Posts Tagged 'Nicky Morgan'

Questionable Time #138


qt 138

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to another beauteous edition of Questionable Time! It’s sure to be exactly as exciting as the Labour leadership race, which is to say not at all. Most likely, anyway. Let’s get ready to bumble!

Owen Jones leaves One Direction – 100k retweets

Our panellists tonight include Not Michael Gove, a kawaii manga woman, a child on his first day of school, Edina from Ab Fab, and a ginger egg. Hilary Devey, in particular, is described as a ‘former Dragon’, which brings to mind images of her burninating the countryside, burninating the peasants, and burninating their thatched roof cottages. I mean, sure, whatever you like to do in your free time is cool, I guess. Meanwhile, Owen Jones has a natty new haircut and is looking sharp ‘n’ serious. They may call him Babyface, but get on his bad side and he’ll kneecap you at twenty paces.

Our first question: “is it realistic to reduce net migration by under 100,000?” – it remains to be seen if this is just a random figure plucked from the air, or an actual target, written on an Excel spreadsheet, which gives all things gravitas. Nicky Morgan, Gove’s underwhelming replacement who looks constantly startled to still even be in her job, thinks it’s a great plan, and very fair and fairful in a fair fairness-y way.

Tim Farron – upon hearing his name, one can only think of that Malcolm Tucker rant about what kind of men are actually named Tim in this day and age – gets a big ol’ clap for saying immigration is more of a blessing than a curse. A rare event on Question Time! The Lib Dems, cut down in their prime like a cheeky hedgerow, are more than a little peeved that Davey C is updating his ‘mess we inherited’ line to target his former coalition partners. Vince Cable, the former Business Secretary, is notably in the line of fire for blocking tougher immigration rhetoric. It’s incredibly obvious that Ginger Egg is gunning for the lefty vote in his leadership contest: the leadership of his eight MPs, including himself. Meanwhile, the SNP roar in agony that none of their bazillion MPs got picked to go on t’ telly. If they find the one that looks most like an egg, it might raise their chances!

Nicky disagrees that there was any sneaky demonisation going on, carefully ignoring the long shadow of those ‘go home’ vans that drove around a couple of years ago, looking ugly and not even featuring a novelty car horn. She goes on to say we need more control, reform, and most importantly: exit checks.

At this point, Owen appears, here to make the most retweetable comments of the night. This fear campaign is not bringing down numbers, says he. It wasn’t hard-working migrant nurses who caused the crash. It was the bankers. The bloody bankers. Put that on a t-shirt: the bloody bankers, innit? I’d buy it.

Hilary, ex-dragon, with a voice like an old motor to match, doesn’t see the problem if immigrants help the economy, it’s just that the infrastructure isn’t there to accommodate them. Stella Creasy bursts in, and my head promptly explodes from how earnest she is. Her pleading tones, sparkly eyes and appeals to common decency have been well-documented here at Questionable Time – she’s like a My Little Pony character with a degree (and a love of indie music). The Prime Minister, she says, is a silly-billy because he pledged to make “illegal working a criminal offence”. Everybody laffs/larfs/laurghefs. Nicky looks horrified and hits back. Didn’t you know, Stella? We’ve got this one. We’ve got Sajid Javid on the job.

A very loud man in the crowd begins to hector the panel about the EU. Tim is grossly offended and says that going on and on about keeping out the EU-ers makes Britain look like a “nasty” place. And, by extension, that means you, audience man. You’re a nasty ass. That can be Tim’s campaign slogan, by the way.

Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living

Is a 7-day NHS really viable? Hilary wants to know where the money is coming from. As she croaks out her concerns, Nicky merely looks at this strange person, with her sparkly epaulettes, in utter confusion and shock. She says that it can’t be right that if you go to the doctor’s on Sunday you’ll drop dead in the waiting room. Saw it happen just last Tuesday. Tragic.

Stella agrees with the need for more MONAY but criticises the Tories for breaking everything up and selling it off so people are left running helplessly around trying to find a doctor like in a Scooby Doo chase scene. Owen Jones then goes on about the top-down reorganisation of the NHS, and the crowd loves this – goodness, this is quite a left-wing audience, isn’t it? Last week was Uxbridge, though, so it balances out.

