Posts Tagged 'Romford'

Questionable Time #116


qt 116
Good morrow lemmings and welcome to sunny Romford-in-London! We’ve got a veritable cavalcade of weirdos on the panel today. Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it, strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.

“You gotta work bitch” – acclaimed scholar Britney Spears

Oh boy, oh boy, I wonder what new and interesting topics Question Time will cover this week? Plebgate? Ferguson protests? More Twitter storms that aren’t Thornberry-centric? No! It’s 25 uninterrupted minutes on immigration, because nobody’s talking about it and it’s a conversation we need to have, apparently! Nigel Farage’s ghostlike grimace floats over the panel, his laughter cascading off the walls and echoing into their very eardrums.

Chuka, you’re up. I am constantly baffled by this man. Once hailed as the great hope of the Red Team, everyone seems to have backed away from him slightly due to the fact that they’re a bit weirded out by the extent of his smooth, succulent silkiness. Chuka may well be the smoothest man who has ever lived. With his crisp dark grey suit, neatly preserved dark grey spotted tie, and World AIDS Day ribbon perfectly clasped on his lapel, he’s immaculately groomed and never puts a foot wrong, or indeed a word wrong – thus raising questions if he was actually bred in a lab somewhere, or created in Peter Mandelson’s sinister Machine for easy programming.

Anyway, Umunna Droid Version 2.0 talks nicey-nicely about higher education and doesn’t cause too much of a fuss. Tolerance! Respect! Fair play! Handsome Chuka will save us all, especially from rival leadership candidates Anime Andy and Pixie Yvette. Meanwhile, Michael Gove prissily clasps his hands together and peers over his glasses – perhaps seeking to unnerve Chuka, but you can’t unnerve a man who runs on pure undiluted smoothgroove.

Michael launches into his first attack. Immigrants come here because our economy is booming, which is good, but we need to control our borders anyway. Chuka raises a neatly crafted eyebrow. Suddenly he’s unceremoniously pushed offstage by Jo Brand, who asserts that certain areas of the press encourage scaremongering, looking pointedly at Amanda Platell, the Mail woman. Amanda isn’t taking that lying down, though – you gotta werk ‘ard, and don’t expect a meal ticket!! she declares, which only succeeds in making me feel hungry.

Our last panellist, Norman Baker, has a weird voice. He came to my university last week and got heckled by free education protestors. You’d think students would agree with him, though, considering he’s all pro-drug and pro-aliens and pro-David Duchovny. However, today, he’s disappointingly unweird. Boooo.

Well, things haven’t been too bad so far. Nobody’s shouted or screamed or cried, so maybe there is hope for QT after all –

The war of Tristram’s ear

I spoke too soon. We’ve all been drafted into the Class War without noticing. Oh, the humanity!

While a Daily Mail journalist criticising the ‘metropolitan elite’ is a bit of a larf, what was even more shocking in this episode was the behaviour of Michael Gove. Actually giving old loaf face the benefit of the doubt? Agreeing with some aspects of Labour policy? Quietly and unobnoxiously setting out his beliefs? Reader, I was shocked. Gove must know that he has the public image of a pile of dog vomit, so maybe he’s appeared on QT in order to tackle it. Bless our new Saint Gove, for he will lead is into a free school future of fun and frolics.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Hilariously, Jo Brand’s not havin’ any of that. Screw lovingly serenading public/private/whatever you wanna call them schools, THREATEN THEM UNTIL THEY CRY. Smooth Chuka tries to calm things down by hoping that one day state schools can be good enough that private schools are redundant =^w^= (that’s my attempt at a cute cat face). He doesn’t ask how, but maybe Jo Brand can be sent into battle to win this war.

Everything is awesome! Gove practically sings, echoing The Lego Movie. Dimbleby asks why he lost the support of teachers, then. Gove shrugs.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯, he says.

White vann diagram

There’s a big kerfuffle (although not too big, nobody here is swivel-eyed enough to start shrieking) about benefits and are they HIGHER or LOWER, ladies and gents? Everyone agrees that Something Must Be Done, or Has Been Done, but Does it Go Far Enough or should we Keep a Safety Net or just Drive This Bastard Off a Cliff. Then the next couple of questions are very quick, so I’ll just cover them in brief:

Facebook! Jo Brand and Amanda Platell have a passive-aggression-off! Should the website give a shit? Norman says this may be problematic! Gove and Umunna cry, no, YOU’RE problematic! Facebook continues to not give a shit.

