shares at a loss to the taxpayer? Ooh, burn. Sick burn. Ice burn. We’re off to a no-nonsense start, you’d think, but then Chris Bryant, supreme Gingerbonce and chief trollererererer of John Bercow in the House of Commons, as well as a renowned purveyor of entertaining nonsense himself, steps up to the plate. He’s seen a challenge and he’s rising to it in his own special way. He leaps upon this question like an angry weasel, which he also resembles. The Chancellor, he says, should go back to his original position and prepare for government! We have a deficit to be dealing with, remember? Although it looks like, in the aftermath of May 7th, we’ve all temporarily forgotten about that/ceased to care. Hooray!

Matthew Hancock, the blue team representative, obviously disagrees. He has a weird round forehead that doesn’t fit on his chin. Remember Northern Rock, he weedles? Eh? Eight years ago? Under the previous government? The one before the coalition, that is, so not technically the previous government, but whatever? Anyway, this is all for the greater good and will mean that RBS performs better, says he. What about Royal Mail, dude, Chris squeaks, outraged.

Douglas Carswell gets off to a flying start with a withering comeback about ‘fractional reserve banking’. Riveting. I understood less that 7% of what he said. Even Dimbleby needed help with it, and he’s been running this shebang for years. Christina Odone puts it more simply: we need lots of little banks running around like chihuahuas, instead of a few big ones like scary rottweilers. However, much like the dogs themselves, will they merely do the same amount of shit? The Gateshead audience seems to think so, so it’s up to new SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh to play to the crowd. She says it’s a bad time, what with the continuing austerity – also, Gordon Brown sucks, she mentions off-hand. Just throwin’ that out there.

Witness me!

Next up, should 16 and 17-year olds be able to vote in the #euref? (Is that the official hashtag now? See, I’m down with the kids too!)

Douglas says this is all very exciting, and the product of his life’s work (or his work ever since he defected to UKIP), but you know who can’t join in on the excitement? 16-year-olds. You suddenly become fully knowledgeable about politics at age 18 and that’s that. Also, you may be less likely to vote to stay in the EU the older and the more scared of the dirty forrins you get. So, y’know, swings and roundabouts.

Christina is in favour of this proposal, however, because the youngins “see the light”! They are the “agents of change” foretold in the prophecy! Matthias Handycock rebuffs her with a blunt ‘no lol’. Meanwhile, Tamsina says to look at the #indyref, and the huge participation of young, idealistic SNPers, and understand that angry young people can be easily moulded and twisted into an army of fanatics eager to lay down their lives for a cause, much like those albino pricks in Mad Max: Fury Road (out now in all good cinemas!). She also takes aim at Chris, alleging Labour voted against an SNP clause to give the yungins the vote. Chris says this was conveniently attached to an amendment that would block the referendum completely. She denies this charge, with a snippy “I think I know what I tabled”. “Nah,” replies Chris, even snipplier. Majestic debate!

Isn’t this debate great? Matty Handball raves, watching gleefully as Tamsina and Chris snip-snipe at each other. Finally, Bryant signs us off with an ultimatum: the age of consent is 16, and yet voting is out of bounds for these youngsters. You can legally be a parent, but you can also “FLY A GLIDER”, he proclaims, which is, quite obviously, far more important.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Up next, a somewhat related topic: Is DCam using dirty tactics to get his way in the EU referendum? Dougy C beams with pride, imagining himself to be a much less photogenic (or, like, paintogenic) Joan of Arc about to be martyred. At the same time, Chris admits that “I don’t like David Cameron very much”. The majestic debate continues! Christina claims that Cammers is slowly turning into John Major, scared of Eurosceptic ‘bastards’. Indeed, the ‘bastards’ have now gone mainstream. Matt Hackysack has a good reason for not being afraid of them, though – if we leave the EU/encourage UKIP, businessmen would feel too sad to come to the UK! Instead, just wait for DCam to come back from his negotiation. Then all will be well.

What about the EU nationals being excluded from voting, says Tamsina, her outraged tone growing ever more outraged. This never gets a satisfactory answer as we already have to move on. Don’t worry, Dimbleby assures us, we’ll return to this…”week after week”, according to him.

Oh Lord, save us.

Pants for the memories

Next, some quickfire questions. ‘Northern Powerhouse’: yay or nay?

For once, Chris ‘n’ Tamsina agree on something (side note, I keep misspelling her name as Tasmina, as if she comes from Tasmania, one would imagine). The North-East has been shortchanged! Luckily for Tazza, she’s in Scotland so she doesn’t have to worry about that shit. Matt Hanky-Panky repeats the the words ‘Northern Powerhouse’ approximately twenty more times until my ears start to bleed. Douglas, however, advises us to “follow the money” – putting on his shifty shades and looking smug. The North is saved.

