Posts Tagged 'Tessa Munt'

Questionable Time #126


qt 126

Good morrow lemmings and welcome to Telford-in-Shropshire and one of the most catastrophically dull editions of Question Time I’ve ever been unlucky enough to witness. Let’s just get this over with and get back to discussing the real issues – for instance, why has Ed Miliband claimed that the above dress is apparently white and gold? It’s clearly blue and black. Typical short-sighted Labour!

Slow-cook economic yam

As Nigel Farage, currently putting his feet up in a posh American hotel, rubs his hands with glee, we come first to a question on rising migration figures. Mark Reckless MP is the purple representative for tonight and blames the government’s incompetence and…recklessness (YEAAAAHHHH.mp3). The solution is obviously to leave the EU in a huff.

Grant Shapps, looking like a smug ten year old grasping his tuck shop purchases with clammy ferocity, parrots the Tory party line like a parrot. A parrot on crack. Also, everything is fine, he says! Hesitant applause for Grantyboy. Meanwhile Rachel Reeves, in a pink cardigan I would like to wear (not her one, that would be creepy, but a different one also probably made by Romanian orphans) is surprisingly decent on this particular issue, and doesn’t go for shock-and-awe tactics. Then again I think Rachel is fundamentally unable to raise her voice any louder than a drone, so getting hysterical about immigration is something that is pretty much closed off to her. Make her Home Secretary at once, the disgusting grey splendour of the Home Office would suit her perfectly.

Our courageous Lib Dem panellist, Tessa Munt, begins by talking about a promise that ‘couldn’t possibly be kept’. Er…good one, Tessa! Maybe immigration isn’t so bad, she says, gazing wistfully into space. Mark Breakfast remains serene, his featureless pink head jutting out from his suit like a placid tortoise. He wants investment to encourage the domestic workforce, and is okay with letting smart people in but not smelly people. That’s the gist of it. Put it on a poster. Or employ me as his election campaign co-ordinator posthaste.

The highlight of this section, however, was everybody laughing at the young Tory plant using the term ‘long-term economic plan’ which nobody, absolutely nobody outside of the Westminster bubble uses. Have you ever been down the launderette or Sainsbury’s or wherever and overheard someone talking about our long-term economic plan? Have you heard our long-term economic plan debated in the living room while eating Chinese takeaway? Have you heard it come up in any situation that doesn’t immediately make you want to fall asleep? Thought not. Also, the above was an interesting glimpse into my day-to-day life.

Camilla Long is here as well. I forgot about her for a minute there.

We just wanna make the world dance, forget about the price tag

Next: should MPs be allowed to have second jobs, comes the warbling cry. Rachel Reeves only gets the word ‘no’ out before she is greeted with rapturous applause. Nonetheless her voice still does not rise above a mumble, and she remains looking like a drugged rabbit about to be run over by Grant, the farmhand who has stolen the farmer’s tractor while cackling all the way. She points to how they do it in those forrin lands, with a percentage cap ‘n’ all. This isn’t good enough for some in the audience who seem to believe that MPs should only be paid in the shortlived 1990s fad Pogs.

DISGRACEFUL cries Tessa, helpfully.

Grant is on the other side of this debate. He’s all for MPs getting lots of lovely experience, and by experience he presumably means moolah. Camilla Long, however, has a groundbreaking solution! If we value our MPs we should give them more money, she says, which is terribly brave of her because airing this view in public is extremely dangerous and could possibly lead to her being attacked by an angry mob. Dimbleby looks concerned, as if to anticipate this.

Aww, heck…less admits that he abstained in the recent vote cos Nige has been too busy flying off to America to tell him what to do. Everyone laughs again. I could get used to this – ending each question with people collectively pointing and guffawing at the panel. Truly bringing the country together.

Next, there’s a brief discussion about those three girls who went to Syria to ‘live in a hole’. Camilla claims that any loser who wants to be crowned Little Miss Isis must already be a terrorist, or maybe just an arse. The panel falls over themselves to tut about how shocking and tragic this sad affair is. Mark Reckless, funnily enough, is quite sensible here, though: maybe it’s his bank manager aura. It worked for John Major, it could work for him. Watch out, Nigel, he’s after your job!

New Conservative manifesto proposal: polling stations in bingo halls

Last up…should we kick a rich pensioner?

