Question Time 15th October 2020
Douglas Ross (Conservative)
Seema Malhotra (Labour)
Kate Forbes (SNP)
Miriam Brett (Economic Adviser)
Ian wood (Businessman)
Mark Walport (Scientist)
Old friend of QT Review, Marcus Rashford, has been awarded the MBE. Rashford came to prominence during a Co-op/LuckyGenerals advertising campaign which was supposed to sell Easter eggs but, disrupted by coronavirus, promoted the Fareshare surplus food distribution charity instead.
As Puffins discovered previously, the football side of Marcus’s career is covered by two of his brothers, Dane Rashford and Dwaine Maynard. Dane and Dwaine, are they twins? Yes, they have different surnames but this is 2020. One is reminded of the scene in The Crown where Tommy Lascelles has to describe Anthony Armstrong-Jones’s private life to the Queen. Dear God. Dane and Dwaine’s other client(s) include (is?) the Everton Ladies legend and household name Chantelle Boye-Hlorklah.
The PR, publicity and brand management side of Rashford’s career is covered by RocNation. Formerly part of the Creative Artists Agency, RocNation is now part of Live Nation Entertainment which also includes Ticketmaster. In their 2019 annual report, filed to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Live Nation’s assets are valued at $11billion. Subsidiary RocNation’s website splash page starts by telling us that they have 1.45 billion (yes, billion) followers, made up of 532 million Instagram followers, 350 million on Facebook and 352 million via Twitter. It is those followers who are turned into cash by advertising. Their sports clients are diverse. Then. Again. Maybe. They. Aren’t.
On Marcus’s profile page, his membership of the British Empire is omitted but much is made of his Fareshare philanthropy. On Twitter, RocNation informs us that he is celebrating black history month by bringing out a new football boot and that ‘his thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected’ by the Nigerian special anti-robbery squad. Marcus’s new Nike football boot is ingrained with the inscription, “recognise how every moment of our journey is an important part of the growth of our soul.” In the accompanying promotional video, Marcus informs us that,
“Inspired by Mohammed Ail. Motivated by seeing people happy, becoming a leader to a generation, I tried to put all the things important to me on the boot.”
And it worked, Rashford scored for England against Belgium on Sunday night and those nice people at RocNation were happy to tell us, via his Twitter account, that this was “a nice run out in the new boots” which brought Marcus and the England team luck. A message seen by his 3.4 million Twitter followers and 9 million Instagram followers – more than you’d reach by advertising during Coronation Street or taking out a page in The Sun.
If you find this kind of thing to be cringingly embarrassing crap wrapped up in charidee, tough luck. You’ve going to be bombarded with it every day for the rest of your life. Bear that in mind every time you use Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for ‘free’. Remember, if it’s free, you’re the commodity, you’re the one who’s being bought and sold.
This week’s QT really did come from the venue with the Scots sat around Fiona in a studio in Edinburgh and the Londonistanis on Zoom on the wall. The first question asked for a comparison between the performance of Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon. Kate Forbes (SNP) sensibly said it wasn’t a competition and so did Douglas Ross (Conservative) to whom Fiona Bruce (Chair) snapped, “But that’s the question!” There have been errors all around the world noted Douglas. Bruce got snottier, it does matter to people how well these things are done. Sir Mark Walport (Scientist), annoyed Bruce even more by saying the question was wrong rather than Sturgeon or Boris. Incidentally, Sir Mark looked unbelievably absolutely nothing like his profile picture. If you’re an online dating kind of gal, meeting him for the first time in a pub, he might be difficult to track and trace.
Seema Malhotra (Labour) said the numbers were in the wrong direction and criticised both the SNP and Labour governments. In other words, her comments were totally party political. Semma preferred a circuit break. What’s the difference between that and tier 3? If any? Semma was sat in a very modest room. The servant’s quarter?
Seema Malhotra (not her real name) is the MP for Feltham and Heston and the Shadow Minister for Employment. Surprisingly, on Thursday, Seema tweeted and re-tweeted criticism of the Government’s relationship with management consultants adding,
“Why is this happening, when local authorities can do this so much better? A huge waste of public money. Scandalous.”