Nicky is, frankly, hurt that you’re all doubting this cool pledge. This is just anti-Tory bias. Toryism. And she, for one, won’t stand for it.

Eggman, on the other hand, says that there is one way to solve this problem: a TARDIS. The Lib Dems have now gone so far over the edge that time travel has become one of their new policy pledges. Why not? It’s not like they have anything else left to lose.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Knowing me knowing EU

Next up: is the British economy strong enough to pull out of Europe?

Owen says that while he supports staying in the EU, Labour should have supported a referendum. Stella shrugs and argues her magnificent point: that we’ve got one now, so whatever lol. Hilary wants more education about the issue, and Nicky bites back by saying that we shouldn’t be frightened of what people think (especially when they’ve just thought they’d like to elect the Tories again).

Owen concludes by appealing to give UKIP voters hope. Perhaps he’s making his pitch for the Labour leadership? Which brings us on to our next topic (going through ’em quick today!): are trade unions the kiss of death for a leadership candidate?

Jonesy cracks his knuckles, ready for another Twitterstorm. He goes on about Keir Hardie, probably because he named his cat after him. The trade unions have done more with their little toe than most of the underwhelming SPADS that fill politics today, he says. Why is it that they are the ones demonised, when rich nasty dudes fund the rich nasty Tory Party? Take that, society!

Nicky says that she liked Jim Murphy (chief disser of Len McCluskey) very much, probably because he lost all those Labour seats in Scotland. Tim is in favour of collective bargaining but not the union link: good job he’s in the Lib Dems, then, and not the Labour Party! Stella praises the unions, tears practically glistening in her eyes, and Owen gets in a tiff with Hilary, who is shrugging at MAXIMUM SPEED and questioning why we even need trade unions in this day and age. We have Candy Crush Saga instead, which is, like, almost the same thing.

For some horrible reason, we still have a few minutes remaining. Therefore, we come to the most important question of the week, or perhaps even our entire age: IS THE GAY CAKE PROBLEMATIC?!

Everybody agrees that it was. Does that mean we could get an infinite money cheat out of it, says Dimbles, by forcing anti-gay cake bakers to repeatedly pay fines for eternity? The answer, Nicky says, is yes. w00t!

Stella, however, remains too earnest for he own good. What if someone did it to you?, she says, looking at Dimbleby with hope in her heart. In response, Dimbleby looks…shocked. More shocked than he’s ever been in his life – and chairing this programme, he’s seen some seriously shocking shit.

Stella valiantly continues. She keeps referencing his sexuality, which is something nobody needs to consider. NO HOMO, screams Dimbledore’s facial expression. Stella shoots a glare at people laughing. This is a serious issue! Just what exactly is so funny? Funny how? Funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to amuse you?! Huh?!

With that bombshell, I think it’s time to wrap up.

Time for the scores!

Morgan: 6/10

(Sitting stiffly in her) Seat

Creasy: 8/10

(Tooth-rottingly) Sweet

Farron: 7/10

(The Lib Dem to) Beat

Jones: 8/10

(Re)Tweet(ed)

Devey: 7/10

(Probably frightening to) Meet

The Crowd: 7/10

(In for a) Treat

Next time: maybe an SNP panellist? Incredible!

Next week Lemmings, next week…

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Questionable Time #130


qt 130

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to a sad, sad edition of Questionable Time, direct from bright and sunny Bolton. By which I mean the Questionable Time that time forgot. You may not have noticed, but there’s actually been things called ‘debates’ going on, although the first one wasn’t really a debate, and – but I digress.

I must confess I actually forgot about Question Time’s existence for a while, hence why I’m late today, so caught up was I in Ed Miliband half-threatening to punch Jeremy Paxman in the face and claiming that, yes, he’s tuff enuff. I didn’t know it was possible to cringe and cheer at the same time, you’d think those would be opposite sides of the emotional spectrum, but Ed has shown me the way and now I feel a far broader range of human emotion than I ever did before.

Anyhow, this ought to be a short, perfunctory round-up, as will the dead-duck QTs for the next few weeks: but soon, friends. Soon. Something is coming. Something…relevant.

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important debate

Sure enough, even our first question is about – what a surprise! – the debates. This time – indeed, for the hundredth time – debating whether the debates should be debated. I mean, are worth it. Well, considering that 2.5 million people tuned in to the first double interview…don’t worry, Dimbles. Your time will come. In about a month, I’d say.

