Posts Tagged 'Sajid Javid'

Questionable Time #129


qt 129

Good morrow lemmings and I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful solar eclipse earlier today. I didn’t, because a cloud was in the way. A cloud over my heart named Question Time, featuring Dia Chakravarty. So let’s plunge straight in, while I cry, and cry, and cry, and cry, and cry, and cry.

Can’t budge it

Damn, this hall is ugly. At least Chuka ‘Ooh, mama’ Umunna is there to lift our spirits and possibly pose for a shirtless calender. I don’t know what Shirley Williams is wearing though, it looks like a five-year-old’s pretty pink princess dress.

The first question is – duh – on Ye Budgete. Do we or do we not feel better off? Sajid gets us off to a flying start by saying…yes. Yes we do. The slow-cooked economic ham is twerking. We need to stick to the ham. Or words to that effect. However, Chuka slowly explains, as slow as wading through molasses, that the government’s triumphant dancing over their employment figures doesn’t mean jack as zero-hours contracts are undermining the very meaning of twerk. I mean work. I’m going to get that wrong all day now.

A shrieky warble pierces through the air as the entire audience holds its breath in overwhelming fear. Or at least that’s what I did. Yes, Dia Chakrathingy from the Taxpayers’ Alliance is back, and so is her infamous giggly yelp. She, of course, has the answer to all our ills. The cost of living crisis, she meeps, is due to – you’ll never guess – high taxes! Give us more tax cuts, you lazy crap-for-craps! If only those big ol’ meanieheads in Westminster would listen and not get their ears clogged up with blood from listening to my voice for longer than five seconds!

The others look blankly on, contemplating the mysteries of the universe.

Dimbleby turns to Shirley and asks her about the embarrassing spectacle that was Danny Alexander holding aloft a bright yellow lunchbox the other day to prove that he too can play with the big boys and their Budgets. Shirley, perhaps sensing that this was an inherently hilarious occurrence, deftly changes the subject to subtly imply Dia is an idiot. When you’ve been in politics as long as she has, you can get away with that sort of stuff, among other things such as flouncing out of the Labour Party.

Will Self, he of the artful navel gaze, agrees with Chuka on this one. Regarding the cuts to come, you ain’t seen nothing yet, he concludes, especially those to public services. Rumblings from the crowd follow and one angry lady rants about how nobody mentions the poor anymore, instead choosing to focus on that most insufferable and inferred middle-classish of archetypes: the ‘hardworking family’. But you don’t understand, continues Sajid, if hardworking families are happy then the poor must also be happy! It makes perfect sense!

Chuka smoothly slides over this topic like an ice skater, going for Shirley instead with ruthless abandon but she strikes back. This is like a (improbably attractive) teenager fighting with an old lady (about the NHS). Speaking of the NHS, David Dimbleby’s got a bad cough, hasn’t he? Maybe he needs to go and sit in A&E for eight hours too.

Sajid leaps to Shirley’s defence by yelling that Labour suck and have a bad record so don’t bully Nice Mrs Williams! Dia interrupts and squawks about cutting stuff like child benefit. Or perhaps not? I get so confused by this woman, she talks so fast and oft-nonsensically that it’s difficult to keep up with what her train of thought actually is. In fact I think her train of thought has derailed and hit a tree.

So you DON’T want to abolish child benefit?, asks Chuka. Dia replies that no, silly-billy, she actually wants to means-test it! Duhhhh!
“But it’s already means-tested,” he mutters, baffled, as if talking to a child who has shit themselves and is unwarrantably proud about it. Also, his face while listening to Dia LaBeouf rabbit on is possibly one of the top ten funniest things in the world.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Then there’s some nonsense about Wikipedia entries. A man in the crowd makes a jibe about how much Sajid earns, and Will is chuckling to himself like an trim, academic Santa Claus. It’s okay though. All is not lost. After all…Sajid has a snappy comeback ready.

