Question Time 2nd May 2019
Kate Andrews (Associate Director of Institute of Economic Affairs – Leaver)
Sonia Sodha (advisor to Ed Millimong, now chief leader writer at the Observer, aka the Sunday Grauniad – Remainer)
Simon Evans (Comedian – a tepid Leaver)
Emily Thornberry (Remainer and part-time taster for Cadbury’s, Nestle and Suchard. Other chocklit manufacturers are available.)
Ken Clarke (the Lord High Chief Remainer)
Three Remainers and Two Leavers. As usual it will be down to the audience to rip the panel – and the BBC – a new arse although as we have seen, the BBC’s response is a shrug and a look of disdain followed by “we have your money and if you try and withhold it we will hunt you down and take you through the courts so what you going to do about it?”
There can be no more tedious a QT than watching those two monoliths of the HoC, Clarke and Thornberry, size each other up from the alternate ends of the football pitch, set off at a lumber towards their opponent – and completely miss their target by the time they reach the half-way line. The sight of these antiquated stegosaurus monsters huffing and puffing across the political landscape quickly descends into a panorama of hot air, dustballs and piles of verbal excrement flung at the bored audience. And so it was last night with the ancient Clarke, crustacean and befuddled, attempting to justify his standing as the most wordy and most boring of the House of Commons – a position readily assumed by the Loquacious Gardiner – hardly able to land a blow with his crumbling tusk on the sedentary Thornberry who had taken up a slumped position fairly early on and whose response was to produce enough gas to require a vast amount of carbon offset.
God, it was boring.
The subjects in order of discussion were
Rape accusations and the use of mobile phones data
Climate change (what else?)
There was such an eagerness by both Clarke and Thornberry to confirm Williamson as the guilty party that this viewer for one came to the conclusion that he had been set up by the civil service, an opinion that was hinted at by both Andrews and Evans. It was left to a member of the audience to point out the more fundamental problem, namely the fact that the British government was intent on handing over the security of the airwaves to a foreign power that is no particular friend of the United Kingdom. As with most things these days this basic truth seems to have been buried under the miasma of blame and counter blame being hurled around Westminster.
The Brexit section of the programme was much shorter than on previous occasions and one suspects that the producer, intent on steering the discussions on to a more general coverage of other subjects, was needling Bruce in the (r)ear to cut it short after about 15 minutes. And to be honest the dead horse of Brexit has been flogged so often and flayed to within an inch of its life that this panel, bereft of any life-giving fire, was not the one to get it up on its feet and canter around the hall. Sodha and Thornberry, the latter appearing more confused than ever, pushing for a second Referendum, Clarke blaming the ERG, it was left to Kate Andrews and some audience members to prod some life out of the beast. While previous audiences have been quite vocal the Warrington contingent were relatively well behaved and mostly mute but one good lady, pissed off with the shenanigans, managed to rile up the Clarke beast enough for it to verbally attempt to trample all over her. They still don’t get it and they won’t until the EU elections. Needless to say The Brexit Party was never mentioned.
Which brought us to the final segment of the mogadon programme. Climate change and “have the Tories failed in their duty to further climate change legislation” or some such bollix. While the Sunday Grauniad journo mounted her soapbox and berated us with arguments that could have come straight out of the Emma Thompson Bumper Book of Hypocrisy it was perversely Clarke and Andrews who joined forces to explain that what you wished for had downside consequences in terms of cost and comfort. You want to have all electric cars then those petrol and diesel cars still being produced today will have to be dumped at some point before the end of their lifespan. The cost will fall on the public. Basically the argument goes that while the government of whatever colour can work towards a system of total carbon neutrality it is up to the individual citizen to exercise control and restraint over their own output. I might add that all this talk of planting millions of trees falls a little hollow when all I can see around me is the countryside being concreted over for more and more housing. Open borders, more housing, more people, more demands on the electrical grid, more call on renewables, more country covered in steel windmills… and the death spiral winds merrily on.
A QT to be consigned to the instantly forgettable. It was announced that Ken Clarke had achieved the dubious honour of being the panellist most often invited on to QT. One could also add, uncharitably, the one most likely to consign the programme into the dustbin of television history. I wish.
Next week, Soubrey is hauled aboard. I shall be practising a few verses of that well know naval ditty “what shall we do with the drunken sailor”. And as it “earlye in the morning” now I shall leave you for the arms of Morphia.
© Roger Ackroyd 2019
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file