Anyway, everyone in the studio has apparently been watching the showdown and most likely eating pizza and yelling, as I did. Seems like because expectations for Miliband were so low, people were just impressed that he didn’t vomit on stage. Every little victory counts.

In any case, a somehow even less popular Labour leader shows up to annoy us all: Jim Murphy. The first real grilling comes quickly – are you going to spend all the mansion tax in Scotland? People are chuckling at whatever the hell he says, which may annoy that one lady who wants people to take the whole debates affair seriously, but I think everyone’s been at the bar at least once by now.

Janet Street-Porter warns about ‘attractive’ Clegg and the Cleggmania effect happening again. Don’t get burned again, people! Not like last time! She also complains about political cliches, which is in itself a cliche. Clicheception! Then a young man in the audience interrupts to show us all his many feelings on Ed Miliband getting bullied. ;______; The dude thinks that Ed should just act ‘the way he is’, although the problem is that many people want him to do the exact opposite. Still, at least he’s got some support!

He’s right to be bullied, warns Nicky Morgan, the Gove replacement that was presumably built in a lab somewhere. Labour’s dirty money is going to come from “people’s pockets”, warns she. Um, Nicky, isn’t there where all tax comes from? Meanwhile Leanne Wood goes straight in about Cameron fumbling on foodbanks, but also states that despite his protestations Ed still isn’t tuff enuff.

Steven Woolfe, the UKIP finance spokesperson, has such a monotonous voice that he’s threatening to even eclipse the rest of the panel (save Janet and Leanne) in the robot stakes, but he soldiers on to claim that it is the humble UKIP that will defeat the dreaded zero-hours contracts. Of course. They put it so highly on their list of top priorities. When people think UKIP, they think zero-hours contracts. They’re almost a single-issue party!

Jim Murphy also soldiers on, trying to give a name to every single member of the audience. Jim, please, it was awkward when Ed did it and it’s even worse with you. At least he’s not up in Scotland, where the more frightening crowd would no doubt have given him some choice examples. He goes for the predictable, but always hilarious, line of attack that Cameron was simply too chicken to face Miliband. Chick-chick-chicken. Bawk bawk bawk.

Nicky is outraged, her voice squeaking. How dare you call delicious Dave a chicken! Roasted in a thick wine sauce! Mmmm…Tory sauce. (I apologise for any brains broken during this QT edition.)

Kiss kiss fall in love

Next question, and we’re actually getting serious now, on where ~*~the money~*~ is coming from. Both the Tories and Labour have ruled out VAT and National Insurance increases. Will it come from further cuts in welfare? There’s only one way to find out…

“No,” says Jim Murphy.

…Oh.

JSP is here to generally rile people up, as usual. She thinks politicians saying that they’re going to cut benefits would be popular, thanks to the mean old media drumming it into people’s heads all the time. As a Media Studies student, I nod sagely, safe in the knowledge that my analysis of cultural hegemony is useful and accessible.

Leanne Wood is here too, of course. According to Dimbleby, she’s representing the SNP as well as Plaid Cymru, and that “you and Alex Salmond are like that” (with appropriate hand gestures). Leanne smiles broadly. Honestly, I ship it. (Look it up if you’re not sad, but want to swiftly become sad.)

We want austerity to burn, says Leanne, and if Plaid Cymru were running the campaign then everything would be better somehow. Well, what about this happiness index!! says JSP, getting hectic. While that’s all going on the UKIP dude continues to be disappointingly uneventful. It almost makes you miss Nigel Farage. At least you’ve always got…something…to say about him.

On the subject of coalitions/pacts, which inevitably comes up for no reason, Jim tries to emulate his boss by coming out fighting. Alex Salmond likes the sound of his own voice and is a poopyhead, says Jim, who probably is sick of the sight of the Saltire by now. Is that the Alex Salmond you recognise?, says Dimbleby slyly to Leanne. David, please, you make it sound like they’re married! Although…

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

JSP goes after Leanne again. Does she just not like her or what? It bothers people, these deals, she begins, before Nicky Morgan leaps in with some much-appreciated input of her own. Mainly about how she respects David ‘breaking the’ Laws and how coalition was hunky dory. When asked if she’d like another coalition, though, she frantically backtracks to great comic effect. She’d like a majority, duh, you guys! Whew, just avoided ‘doing a Pym’ there, Nicky.