“Don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia,” he says, “Yours is longer than mine.”

Proving that one never really grows up, the entire crowd erupts in hoots. Sajid blushes like a ten year old girl.

“That didn’t come out right,” says he.
“Don’t make it worse,” says Dimbles, losing the will to live.

Look at this beautiful bunch of bastards

The next question succeeds in calming everyone down, due to being about a particularly unfunny event: the horrible attacks in Tunisia. Nothing like an unforgivable act of terror to make a Question Time panel suddenly feel sheepish about themselves for acting like six year olds.

Chuka claims that we should make sure people coming back from terroristin’ who may have done terrible actions should be subject to the rule of law. Will agrees again, but unavoidably goes off an a tangent about imperialism as is his wont. Shh now everybody, the white dude has to talk about Islamophobia! Meanwhile, Chuka is coming across well this episode, better than he did last time, sensible but finally getting a grip on his unnatural smoothness. Both he and Sajid are clearly angling for their respective party leaderships in the future, or at the least some higher-ranked positions.

At least Dia is always there to bring us back down to Earth as painfully as possible.

I THINK, JUST WHY, she screeches, giving her mature insight into the Middle Eastern conflict. LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL PANEL, she continues, out of nowhere. Sajid nudges Shirley while grinning, obviously pleased the good-looking youngish lady on the panel just called him a fittie.

(To be fair to Dia, she did at least have a good point about not giving terrorists celebrity status. As a proud and graceful Media Studies student, this analysis pleases me. Good job Dia. You get One Point.)

Hice are nice

Next up, controlling rent prices.

We need more houses! begins Dia, starting us off once again I know not why. Everyone nods sagely. Let’s build on the green belt! she continues. The nods stop faster than a crane game at a funfair.

“We don’t build on the green belt, that’s why it’s called the green belt,” says Dimbleby, as if to the same excited child that Chuka previously had to deal with.

Then a member of the audience reminds us what the question really was since everyone seems to have gone off topic again. Sajid thinks a rent cap would make things worse, quelle horreur. He and Chuka have a cat fight before Will Self finally throws down the gauntlet, in his distinctive sarky monotonous voice, by pointing out that it’s highly unlikely that rent controls will be introduced when so many MPs make money off being big greedy renty poopyheads.

Ooooh, goes the crowd. Way to lay down the law, Selfy Stick.

Last question, to massive and predictable applause – why can’t MPs be more truthful? Well, to sum up:

Will Self feels sorry for the poor powerless bastards, Shirley Williams tells us a bedtime story, Dia smiles blandly and chooses not to be cynical, and Chuka and Sajid make up and hug. And kiss. And possibly more. All of this to be continued in my 1000 page forthcoming fanfiction.

Time for the scores!

Javid: 6/10

(Will die another) Day

Umunna: 8/10

(Did surprisingly) Okay

Williams: 5/10

(Not much to) Say

Chakravarty: 5/10

(Easy) Prey

Self: 6/10

#Slayyyy

The Crowd: 7/10

(Hear them) Bray

Next time: Jim Murphy faces his public. Uh…good luck with that.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #122


qt 122

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to this week’s (very) belated edition of Questionable Time. As you know by now the small fact of my laptop exploding prevented me from writing up a review for you while it was still fresh and tasty, and thus I have in my possession a slightly mouldy selection of old notes to punt into place for your reading pleasure. By now, you have probably already forgotten who was even on the panel, let alone what they said. In that case, I am pleased to re-educate you…

More like social ‘I don’t’ care, ho ho ho! Ohh, I’m so sad

We come from wriggly Wrexham, with a plea from Dimbleby to ‘JOIN US’ – sounding a little like a cult leader there, Dimbles, but then again what is the strange viewership of Question Time if not a cult of sorts? And, as inevitable as an overheating hard drive when one downloads too many questionable anime films (not that I would know, of course), the first question is on the Welsh NHS: is it crap? Or merely crud?