Surprising because the very same management consultants have paid her and her husband millions of pounds. Ms Malhorta studied PPE at Warwick University before becoming a six-figure salary a year management consultant with Accenture (which old people like me recall as the global accountancy firm Arthur Anderson). These days Accenture is a multinational professional services company which does a bigly amount of business with the UK Government, including making megabucks from Track and Trace.
According to the Sky News website, “Accenture has already been paid more than £850,000 for 10 weeks’ work on the [Track and Trace] app, which is based on Google and Apple technology.” This was the Isle of Wight Track and Trace app which came to nothing. According to wiki, Seema’s husband is,
“Management consultant and financier Sushil Kumar Saluja, who is Accenture’s Senior Managing Director for Financial Services in Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Latin America, and serves on the board of TheCityUK which is an industry body that promotes financial services in the UK.”
The wiki entry is slightly out of date, with Sushil leaving Accenture earlier this year after thirty years of service. Since then, MP’s husband Sushil has picked up directorships at the British Council and Greenwich University. He has also, across the last 18 months, set up four property companies, three of which own one property each. The combined (via Zoopla) value of these three properties is £10,000,000.
Why would a management consultancy power couple, with £10 million in property, and who advocate for the UK financial services industry, be involved with the Labour Party? The Telegraph (that’s the Calcutta based Telegraph India), provides us with a clue.
Since a large number of Indians, especially Punjabis, live in the Feltham and Heston constituency and work in nearby Heathrow, it does seem Seema has picked up a safe seat and could easily remain an MP for the next 20 years.
Before the election, there were some sniping at Seema, who used to affect a double barrel name — Seema Malhotra-Suma — in the style of upper-crust Tories. Her critics also said she could not be expected to sympathise with poorly paid women cleaners since she “has been hiding the fact she lives in a £3.5 million house in Chelsea just off King’s Road”.
Comrade Seema Malhorta-Suma’s four-story Chelsea home can be seen here. Did I say £10,000,000 in property? Myself and the Telegraph India, have been far too modest on Comrade Malhorta-Suma’s behalf. Her home is presently valued at £7.6 million, bringing the value of the Malhorta-Suma’s property portfolio to at least £17.6 million. How do her poorly paid cleaning constituents feel about this? As the Telegraph India suggests, they don’t know about it. She omits the Kensington and Chelsea side of things from her electoral declarations.
Yes, the Malhorta-Suma’s are a ‘power couple’ with one foot in business and one in politics. Officially, they are one of the top hundred Asian power couples, expect other family members to emerge into business and politics fairly soon – purely on merit, of course.
Bruce got madder and demanded that Ian answer the question, unlike the politicians. Ian said it was the wrong question. Bruce got madder still, ‘but that IS the question.’ Ian gave a quick sit rep. Nursing homes, a mistake, students back, tut tut, do it online.
In the interests of equality, Sir Ian Clark Wood, KT, GBE, (Businessman) is a billionaire. Sir Ian was privately educated before graduating from Aberdeen University and working in his family’s Aberdeen based firm. Although somewhat modestly describing that family firm as being a ‘trawler business’, by the time Sir Ian had joined, it had become the largest fishing company in Scotland and had expanded into ship repair and marine engineering. It was well placed to take advantage of the emerging North Sea gas and oil industries and was to become the Wood Group which, according to a 2012 Daily Herald article,
‘Provides engineering services and personnel to the oil and gas trade, employs 41,000 people in 50 countries and announced a 60% profits rise last year to £160m, with revenues rising to £3.8bn.’
Since then Sir Ian has stood down from the Wood Group but is involved in the Wood Foundation, a Scottish based charity focused on venture philanthropy in Africa and developing young people in Scotland.
Mirriam Brett (‘Economist’ and SNP) spoke, drawing a distinction between the communications of the UK and the Scottish governments. She mentioned the cost of outsourcing and consulting. That wasn’t the question either but this time Bruce omitted to interrupt and put her back into the subject. Everybody omitted to mention Seema and her husband.