White van man! QT almost completely missed this shitstorm from last week. Jo recounts a beautiful tale of pulling some sexist white ven men’s windscreen wipers off and has a go at Dimbleby. Jo’s practically aiming to become prime minister! Mr Smoothie looks uncomfortable and metropolitan. Daily Mail woman says something about UKIP representing the workers – and Ocado, which makes me even hungrier. Overall, I think people just need to understand that some white ven men are perfectly nice people, and some are complete dickheads. No need to lump ’em all together like lumpy custard.

Finally, Norman says we need less career politicians, and presumably more conspiracy theorists. With that, let’s stop this nonsense.

Time for the scores!

Gove: 7/10

(Tried to) Restore (his reputation)

Umunna: 6/10

Wore (nice clothes)

Baker: 4/10

(A surprising) Bore

Platell: 5/10

(Warns against class) War

Brand: 7/10

(Unleashed a great) Roar

The Crowd: 6/10

(Found it a) Chore

Next week has obligatory Shirley Williams. Uh…yay?

Also, a plug 4 u: Ye Olde Webmaster, the former Glorious Leader of this blog, has a new t-shirt out! It’s cool and fresh and funky and I urge you to buy it, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #26


questionable time 26 david dimbleby wonderbra

Good morning Lemmings and welcome to a somewhat more straight-forward instalment of Questionable Time than last week’s rather narcissistic little jaunt. Yes that’s right, I’m back in the cheap seats and in some ways I’m glad: Thrilling as last week was I’m just not sure that I was built to sustain the levels of excitement/terror that come with being a part of the audience. Anyway, here we are and there’s a lot to get through so let’s crack on. Here’s what we learned:

The news is back and this time it means business.

One of my biggest beefs with being in the audience of Question Time last week was that it occurred on a week when pretty much nothing of any import happened and the news appeared to have beached itself on the Sandbank of Uneventfuness. Sure, there was the whole Abu Qatada vs. the Gregorian Calendar affair and the preliminary stages of the Omnishambles, but lets face it, a couple of soggy sky rockets does not a fireworks display make. This week however stands apart from its immediate ancestor in that wherever you turn something spectacular is happening and from whatever angle you view it one can only conclude that all of these spectacular things are spectacularly bad for the coalition government, particularly the Tories. Here’s the jist of it:

      1. The economy has basically given up and called it a day.
      2. The Murdoch clan have put on their own production of Gotterdammerung and invited the entire world to attend.
      3. Having a name that lends itself to accidental profanities is now the least of the Culture Secretary’s worries.
      4. Nadine Dories.

Clearly this wasn’t going to be a week laden with promise for the Blue Team but as is the way of the world, someone was going to have to cop for it. And just who would that lucky soul be? Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your hands together for Minister of State at the Department of Work and Pensions, the Rt Honourable Chris Grayling MP! Whoop-whoop!

Now I actually think that Grayling did quite well last night and the reason he did quite well was that he was totally unremarkable: No heroics, no soaring oratory, no impassioned call to arms, just plain old ‘unremarkable’ and in my book that’s quite alright. Why? Well because despite outward appearances the very last thing you need in a situation like this is a hero. Heroes are great when you need that last bit of umph to really carry the fight to your enemies or to stage a decisive counter attack but they are not cut out for situations where there is simply no prospect of a win’ No, what you need at times like that is someone who can simply endure, hack off a pound of their own flesh and present it to the assembled mob with silent ambivalence. Granted, there’s not much glory to be had in being a human punch bag and Grayling did end up resembling a washing-up sponge that’s seen better days but at least he left things in a state that wasn’t that much worse than they were an hour before. In the grand scheme of things I’d be happy with that outcome.