Second: why are we becoming a surveillance state just like 1984 OMG!!!! #makesuthink. Possibly because y’all elected only eight Lib Dem MPs? That’s…you know, kind of their thing (maybe their only thing). The main parties on the panel squabble just as you’d expect them to, with a little addition of ~Ron Paul Revolution~ Libertarianism from Douglas, until Chris elects to remind us all of that whole phonehacking dealio that happened a while back, and how he felt so heavily violated by its intrusion into his life. Unfortunately, this just dredges up the memory of that infamous photo of him in his pants and nothing else into our expectant brainholes. I don’t want to post it, though…that would be an invasion of privacy, after all.

Finally, the traditional heavy-as-hell question in the last woefully inadequate few minutes. How do we stop ISIS fascism?

Christina says that young people aren’t being convinced by our own down-with-the-kids narrative. Well, do they have pizza in the so-called ‘Islamic State’? I seriously doubt it. #makesuthink. “A liberal democratic way of life is the best way of life possible,” says Douglas Carswell, summing things up. Well, yes, except possibly if you’re a Liberal Democrat. Tamsina says something about the Angel Gabriel, messenger of God (you mean Nicola Sturgeon?). Matt In The Hat urges us to show disaffected youths a ‘better way’, through the medium of his Cameron-alike forehead. And lastly, Chris splurts out some mouthwords as well. Although I wasn’t paying attention, because I was still too terrified by the memory of his pants to write anything down about it.

Time for the scores!

Hancock: 5/10

(Brows were) Knit(ted)

Bryant: 6/10

Pit(bull on the panel)

Ahmed-Sheikh: 6/10

Wit(ness her!)

Carswell: 6/10

(Comfortably sat…uh, I mean) Sit

Odone: 6/10

(Does not want to) Omit (youngsters from the referendum)

The Crowd: 6/10

(True) Grit

Next time: High Wycombe! My nan used to live there. Er…not much else to say about it, to be honest.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #87


questionable time 87 david dimbleby manga anime dimble san

Good morning Lemmings and isn’t it just typical – you spend all series waiting for a screamingly self-obsessed bag of contradictions to turn up and then two come along at once. It’s just not bloody fair is it? Anyway, we should really get cracking as there was plenty going on last night as you might expect given the presence of the Gallowstarkey so let’s not shilly-shally about: To the first paragraph Lemmings…

 

For a horrible moment I thought Galloway might be losing his teeth…

I usually love opening shots in which George Galloway’s involved, particularly of late when he’s been going through his Bond villain phase – you know, with that collarless Scaramanga suit and the mad, mad staring eyes. Alas, it appears that he’s now stopped striking that pose, donned a pair of Meedja Glasses and is going for a much more restrained get-up, all of which robs that opening shot of its melodrama and me of a good chuckle with which to get the party started. It wasn’t just the way he looked either – there was something really odd about the way he was putting words together at the start of the show: His tone was subdued – a little timid even – yet the vocabulary was (as always) straight out of the Moscow Trials, all of which added up to a very weird presentation where statements designed to be screamed at the top of your lungs (like “REACTIONARY TOSH!”) sorted of squeaked their way out and lent his usual line of hyperbole a strange air of mundanity. At first I though this might be a case of ‘once bitten, twice shy’ since the last time he opined about rape he ended up in all sorts of hot water but this was clearly not the case given that he once again tried to go down the ‘husbands don’t have to ask for sex verbally’ route and was rewarded with a very awkward silence followed by a swift Moving On from Dimbers.

 

In fact, it took two full questions for George to hit his stride and in the meantime we had to watch the odd spectacle of him winding himself up. This happened on the public vs. private schools question when Starkey had just finished flouncing about on a hobby house called ‘You People’.

 

I am absolutely furious” declared Galloway, except that he didn’t sound furious at all – mildly ticked off maybe, but certainly not ‘furious’ – so he gave it another go.

 

“I am absolutely furious!”.

 

Hmm, better but still not feeling it.

 

“THE RIGHT TO A FREE EDUUUUUUUUUCATION!!!!!!”

 

And that was it, the crowd cheered and he was off – off to spend the rest of the show bellowing about “TORY CONTEMPT!” whilst simultaneously stroking Matthew Hancock’s arm and gently patronising him to within an inch of his life. It’s odd though: This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed that Galloway needs a whole lot of runway to take off and I’m beginning to suspect that underneath all the bravado is actually quite a nervous man who needs to hear the audience cheer (or to see a fight he knows he can win) before he can shake the self-doubt off his back. There, I did it. I managed to get the words ‘Galloway’ and ‘self-doubt’ into the same sentence. Questionable Time’s slow descent into absurdism is now complete.