Bruce mentioned the consultant’s £7k a day remuneration to Douglas Ross. That’s less than Bruce gets paid! Perhaps she was feeling sorry for them? Ross said that Sturgeon was a good communicator but didn’t have a great record on R rates and the like.
Bruce was baffled. As a bubble living media professional, she couldn’t understand why good communication skills weren’t killing the virus. It’s not about communication, Fiona, it’s about epidemiology. Silly tart. An audience member agreed with Bruce. It’s about leadership not numbers, the fool on Zoom claimed. It’s not about R rates, the idiot concluded.
Douglas and Kate talked over each other.
Douglas Ross is the leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland. He is a farmer’s son from Moray and a graduate of the Scottish Agricultural College. You’ll be familiar with the one time jibe that there were more pandas in Scotland than Conservatives MPs. A friend tells me that, thanks to Mr Ross, there are now more Scottish Conservative MPs registered to take sperm from a bull than there are Scottish women Conservative MPs. A message there for Ruth Davidson.
Douglas describes his father as a ‘cattleman’. To townies, this might suggest a chap dressed in sackcloth, his trousers held up with twine, walloping a cow’s behind at a muddy mart. To the initiated, it suggests a gentleman farmer with a decent acreage and a pedigree herd. Which would you prefer? A bit of land or an aptitude for football? How many Instagram followers does the farmer need? When was the last time a man of the soil had to take the knee or spell out BLM in hay bails? Perhaps in an attempt to find out, Mr Ross is also a football linesman, running the line at England’s recent three-nil international win against Wales.
Questioner Martin wanted to know the difference between cafes, bars and restaurants. Was he hungry and thirsty? Bruce sneered at the apparent anomalies between different sets of rules in different venues. Sir Mark had looked through the rules but concluded that, no matter what, we needed to reduce our social contacts and we just had to get on with it. Bruce obsessed about these distinctions in a childish, sneery way. Fiona, do the best you can, where you are, with what you’ve got and stop complaining.
Mirriam changed the subject again, without being corrected by Bruce, she wanted to talk about furlough. At least she had a suggestion, furlough people in the arts as well as hospitality. Ian pointed out the primary issue was the 3 tier approach which was a good idea and should be pursued. Many young people are employed in hospitality and he foresaw significant unemployment amongst them.
Out of the blue, Bruce announced that furlough was falling off a cliff. Douglas reminded her that it wasn’t. Bruce changed the subject to ‘Andy Burnham in open revolt’ by which point she was becoming annoying. Douglas said there was a replacement scheme (to furlough) to save as many jobs as possible. Seema said furlough money was going down but bills aren’t. Some people would be destitute but not Seema, obviously. Without any supporting evidence, Seema claimed that we had the worst excess deaths in the world and the biggest recession.
The next question was from Colin Campbell, a North American sounding person who asked about Scottish independence. Miriam squeaked. She didn’t seem to realise what ‘majority’ means. Because Miriam hadn’t got her own way on a wide variety of subjects, over a number of years, it meant that the majority was wrong, Miriam was right and she needed to have her own country to live in.
Miriam Brett is the director of research at Common Wealth, an adolescent leftie bollocks ‘think tank’ whose board includes Ed Miliband and the Guardian journalist Aditya Chakraborty. Previously, Ms Brett has worked for the SNP and volunteered with Amnesty International. She lists her interests as Greenpeace and the United Nations. Her LinkedIn profile picture is of Jimmy Ried, a trades union and Communist Party trouble maker who helped to destroy the Scottish shipbuilding industry. Later on in life, Reid joined the SNP.
Ordinarily, we think of the SNP being linked with the Nazi Party rather than the Communists. What? Fiona Bruce and the BBC haven’t told you? Let me explain. The kilted gentleman photographed with the Hitler youth is Arthur Donaldson. Donaldson was leader of the SNP between 1960 and 1969 having joined the party in 1934. In Spring 1941, the time of the Luftwaffe’s blitz on Clydebank which cost twelve hundred lives, Donaldson said,
“… you can be sure that Germany will give us every possible assistance in our early struggle. The time is not yet ripe for us to start a virile campaign against England but when fire and confusion is at its height in England, we can start in earnest.”