Sajid Javid, with his weird egg head, goes on the offensive. The current state of the Welsh NHS is the worst mistake humanity has made since New Coke. And it’s all thanks to that no good Labour lot! Peter Hain shakes his gleaming greying hair in dismay. The aging Hain has started to bear a remarkable resemblance to Swiss Toni of The Fast Show fame. Surely getting the health service up and running is also ‘very much like making love to a beautiful woman’.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Swiss Pete points out that things have gone done the shitter due to the Tories cutting social care and a stampede of old people lying around groaning and dying in hospital wards as a result. Sajid is about to respond when he is interrupted by the Plaid Cymru guy with a name I can’t spell. “WALES!” he practically bellows. Wales is great, apparently. He just loves Wales SO MUCH and nobody else does. (This is, incidentally, the Plaid Cymru manifesto for 2015.) His accent is similarly spectacular, by the way. He ignores Dimbleby’s pleas to stay on topic and continues to babble on about Wales and how both the Tories and Labour don’t love Wales as nearly as much as him. He just has a lot of feelings. #obligatorymeangirlsquote

Then things go absolutely apeshit when a lady clad in red in the audience, who I’m going to nickname Melisandre, also starts blurting out her feelings about the NHS. Wales has free prescriptions?! I didn’t know that. Those lucky bastards. Melisandre even mentions Aneurin Bevan and, as expected when you mention the holy St. Nye, everyone is overcome with emotion. Somewhere far away from here, Andy Burnham’s huge sad eyes well up with tears and he breaks down during a television interview, rolling around in the foetal position on the floor and chanting “Nye…Nye…” to himself. Or is that just me?

Kate Maltby, the Telegraph woman, intervenes to stop all this. She mentions she’s not a socialist, but even she, in all her Torygraphyness (seriously, that is one HECKA posh accent) admits that the American system is poo. That said…long pause…she thinks everyone on the panel is being a massive baby and the only real news source one should listen to is obviously the Telegraph. Well, obviously. With all those pictures of pretty A Level students jumping for joy on the front page. Of course.

Germaine Greer hasn’t spoken yet, which is clearly displeasing her greatly. Are the problems in the NHS due to the patriarchy? Actually, she says, it’s due to people not respecting the old. Like her. She’s old now, she repeats. Old and grumpy. Get off my lawn you darn kids.

Wailin’ Wales

Next question: Syriza! Ayyyy or nayyyy?

Peter is definitely for, Sajid is against, and Germaine says something Australian. Balance is restored to the world. Kate, meanwhile, gives another…long pause…and rails against Greece for being naughty. And it’s all Peter’s fault, somehow. Sajid makes an impassioned plea for people to ‘live within their means’, which sets off keysmashname Plaid dude who is gunning for a coaltion between Greece and Wales (and Plaid Cymru, THE PARTY OF WALES) to take on the world through force if necessary. Sajid stares into the camera like he’s on The Office.

Then there’s an argument about what really caused the 2008 banking crisis but I’m going to skip that because for goodness’ sake it’s not 2010 anymore.

Next up, should we say ‘frack you’ to fracking? Or is it the heir to coal? Will this benefit Wrexham, the ‘industrial Mecca of the North’? (A real thing it called itself, pre-pit closures, as evidenced by this screencap from an old election I sat through and watched in full because I’m a nerd:)

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

There seems to be, with the exception of that one lady who Sajid praised/smothered his gooey oily residue all over, wide opposition to fracking. Peter remains silent and sheepish, the Plaid man smugly smug. And Kate Maltby…long pause…simply cannot grasp that people might be concerned about other things than what slice of the profits pie the people of Wrexham are getting. It was quietly heartbreaking in a way, to see her repeatedly fail to understand any of the concerns, real of imagined, that the plebs are raising. Don’t worry, she reassures them when they question the effect on the environment and their communities, we’ll find a way to make sure you get a cut of the dosh!

