Posts Tagged 'Patrick Harvie'

Questionable Time #80


questionable time 80 david dimbleby mogwai cody

Apologies to Mogwai…

Good morning Lemmings and after last week’s no-shows we’re now at the opposite end of the spectrum as six egos are herded into the studio to fight amongst themselves. Considering that’s double the amount of panelists that we had on the show last week we should be in for double the fun, right? I wouldn’t bank on it.

That Eddi Reader looks like the mellow sort…

…At least that’s what I though when the camera panned back and revealed the panel. Sandwiched between the line of uninspiring suits and furrowed brows was this picture of free-floating whimsy, seemingly unaware that no, you’re not at Womad and no, there won’t be a workshop on how to batik Celtic knotwork onto hemp based fabrics later on. Anyway, this struck me as rather good news as I like it when they have a wavy-gravy type on and was looking forward to hearing what Scottish independence would do for the nation’s chakras. Then she had a pop at the first question.

Initially things were going well: There was a reassuringly vague statement about how she’s got nothing against the English and some platitude along the lines of ‘can’t we all just get along?’, all of which seemed very much in line with my initial take on Eddi Reader (bearing in mind that this initial take was based solely on watched Perfect by Fairground Attraction on You Tube and approximately 30 seconds of air-time). But then the menace started creeping in.

It was muted at first and her answer seemed innocuous enough but there was one line that sent a shiver down my spine: “I’ve been looking into this”. Now, looking into things is no crime but the way she said it – you know, with that splash of green ink and the crinkling of tin foil – reminded me of the way people say “I’ve been looking into this” after watching Loose Change or spending an afternoon on David Ike’s website. There was just something terribly J’accuse! about it.

As it happens J’accusing! turned out to be the name of Reader’s game as within five minutes she was J’accusing! an audience member of having faulty information (“Who ‘s frightening you?!”) before embarking on a rolling J’accuse! with Margaret Curran that would last for the entirety of the show. Some of these J’accuses! were justified and relevent but quite a lot of them just sounded – well, just a little bitter and with more than hint of the conspiratorial about them. Let’s just say I’m glad there wasn’t a question about the anniversary of JFK’s death.

Sturgo did good…

My usual charge sheet against Nicola Sturgeon usually revolves around her tendency to cross the Plucky-Chippy line but I’m pleased to say that there was none of that last night. No, in fact it was a very well-rounded little affair that saw her looking calm, in control and without any of the irritability that sometimes seeps in and snags her. However, I did notice whilst hunting for this week’s pshop material (and boy was that a thankless task) that her living room doesn’t appear to be sufficiently patriotic in décor for a high-ranking member of a nationalist party. As a result I got all a little Llewelyn-Bowen and gave the place a makeover for her (see Fig. 1). Don’t mention it Nics, don’t mention it…

nicola-sturgeon-house-gif

Fig. 1

Which is the scarier of these passages?

1. There is something evil behind this door.

2. If you opened this door with your hand and had a look inside with your eyes you might get some sort of feeling that if you carried on looking hard enough you might see some shapes or something that look pretty evil.

I’m bringing this up for Margaret Curran’s benefit as she played the role of the scary one for the No campaign whose job it was to highlight all the perils independence would bring. The problem was that she chose to go about this task in the manner of the second passage – you know, by using all the available words in the world and doing so veryveryquickly – and that really doesn’t put the frighteners on anyone. Granted, having Eddi Reader stalking about the place doesn’t exactly do much to settle one’s nerves but still, less is more Margaret, less is more.

Missed Opportunity of the Evening goes to…

noted Linux/Open Source enthusiast Patrick Harvie for not suggesting that Scotland should use Bitcoins as their currency. He might very well not see any merit in using Bitcoins for such a purpose but just to have watched Dimbers and Annabel Goldie try to get their heads around the intricacies of cryptographically generated future monies would have made it all worthwhile. Aside from that it was a good effort from Harvie, especially that last little flourish about Scotland being intrinsically centre-left. It was precisely the same point that Eddi Reader was trying to make but he managed to do it without sounding utterly terrifying.