If you say ‘Peter Mandelson’ three times facing a mirror at night, you wake up the rest of the house

Last(ish) question. Why is Ol’ Nigey Boy castigated for saying English jobs for English workers, when Greg Dyke said something similar about football at some point? Good one, Greg! You increasingly irrelevant man.

Leanne stops momentum to gush about trade unions for a bit. UKIP Steve takes to the stand instead. UKIP has nothing against immigrants, says Steve. When Gordon Brown said something similar back in the Noughties everyone loved him. Uh, no they didn’t, Steve. I’m fairly sure Gordon was hated 100% of the time. But apparently Nigel is being discriminated against. Steve talks constantly for about five minutes and to his credit sounds reasonably reasonable but I got distracted thinking about what would happen if Ed Miliband and David Cameron got in a punch-up.

Nicky reminds us of the existence of Peter Mandelson and we all cry. Screw Peter Mandelson, I’m proud people are coming here, replies Jim, or words to that effect. Everybody get in here! Get in the paddling pool! There’s room for everyone! Woo, getting a little crowded in there…says Steven while pointing and yelling in a low drone. (Don’t mention the British ex-pats!)

Someone from the crowd lowers the tone yet again. There’s too much positive discrimination, appaz. Whatever happened to getting a job on merit…says the white man. Thank you for your contribution. I shall now proceed to get trolled by angry white men on the Internet.

Finally: Jezza Clarkson. Should he have gone? Could he have got away with it if he’d only slapped, not punched?

To summarise, since I seem to be doing that a lot with the final ‘jokey’ question: Leanne brings up trade unions again, JSP throws a hissy fit again (this time about snobby BBC execs), Jim throws in a Hislop-esque ‘allegedly’ in there not again, and lastly, some guy in the audience asks for everyone to stop talking about this godforsaken topic.

Time for the scores!

Morgan: 5/10

(Run off the) Rails

Murphy: 6/10

(Trying not to think about Scottish Labour being a bunch of) #Fails (, lolololol)

Wood: 7/10

(Did it for) Wales

Woolfe: 5/10

(Why isn’t Nigel here to) Bail[s] (him out)

Street-Porter: 5/10

(What) Ails (you, Janet?)

The Crowd: 8/10

(Wants the) Details

Next time: who even knows?

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #123


qt 123

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to Finchlayyyy, Maggie T’s old seat! Since I imagine you’re all eager to squabble over this edition in a manner that would make Officer Dimble piteously appeal for calm, let’s – to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail – GET ON WITH IT.

Get thee to Monaco

Tristram ‘bread loaf face’ Hunt hasn’t had a very good week, and it’s about to get worse. It seems that he simply cannot keep his mouth shut and prevent his foot from getting jammed up in there. The first question is clearly not loaded at all: is Labour ‘Billy No-Mates’ when it comes to business-type chums? Christina Odone, representing the thinky-tank wing of a private investment firm, is first out the gate ‘n’ ready to hate. She licks the milky teat of business, praising this vague concept (business! As in, all business ever! No distinction between the types or individual examples of business, just…business, innit?) out the wazoo. Jonathan Freedland, from the Grauniad, who looks like every geography teacher to ever live rolled into one human being, thinks Labour has…some mates. A few. For some unknowable reason. Like the weird kid in your class at school who eats glue.

Then Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary who surprisingly isn’t Michael Gove (although denies that he’s still sitting in her office with his feet up watching Game of Thrones) trots out the party line in a predictable and boring fashion. “There’s a clear choice -” is her very first sentence, and I automatically fall asleep. Her eyes are big and staring, like a squid. She and Christina also seem to perform an effective double act, acting as twins to jab Tristram in the face some more.

