Question Time 30th May 2019
Barry “Pip” Gardiner (Remainer)
Jo “Squeak” Swinson (Remainer)
Rory “Wilfred” Stewart (Remainer)
Stephen Pinker (Psychologist and Remainer)
Alex Phillips (Brexit MEP)
Venue: Epsom, Surrey (52 Remain/48 Leave)
Pinker is the interesting one in this bizarre line-up. His biography identifies him as one who has had run-ins with those on the Left (especially The Guardian) who have had reason to attack him for his views on the Enlightenment. I quote from the wiki article on him: “Pinker downplayed the immoral consequences of Enlightenment philosophy, such as inequality, slavery, imperialism, world wars, and genocide. Pinker responded that humanity, prior to the Enlightenment, had been characterized by poverty and disease.” He has also written much on the use of language and semantics in discourse. As you will see, his own discourse fell on stony ground.
I have a very good friend who is in the same line of business as myself, namely book dealing. In the past we have gone out on the road together hunting down stock in the four corners of the U.K. The task of driving was shared out equally and whilst I would be putting my foot to the legal floor (and a trifle above it on occasion), on motorways my good friend had a habit of getting stuck in the inside lane. At first I put this down to excessive caution but after a while of being stuck behind a particularly slow-moving lorry when both the middle and outside lanes were comparatively empty I asked him why we were keeping to the inside lane. His answer was that he couldn’t converse AND drive at the same time and that his brain steadfastly refused to engage in the normal rules of overtaking when there was someone else in the car.
I relate this anecdote purely as an example of what happens to any programme that has Bazza “Pip” Gardiner in the driving seat. The discussion, which up till then, may have been flowing along quite nicely suddenly shudders to a walking pace and figuratively speaking we find ourselves stuck behind a pantechnicon that refuses to pull over to let others pass. It is the equivalent of being stuck behind a tractor that has just pulled out in front of you and the only chance of passing is going to be miles down the road by which time you will have lost the will to live. This, one has to admit, is a singular and deeply aggravating virtue for anyone to carry but Bazza does so in spades – and often. His journey towards a “People’s Confirmatory Vote” has been a long and winding one but it would appear that that is indeed his destination – primarily because all other roads have been cut off to him. A weasel chancer of the first order who deserves to have his tyres let down and himself to be pushed into the electoral ditch.
A similar fortune I would happily dispense on “Squeak” Swinson who managed to bracket that Poster, Jo Cox and Farage in one sentence in a vitriolic attack on the Brexit Party. This from an MP who five minutes later was nodding like a stuffed dog being rogered by a blind Pekingese at the suggestion that what politics needed now was more “lurve” – a suggestion thrown out from the audience in a non-sequitur that had this viewer thinking he had suddenly time-travelled back to San Francisco c1965. Swinson was full of the horrors of No Deal Brexit, throwing out statistics like a leper with no arms. The same basket case of queues at Dover, shortage of medical supplies and plagues of frogs that we have all come to know and ignore were trotted out once again in an attempt to frighten us into voting in a Second Referendum that she has always wanted – having lost the first. In this style she was ably supported by a young lady from the audience who, unbelievably, considering the opprobrium heaped on all those who utter these words, felt that those who voted Leave didn’t know what they were voting for. Even this audience which was more pro Remain than many others recently took exception to this and quite rightly howled her down.
With the inclusion, yet again, of Rory Stewart on the panel one can now discern the methods of the MSM in moving their chess pieces into the forefront of the battle. Stewart has obviously been chosen as the “queen” now that their other favoured Remainer, May, has fallen by the wayside. His promotion over and above other candidates is inexorable and deliberate as he is seen as the one most likely to bring the whole Brexit exercise to a dead end despite his assurances that “democracy must be delivered”. His arguments were full of noise and wind and signified nothing.
The presence of just one Brexiteer, Alex Phillips, on the panel was sharply brought into focus when her arguments were constantly interrupted by Bazza, Squeaker, Wilfred and Brucie Babe. When she was allowed to expand her answers to the questions she managed to get to her points without the hesitation that poor Andrea Jenkyns was prone to a few weeks ago. I was much impressed by Phillips who I had not seen in action before and she wasn’t going to take any nonsense from the likes of Swinson although, inevitably, like many before, she got stuck behind the immovable object of Bazza. She should not have allowed him to talk over her. Bazza needs a firm hand, preferably across the back of the head. A tinged lady in the audience said that she would not have felt comfortable attending a Brexit Party rally which considering the ethnicity and diverse nature of the Brexit Party MEPs just elected was evidence that the MSM have done a good job in smearing their dirty, dirty lies far and wide. Phillips did a good job in refuting this but you can see how the media propaganda works it’s sinuous and undermining ways into the minds of the easily persuaded.
Pinker was present, propping up the end of the panel, like a shock-haired Struwwelpeter ferried in to make up numbers. He said some words, none of which made much sense to the audience, the panel or the viewer and he was duly ignored for 9/10ths of the show. In essence he was a Remainer making the panel one of the most lop-sided and biased of the whole QT series so far. Roll on Peterborough I say. The BBC need another kick in the nadgers to make them understand that what appears to be the norm within the M25 is definitely not replicated elsewhere in the country.
Next week, Thetford in Norfolk.
© Roger Ackroyd 2019
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