Question Time 10th October 2019
Beckenham lies in the suburban hinterland between Bromley and Crystal Palace and is one of those places that you might recognise whenever the name pops up but which you are very unlikely to have ever visited. I should know. As a teenager I lived at Woodside Green which is a mere 3 miles from the centre of Beckenham and in the 10 years I resided there I never had occasion to visit Beckenham which, some might say, was a shame as David Bowie was hanging out at Beckenham’s bandstand about that time. Still, I think I survived the disappointment and in the 50 years since I left the area I have never felt the urge to revisit. (With apologies to Puffins who may live in the borough. Sarah Louise?)
Julia Hartley-Brewer (A Nazi)
Grant Shapps (A Tory fascist)
Lisa Nandy (Labour progressive)
Theo Paphitis (Capitalist running dog)
Rupert Read (Barking mad)
Four out of those five descriptions are grossly incorrect
Venue: Beckenham, South London
Wigan, Nandy’s constituency, voted 2 to 1 to leave the EU.
The hate mongers were out in force on BBCQT twitter feed to berate the corp for inviting JHB on to the panel and were even petitioning to have her thrown off. Nowt like “tolerance” to raise the hackles eh? There was also much wailing concerning the “imbalance” of three Leavers vs two Remainers. Bearing in mind that Schapps is now a reluctant Leaver (he voted Remain) and Paphitis is, at best, a lukewarm Leaver I reckon the panel is about finely balanced. For once. But look out for Extinction Rebellion Read’s party trick – pulling up the sleeve of his jacket to reveal the names of his children written on his forearm which, he tells between sobbing gulps, is the reason he is “rebelling”. He might add in some tears for best effect.
Paphitis is very fond of his cars. And lady’s lingerie. Well, aren’t we all? He sold La Senza for £100 million and then set up Boux Avenue – lady’s underwear shop with 30 branches. He will be a nightmare for the crusties seeing as they want to confiscate all your cars by 2025 and can you imagine any of the grubby munters lounging around the capital’s streets wearing “lingerie”?
I am expecting some fireworks this evening. JHB and Paphitis take no prisoners and I look forward to Read being crushed and Nandy sidelined. Let’s see….
Oh dear, oh dear. There can be nothing more disheartening than to see Paphitis who described himself as a reluctant Leaver now put forward the concept of a second referendum “because we know so much more now than we did 3 years ago”. Yes, old chum, we do. We now know that the EU has been taking us for fools for years and the fundamental push that delivered the Leave vote, namely the return of sovereignty to the British people and government, hasn’t changed one iota. This was a point forcibly pointed out to him by two members of the audience who, unlike Paphitis, actually believed that the result of a democratic referendum should be enacted. JHB rightly chipped in when Nandy talked about “compromise” – “please tell us what compromise the Remainers would have given if they had won the vote? Answer: none”.
Nandy, as is usual for Labour panellists, regurgitated the same tired line about worker’s rights etc etc etc but lobbed in some blather about a “deal” that she could have voted for 2 months ago – except as Shapps pointed out that particular variant never actually came to the HoC for a vote. She knows she has to be seen to support Brexit (in some form) because of her constituency preference (see above) and she’s playing a blinder in dissembling enough to confuse both her electorate and herself.
The first question was, of course, on Extinction Rebellion and “should they be applauded or arrested”? Read, was given an inordinate amount of time to expand his arguments which rather failed to convince the audience. Paphitis and JHB duly trashed Read although Bruce jumped in some 5 seconds after Julia began her argument to interrupt her – a trait that we have come to expect from Bruce. Read was never seriously nailed down concerning the use of cars, planes and gas boilers and what ER plan to do about moving the society back to one that is predominantly agrarian. JHB finally put the boot in by calling ER “an insidious death cult”. It is no surprise that Read emanates from the University of East Anglia, the seat of much dubious climate change research.
The evening wound up with a discussion about eating snacks on public transport. Nandy took the opportunity to bring in “foodbanks” (a QT Bingo word) and how her constituents have to travel 2 hours a day to get to work, eat gravel and generally live in a hole in the road. Everyone else decided, apart from Read, that there were other more important things to worry about. Read ended the discussion doing a fair impression of Fotherington-Thomas in Willans and Searle’s “Down With Skool” in which he wished children to have a happy childhood, skipping in the fields and playing without recourse to computer games. At which point JHB chipped in: “well, stop filling their heads with all these doom scenarios then!” Boom! Torpedo launched and hit amidships. A sweet end to the evening.
You will be pleased to know that the old Marxist, Ken Loach, will be on the panel in two weeks time. He must have another dreary film due for release.
© Roger Ackroyd 2019
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file