 

While George was winding himself up, Starkey was boiling himself down…

…Into a thick, viscous ooze of something really unpleasant. Of course, this shouldn’t really come as any surprise given his past form but last night really was a turning point: It signalled that he’s ended any pretence of being a Serious Talking Head and has instead bet the farm on becoming The Thinking Idiot’s Katie Hopkins. I mean seriously, everything he said last night was intentionally designed to wind up the maximum amount of people in the shortest possible time and on that front he did exceptionally well – for example, that line about the “the large female paw, hanging on one pan of the [Scale’s of Justice]”? That was Live Action Trolling at it’s very finest and he does deserve at least a little credit for the skill involved. However, it’s the way he gets personal that just makes the whole thing seem so bloody obnoxious – like when he started imitating an audience member and threw his pen across the table in a fit of faux indignity. It looked like a stroppy teenager doing a sarky impression of their parents after having been grounded and it was quite frankly wanky (as was the whole “Large, fat, red man” rant about ‘Bill’ Crow).

 

But – and here’s the rub – I have to admit that on a very nefarious level, it works. It’s like the Sidebar of Shame on the Daily Mail site: I may huff and puff and furrow my brow when ever it’s mentioned but you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll happily click away at it when no-one’s looking. Hey, wait a second, when did I suddenly become part of the problem? Damn you Starkey! You’ve even managed to pit me against myself!

 

And the others?

Alright, time is short so I’ll be brief. I’d totally forgotten who Matthew Hancock was until I remembered that he’s the plumby voiced Minister for Skills and Enterprise who is so hopelessly out of his depth on QT that I always end up feeling sorry for him. In his defence, it can’t be easy to keep all together when Galloway’s doing his best Hans Fritzl impression in your direction but still, looking like you’re not going to have a panic attack really is a basic level requirement for any QT panelist and it’s not one I’m convinced he’s met.

 

As for Jowell, well it’s a game of two halves here: On the one hand it was heartening to see her repeatedly call shenanigans on Starkey but it wasn’t the most assured performance and that spiel where she managed to cram just about every New-Labourism into one irritating package (‘Diversity!’, ‘Citizens!’, ‘Responsibility!’ Gah!) served only to remind me how stale the whole project got.

 

And finally there’s QT first timer Alison Wolf who somehow managed to glide above the whole grubby affair with an air of confident dignity and an absolutely splendid posture. I can’t say I entirely agree with everything she said but she has surfeit of poise and that must be worth a mark or two.

 

Tl;dr

 

Hancock: 4/10

(Looked) Pale (and clammy)

 

Jowell: 5/10

(Seems to quite like “the large female paw” on the) Scale(s of Justice)

 

Galloway: 6/10

(Had much to) Rail (against)

 

Starkey: 2/10

(Was a cautionary) Tale (for all aspiring trolls)

 

Wolf: 7/10

(Did) Avail (us with some much-needed serenity)

 

The Crowd: 6/10

(Would be well within their rights if they chose to) Assail (Starkey after the show).

 

So that’s that and hard luck to anyone who – like me – thought the pairing of Starkey and Galloway might turn into some quirky-yet-heartwarming premise for a buddy movie. In fact, so convinced was I of this outcome that I even went to the trouble of producing promotional materials for it (see Fig. 1).

 

george galloway and david starkey thelma and louise

Fig. 1

Right, I’m off to fully develop this cold I have brewing and I will be back in a fortnight as Elizabeth will be driving seat next week. Lucky girl, she gets to experience all the thrills and spills that Scunthorpe has to offer. In the meantime, please feel free to exchange money for this rather lovely t-shirt of Tony Benn…

 

Elizabeth next week Lemmings, Elizabeth next week…

Questionable Time #76


questionable time 76 david dimbleby pumpkin

Good morning Lemmings and let’s start with some joyous news: Energy prices were not the first question of last night’s show and despite their subsequent appearance in Question #3 I think we’re probably out of the woods when it comes to Energy Prices Time. The bad news however is that HS2 got the #1 spot and that worries me because a) it’s just as dull an issue as energy prices and b) we’re probably going to have at least 20 years of this as the project lurches from one inevitable delay to the next. So here’s a small request to all future QT audiences: Pace yourselves as you’ve got another couple of decades of this to come and we wouldn’t want to have all our HS2 ‘fun’ at once now would we? Anyway…

I had a killer opening line for Jeremy Browne all figured out…

Who’s this jolly trouser press of a man?” was how I thought I was going to start this week’s section on Jeremy Browne and very pleased I was with myself for it is a good line that adequately conveys what Jeremy Brown usually looks like when he’s on QT – you know, all very upright and formal yet with a splash of affable bumbling, much like a meerkat at an award ceremony. Unfortunately, that line’s not going to work any more as it appears that poor old Jeremy Brown has yet to recover from the rather rude surprise of being sacked for no good reason – other than to make space for one of Parliament’s odder-balls – and as such he no longer resembles a jolly trouser press (I toyed with ‘deflated trouser press’ but that really doesn’t work because it implies the existence of an inflatable trouser press and that in turn sounds like the sort of thing you send the YTS kid out for after they’ve failed to secure the tartan paint or bucket of pixels you originally requested). I’m chalking this up as another black mark against the Deputy PM’s name… Thanks for ruining an otherwise great opener Cleggers!