Don’t h8, deb8

The final two questions race by so fast I barely have enough time to write anything down. Germaine Greer has been disappointingly uncontroversial in this edition – perhaps she’s mellowing with age, and become a kindly older lady who intends to bed-block like a pro. Even when during the question on giving vouchers to pregnant women to entice them to stop smoking, Kate practically screeches apropos of nothing BUT WHAT ABOUT THE POOR MENS, she doesn’t come back with any sort of withering response. I’m let down, Germaine! That was an open goal.

Finally, debates. Or deb8s as the yoof don’t call them. Sajid not-so-smoothly admits that Dave is ‘making progress’ on the idea, to much mirth in the crowd.

“The public have a right to see us exposed!” says Peter, and with that I scream in terror and switch off.

Time for the scores!

Javid: 5/10

Egg(head)

Hain: 6/10

(Too many sausage rolls from) Greggs

(ap?) Iorwerth: 6/10

Segued (everything into a rant about glorious Wales, motherland of all)

Maltby: 5/10

Beg(ged the good people of Wrexham to consider the profit motive)

Greer: 5/10

(Mystic) Meg

The Crowd: 8/10

(Should throw a) Keg (party)

Next week: Questionable Time at a reasonable time. And by the way, Ye Sacred Webmaster has asked me to do a bit of shameless promoting! Noobminster is his new, cool website – a handy-dandy guide to British politics for people with better things to do. Which is mostly everyone. So go visit! I’ll sneak another plug for this into next week’s post as well, just to make sure. [steeples fingers, glasses flash menacingly in the light]

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #117


qt 117
Good morrow lemmings and welcome to another splendiferous edition of Questionable Time, live from Doncaster! This, incidentally, is where Ye Greate Laboure Leadere Ed Miliband keeps his counsel and apparently was in danger of getting the boot but now isn’t, according to some Ashcroft dude you may have heard of. Whatever, I’m sure nobody actually cares. My goodness this was a boring episode, though, so I’ll just expand this little opening paragraph for as long as possible. Hm hm hm. Lalalala. Okay, that’s enough. We really should get started. Don’t worry, my friends – it won’t be like this next week [imagine foreboding music playing here].

The 1930s were like the 1920s only crappier and with the characters in Downton Abbey probably had to sell their house because of the recession. Tragic. Isis the dog didn’t die for this

Sajid Javid starts us off, with his weirdly disproportionate head, talking about ~*~the challenges~*~ of dealing with the deficit and how that happens to involve cuts, and you’re all just gonna have to get used to it, sry2say. I hope you like the 1930s ‘sack dress’ aesthetic! By the way, I can’t read his lapel pin. It looks like a pretty blue flower. Anyone with any insider info on what the heck it is, give me the deets.

Why don’t we ask the people where the cuts should or should not come from, says Omid Djalili. After all, we don’t trust folks who moo like they do in that there House. Having watched a great many PMQs in my time like a saddo, I can confirm that they do indeed moo a great deal. Just pad the benches with hay and they’ll be happy. Wait, do cows even eat hay?

Meanwhile, representing the red team, Yvette ‘pixie woman’ Cooper is up to bat. It’s strange, for the last few weeks we’ve had the most likely future Labour leadership candidates in quick succession: Burnham, Umunna and now Cooper. Feel free to debate amongst yourselves what their respective QT showings say about their chances, but for now let’s all concentrate on Yvette bellowing about the great unfairness of it all. So unfair! These cuts are just so unfair, mum, she cries, practically stamping her heel but in a much more boring way. We’ll balance the books…but…fairly. Sajid demands to know exactly how, but his interruption is interrupted by the arrival of Jill Kirby on the scene.

Looking like Theresa May’s older, even scarier sister, she makes a worryingly long diet-related metaphor and finishes it off with an order to ‘please clap’, which for a moment I thought was a frightening threat to the terrified audience. I can see how she was formerly head of a think tank set up by Maggie T.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Shirl the Pearl, one of the QT old guard (I am thankful, at least, that there is a QT old guard still remaining, who can remember the glory days of Robin Day and whoever it was that came after him) umms and ahhs, and the general public are not satisfied by her or indeed any of this nonsense. Tell us exactly what’s going to happen, they cry in unison. Yvette rattles off some Labour policies and the panel scoffs at her, or at least Sajid and Jill do, and presumably high-five under the table afterwards. Jill wants us to be exactly like the blessed USA. ‘They have a much more balanced economy’, she gushes, conveniently forgetting that they also have barely any truly public services and certainly no proper health service. But maybe that’s the best way forward, eh?

It seems that direct democracy is the way2go, even if it would probably end up in a huge screaming mess. Everyone wants referendums! You get a referendum! I get a referendum! We all get referendums!!

The next question is on the British Identity: what is it? We just don’t know.

Isn’t it all about being a jolly nice chap? asks Yvette innocently. Dimbleby is also somewhat confused. He corners the man who asks the original question – about the name ‘Mohammad’ and how it is scary – in his own, Dimble-ish way that makes you pee yourself but very quietly. However, it is the audience who really answer this question, by taking part in many people’s favourite pastime of all: dissing the Daily Mail. Now that’s what I call British Identity!

Gordon Brown, texture like sun

Now here’s a question about (guess who?) nail-chewer supreme, Grumbly Gords. Jill Kirby blames Gordy for everything except keeping us out of the Euro. Thanks Obama Gordon. But – wait, what’s this? It’s Shirley Williams, riding to the rescue! She passionately defends the departing ex-PM which takes everyone a little aback for a moment. However, the Eggman/Sajid has the master plan, and he fights back, claiming that while Gordon was a smart dude ‘n’ all he was also a complete dingus. Yvette disagrees, obviously (although doesn’t praise Gordo to the high heavens or anything either – Labour know he’s a liability, deserved or not. Isn’t it sad, Gordon?).

Then everyone gets into an argument about zero-hours contracts. We’re abolishing them! No, we are! No, we are!! A zero-hours contract is better than no contract at all, says Jill, to general uproar, and a man in the audience yells ‘go back to London!’. So say we all.

Question Time must be stopped

Our final question of finalness is finally about obese people and whether we should care about them and their lives. Jill is not in favour (surprise surprise) and wants people to help/heft themselves. The rest of the panel shake their heads with varying degrees of ferocity.

Omid, who so far this programme has been the only source of non-boredom by actually cracking a few jokes (which I hear is something he does for a job, imagine that) is grotesquely offended! I am also offended. My roast potato addiction isn’t going to go away on its own, you know. It’s terminal. And slathered in gravy.

Dimbleby closes the programme with a bombshell, but first:

Time for the scores!

Javid: 5/10

Tumbled (down the hill with his big egg head)

Cooper: 5/10

Fumbled

Williams: 6/10

Rumbled (in a stern grandmotherly sort of way for you young people to not be so gloomy)

Kirby: 5/10

(Was not) Humbled

Djalili: 6/10

Jumbled (his jokes all together)

The Crowd: 7/10

Grumbled

Well folks, it’s Nigel Farage and Russell Brand next time round – ‘if we survive that’ according to Dimbledore. The two greatest minds of our generation. Merry Christmas one and all.