I’ve really warmed to Annabel Goldie…

Being a Scottish Tory must be like being a Rasta in Pyongyang yet she somehow endures and does so in quite a good-natured way. Take for example the question about how independence would mean getting shot of the Blue Team and everyone cheered the sort of gleeful cheer that sets most panelists all a quiver. Not Goldie though, she just sat there and took it with a knowing look and nary a flinch. Now that’s the type of faith you only get when pursuing a truly lost cause.

I’m calling Carmichael out…

…Because according to his Twitter background picture (see Fig. 2) he’s heavily involved with bloody great axe-wielding Vikings and if there’s one thing I’ve been consistently saying QT would benefit from it’s the addition of Vikings with bloody great axes. As it happens Alistair Carmichael is less of a berserker and more of a fairly average chap who gave a fairly average performance and will be awarded fairly average points minus one for the sneaky Viking subterfuge. Hey, maybe Eddi Reader was right… Maybe politics is awash with “agendas” and “sneaky behaviour”. I should Look Into This…

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

Tl;dr

Sturgeon: 6/10

(Showed a fair amount of) Skill

Curran: 5/10

(Knows how to) Fill (a sentence up to bursting point)

Carmichael: (5-1) = 4/10

(Doesn’t look like he enjoys) Kill(ing as much as his Twitter background pic does)

Goldie: 5/10

(Does a good line in) Still (waters run deep)

Harvie: 6/10

Will (hopefully be on more often)

Reader: 4/10

(Isn’t as) Chill(ed as she looks)…

The Audience: 5/10

(Off their heads on) Pill(s)…

Well, at least they bothered to turn up is all I can say. Right, time for me to go and Look Into Things and by ‘things’ I mean the washing-up. Oh the glamour…

Next week Lemmings, next week…

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Loudribs Curmudgeonry Corner Post Question Time Match Report #39


question time david dimbleby trainspotting

Morning Lemmings and praise be, I have returned semi-refreshed from my Poland adventures and bearing valuable anthropological insights to boot. That’s right, even when I’m on holiday I’m still tireless working to advance our collective understanding, such is my self evident love of humanity. Anyhoo, the hallowed knowledge of which I speak relates to a weird phenomenon which I first encountered when I went to Poland five years ago: The Poles know that you’re English from a mile away and well before you’ve had a chance to embarrass yourself by attempting to speak Polish. On this visit I was determined to get to the bottom of this (if only to pooh-pooh a friend’s assertion that it was due to the fact that I look like a “homeless wizard”) and was duly presented with the opportunity when a local approached me and my better half and asked (in perfect English) if he could take one of our chairs. “Sure,” I said “but how come you knew we were English?”It is because you smile” he said. “Polish people do not smile.” I’ve since questioned a number of Poles as to the veracity of this claim and the overwhelming response has been “Yes. Polish people do not smile.” So there you go, now you know. Anyway, back to what you’re really here for and that’s Question Time, bought to you this week by the good people of Edinburgh (hence the Trainspotting theme). Before we start though, I best just warn you that I have real trouble following the Scottish episodes. It’s not that I’ve got anything against Scotland, it’s just that I simply don’t care about Scottish politics as it has zero bearing on my life. Sure, I’m over the moon that everyone (except the English) have their own parliaments and all but listening to the ins and outs of what’s hot and what’s not in Holyrood is on a par with pretending to be gripped by a long running and convoluted soap opera that you’ve never seen before. In short, it fuxes my persepshuns. Grizzling aside, it was a weird episode last night. By rights, the LibDems and Tories should have been all over the show given how, as well as the now usual ambient noise of the economy falling off the edge of a cliff/cutsogeddon, there was also the small matter of competence thrown into the mix, what with the whole SAS/evacuation/Venezuela business that’s been going on. However, I must say that both Michael Moore and Annabel Golding defied the odds and seemed to get out of the studio relatively unscathed. In the case of Moore, this was accomplished by being the most un-Lib Dem Lib Dem I have seen in a long while. I say this because I still live in a world where my idea of an average Yellow Corner candidate is a well-meaning, clog wearing peacenik who lives on nothing more than positive vibes and Janis Joplin LP’s (I realize that last May’s election rendered this assumption obsolete overnight but old habits die hard). Anyhoo, Michael Moore isn’t one of those Lib Dems. No, he’s much more of a heads down, ‘come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough’, Wagner listening, shit kicking muscular Lib and he spent the best part of last night taking the fight to both Douglas Alexander and Nicola Sturgeon. Ok, so he faltered slightly when the matter of the Barnsley by-election result question came up but it wasn’t a trouncing and he left the show with the bulk of his dignity intact. Granted, his uber-belligerence isn’t entirely my cup of tea, but given the backdrop, the boy did pretty good (not withstanding a -1 modifier for wonky deficit invocation).

Similarly with Golding, while it wasn’t a stellar performance she did manage to keep on an offensive footing thorough most of the show and pulled off a quite brilliant duck-and-weave when she managed to totally avoid the whole Barnsley ambush by whittering on about “candy floss” and other unrelated matters. Usually this sort of chicanery is easily spotted and dealt with, but for reasons unknown, she got clean away with it and thus avoided the now routine Tory dilemma of whether or not to gloat at bad news for the Libs. I’m inclined to mark her down a little for being the first to bring up al-Megrahi as it’s beginning to annoy me that all Scottish Question Time’s have essentially become ‘al-Megrahi Time’ for the last year or so but credit where credit’s due, she did accomplish the heroic feat of holding her own as a Scottish Tory. And that, dear Lemmings is not to be sniffed at. Moving on to the other side of the electoral divide we have Wee Danny Alexander who I had very high hopes for tonight. Not only does he have a long and distinguished track record for being ‘quietly effective’ (and they’re the ones to watch, especially the Scottish ones. Alistair Darling, anyone?) and has managed to ride out the Brown/Miliband transition without as much as breaking a sweat, he’s also had a very good week, what with his epic zinging of Hague in the Commons. However, I must say I was disappointed with his outing as he never quite seemed to get the bit between his teeth and appeared to be caught very off-balance by the fact that pretty much everyone was gunning for him in one way or another. The result was that he was the one who looked like he belonged to a government on the skids and the coalition candidates looked like the bringer of greater things which on a week where there were open goals positively littering the field of play, is pretty inexcusable. Sure, his style is much better deployed in situations where he’s got the space to develop his attacks from a quiet whisper and into a less than eye-catching but nevertheless relentless juggernaut, but he never really looked like he got hold of the initiative last night. So come on Wee Dougie, up your game next time or face the risk of ‘quietly effective’ being replaced in the public conscience with ‘quietly forgettable’. Next in line we have Nicola Sturgeon who continues to strike me as the slightly odd girl at school who would eshew her peers’ love of Just-17 and Mad Dog 20-20 for the far manlier callings of judo practice and orienteering. I also bet she wore walking boots to school. Don’t know why, but that’s what my gut’s telling me. Anyhoo, she didn’t have a bad night and did manage to pull off a very impressive bait-and-switch where she managed to sound a little contrite about al-Magrahi before totally dropping Labour in it, a nifty little ploy that she pretty much got away with. However, I do find that just underneath the surface there always seems to be this edge of panic with Sturgeon and I’ve seen it in Salmond as well. As I said earlier, I really haven’t the foggiest when it come to Scottish politics but every time I see the SNP on TV (which in practice means either Sturgeon or Salmond as there doesn’t appear to be anyone else from the party who’s allowed in front of a camera) I get this feeling that they’re only just holding it together and that privately, the sensation of being on a heavily listing ship scares the living crap out of them. I caught it out of the corner of my eye during the al-Magrahi bait-and-switch: Seemingly, Sturgeon was steaming ahead with the audience behind her but you could tell by the way her eyes darted about for threats and the slight cracking of her voice that she wasn’t entirely convinced of her chances of success. Still, not a bad outing for her and she would be well within her rights to go out and buy herself a nice yet utilitarian present (possibly made of GoreTex) as a little ‘well done’ present. Ok, we’re getting there. Wait a second, what’s this? Another political panelist? I think Scotland is now intentionally trying to wind me up. Having said that, the panelist in question, Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens turned out to be quite the performer and this despite the fact that the spectacles/waistcoat/baldy head combo make him look like he’s just wandered out of a Steampunk convention. The thing that impressed me about Harvie was the way in which he managed to stay on the right of the sincere/sanctimonious line that has long been the undoing of many a Green. He also managed to articulate what the audience seemed to be thinking on all the foreign policy questions (which is that we’re essentially hypocrites. And so we are) and he managed to remain above most of the political name calling that went on. Ok, so he does a far greater latitude than the other politicos but I was left thinking that he seemed a pretty decent and clever guy who knows exactly what he believes in. Maybe I won’t nuke Scotland when I am King. Right, that’s the inordinate amount of party political panelists done with so now for the ‘comedy’ one which this week takes the form of Nick Ferrari. Prior to the show, I was going through my routine google images search for pshop fodder when I stumbled across this highly disturbing shot of Ferrari and Vanessa Feltz engaging in what appears to be a kiss. Shocked and repelled by this glimpse of Hades I swiftly shut down my browser, showered for several hours and prayed that I may unsee the horror that had beset me. Initially, I thought I’d got away with it but that was until earlier this morning when I was startled to discover that if you look closely at Albrechts Durer’s The Horsemen of the Apocalypse you can clearly see the same diabolical scene re-enacted at the foot of picture. Don’t believe me? Then check this out (see Fig. 1).