Grant starts as he means to go on, sultrily licking the bums of the older folks who obviously vote en masse for his party. Why not, while you’re at it, just dictate that young people have to make a ceremonial offering to old people every month, like sacrificing a lamb or something? It would be a whole lot quicker and more efficient. So don’t worry, silver foxes who are (one would imagine) the main audience for Question Time – Grandpa Grant is ON YOUR SIDE!

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Dimbles points out that this might possibly be considered electioneering. WHAT A CYNICAL VIEW gasps Grant, offended. This is all because of the EU, adds Mark. Thank you Mark. Thanks for that contribution.

“Why don’t we do more for young people to get them to vote?” squeaks an earnest young lady in the audience. To be this innocent again! Tessa, our fightin’ Lib Dem, appeals for the youth vote (well somebody has to), and Rachel murmurs that Labour’s policy is to kick some pensioners, but only the types that remind us of Mr Burns.

Grant spreads his palms like he’s Tory Jesus and sighs to the sky. How dare you, Tessa. How dare you, Camilla. How dare you, Rachel. Old people have worked hard all their life. Especially if they’ve had extra consultancy jobs.

It is at this point that Dimbleby cuts him off mid-rant and saves us all.

Time for the scores!

Shapps: 5/10

(LONG-TERM ECONOMIC) PLAN!!

Reeves: 6/10

(Wake me up before you go-go, as sung by the popular 1980s group) Wham (which is exactly what one needs to do whenever they hear her speak, that is to say, fall asleep, and thus need waking up)

Munt: 4/10

(Was brave to) Yam(mer on about certain subjects that could be very easily mocked as I have just proven conclusively)

Reckless: 6/10

(Got himself out a) Jam

Long: 5/10

(You want to give MPs more money?) Damn

The Crowd: 7/10

Grand slam

Next time, ever more surreal scores. Look forward to it!

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Questionable Time #103


questionable time 103 david dimbleby back tattoo

Good morning Lemmings – actually no, it’s not ‘good morning Lemmings’ at all and more like ‘Bah. Must we do this Lemmings?’ because for some reason last night’s very ill-tempered episode has left me in a thoroughly unpleasant mood. With this in mind, we’re going to dispense with the usual even-handedness, line the panelists up against a wall and make a series of rash decisions as to who’s to blame for the cloud of animosity that’s currently hovering over me. Ready? Let’s do this.

Was it Iain Duncan Smith’s insistence on ruining a perfectly good pshop?

Prior to the show I came up with this (see Fig. 1)…

iain duncan smith dog cone

Fig. 1

…And pretty pleased I was with myself too because it was going to be so easy to fold into the write up: All it would require would be one question about how the Universal Credit programme has gone so spectacularly awry that it’s now been reclassified as a ‘new project’ and that would be it – IDS would put on that face that’s supposed to look ‘appropriately concerned’ but actually comes off as ‘pleading desperately’, Hislop would have a field day and I’d be able to segue into the pshop with a killer line about how the only way you could make him look any more hapless is by sticking one of those dog cones on his head. In fact, so confident was I that this would come to pass that I even had a tweet of the pshop all ready to go during the show, just waiting for his inevitable downfall so that I could press the button and then bask in the satisfaction of all-too-easy victory. But the button was never pressed.

And why was the button never pressed? It was never pressed because a) aside from a few reflex jabs from Bryant and Yaqoob, matters relating to the DWP never really came up and b) he emerged from the rolling to-do with Yaqoob (more on that later) looking rather good. True, there were moments where his trademark brand of Trying To Look Very Cross Indeed But Not Quite Getting It Right (“Do me a favour Salma…”) had the potential to go sideways but so busy was the intemperate traffic between the combatants that it never developed into anything truly cringeworthy.

So here I am with a useless pshop, an unslaked thirst for ministerial blood and an embarrassingly abundant clutch of marks for the man in question. Iain Duncan Smith, I find you partially guilty for buggering up my QT experience and hereby sentence you to read your own novel.

Right, who’s next in the dock?

Was it Salma’s fault or was she stitched up?

So Salma ended up in hot water with the rest of the panel last night but I can’t quite fathom whether she was unjustly martyred or the victim of a kerfuffle of her own design. And why can’t I tell? Because I’ve not got a clue what’s going on with this whole Trojan Horse business – not the merest inkling other than it made for an entertaining intra-cabinet spat and that it just won’t get off the bloody news (however it’s worth pointing out that the arrival of Big Brother has once again lead me to surrender custody of the telly to the Frau Ribs so I haven’t had Newsnight to spoon feed me any ready-made opinions).

Anyway, it went like this: Salma slightly overplayed her hand on the Iraq question – a forgivable offence since she’s the leader of a party that came into being because of the war – and then went on to defend the schools in the Trojan Horse affair. Now I don’t know if she was right or wrong on this matter as it’s a story that just makes my eyes glaze over but the reaction from the rest of the panel was pretty full on and it wasn’t long before I started to get the feeling that they were ganging up on her. That’s rarely a good look but then again, she was having to defend her point so doggedly that I got the feeling they might actually be on to something.

I dunno, it might six-of-one and half-a-dozen-of-the-other but the real problem was that it went on for what seemed like hours and the temperature got so heated that it killed the third question dead in its tracks. Anyone want to talk about British values? No? Shall we just keep shouting at Salma instead? Ok then! Basically, it felt like I was being forced to watch a very long running and involved soap opera that I’d never seen before and to have an opinion on it. For better or worse, right or wrong, I lay the blame for this at Salma’s door and hereby sentence her to a candle lit dinner with George Galloway. Ooph… Rough justice.

Was it Tessa Munt’s… very… very… slow… delivery?

Initially, yes – it was definitely her…very… very… slow (and rather matronly)… delivery that had me all out of a kilter but I ended up warming to her, mainly because she seems pretty genuine and in it for the right reasons. Granted, ‘genuine’ and ‘the right reasons’ tend not to make for the most electrifying QT performances (for that you want ‘mendacious’ and ‘entirely the wrong reasons’) but I feel that they mitigated some of the grief caused by her rather ponderous vocal stylings. Community Service for you, Munt. 60 hours of coming up with rhyming scores for me and we’ll call it quits.

Was it Ian Hislop’s particularly irksome mood?

I’m usually a big fan of Hislop on QT but last night he just seemed a little bored and difficult, like he couldn’t really be bothered to play the game. However there are a few things that can be said in his defence, the first being he did make life a little awkward for the rest of the panel and secondly, Private Eye are the only national publication who bother to send out very nice rejection letters – a courtesy that counts for a lot in my book. I think an informal caution is all that’s required here.

Was it Chris Bryant’s fault for simply being Chris Bryant?

Yes! Probably! I don’t know! He was just as rabid as everyone else but I’ve got a soft spot for him so his sentence will be suspended. Stay out of trouble Chris and I won’t have to repost that photo of you in your pants.

Tl;dr

IDS: 5/10

Bah!

Bryant: 5/10

Rah!

Munt: 6/10

Fah!

Yaqoob: 5/10

Wah!

Hislop: 5/10

Yah!

The Crowd: 5/10

Pah!

So that was that then: An ultra-scrappy episode where the panel got very hot under the collar about things I don’t understand and – in what was undoubtedly the highlight of the show – Dimbers got attacked by a fly. Pffft… Says it all really…

Right, thanks to the footy I’m done for two weeks but should you have money burning a hole in your pocket then please feel free to go and buy this Grand Theft: New Labourt-shirt I designed (and then – in the interests of fairness and all that – go and buy the Grand Theft: Coalition one as well).

gta-new-labour-final-tagged

In a fortnight Lemmings, in a fortnight…

Questionable Time #42


Good morning Lemmings and welcome to Corby, a town that I recently discovered has absolutely nothing to do with trouser presses but does harbour an enormous amount of Scottish people. Who knew? Anyway, the other big thing about Corby is that it’s a classic bellweather constituency that happens to be holding a Mensch induced by-election. Now, conventional QT wisdom would suggest that this would make for a solid show, one riven with partisan bile and political rowdyism but somehow that just didn’t happen last night. Here’s why.

Chris Grayling was surprisingly tolerable…

He’s been an irksome thing of late has Grayling. It’s not the fact that he does the whole puff-chested, ‘Tuff On Crims’ thing – I expect that from Tory Justice Ministers who aren’t Ken Clarke – it’s because he seems to enjoy it so much and that gives him quite an unpleasant edge. However, I’ve got to say that he really didn’t wind me up that much last night and that’s mainly because the questions were a bit duff. With the exception of the obligatory Who Will Win The By-Election question (in which he put in a reasonable effort at damage control), the rest of them concerned matters where there isn’t a huge gulf between the parties. Sure, minor blows were traded on matters pertaining to paedophiles, Abu Hamza and Israel but there was no great set-piece where he had the opportunity to really wind me up. That’s a problem because I need a baddy in my QT line-up just like I need Ride of the Valkyries as my alarm clock tone: It’s not that I particularly like either Wagner or waking up, it’s that at least the combination of the two give the otherwise mundane an air of drama. Grayling was my best shot for a baddy last night and on that front he failed. However, I suppose I can take solace in the fact that he appeared a little slippery when questioned about why he didn’t frequent Starbucks. “I don’t like coffee” came the just-too-quick response. Slippery. Like his head. His big, baked bean of a head (see Fig. 1).

chris grayling baked bean

Fig. 1

I almost ended up making Harriet Harman a cup of tea…

There are some constants in this world like cycle of life and death, the turning of the seasons and automatically flicking over the channel whenever you hear The One Show theme. Harriet Harman appearing on QT is one of those constants and it’s now so routine that when I went to the fridge for another beer I caught myself saying “Can I get you anything Harriet?” out loud. So yes, this was another problem as every time she started talking I just sort of phased out and nodded along politely, like you do when a friend tells you a long and involved story that you’ve heard a million times before. It’s not that it’s a bad story, nor can I find particular fault with her recounting of it, but seriously Harriet, we need to spice things up a little. How about going on I’m a Celeb? At least it’d give Dimbers another excuse to talk about “eating testicles”.

I didn’t feel fully Faraged by the end of play…

Here he is, my forbidden fruit, my furtive fumble in the dark, my sordid little crush. Yes, Nigel’s back for those who are not aware, I have all the time in the world for the UKIP leader. It’s not his politics – I find them to be little more than drunken scrawlings on the political toilet wall – it’s the fact that he seems never more than two steps away from slipping on a banana skin that he himself just dropped. With this in mind, I can’t help feeling a little short-changed by last night’s show. Fair enough, he did come across as quite potty when he started yelling “THAT’S HOW IT WORKS” as he desperately tried to frame Europe as the source of all tax avoidance but he could have gone so much further. In fact, my dream scenario was that he’d get so giddy about UKIP’s frighteningly good prospects in the Corby by-election that he’d prematurely call the whole deal an outright win for the Red, White and Blue Team before spending the next couple of years living down endless VT footage of him erroneously bellowing ‘IT STARTED HERE, IN CORBY!’. Alas, it was not to be and while he was quite mad, he could have been madder. Dammit UKIP, you’ve really got to stop with all this We Might Actually End Up Being Something Resembling An Actual Political Party business. It’s getting scary.

Tessa Munt has a way to go…

I usually give out good marks for talking slowly as it makes a nice change from the usual frenetic babbling whilst also fostering a feeling of solidity and trustworthiness. Unfortunately, Tessa Munt took the whole slow talking thing just a little too far and found herself deep within Playing For Time territory. The paedophile question was particularly instructive in this instance: She embarked on what looked like a nice little warm-up about how she’d been talking to some lad about something or other and there was a moment where she could have segued seamlessly into an actual point… Except she didn’t. Instead, she just kept going and going, eventually ending up exploring all the permutations of how children and adults could do violence to one another. The feeling I was left with was ‘you don’t really have a point, do you?’. Still, great name. Munt. Muuuuuuuuunt.

Moray MacLennan could use a hobby…

What’s with all the 5th panelists they trawl on from the world of business, finance and, in this case, advertising? They all seem so consumed by the game they’re in that I want to grab them by the lapels and yell “WHY NOT JUST STAY IN AND WATCH CRAP TV ONCE IN A WHILE?!?!” Alright, MacLennan does have a sick note in this department as the subjects of the corporate tax question happened to be his clients (Google and Amazon) but still, when he started going about ‘value crystalising’ and ‘the customer experience’ I honestly thought he was going to whip out a PowerPoint presentation and talk us through some focus group findings. Except that he’s the sort of jagged looking advertising guy who wouldn’t use Power Point. He’d use whatever the Apple version is. iDon’tTheseGraphsLookEdgy or something.

Tl;dr

Grayling: 5/10

(Looks a little like a baked) Bean

Harman: 5/10

(Has been on Question Time since I was about) Seventeen

Munt: 3/10

(Could use a little) Caffeine

Farage: 6/10

(Should never be allowed near) Gasoline

MacLennan: 4/10

(Probably talks about work in the) Canteen

The Crowd: 6/10

(Regress towards the) Mean?

 

So damn and blast, this episode felt like a missed trick. It had a baddy, it had a wildcard and the crowd were certainly willing but somehow all these things just failed to come together. That, and I’m still reeling from the trouser press revelation.

 

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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