Roger Ackroyd’s Question Time Review

Question Time 27th June 2019


Caroline Flint
Liz Truss
Tom Newton Dunn
Richard Walker
Ayesha Hazarika

Venue: Halifax

First up may I give a hearty thank you to Flying Hippo for standing in last week when yours truly was unsure if he would return from the surgeon’s knife with a full set of tackle and the will to watch QT. FH did a grand job and if he feels the desire to take over the task on a permanent basis he only has to ask. Oh dear, I have assumed FH’s gender. I have applied an electrical charge to my withering gonads and beg everyone’s forgiveness.

The tweets that accompany @BBCQT’s announcement of the panel are, as always, hilarious. If you ever needed evidence that the twittersphere is peopled by raging, frothing at the mouth, non-entities then one has only to run one’s eye down the responses to the panellists and QT in particular. The best ones are the “I never watch QT and tonight I’m going to watch paint dry” or “what, no Farage! he’s on every week normally” or “why no Green representative – I won’t be watching it then!” This last appears in similar formats each and every week, tweeted, one suspects, from assorted grubby basement flats in Brighton within which raffia work and the smell of boiled cabbage, lentils and quinoa are prevalent. One suspects also that there is probably no TV either or if there is one it has no licence.

Interesting line up this week although I have become a little less enamoured of Newton Dunn the more he has appeared on such programmes as PL and Andrew Marr. He sets himself up as a political guru with his ear jammed t’vestry door but would appear to have become more of an unreliable political ligger than a balanced commentator.
Hazarika is also a regular on similar programmes as Dunn but is an out and out mentalist shrieker and foghorn for the Labour Party. Described as an advisor to Miliband – a position one might argue that carries with it little in the way of kudos – she would appear to have become an ardent Corbynite. If the reinstatement of Williamson question comes up it will be interesting to see which way she falls.
Walker has been on QT before and without referring to my notes I can’t recall if he was pro or anti Brexit but news clippings would appear to show that Brexit holds little in the way of fears for his Iceland company.
Flint and Truss. I am a gentleman so I will NOT say that given a few sherberts and with beer goggles affixed I’d find them equally attractive at a party and probably jolly good company for further “entertainment” – Uganda style (see Private Eye, p.94).

Bingo words to look out for on tonight’s QT
Tax breaks for the rich
Crash out
Islamophobia (this one can already be attributed 100% to Hazarika) in response to
The dad and kid drowned on the US border
Less likely but still possible for a full House:
Teh Buss
Food banks
“Our” NHS

And so we draw back the curtain on the evening’s entertainment. Here’s the fragrant Fiona standing at the front to announce the proceedings and that bloke, smiling magnificently in the first row, is definitely looking at her bum. And why not? Perhaps I expected more from this merry little group but as we shall see the programme limped home, pleased as punch with itself, as if it was Apache Gold on a good day – just not yet requiring the bullet between the ears.
The “morality” of giving tax rises to the rich was question number 1 and quickly filled in my QT Bingo corner. Truss, an advocate of Boris’s policy, gamely tried to paint it as a “good thing” but one could feel that she was on a hiding to nothing as the beneficiaries of such tax largesse were all seated her side of the panel and not in the audience. With Fiona’s fingers surreptitiously flying over her calculator beneath the table it was little surprise that the chairwoman’s income was not going to be seriously improved by moving the 40% threshold up a few thousand quid. For a starlet like Fiona it is purely chump change. The rest of the panel duly puffed up their chests in best Pickwickian manner and announced that the policy was regressive and unfair. Cue support from the audience although one brave soul did put her head above the parapet to question the “morality” of a government taxing the population and duly pissing it up the wall (I paraphrase). Now there’s a discussion that would have been interesting but Bruce quickly moved the discussion onto Brexit.

Here, Flint and Truss were in harmony insisting that the result of the Referendum must be enacted. It was with some dismay to me that Walker declared himself a Leaver that now believed a second referendum was necessary, a stance ably supported by Hazarika who unsurprisingly saw a GE as the vehicle to sweep the Tories from power. Unfortunately for her Flint countered that Labour would also be slaughtered in a GE, denying, as it would, the wishes of the white working class electorate of the North – such as Halifax. The audience would appear to compliment that supposition although one brought spark who obviously has not watched QT before and therefore not heard the howls of derision proffered when others have said “we didn’t know what we were voting for” duly opened her trap and got the same response.
And so it all burbled on as a flushing lavvy effectively disposes of a Vindaloo the morning after leaving traces on the side of the bowl that would need a good dose of Harpic to dislodge. We got to the penultimate question which was the Williamson reinstatement, a topic that combined the whole panel – including Hazarika – in universal condemnation. I was despairing of filling in my QT Bingo card until, true to form, Hazarika came riding to the rescue with a Full House of “islamophobia” and “letterbox” and “Trump”. Mrs A, bless her, had already dropped off and was not amused by my shouting out “Housey! Housey!” which startled her awake. I was duly clumped with the spare pillow and told to “turn that damned thing off”. Not one to provoke any further wrath I pressed the red button. The OFF button. I’ll have no cries of filth! around here.

Next week, nearly home territory at Chichester. And then a summer break. Thursday nights will not be the same. Own up, who said “thank fuck!”? Oh, I think it may have been Mrs A.

© Roger Ackroyd 2019

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