So yes, this was Jeremy’s first outing since being unceremoniously heave-hoed off the front benches and you know what? I felt really, genuinely sorry for him. You could see it in the listlessness, the downcast face and the lack of wobble in an otherwise pleasingly wobbly head. Sure, he answered questions that were asked of him and did his best to look like his heart hadn’t broken into a thousand tiny pieces but you could tell that he was only there in order not to let the side down (whichever side that may be). Basically, he resembled a man who’s had the crap kicked out of him in a very random assault and that lingering sense of bewilderment just struck me as terribly sad.

However, there is one ray of sunshine in this otherwise bleak picture: No matter how roughly he is treated, now matter how raw his deal, Jeremy Browne can always take solace in one thing – he still has his panda… And I still have my panda cutout (see Fig. 1).

jeremy brown panda homeless

Fig. 1

I do so love a happy ending.

Something sketchy this way comes…

Here’s a question I tend to ask myself when observing a QT n00b on their first outing: Would you lend this person a tenner? In the case of George Osborne’s ex-Chief-of-Staff Matthew Hancock I’d say ‘no’ and here’s why. First off, he looked shifty. Now I’m aware that this is his initial QT sortie and I do give a dispensation for first time nerves but his shiftiness appeared more congenital than circumstantial. However, the thing that really gave me the screaming jibblies was the way he kept juxtaposing faux sincerity with actual sincerity. Take the Unite question: Here he started by trying to convince us that he’s a strong supporter of the unions but you got the feeling that he had to physically push those words out of his mouth because let’s face it, close allies of George Osborne are not exactly famed for their love of labour movements. Still, you often have to say things you don’t actually mean on QT so I’d be willing to let that slip if he hadn’t  followed it up with a line about what utter monsters Unite are and delivered with the most forthright conviction – that just made the initial porky look all the porkier. The same happened on the energy question – ‘I really like green energy BUT THESE WINDMILLS ARE MADNESS!’ was the jist of it and the implication was exactly the same: ‘I’ve been told I should appear to like green energy YET IT ACTUALLY ME MAKES WANT TO PUNCH HIPPIES’.

And that, dear Lemmings, is why I won’t be lending Matthew Hancock a tenner.

Episodes of QT you want Chris Bryant on vs. Episodes of QT you don’t want Chris Bryant on…

Episodes you want Chris Bryant on…

The ones where the main topic is something he likes getting his knickers in twist about conducted in front of a combative panel and an audience riven by factionalism.

Episodes you don’t want Chris Bryant on…

The ones with so-so topics, a panel who looked blitzed from the train ride to Cornwall and a crowd who politely clap every point whilst behaving in a reasonable fashion.

Things that make the bad episodes marginally better…

Watching the expression on his face when Paris Lees said that Ed Miliband “has real oak in his penis”. ‘Shocked delight’ is the best I can come up with.

And the other two?

I’ve got to say that despite working for the wretched Mail, I thought Harriet Sergeant was actually rather good last night and the only panelist to be consistently on the ball throughout. We may differ in view-point but at least she’s got the gumption to go out and see what life is like on the other side of the fence. As for Paris Lees, well it was a jerky start with her repeated ‘nationalise all the things’ responses but she found her feet with the probation question and followed it up with an oaken-penissed flourish on press regulation. That’ll do for me Paris…

Tl;dr

Hancock: 4/10

(Wears a) Cloak (of shiftiness)…

Brown: 5/10

(Looks like a) Broke(n man)…

Bryant: 5/10

(Isn’t the sort of) Bloke (you want on a low-intensity episodes)…

Sergeant: 7/10

Woke (me up when I was in danger of dropping off)…

Lees: 6/10

Oak (and penises)

The Crowd: 5/10

(Nearly) Choke(d when they heard about Ed’s oaky penis)

Well, I can’t say that I was overly enthused by it all last night but at least I got to bust out the panda again… That’s got to count for something, right? Anyway, I’m off but before I go here are two very shameless plugs:

  1. What happens when you cut Morrissey’s brain in half.
  2. A rather nsfw t-shirt I designed that’s just gone on sale. I feel like I should be saying “I’m not proud of this” but in actual fact I’m really rather proud of it.

Next week Lemmings, next week…


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 109 other followers

February 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728  

RSS Feed


%d bloggers like this: