Posts Tagged 'Susie Boniface'

Questionable Time #140


qt 140

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to another supercalifragilisticexpialidocious edition of Questionable Time! It’s such a lovely sunny day outside, and yet you’re reading this. Good choice, sport!

IPSA me, Mario

We begin by duly noting the four women/one man ratio of this Thursday’s panel, which is definite cause for a warm-hearted cheer at how far society has come (or teary sniff, or excessive blowing of your nose). Unless you notice the actual issues discussed, that is – immigration, Europe, petty Labour bickering – which are, of course, as old as time itself.

Our first question is one of great, fist-shaking import: is an MPs’ pay rise justified considering George Osborne even now cackling and waving about a giant pair of comedy scissors in the general direction of the public sector? Up-and coming young turk Justine Greening says…nah. Forget if it’s ‘justified’ or not, the public hate this proposal so damn much that anyone even attempting to take the rise will get hung, drawn, and quartered by order of the Queen. Why don’t you vote it down then, says Dimbleby. Because we need to…’deal with’…IPSA, Justine replies menacingly. She came into politics not for the pay – but for the free wine and nibbles at events! Don’t you just love those little sausage thingies?

Mary CREAGHEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA steps up to the plate (sadly a plate with no sausages on it). She’s running for the Labour leadership, obviously, not that you’d know because she has about, ooh, four nominations? And they each need 35 to get on the ballot paper. Poor Mary. I met her once, and she offered me some of her chocolate brownie. So I can’t totally slate her. Last time she was on QT, she accused Russell Brand of sexism, so let’s see if she can pull it out of the bag now…she goes on to state that if the government can reject the independent pay review board for nurses then it can reject this! She gets some applause, but it’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel.

Meanwhile, Susie ‘Fleet Street Fox’ Boniface is rambling on about headmasters and nurses – you know, the ‘people that people like’, according to Spitting Image. Norman Lamb does similarly, fightin’ for the rights of the werkers – like his competitor Tim Farron, he’s also angling for the leadership of the Lib Dems. Yes, that’s right – that now-statuesque role. Honestly, what is QT going to do with the Lib Dems now – cycle through their remaining eight MPs for a season and then give up? Oh dear. I suppose there’s always Shirley Williams, eh?

At the same time, Jill Kirby, Theresa May’s twin, is protesting why the pay rise powers were farmed out to IPSA in the first place. Interesting that a Thatcherite policy wonk wants to centralise power and not take it elsewhere, huh? Norman is appalled and shouts softly (ever so softly…like a little white-haired, bespectacled mouse) about how no other workplace lets its workers decide their own pay increases. Except if you’re a banker awarding yourself a nice bonus, that is. Trebles all round!

Looking like a true survivor feeling like a little quid (as opposed to a NASTY EURO)

Next up: Europe, and what sort of renegotiation would you like to see Dave bravely wring out of Juncker ‘n’ co at the top table. Jill is at least blankly honest and admits that she wouldn’t be satisfied with any deal. If anything, those Europoors should be begging to do deals with us! They should be grovelling at our feet, she outright implies, and not trifling with failures like Greece. They’re not allowed at our cool pool party any more. “We should be standing alone,” she declares, and the siren song of Elton John bursts into my head.

B-but they’ve given us cheaper roaming charges! says Susie ‘Fleet Foxes’ Boniface, helpfully forgetting everything else Europe has ever done at the worst possible moment. Way to go, Suse!

Then some people in the audience get into a fight about Romanians, or whatever. A Romanian doctor protests scapegoating, causing another man to blurt out that he has…wait for it…a Romanian friend. People around him chuckle merrily like medieval bards. “Why are you laughing?” he splutters. Oh Question Time, what a tangled web you weave!

As the panellists bicker over immigration/the free movement of labour/inspecting the specks of dust on the table, another brave soul from the crowd pipes up to remind us all of the original question. It was about what changes you’d like to see before the referendum, remember? Well, oops, no time for that now! We spent all our time on pointless mumbling, and there’s already another question incoming…

North Korea hacked my Neopets account

Will further cuts to the defence budget leave David Dimbleby a hollow shell of a man, faced with the prospect of repeating these same few questions over and over for the remainder of all time in the universe? On the plus side: more usage of the word ‘helicarrier’, which you have to admit just sounds cool.

We have no way of knowing what kind of wars will happen in the future, so they are by definition cutting in the dark, says Susie, surprisingly sensibly. Norman knows, however. “Cyber terrorism!” he blurts out (slightly more loudly), obviously just remembering that his password is ‘12345’ and that North Korean hackers are going to take over his email account.

Mary and Justine begin to bicker about exactly how many dollarydoos have been/should be put into the defence budget. They’re both in favour of further spending on the front line, but it’s hard to know who wins this bout – only that I’ve just noticed that Justine Greening looks like a garden gnome. You could definitely imagine her sitting with a tiny fishing rod next to a pond. Am I the only one who sees this? Look at this comparison shot – coincidence? I think not:

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Next, a more sombre question. What legacy will Charles Kennedy leave British politics?

Well, for one, he was a perennial Question (and Questionable) Time favourite, as David Dimbleby rightfully points out. The Question Time website has put up a small compilation of some of his 42 (!) appearances, which you can view here.

The other panellists agree – Mary says he had “poetry” in his language (something I imagine a lot of people want more of from the Labour leadership battle). Susie says we mustn’t let any more potential be wasted by the tragic illness that is alcoholism. Jill notes that most people think he was right about standing against the Iraq invasion, arguably his finest hour. Norman, who gave an emotional tribute in Parliament, was his PPS for a time – and concludes that he’ll be missed greatly as someone who could be honest and sincere in any sort of debate.

Unfortunately, we don’t end on this genuinely moving note. Back to mud-flinging, everyone! With our last question: what is the point of the Labour Party now?

Justine gets a chance to gleefully gloat, although her expression doesn’t evolve further than ‘scary scowl’. Mary, in an attempt to scramble together a few more nominations, bombastically expresses her belief that WE WORK TOGETHER, WE DIE TOGETHER. And redistribute some power and wealth in a mild social-democratic format. Hell yes, she’s tough enough!

Jill and Norman shake their heads – Jill making a none-to-subtle jibe about a certain extravagantly-belashed contender and Norman disagreeing with the union link. Well Norms, it’s a good job you joined the Liberal Democrats and not the Labour Party, then, eh?

Finally, an old man hijacks the show and praises his true messiah Clement Attlee. Mary gives a thumbs up (she named her son Clement, after all). Justine continues to scowl. Better wrap up before she gets any scowlier.

Time for the scores!

Greening: 7/10

(Looks like a garden) Gnome

Creagh: 7/10

(Far from) Home (and dry re: nominations)

Lamb: 6/10

(Has hair the colour of) Foam (and I realise now I may be stretching these rhymes a bit)

Boniface: 5/10

(The EU gives you lower) Roam(ing charges! Wa…hey?)

Kirby: 5/10

(Reading blankly from the Thatcherite) tome

The Crowd: 8/10

(When in) Rome

Next time: the one before they go to High Wycombe!

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #108


qt 108

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to a controversial edition of Questionable Time! As you may have noticed, Question Time has got in a bit of a pickle today, and it’s not exactly a subject one wants to joke about – but that’s alright, because the reaction to every other subject covered ended up being ridiculous in the extreme. The cameras are on, Dimbleby’s wearing his legendary pink shark tie, and the panellists are raring to go. Hop on board.

Also, my scanner still isn’t fixed. Perhaps it will never be fixed. What a fart.

You know that song from Les Mis, ‘Who Am I’, where Jean Valjean sings about his identity crisis, well do you think Grant Shapps sings that to himself every day in the shower

A man named Crustle starts us off with a simple one: “will tax cuts save Dave?”

Stella Creasy is up first and I’m already blown away by whatever it is she’s wearing around her neck. It looks like a bunch of piano keys, or maybe some sort of ancient cosmic device to manipulate the universe to your every whim. Stella is so earnest, so sweet and gentle looking, like a small beige rodent, you can sort of forgive her for anything, no matter if she’s basically staying on the same ‘message’ as everybody else. No, Stella says, and I can talk you through in detail why it won’t work and why our plan will. Silly Stella, we don’t have time for nonsense such as ‘detail’ on Question Time! Why won’t Dave be honest?, she continues, like your chirpy primary school teaching assistant, or a rabbit caught in the headlights.

Meanwhile, Grant Shapps, or whatever his name is today, is here and disappointingly hasn’t brought along his army of Tory youth in matching jumpers. Nevertheless, Grant is pretty confident he’s got this one in the bag. The economy is booming, and judging by that one audience member’s plea to thank the coalition for everything they’ve done, it’s all thanks to Darling Dave and his Dangerous Dudes. Dimbleby pushes back by saying he has asked the Institute of Fiscal Studies for some figures to trip up Grant’s flow of bullshit. Stella is uncomprehending. She doesn’t understand how one man’s face can be so smug. BUT GRANT! she cries, but Grant, indeed, is unrepentant.

Susie Boniface, the Mirror woman, squeaks in that Dave is the human incarnation of a boot stamping on a human face forever. Or, apparently, your boyfriend who always lets you down. A horrifying image to be sure.

Suddenly an extreme Cockney voice pipes up. My God, is this a Cameron fantasy of a working class lad made good – or fiscally neoliberal – made real? No, it’s Charlie Mullins, the lovable chimney sweep, or perhaps I’ve got that wrong.

He goes after Susie and they have a little showdown between themselves while Stella is trying to fend off Grant to no avail. Julian Huppert, your beardy geography teacher, makes his entrance here, by still hoping for a Lib Dem government to much general jollity and chortles in the audience. Unfortunately, there isn’t one question this entire programme about Nick Clegg dissing Theresa May about civil liberties, and since that’s Julian’s (commendable, to be fair) area of expertise he must have walked off stage at the end and thrown his hat on the ground and stomped on it. Although he doesn’t have a hat. Maybe he ripped his beard off.

AT LEAST BE HONEST GRANT! BE HONEST!!!! Stella weeps. Stella is absolutely befuddled that someone wouldn’t explain themselves plainly and truthfully. The truth is that there’s an easy way that these tax cuts are going to be paid for: Dave’s gone to Wonga. Grant continues to act like a naughty schoolboy kicking your pushover teacher Stella’s legs, and asserting his obvious honesty.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Are you going to actually explain your plans at any point or just keep on rambling, says Dimbles. (I’m paraphrasing here, but this is 99% accurate.)
Oh, we will, says Grant, confidently.
No, now, says Dimbledore.
Er…in the Autumn Statement? says Grant.
Well done Grant, nailed it, says Charlie.

It appears that Stella has missed an open goal. A more forthright panellist would have exploded at this point, screeching “Autumn bloody Statement?! Yyyyou bastard,” but she’s just too…nicey-nice. What surprised me is that the Fleet Street Fox woman also missed it. Come on ladies, Grant and Charlie are working together, you need to form a girl power clique!

I thought I found a way to enter / It’s just a defektor / I thought I found the connector / It’s just a defektor

Then there’s a question on why Tory MPs are buggering off to UKIP, with a first MP most likely on the way. Grant knows the solution to this mess. Don’t vote for them, vote for us, since we have everything that they have, but with added me. Nailed it again.

Julian is noncommittal. He loves Europe, you see, and thinks the defectors are a bunch of what that Home Office source called Nick Clegg for throwing shade at Theresa May: wankers.

“It’s sad to see a party split up like that”, he mumbles…so sad…can’t do anything about it…

(Also, the Clacton edition is being trailed menacingly over this argument, like a great dark cloud.)

According to Susie, UKIP are probably going to knock the Lib Dems into fourth place. Julian shakes his head in disgust, then gets his name forgotten by a fierce-looking audience member. It’s not been a good night for Julian, through no fault of his own! That same audience member then rounds on Stella who attemps to placate her but to no avail – the wrath of a woman despairing of the modern democratic process cannot be sated! Stella is just too waffly and doesn’t have the urge to grab someone by the collar and yell in their face, or alternatively shrug her shoulders for the 1000th time and go “they’re a bunch o’ shits”. That is her struggle, apart from getting abused by trolls online.

Then Charlie says that voters could “go to bed with Farage and wake up with Miliband”, and that’s a pretty terrifying thought no matter which way you swing it, so let’s move on.

…On second thought, let’s not (also, pajamas!)

Question Time, as I mentioned before, has got in quite a bit of trouble for bringing up the horrific death of a young schoolgirl, her body only just found, and the inappropriateness of the resulting debate being chaired by a bloke in a pink shark tie. While the discussion was pretty restrained, as all serious, non-kick-the-opposition questions should be, and an apology has been issued, this does bring up an important question that tends to rear its ugly head whenever a sensitive issue like this comes up on QT.

Are we entitled to debate absolutely everything in the news, where it must be pored over inanely as commentators try to top each other’s outrage, and misspelt tweets abound, amidst the high-emotion of the Question Time setting? Sure, people may want to talk about it – but is that really the right thing to do, when they’d only be figuratively stomping on an already grieving family?

Thankfully, the next question is about the objectively hilarious story of the Mirror ‘exposing’ (ooh, missus!) Newt Brooksmark or whatever silly name it is he has. Susie, you’re from the Mirror. Looks like you’re up to bat. She regales us with the legal definition of entrapment, and concludes that it wasn’t that because Newmark was an enthusiastic perv-in-pajamas anyway, and the (fake) power imbalance was, like, hella skeevy.

Charlie responds that nobody wanted to hear about Newmark’s pajamas before this sad event and nobody wants to now. Grant follows up by immediately reminding us of them again with a grin like he knows exactly what he’s doing, even though he attempts to look disapproving, but sadly doesn’t have the kind of face for any emotion other than ‘smug’ and ‘delirious glee’. Stella is earnestly befuddled once more as she wonders how anyone could have believed the weird-ass messages being sent. Susie responds that it’s quite simple: Brooks Newmark is the king of being ruled by what’s in your pajamas instead of what’s in your noggin.

Then Julian raises what is probably the main issue, which is the nonconsensual usage of a woman’s photos. This has been apologised for, but he gets a point for bringing it up. However, now we’re on to our last question, about…GPs or something, I’m sorry, but I’m still curled up in the foetal position thinking about paisley pajamas and crying.

Stella has been shrugging her shoulders all night long and doesn’t stop now. It’s a white hot battle between her and Grant’s rival visions of chucking stuff at the NHS and seeing what sticks. Apparently all the GPs are getting the hell out of the profession and Grant’s solution is to gurn smugly at them until the system fixes itself. We’re screwed, replies Susie. Nobody wants to become a new GP, and in this climate, I don’t blame them. Why become anything? Why not just cry, like me. Julian says, welp, the problem is NHS privatisation, and this finally rouses Stella as she huffs and puffs and shakes her head in legitimate outrage.

“Are you kidding me?!” she almost screams, “What about the Health and Social Care Act that your party voted for? Ring any bells, Julian?!”

“Ain’t my fault, #yolo.”

Dimbles then quickly wraps up the show before Stella can leap over the desk and punch Julian in the beard.

Time for the scores!

Shapps: 4/10

(I break out in hives every time I hear him) Speak

Creasy: 4/10

(Mainly) Squeak(ing in a mouselike fashion)

Huppert: 6/10

(Unable to utilise his) Critique (of authoritarian policies)

Boniface: 4/10

(Justified the) Peek (we got of Newmark’s jammies)

Mullins: 4/10

Cheek(y chappy)

The Crowd: 5/10

Bleak

Now let us never speak of paisley pajamas again.

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #83


questionable time 83 david dimbleby toes

Good morning Lemmings and assuming you and your homestead haven’t fallen victim to the Great Sogginess (it used to be called ‘Christmas’), welcome back to Questionable Time. So, where are we? What’s going on? Who are these people? Why is that bald man waving a credit card around and when did Lewisham became the QT equivalent of a squat party? Well, I’d be lying if I said I knew but let’s just pretend that I do and indulge in some wild speculation.

Letdown #1: It makes me sad when Nad isn’t that mad…

…Because there’s so much potential there that it just seems like a crying shame when she makes it through an hour without saying something completely beyond the pale. It’s also especially galling in this instance as her opening (complete with grumpy chunterings about how she had to go first) was so off the Blue Team’s message that she looked like a shoe-in for a meltdown. Proposed Tory plans for the welfare state? Codswallop and balderdash! The mansion tax? Bloody good idea! Whose side are you actually on Nad? I have no idea! Perhaps aware that this wasn’t the best way to curry favour with her colleagues she then tried to make up for it by appending the phrase “Vote Conservative!” to the back-end of every sentence she uttered in the immigration question but her new-found enthusiasm sounded a little odd next to content that might as well have been lifted straight from UKIP manifesto (and by ‘manifesto’ I actually mean a colouring book where the only available colour is white).

So that bade well right? She was on the Mel-P trajectory and all that was really needed was a final push in order to truly unleash the crazy. The problem was that the final push never came and in truth, it never does on QT because despite all the headlines and bluster Nadine is essentially quite normal. “Normal?” you say “The woman who ate sheep’s testicles in the jungle and wrote an official looking blog that later turned out to be “70% fiction”? This is normal now?”. Well, alright the testicles thing was pretty weird but if you look at her background she really is just a regular person with a clutch of fairly normal right-wing values who grew up in common-garden circumstances and held down a standard issue job. What makes her look odd is the company she keeps – the Blue Team don’t do ‘normal’ in the literal sense of the word so she always ends up looking like the oddest clam on the beach when in fact it’s actually the other way round.

Anyway, all this is by-the-by as the end result is still the same: Rather than going off the handle, Dorries sort of held it together in a somewhat tetchy fashion and made it to the end without incensing everyone in a ten-mile radius. Two miles maybe, but the full ten? Disappointingly, no.

Letdown #2: Norm is also normal.

So it turns out that Norman Baker – the Lib Dem’s conspiracy theorist in chief who inexplicably landed in the Home Office after poor old Jeremy Brown and his panda were told to vacate the premises for no good reason whatsoever – is in a band. My initial reaction to this discovery was along the lines of ‘please say it’s some widdly-widdly Rush-like space noodling outfit’ but again my hopes have been dashed. No, after spending an afternoon where I effectively doubled The Reform Club’s Youtube views it’s my sad duty to report that far from belonging to some avant-garde exercise in sounds that only dolphins can hear, Norm’s band are instead the sort of pub rock ensemble that requires the audience to wear waistcoats, make a fuss about real ale and trade anecdotes about how they once saw Van Morrision arguing with a bus stop (see Fig. 1).

norman baker geddy lee

Fig. 1

I bring this up because like Dorries, Baker should – what with his clutch of niche causes and nose for the untoward – be a QT star, yet his performance was so quietly mundane that you often struggled to remember that he was actually there. I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on him as his whole appointment to the Home Office does smack of an exercise in giving him enough rope to hang himself with but really Norm, a little more weird wouldn’t go amiss.

Paul Nuttall and Lewisham: A match made somewhere other than Heaven.

UKIP seemed to be on to a winner during the last run of QT: Put the frighteningly sane Dianne James on whenever it’s a southern based marginal, Nuttall for anything north of Stafford that’s near a motorway and Farage for all other occasions. It was working because Nuttall’s brand of ‘ordinary bloke saying what we’re all thinking’ works really well in those towns which would never in a million years vote Tory yet have also fallen spectacuarly out of love with the Red Team (your Blackburns, Darwins and Stokes). But the same trick doesn’t work when you transpose it to screamingly Right On and cosmopolitan Lewisham. No, you just end up looking like that weird guy who a friend brought to your birthday party and then promptly abandoned when he started shouting about Romanians. Hard luck Paul, back up the M6 you go…

Where’s this Chuka been all my life?

Another week, another chance for me to wheel out my standard charge sheet against Chuka Umunna – mainly that everything he says comes across as stilted, over-rehearsed and lacking any real fire – except that I’m not going to this week. Instead I’m going to give the him a gold star for acting like an actual human being with his response to the Mark Duggan question. It was great – thoughtful, considered and most of all genuine. True, this was his episode to throw away given just how bloody tribal the Lewisham crowd are and there were periods where he lapsed back into his default position of regurgitating the latest policy brief but I’m going let that slide if only because it was nice to see that he is capable of displaying tangible emotions rather than his regular schtick of rhetorical box ticking.

And the winner of Best Newcomer 2014 goes to…

…Susie Boniface, aka the Fleet Street Fox. Alright, so it’s not exactly a crowded field when it comes to dishing out that award but her factual ducks were presented in a tidy row, the delivery was firm without being self-righteous and she really did make Paul Nuttall look like a bit of a tit. Winner winner chicken dinner!

Tl;dr

Baker: (Sub)dued

4/10

Dorries: (Less) booed (than expected)

4/10

Umunna: (Judged the) Mood (just right)

7/10

Nuttall: (Is) Screwed (south of the Potteries)

4/10

Boniface: (Is clearly a) Shrewd (cookie)

8/10

The Crowd: (Spend most of their time in the) Nude?

5/10

And so our story ends but not before I have a slight dig at the crowd for giving the Biased BBC brigade enough ammunition to keep them in bitter sounding blog posts for the next year. Oh well. Can’t have it all I guess. Right, I’m off to quietly weep about how few people want to buy t-shirts in January. Seriously guys, buy t-shirts… They’ll be the only dry clothes you get until at least August.

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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