Question Time 24th October 2019
South Tyneside voted 49,000 to 30,000 to Leave at the Referendum. It is represented in parliament by Labour MP, Emma Lewell-Buck. She employed her husband as “researcher” despite him being sacked from his job as a social care worker having been reported as abusing and neglecting vulnerable adults in care. The Labour Party has subsequently instigated an “investigation” into his employment by his wife. This investigation is ongoing – and has been for some time. The constituency party has made moves to have Lewell-Buck deselected. One could imagine that BXP could do some interesting damage to the status quo at the next election.
There are terms of venery such as “A Parliament of Owls” and “A Pride of Lions” with which we are mostly very familiar. There are many others, less well-known, and one that would fit the panel perfectly this evening (with the possible exception of Kate Andrews) is
Panel – A riff-raff of knaves:
Ken Loach: (ironically director of a film entitled…Riff-Raff)
Richard Leonard MSP (Labour – wanted a “soft” Brexit but now wants to remain)
Caroline Voaden (LibDem MEP – contested the South West Devon seat at 2017 GE and came third with just 5.2% of the vote. Subsequently got elected as MEP on “Stop Brexit” ticket.)
Venue: South Shields
Take a look at the opening pages of “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Bleak House” and you will have a distinct sense that Dickens could well have been writing science fiction so close are the descriptions to where we find ourselves today – a capital city plagued by gangs and murderers and a Parliament, like the Jarndyce vs Jarndyce case in the High Court, endlessly circulating around the same old tired arguments. Expect much the same from at least three of the panellists tonight.
The one beauty that rose like a stinking mushroom in tonight’s programme was the utter disdain that the LibDem woman received not only from Andrews and Lamont but also from the audience. The rank hypocrisy of Swinson and the LibDems would appear to have cut through to Joe and Jane Public, certainly in South Shields. It quickly became apparent why Voaden only got 5% of the vote in the 2017 election and the only reason she is now an MEP is because of the different nature of the representation offered by Euro elections. My gut feeling is that the LibDems would be severely trounced in any upcoming GE, especially up north. The Labour guy, leader of the Scottish Labour Party – with a good Geordie accent – nailed his and his party’s flag to the mast by stating that he was now for remaining in the EU. Of course, he’s not representing a constituency in the North East but somewhere in Scotland where he can happily wave the EU flag and not be afraid of the consequences.
A fascinating comment from the audience highlighted what inroads BXP could make in these northern constituencies. A comment that BXP aligning themselves with the Tories and doing a “pact” could “wipe out” the other parties. Brexit has, it would appear, finally broken the “my dad voted Labour so I will as well” proclivity in these once safe Labour seats. Any Labour mandarin looking in on QT would have broken out in a sweat at what was coming from the audience.
As for old Ken, the working man’s millionaire film-maker, he took the stage and rehearsed the same old lines he’s been plugging for decades. The discussion of the “gig” economy got him frothing at the mouth and FATCHA! was exhumed to wave her shrouds at us, yet again. The trouble was that three very articulate audience members responded by telling us that they had benefited by zero hour contracts and it fitted in with their lifestyles very nicely. Loach was not to be deterred by this evidence. He reverted to the destruction of the coal industry as an example of the Tory’s evil plans. No-one picked up the fact that Wilson closed more mines than FATCHA! and anyway, apart from the immorality of sending good men underground to pick away at coal seams haven’t we more or less done away with coal power stations? Loach is reciting lines from a play that was already creaking 40 years ago, and the duffer hasn’t realised that the audience for his brand of Marxism left the auditorium for their interval ice creams long long ago.
Lamont did well but the most articulate and positive of the panel was Kate Andrews who plugged the upside of a Brexit and countered the very misleading stats that were being flung out by Voaden and Leonard who were busy trying to resurrect Project Fear Mark 3a. However she tripped up on the last question – as they did the whole panel. Should border controls be tightened up? There seems to be a communal blind spot in operation here. The word “refugee” was constantly referred to and not once did I hear “illegal”. Nor did anyone raise a query about these “refugees” travelling across the whole of Europe and not intending to claim asylum in any of the myriad countries they pass through. What could the draw be of the U.K.? No one asked and no one cared to question. And so, with so few deportations giving the green light to even more illegals the whole sorry tide will continue to wash up on these shores.
© Roger Ackroyd 2019
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file