Question Time 13th June 2019
Mark Reckless (Tory – UKIP – Brexit)
Francesca Martinez (Comedienne – it says here)
Adam Price (Plaid Cymru)
Stephen Kinnock (Labour – Trougher)
Theresa Villiers (Tory – Brexiteer)
Venue: Brecon (Waaaaales)
A LEAVE constituency (52/48) with a Tory MP, Tony Davies. He was convicted of two counts of fraud regarding expenses and has a recall petition pending.
So, two Brexiteers and three Remainers. A little bit more balanced one might say but I sense the BBC pulling a sly one here. Martinez is a Corbynite and is a virulent Remainer…and has cerebral palsy. Would you want to to be on a panel going head to head against someone with such a disability, tearing her a new one and being seen as a bully by the audience? You would have to be fairly hard hearted not to allow her some leeway which means she will be able to A) get away with any old shite that she wants to say and B) garner the “sympathy” of the audience. The two Brexiteers are on a hiding to nothing – and that , I would argue, has been done quite deliberately. She has no obvious connection to Brecon or Wales (but does have lots of other BBC “comedians as her chums – Jo Brand, Russell Brand, Jeremy Hardy [late of this parish]. Frankie Boyle etc etc). It will be interesting to see if we get a question about Brand’s battery acid comment this evening.
3,187,000 people live in Wales.
Just over 8,000 of this lot live in Brecon (smaller than my Sussex village then)
Famous son of Brecon: George Melly who, if he were still alive, would revel in GP’s Faggotry Friday and would probably give Rotherhampoofta a quick run around the block and a quickie behind the bicycle shed).
As per usual, the opener is introduced by Bruce standing in front of the audience. This looks increasingly incongruous as the weeks go by and last night, because the programme came from a theatre and Bruce was on the front of the stage I got the fleeting impression of The Good Old Days and Leonard Sachs wielding his judge’s gavel. Would that QT had a modicum of that now forgotten programme’s entertainment value. Each week it feels like cycling through a quagmire and last night was worse than most.
Naturally we began with some Boris bashing with Bruce sniggering away at the concept of Bojo as PM and the rest of the panel, bar Villiers, piling in to heap opprobrium on both him and the Tories. Villiers attempted to come to the rescue but her peroration was immediately interrupted by Bruce who read out some prepared notes in front of her listing Boris’s failings as London mayor. It was so obvious a hit job meticulously arranged beforehand and handed to Bruce by the producer that I fully expected Villiers to bite back. Unfortunately she has all the attributes of a wet fish and stumbled through her response. It was a performance she was to repeat over and over again with any question and evidence, if any was needed, that she like many other MPs just doesn’t have the fire to stand up to scrutiny. The question was handed over to Martinez and thus began the first of her many – mostly off-topic – rants. None of which were ever interrupted. Naturally. The poor girl has cerebral palsy so who is going to interrupt her? Certainly not Bruce who sat there like an adoring spaniel watching Miss “Wobbly” as Martinez likes to call herself – an epithet repeated a couple more times just so we actually got it – bellow on about the disabled being robbed, nurses being forced to foodbanks, 130,000 people dying because of the austerity inflicted upon them by the Tories and on and on and on. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph and fully expected would happen was this “award winning” comedienne given a free run because no-one would dare to question a disabled panellist. And of course the audience many of whom had possibly never come across her before seemed awe-struck as if they were being addressed by a performing seal. They certainly clapped like one.
This rant was to be repeated a couple of times irrespective of the question asked. Corbyn and Macdonell were her guiding lights, veritable saints who turned up – the only MPs to do so would you believe! – at some disabled demo. Oh, please bow down before these holy men you heathens for we are in the presence of gods. If Martinez wasn’t disabled and the other panellists weren’t cowed someone would have brought up their connections with such wondrous and charitable organisations as the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah – but no-one did.
An interesting little flare up occurred over the question of the BBC licence fee and the over 75s. While it was condemned by most of the panel but mostly blaming the Tories for foisting it on the BBC, Reckless decided to have a dig at the “balance” of its political output citing last week’s QT with its five Remainers as evidence that it had a political agenda. As soon as the words came out of his mouth Bruce was on him like a shot, her face hot with anger. Incredibly she came out with the statement that there were four Brexiteers and one Remainer, her argument being that the two main political parties have official manifestos which promised Brexit. This is a falsity she has attempted before and unfortunately Reckless is not the man to stand up to her. It is obvious that the QT producers know that there is endless discussion on this point and have primed Bruce to jump in hard and fast.
And so the programme meandered on and your correspondent’s eyelids became heavier. The question of an M4 extension in Wales was proposed and I took this as a sign that I might conclude my report. Switch. Off. If the last 10 minutes produced anything other than another Martinez rant I’d be surprised. If the stage had a trap door I’d have happily pulled the lever for the whole bloody lot of them to disappear into the depths.
Next week: Yours truly will be laid up in hospital recuperating from a hernia op that same day- so long as the doc doesn’t balls it up – so will be unable to bring you the QT review. My apologies in advance. Normal service will be resumed on the 27th (so long as the doc….)
© Roger Ackroyd 2019
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file