The other person who had the most to lose last night was Simon Hughes and I must say that I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of him being on. It’s not that I don’t like the man (in fact I’d go so far as to say that I have somewhat of a soft spot for him) it’s just that there’s only so much lip-biting, hand-wringing and self-flagellation I can witness before I start feeling sad. And that’s what Hughes has been like over the last couple of years, a tortured soul who rationally knows that he’s committing mad acts in response to a mad world but somehow can’t convince his soul that this is the case. Happily though, he seemed much more at peace last night and actually appeared to be a proper human being as opposed to a totemic whipping boy for the Lib Dems’ collective self-loathing. The way in which this manifested was that he was much better at picking his fights and managed to suppress the urge to dive on grenades that were clearly intended for the Tories, something which has been a problem in the past. Instead he stuck to the things he knew and cared about – like housing – whilst also making quiet overtures to the Red Team (“It wasn’t all Labours fault”), all of which was a refreshing change to being the principal apologiser for his party’s self-harming tendencies. I guess the big question is ‘does this mean that he thinks that coalition is toast?’, the answer to which only he knows but it’s certainly nice to seem him looking a little less spiritually broken.

The people with the most to gain didn’t gain that much.

By rights this should have been an episode in which both Diane Abbott and Polly Toynbee cleared up – what with all the fruit hanging so low – but somehow it didn’t quite turn out like that. I guess the main reason for this is that Romford voted very strongly for the Tories in 2010 (they had a clear 26.5% lead over Labour) so there’s clearly some loyalty there but it’s also down to the fact that while the Left’s critique of the current government is pretty robust, its alternative solution just doesn’t hang together as well as it should. Apart from that it was business as usual for these guys, what with Toynbee talking ever-so-seriously about ever-so-serious things and Abbott doing that ‘Dear Sir, imagine my concern’ face that she is wont to do. Both got some solid applause but neither really managed to find that killer angle of attack without exposing their own flanks. Had this been up t’North or a few miles to the west then things could have turned out very differently but as it stands they emerged much like their counterparts: In no better nor worse a situation than they started.

So no revelations there, but hang on, aren’t we missing something here? Damn straight we are! Nigel, Nigel, where for art thou Nigel?

Nigel Farage is still my favourite prat.

Yes! After what seems like an eternity (it’s actually only been five months) he’s back and if the papers are to be believed, he should have been soaring like an eagle last night. And soar he did as he socked it to the government for being a bunch of “college kids” and eulogised sole-traders as “heroes of the nation”. The crowd roared their approval as he seemed to levitate out of the studio. Fly Nigel, fly! Go on son, slip these earthly shackles! And upwards he went, propelling himself by cackling at the IMF loan, high into the night sky from where he rained down thunderbolts on Jeremy Hunt. But wait! What’s this? He seems to be stalling! What’s that he just said? ‘Immigration’? No Nigel, no! His rate of climb slows and then suddenly reverses. Oh god, he’s saying he’s spoken to “several people” and what they’ve told him is that it’s just too ruddy easy for Jonny Ruddy Foreigner to get a ruddy council house in this sceptred isle. Missiles are unleashed from the crowd and one from a housing worker who appears to know what he’s talking about scores a direct hit. BOOM! He’s falling now, falling fast! The crowd look on aghast as certain death looms and then CRACK! His fall is broken by a freak question about teen sex! Battered and bruised, he picks himself and limps off to lick his wounds. Nigel, you flew too high. You tried to touch the sun only to be dashed to earth like the mortal you are. Bad luck. You’re still my favourite prat though. Here’s a little something I made for you (see Fig. 1).

nigel farage hope poster absurdity

Fig. 1

Vince Cable still has a fan.

And not just any old fan but a super-fan by the looks of it. So well done Mr. Yellow T-Shirt And Suit Jacket, well done for being supremely unfashionable in every sense of the word! A cheer for Mr Yellow T-Shirt and Suit Jacket!

Tl;dr

Grayling: 5/10

Soaked (it up)

Abbott: 5/10

Poked (at Grayling)

Hughes: 6/10

(Seems pretty) Stoked

Toynbee: 6/10

Provoked (a few claps)

Farage: 6/10

Joked (about this and that)

The Crowd: 7/10

(Should have been) Revoked (since I wasn’t in it).

So there we go: A pretty solid episode where everyone except Farage ended up pretty much where they had started. Now, if you’ll excuse me I must get back to my busy schedule of not being recognised on the street and my phone not ringing off the hook. Ah, the perils of QT fame…

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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