Question Time 21st February 2019
Chris Leslie (Remainer. Tigger)
John Barnes (Remainer. Ex-footballer)
Mel Stride (Remainer. Tory)
Andy McDonald (Remainer. Labour)
Ella Whelan (Leaver. Spiked journo)
After making a mistake of putting two Leavers into the panel last week, the BBC reverted to type and quickly shoe-horned in a founder-member of the “None of the Above Party”. Anna Soubry was penned to take the starring role but either got substituted by Chucky at the last minute when he realised what damage she was likely to inflict on his fledgling political grouping or, as is more possible, she chickened out after the mauling she received on a LBC phone-in that afternoon.
Her absence was noted by some members of the audience who, rather reluctantly it seemed, had to leave their pitchforks at the door.
The thrust of most of the questioning was concerning the defection of the Labour and Tory blowhards and, of course, Brexit. If Chris Leslie had taken on the role of martyr to the cause he could not have looked more Sidney Carton-like than he did last night: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” Surrounded by the baying panellists and a fair chunk of the audience he was dutifully led to the scaffold of public opinion whereupon he managed to recite his last words in refutation of the charge of hypocrisy. The spitting from Andy McDonald was glorious to behold as the two bartered epithets and it culminated in Leslie, to his great honour, sticking the knife into the Holy Chuckabutty concerning the whitewash she perpetrated over the anti-Semitic report. This fair got the Corbyn loyalist McDonald off his pot and for a brief moment we saw what has been going on behind the scenes at Labour HQ. McDonald would have happily pulled the lever on the blade there and then. It did make oi larf.
Ella Whelan was the sole sharpener for the Leave camp and called out Leslie for what he and his cohorts really are, i.e. an anti-Brexit party. Unfortunately she doesn’t have the cutting edge (you can see I have the guillotine metaphor firmly between my teeth now) that her compatriot at Spiked has – Brendan O’Neill. It was mostly left to the audience to hammer home the electoral message of the Referendum which all the politicians seem too happy to ignore. A couple of “get on with it” interjections got a favourable response from the assembled good people of Chester (marginally voted to Leave at the Referendum).
The Tory spokesperson, Mel Stride of whom I had heard absolutely nothing before but checking his details realised he was a firm Remainer, is one of the many non-entities that now fill out the government Benches – and his wallet – while reciting the same platitudes so beloved of our ruling class. “The Tory Party is a broad church” he repeated in response to Brucey Babe’s interjection concerning the “Far Right” ERG and “BlueKip” that apparently is running the show these days. I truly believe Bruce and her fellow Beeboids travellers unthinkingly swallow whole the propaganda that emanates from the editorial desks of Broadcasting House. This particular argument has recently surfaced in the media and the more Eagle-eyed among us will have noticed the trend, set up by Soubry, to call out those who are democrats willing to act on the Referendum as some kind of flag waving, swivel-eyed lunatics. I think we have been down this path before if I recall Dave’s description of UKIP supporters. Where is he now?
Andy McDonald similarly toed the Marxist Party line with his litany of Tory and government failures. Austerity, the disabled, foodbanks (QT Bingo) etc etc etc. The Goebbels dictum that is if you repeat a lie often enough it will eventually be believed seemed to work with this audience as the reply from Stride that all the economic pointers showed exactly the opposite was met with silence. A young member of the audience, a little tongue-tied, managed to finally express the view that a Corbyn government would be disastrous for the country was heckled by someone behind him. The camera panned to this woman and if you could have replicated one of the knitting hags at the foot of the guillotine this one would have been a dead ringer. She got the mike and proceeded to proselytise on behalf of the Marxist party. What profession was she? Brucey asked. A teacher. Well, colour me surprised. One has to look no further than this example of a straggle-haired harridan to realise how the yoofs of this country are being inculcated with Leftist nonsense from the day they first step over the entrance to infant school.
Which brings us to dear old John Barnes. Definitely a game of two halves with this chap. He came trotting out on to the field with his boots on the wrong feet and proceeded to kick the ball straight into the face of the spectators. “At the Referendum people didn’t know what they were voting for”. Boom! If there is one statement that is likely to lose you any support from a QT audience it’s that one. He quickly tried to retract and amend by saying “people like me” in some kind of self denigration but the damage was already done. He must have had a good talking to at half time because later in the programme he successfully and rather volubly defended Liam Neeson’s “mispoke” by asserting that unless we are prepared to face up to our inherent prejudices and recognise them and most importantly discuss them without being labelled a racist or bigot then the problem will never be solved. For this he got a hearty clap from the audience. However it only took one response from an audience member a little later on to give lie to this. Talking about Begum’s possible return a woman in the audience said that “we as a society have failed her” to which another responded “it’s not our society that has failed her, it’s a religion”. You will notice the indefinite article there. It is the religion that dare not speak its name, nor can the presumably enlightened audience who clapped Barnes to the rafters earlier on, bring itself to name it either. There was a slightly shocked silence and we were swiftly moved on to the bringing down of the curtain.
Enjoyable only inasmuch as watching the Left eat itself but on balance one of the less edifying QTs.
That’s all folks.
© Roger Ackroyd 2019