And, by the way, another plug: I’ve created an Ed Miliband Adventure Game in my spare time. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a comedic text-based adventure game starring Ed Miliband. Because that’s just the kind of thing I like to do. Go play it if you’re interested – which if you’re reading this blog, you should be.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #96


questionable time 96 david dimbleby blade runner

Good morning Lemmings and thank your lucky stars that I’m not going to do what I thought I was going to do today. And what did I think I was going to do? Well, having just finished James Ellroy’s LA Quartet I was toying with the idea of penning a Questionable Time Noire but have hastily reconsidered given the pure weight of political incorrect invectives that’s required to pull it off (not to mention the prospect of an angry Twitter mob arriving in my Notifications tab as soon as I refer to Harriet Harman as ‘some broad’). Nope, just plain old Questionable Time today so get those lucky stars thanked and let’s be on our way… Shitbirds…

Sooooo… The new Culture Secretary…

Has a fascinating head. Unorthodox in shape, lustrous in sheen, it looks like the sort of bonce that if poked would give a little before springing back to its original form with a satisfying ‘Boing!’. Looks can be deceiving though because underneath that pleasing smile and placid eyes lies quite the QT ruffian who should only be trifled with cautiously. We’ll leave aside the matter of the expenses questions for now as a) it’s just as dull as it was five years ago and b) he had no other option than to play dumb given how he’s just slipped into a politically dead woman’s shoes. No, let’s go straight to the next (and far more interesting question) about the London housing bubble for it is here we begin to see another Sajid emerge – a steely, hardboiled Sajid with a bandolier full of economic data and a shoulder holster packed with animus for those who cried ‘Bubble!’ (which at this point is roughly 98% of people with half a brain). All of a sudden that serene and unassuming visage dissolved into something much more bellicose and hostile: ‘A bubble you say? Well try THESE NUMBERS ON FOR SIZE!”. In fact, so robust was his defence of a position that is self-evidently indefencible that I nearly ended up going along with it until he spoilt it all with the now customary It’s All Labour’s Fault manoeuvre.

This though was only a taster of just how unboingy his head is as his real party piece came later on with the question about tuition fees and the fact that they’re probably never going to get paid. After some perfunctory sparring with Harman, Sajid did the unthinkable: He craned his neck to the left, casually scanned Dimbers’ notes and then called codswallop on them. Now, that may not seem like a big deal but considering how most panelists treat Dimbers (like an angry and wrathful deity who must be venerated lest he bring down great terror upon their homesteads) it is, doubly so given just how nonchalantly he pulled it off – almost as if to say ‘Yeah that’s right, I’m violating the inviolable Dimblesphere. What are you going to do about it’. And what did they do about it? Nothing, because they were all too busy cowering under the desk and bracing for the swarm of locusts that inevitably follow a Dimbers scorned.

So yes, as performances go this was pretty impressive – for a Treasury Minister in Osborne’s Forbidden Palace of Divine Pain and Economic Punishment that is. However, that’s not his job any more. Now he’s the Culture Secretary and I’m pretty sure that his particular skill set may not translate so well to the more touchy-feely, wavy-gravy world of the arts. Still, what’s done is done and I for one will be seeking to placate our new Cultural Overlord which is why the next Questionable Time will be presented in Excel form.

Harman, Harman everywhere…

…But not a drop to – wait that makes no sense. No, I think what I was trying to get at is that Harriet Harman is now so ubiquitously ubiquitous that I no longer have any feelings – either good or bad – towards her: She’s just always there, like lampposts and unread emails. With this in mind I was half tempted to just copy and paste one of the millions of write-ups from her previous outings and see if anyone noticed but eventually thought better of it. No, instead I shall try to sum up her performance in a line:

Good at having cake. Also good at eating cake.

Job’s a good ‘un.

Kirsty Williams and the Perils of Doing Things Right…

I felt a little sorry for Williams last night, mainly because she was trying so hard to do QT right and that nearly always leads to people getting QT wrong. The big mistake here is to take the general public at its word because we say an awful lot of things we don’t mean – like that we want politicians who propose solutions and appear relatively normal. This was the approach that Kirsty went for, dutifully listing policies and appealing to our sense of the ordinary but it just didn’t quite cut it because her answers didn’t leave any space for us to get a sense of what she’s all about: Sure we got the gist of what she’d do, but not who she is. So how can she straighten this out? Well if the opinion polls are anything to go by it’s to get a silly haircut, a clutch of outlandish views and never be photographed without a fag or a pint.