nick ferrari vanessa feltz apocalypse

Fig. 1

Weird, huh? Anyway, back to the subject in hand and let’s face it, there isn’t that much to say about Ferrari other than he doesn’t exactly go in for subtlety. His MO’s pretty much as follows: Start every rant with “It’s utterly/absolutely scandalous/ridiculous/appalling”, proceed to look like you’re on the verge of some coronary infarction, disregard any nuance and deploy the final set piece which will hopefully involve a reference to the Nazi’s winning the war and all of us speaking German”. Seen through this narrow lens, he had a belting night and not only managed to invoke the Nazi/speaking German wheeze but also managed to finesse it with a mention of Dunkirk. However, when seen through any other, slightly less rabid lens it all just looks a bit wanky and one-dimensional. Still, I can take comfort in the fact that he probably doesn’t sleep, haunted as he is by the recurring visions of Feltz moving in for that final, torrid meeting of lips. Eww… I think I should stop going down this road before I do myself a mental mischief. So yes, bit of an odd show and one that didn’t exactly grip me as if the subject matter wasn’t something very Scottish it was all very foreign affairs and we’ve had quite a lot of that of late. The crowd themselves weren’t too bad but their affections seemed quite evenly split so it never got the point where someone on the panel achieved the critical mass needed to go on a really epic rampage and lets face it, that’s what we’re all really watching for. Actually, maybe I will nuke Scotland when I am King. Tl;dr Moore: Bruising 6/10 Golding: Cruising 6/10 Alexander: Snoozing 4/10 Sturgeon: Confusing 5/10 Harvie: Oozing 7/10 Ferrari: Losing 3/10 The Crowd: Boozing 5/10 And that’s that. I’m off to send my cats mental with the bottle of liquid catnip I bought yesterday whilst listening to Turbonegro at high volume. I know how to have a good time. Next week Lemming, next week…


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