Question Time 14th November 2019
James Cleverly (Tory)
Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru – just, well, why?)
Alex Phillips (BXP MEP for South East)
Clive Lewis (On yer knees bitch)
Chris Boardman (On yer bike)
I live not a million miles from Brighton and have done so for nigh on 50 years so I have a fairly decent understanding of the electorate within its borders. It has always had a “bohemian” style to it ranging from the downright seedy in the immediate post war period, through the alternative/flower power/hippie world of the 60’s and 70’s to the ecoloon/trans/lgbtqwerty fascism of the present day. Anyone proffering oppositional views to the Green/Labour dialogue is likely to be drummed out of town.
The centre, Brighton Pavillion, which votes in Caroline Lucas (52%) is replete with houses split up into student flats as well as more up-market properties out in Preston Park and Withdean. The other constituency is Brighton Kemptown now the fiefdom of Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a Momentum Labour nut job and within the boundaries can be found the two largest council estates of Whitehawk and Moulscoomb. At the other end of town is Hove, the only other Labour stronghold in East Sussex held by Peter Kyle. Despite a fair number of elderly retirees in and around Hove the balance is definitely in the favour of student flats. The Universities of Sussex and Brighton are within the boundaries of these constituencies. The university of Sussex ranks 19th in the U.K. league table while Brighton university, formerly a Polytechnic College, ranks 122nd (out of a total of 131).
I wrote the above before the start of the programme and was having second thoughts about the rather tough description I had given to Brighton but having listened to the aggressive responses and tosh emanating from the audience I feel now that I have been rather kind. There was a rainbow of soyness, faux outrage, inept comments and inconsequential diatribes bubbling up like rotting vegetation out of a swamp directed mostly at Cleverly and Phillips. One articulate young fellow from the audience had the cajones to give support to the Tories very early on in the debate but his well delivered argument met with almost total silence and was rebutted by a female Labour supporter who demanded a second referendum using a feeble argument that it would “sort it out once and for all”. Methinks she would be mightily surprised by the kind of response from the country outside the metropolitan and Brighton bubble.
Immigration did come up which rather surprised me but I quickly realised that it was chosen primarily to allow the Brighton audience to vent their Mother Theresa sense of “care” and inclusiveness of all the world, man. One young Roumanian girl took umbrage at the greedy British going to places like Greece for a holiday and “taking advantage of the cheap prices”. Well, love, easy answers to that. It ain’t cheap any more and it’s the tourists that keep these places afloat. My guess is that the Greeks would much rather have the British tourists coming down from the north than the dreck floating up on their islands from the south. The astonishing ignorance on display and unwillingness to tackle the fact that the U.K. is the most densely populated country in Europe with the subsequent pressure on the NHS left me open mouthed. This lot would merrily take in the whole world, denude workers in health systems of other countries and hand out bennies to whoever shacked up next to them. As I pointed out at the beginning of this report there is a good reason why two Labour and one Green MP get elected in Brighton. Their electorate filled every one of those audience seats – bar the young fellow mentioned above.
The panel were rather supernumerary to the proceedings. Alex Phillips has a machine gun delivery which threatens to run away with her – and did on the first question of pacts with other parties. She was flinging accusations at Cleverly like there was no tomorrow and unfortunately made herself look rather manic.
Lewis was most relaxed, probably because he was on home ground in front of a sympathetic audience. He knew he was never going to get any shit thrown at him from out front and Bruce helped by lobbing him a few soft balls which he calmly batted away.
Cleverly went through the usual motions, stuck to the Tory line, got interrupted by Bruce on a number of occasions (most of which he ignored) and played a straight bat. He knew he was basically playing a night watchman’s role in Brighton, don’t say anything controversial, keep a tight lip and play out the hour.
What the Plaid woman was doing in Brighton I have no idea but she had the honour of giving Labour a good whacking over the state of the NHS in Wales but then made an arse of herself by wishing to declare Wales as a sanctuary country for refugees and immigrants. That’ll improve waiting times down the docs no end, look you.
Boardman outed himself as a LibDem, Article 50 revoker, in the first question and after that said bugger all except he wants us to cycle more like they do in Amsterdam. Swinson should have signed him up as a LibDem candidate. He certainly talked bollocks.
QT is fast becoming irrelevant in the sense that any kind of sensible discussion is drowned out by shouty wankers in the audience, politicians who are not going to step out of line and “celebs” whose brain cells are better employed, like Boardman, in sending messages to his legs.
Next week, Bolton. And there is a special QT interrogation of Farage some time. Fiona Bruce in the chair. FFS.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file