Sorrell and Bragg: A buddy movie that’s just waiting to happen…

It’s no secret that I have trouble with Billy Bragg (or to be more precise I have trouble with folk music and purveyors of folk music who are unconditionally doted on by every colleague who’s over the age of 40 and owns a pair of Dr. Martins – which given I work in mental health is all of them) so it is once again somewhat galling to confess that yes, he was very good last night. However, the real revelation was how well he and Martin Sorrell got on together – they just kept giving each other these knowing nods and unspoken glances that said ‘You’re alright you are’. Granted, it helped that they were strangely in agreement for most of the show but still, the spectacle of Man of the People/Salt of the Erf Bragg and Bottom-Liner/Champion of Capitalism Sorrell’s little bromance gave the show a nice little subplot. Whether this means that Bragg will be the new face Nestle remains to be seen but in the meantime, here’s the now traditional pshop of Billy Bragg Hanging Out With People He Doesn’t Like (see Fig. 1).

https://spreadhead.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/billy-bragg-cheney-blair.png

Fig. 1

Questionable Time: It’s nothing if not petty.

Tl;dr

Javid: 6/10

Tough

Harman: 5/10

Stuff

Williams: 5/10

Duff

Sorrell: 6/10

Gruff

Bragg: 7/10

Scruff

The Crowd: 6/10

(Live roughly 21 mile east of) Slough

Yeah yeah yeah, ‘Slough’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘tough’ BUT THEY LOOK THE SAME OK?

Right, that’s me done for Easter so enjoy the Dimblebreak and I’ll see you in May when QT will be in Leeds and I will undoubtedly be trying to infiltrate proceedings for Leeds is my turf. In the meantime, please feel free to acquire this rather lovely Questionable Time t-shirt.

In a few weeks Lemmings, in a few weeks…

Questionable Time #60


questionable time 60 david dimbleby crop circle

Good morning Lemmings and let us not beat about the bush: I really wasn’t feeling last night’s show. The primary cause for this is that the news which – through a combination of sustained Thatchering and high drama on the other side of the Pond – has gone and knackered itself out, leaving precious little of interest for our weekly political cage fight. Should you require some hard evidence of this then look no further than the inclusion of an Abu Qatada question (the QT equivalent of a blinking fuel light) and the now regular ritual of trying to get fired up by sub-percentage movements in the GDP figures. Still, at least there wasn’t a question on the legalisation of cannabis. That’s when you know the tank’s completely dry.

Right, let’s see what we can salvage from these charred remains.

Sajid Javid is not fannying about.

I like a good n00b on QT. I like watching those little beads of sweat and hearing those garbled words as they struggle to get their bearings so I was delighted to see that we had two last night, Sajid Javid and Luciana Berger. As far as the sweaty-garbling stakes go, I’m pleased to say that despite a strong opening, Berger soon got rattled and managed to mangle all manner of straightforward sentences into semantically impossible contortions (Qatada is “Europe’s right hand man in Al Qaeda”, a ‘construction centre’ became a “contruction centre” and something-or-other was “appropriately fine”), all of which is entirely forgivable considering that this was the first time she’d been exposed to the horrors of Question Time, but that’s her Get Out Of Jail Free card gone. Next time it’s Big School Rules.

The same cannot be said for Javid however. No, instead of running on pure adrenaline like most first-timers he just sat there like an angry brick and stared all danger into submission with those terrifying eyes of his. Fancy having a go about the economy? How about I have a go at you instead. Think you can trap me in a Qatada bind? Please Nigel, feel free to bleat on about how absurd the situation is but don’t for a second think that I’m copping the flak for some rather irksome circumstances. Reckon that my background might make me a soft touch on immigration? Let me categorically disabuse you of such folly with my uncompromising stance on… well… everything really.