Donaldson was arrested and interned, albeit for only six weeks. To this day there is an Arthur Donaldson memorial lecture at the SNP’s annual conference.
On their website, Common Wealth say they are committed to transparency and will publish full details of their funding. They go on to say,
To support our work so far, we have received project grants from OSF, ECF, Amiel Melburn Trust, Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust, The Democracy Collaborative, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
You’ll notice that top of the list is OSF. For some bizarre reason, Common Wealth’s commitment to transparency doesn’t extend to telling us what OSF stands for. Need you ask? George Soros’s ‘Open Society Foundation’. Did somebody mention the war?
Your humble reviewer is struggling to see how Ms Brett can describe herself as an economist, having graduated in International Politics and then having had a series of non-jobs in the leftie bollocks advocacy sector. Is there a parable in the Bible where the accountants pretend not to be accountants and non-accountants pretend to be accountants? There should be.
Sir Ian wasn’t keen on a referendum. He found the Scottish government too adversarial and thought they were working on independence rather than working on what was right for Scotland. He wanted the UK and Scottish governments to work together, which wasn’t the top priority for the Scottish government at the moment, he claimed.
Kate disagreed. She believed the polls, which she claimed were in favour of independence. Kate Forbes is Scotland’s Finance Secretary. Born in Dingwall, she spent much of her childhood in India. She claims to be a comprehensive school pupil who graduated from Selwyn College, Cambridge. This is untrue. She was privately educated at an international school when in India. We shall forgive her, as her Christian beliefs have led her to advocate on behalf of the unborn and the terminally ill. She has also expressed her concern regarding gender reassignment, in return for which she has received a wall of hate from bigots.
After Selwyn, Kate completed an MSC at Edinburgh University in *cough* Diaspora & Migration History. Incidentally, if you think Westminster is a bit of a bubble, 21 (of 163) MSPs elected to the Scottish Parliament (including Kate) in 2016 were Edinburgh University graduates. Kate is well qualified to be Scotland’s Finance Secretary as she was an accountant for two years.
Seema said that Labour will go into the next Scottish election opposed to Scottish independence and a referendum. Child poverty is rising in Scotland. We should be focused on jobs, health and the economy not another divisive referendum. She did have a point.
Sir Mark’s father will be 100 in a couple of weeks and is from Glasgow. Privately educated Sir Mark Jeremy Walport FRS FRCP FRCPath FMedSci FRSE was formerly chief executive of UK Research and Innovation. Upon leaving, he was praised to the skies by friend of QT Review, Paul Nurse, and GP commenters favourite, Sir Chris Witty.
Sir Mark was also Government Chief Scientific Advisor and Head of the Government Office for Science between 2013 and 2017. At the time, George Monbiot, the only person in the world who hates the Lake District, finally made himself useful by writing an article entitled “Beware the Rise of the Government Scientists Turned Lobbyists”, pointing out the conflict of interests pressed upon senior Government medical officers regarding public health versus advocacy on behalf of British businesses.
Famously, life expectancy for men in Glasgow is lower than in North Korea. And that’s with Sir Mark’s centenarian dad propping up the numbers. What will average life expectancy in Glasgow be when he dies? Lower than in a nursing home with raw bat soup (Wuhan style) on the menu.
And that was it. What a load of crap.
A cursory glance at the unread comments shows that Puffins are concerned that your humble reviewer will go mad, or at least have his eyeballs melted, by having to watch Question Time. This week’s programme, and its associated research, has proved usefully revealing. An elite of wealthy individuals, big government, big ‘philanthropy’ and big business, very often paid for out of your taxes, lords it over us with not one dissenting voice from panellists, the BBC or even from a normie audience. Am I the last to realise?
© Always Worth Saying 2020
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