Anyway, let’s see what he has to say for himself. Breadhead rambles on about productivity, and George Galloway’s face visibly twitches. “I have a rather old-fashioned view about this! Call me old-fashioned but that’s my view!!” Tristram says, and I just know – with joy in my heart – that he’s about to go into a historical lecture, and sure enough he brings up the (of course!) American Revolution. Nicky Morgan looks confused and repulsed, but Tristram’s inherent nerdiness is my favourite thing about him. He may be useless when it comes to everything else, but he’d probably be a good history teacher so long as his students didn’t gang up and pelt him with paper aeroplanes because I feel like he would be very easily overwhelmed in that situation.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Then everyone gets into a kerfuffle about why the heating is off. This is extreme drama. It’s broken, assures Dimbles, but George ‘Top Cat’ Galloway, who has been wearing some fetching hipster glasses up until now, assures us that it is all a conspurracy.

Turn to page 394

Next question: aren’t zero-hours contracts terrible? I imagined, at first, that this would be a dull question with everybody agreeing with each other. However then I bear witness to the merry sight of Tristram getting annihilated by a man in the audience who is literally laughing himself to death over prissy Trissy’s hypocrissy. I’m sure many adulatory Tory Twitter graphics have been made about him by now. Go look it up, I’m too lazy to.

Then it happens again. And again. And again. Tristram looks constipated. Blimey, Finchley is pretty anti-Labour. Who would have thunk it! (Meanwhile, is it just me or have Tristram’s vocal inflections, when he speaks slower, begun to sometimes sound like William Hague?)

This is all due to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown being bum-kissers, concludes George…cattily.

Next up, is David Cameron right to say skewls are mediocre? ‘lmao ya lol’ says Nicky, like it’s her job or something. Schools can apparently be mediocre and amazingly improved at the same time! Wow! It’s all thanks to Michael Gove. Tristram, whose job is to dispute this, assure us that Nicky is wrong…because…uh. Dimbles asks him what his plan is. Tristram says to give it two weeks, with a nod, wink and a nose tap. The audience aren’t pleased with this and begin to heckle like they’ve never heckled before (it’s only going to get worse from here, folks!). Confused and frightened and chewing his lip into fleshy ribbons, the Yeast Beast starts lashing out at anyone and everything, even going so far as to tut about Christina’s nun-too-shabby education. You know, by nuns. This has caused mass Twitter outrage which is a phrase I use in these reviews depressingly often.

(Also, Nicky Morgan, I know he’s embarrassing but please stop tutting and moaning. It’s annoying. More annoying than squarebonce himself.)

And we will build Jerusalem

Finally, a question that will no doubt be answered with the respect and sensitivity it deserves. Why is antisemitism rising in the UK, and does a ~*~CERTAIN MEMBER~*~ of the panel bear some responsibility? Audible ‘ooooh’s abound.

A tense argument erupts tensely. Jonathan Freedland says that…occasionally…just sometimes…GG can be a teensy bit inflammatory. Galloway inflammatorily responds and compares himself to Daniel among the lions. Is that really the best comparison to make? Then things descend into chaos. People are screaming and possibly wetting themselves. Dimbleby has to scold them to quieten down. This isn’t helped by Galloway claiming that he’s being oppressed and recoiling in horror from Christina Odone attempting to tussle with him. “Take your hands off me!” he snaps, like an offended medieval maiden confronted by a leper. Are you feline okay, George?

At least Tristram somewhat redeems himself with a good answer to the last question, sensibly pointing out that it’s perhaps not the best idea to blame innocent people living thousands of miles away for the actions of an ultra right-wing government. Galloway has certainly not redeemed himself (if this is how he defends himself from accusations of being an antisemite, then I don’t know how he’d react to people pointing out his creepy comments on rape), but regardless I don’t like the sour note this programme has ended on, e.g. with that one guy implying that Muslims are routinely going around whacking Jewish people with baseball bats – white Neo-Nazi groups are also growing at worrying rates. Pitting Jewish and Muslim people against each other for televisual sport just doesn’t sit well with me.

I need a stiff drink. Time for the scores.

Morgan: 5/10

(Trod) Water

Hunt: 3/10

Slaughtered

Galloway: 3/10

(Ooh, says the crowd, what a) Rotter (Rawter? idk)

Odone: 5/10

(Would rather be on a) Yacht(…er)

Freedland: 7/10

Sorta (okay I guess)

The Crowd: 8/10

Shorter (tempers then most crowds)

Next time…something. More importantly, don’t forget to check out Noobminster, Ye Olde Webmastre’s new, cool, newcool webzone! Or I’ll ‘ave yer.

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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