Ok, so the content (helping after helping of Tory red meat) was a little protein heavy and flavour light but the delivery was so utterly unshakable that he made for some pretty compelling viewing. So keep an eye on this guy. He may well be a n00b on paper but an hour of trying to duck his laser beam stare tells me that he’s a pre-baked QT hardnut who we’ll be seeing a lot more of.

I wish we got the Farage I saw earlier in the week…

If you didn’t see Channel 4 News’ wonderful ‘Farage in Bulgaria’ piece then stop reading this and watch it right the hell now for it was a thing of much loveliness. For the uninitiated the premise was very simple: Channel 4 sent Farage to Bulgaria with a camera crew, hopefully to discover that the whole nation is hellbent on upping sticks and bringing our welfare state to its knees, except that they aren’t. Nope, despite the cockeyed wailings of unhinged Kippers it appears that the Bulgarians have got this country’s number (damp and grumpy) and would much rather send Nigel on a series of back-to-back drinking sessions instead. For the terminally lazy or those at work, I’ve handily condensed the whole affair into .gif form (see. Fig. 1) but please, do check it out.

farage-bulgaria-gif

Fig. 1

Anyway, it was telly gold (not least because it achieves that impossible comedic dream: The unholy fusion of Partridge and Borat) and in many ways Farage came out of it looking rather good. Ok, so on paper the entire thing was a failure as it rendered UKIP’s latest stick to beat public opinion with rather twig-like but on a personal level it was a triumph because it illustrated the rather more endearing side of Farage: The goofiness, the ‘I can’t believe I’m getting away with this!’ look in his eyes and the fact that he’s probably very entertaining company to keep.

Alas, the Nigel we saw in that film was nowhere to be seen last night and instead it was business as usual for Question Time’s perennial squatter-turned-resident: Shrill on rhetoric (Crime Epidemic!), shifty on policy (Flat tax! Maybe!) and very, very much blissed out on nostalgia (GRAMMAR SCHOOOOOOOOOOOLS!). Still, should his political ambitions come to nowt, at least he’s got a decent shot at the BAFTA for Best Male Comedy Performance.

Fair do’s to Bennett…

So this is Bennett’s second outing in a little more than a month but I can’t find much to gripe about. Naturally, there’re a few tweaks to be made here and there and a little enthusiasm that needs curbing but considering how well she stood up to Sajid’s Terminator act, I’d say she’s got the basics down pat.

*Tenuously related note of unsubstantiated gossip.*

I was speaking with someone who walks in Green circles and was informed of growing consternation in the party’s ranks about the following: Natalie Bennett has a habit of wearing green all the time and it’s starting to look a little… odd. You heard it here first.

Handwringing or angry? HANDWRINGING OR ANGRY?!

That’s the question that Simon Hughes asks himself upon awaking each morning and yesterday he plumped for ANGRY. Luciana’s having a pop about the economy? “Don’t you lecture me!” Javid reckons the ECHR is negotiable? FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS! You get the picture.

Anyway, that was Hughes and I do find his ‘angry’ act rather charming because you can tell he’s trying so hard to pull it off…. Like straining every fibre in his body to let you know that he’s really, really ticked off. Does it work? Sort of. Is it better than the handwringing? Infinitely.

Tl;dr

Javid: 6/10

(Man of) Steel

Hughes: 5/10

(Made a) Meal (of his angriness)

Berger: 5/10

We’ll (see)…

Farage: 5/10

(Sur)Real

Bennett: 6/10

(Likes to wear shades close to) Teal

The Crowd: 5/10

(Idolise Ian) Beale?

Hmmm… Not QT’s finest hour but I guess it will do. In a brief aside, I’m playing a gig next Thursday night so apologies in advance but you’ll just have to get thoroughly Starkied without me. Ooh, you lucky little buggers!

In a fortnight Lemmings, in a fortnight…


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