Question Time 4th February 2021
Oliver Dowden (Conservative)
Thangam Debbonaire (Labour)
Dr Wanda Wyporska (Equality Trust)
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones (Farmer)
Professor Robin Shattock (Immunologist)
On last week’s all-female Question Time, men were excluded and mothers massively underrepresented. This week, people of colour are massively over-represented as are the privately educated. All, no doubt, in the interests of equality.
A QT Review biography of Oliver Dowden is available here and of Professor Robin Shattock, here. The moot points being, Oliver has never had a job and Robin is funded by, amongst others, the EU and Bill and Melinda Gates. More about the ‘amongst others’ to follow.
First question, dithering! Where’s the quarantine for people coming into the country?
Oliver Dowden (Conservative), Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and MP for Hertsmere, dithered. We would have to wait for the Health Secretary to make an announcement. He didn’t know when the announcement would be. Why has it taken so long? Asked Fiona Bruce (Chair). Everybody entering the country is supposed to quarantine anyway, replied Oliver, all that’s changing is organising the taxis and hotels.
Don’t forget the reason for doing this, said Robin Shattock (Immunologist). We don’t want new variants to enter the country. A chap from the QT50 panel, sat behind a giant photo of the Tyne Bridge, listed countries where there’d already been a proper quarantine for a year. Arrianne wanted to know why the Great Western didn’t know about all of this until this morning. Bruce corrected that to, “Best Western Hotels.”
Thangam Debonaire (Labour) noted that people could enter country ‘A’ then travel to country ‘B’, and avoid the restrictions by coming here from there.
Another QT panellist, (I’m starting to recognise them now, Gogglebox style) the one with the zebra, the elephant and big picture of Dianne Abbott on the wall, kicked off a half-decent game of GO. The rest of the QT50 panel joined in. They told of people who knew a friend who’d heard of this bloke who’d tricked their way into Cleethorpes, via Dubai, on the Orient Express, with a parrot as a souvenir, or some such.
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones (Farmer) said he was going to be controversial. The science is getting in the way, we need a bold action. Wilfred didn’t look like a farmer, or sound like a farmer, or sit in a front room that looked like a farmer’s. Any great achievement comes from a bold action, follow the purpose, not the science. Wanda (Equality Trust) claimed businesses knew how to do all of this but the Government were dithering. Far too late, the stable door is bolted and the horse is open. Not for the last time, she got all mixed up.
Oliver was getting the blame for everything. He counter-attacked that the Government were doing lots more of everything and the next step was to pick people up at the airport and take them to the quarantine hotels.
Next question, some communities aren’t taking up the vaccine.
This question was for Wanda Wyporska, she being of the equalities industry. Wanda obsessed about blacks and Asians, forgetting that the elderly are the community worst affected by coronavirus. There is a broader problem. They stop and search us. We are stereotyped as drug dealers. Why did she keep on saying ‘we’? She’s a public schoolgirl from Chester. Our grandparents are sent back to the Caribbean! Really? Wanda’s grandfather was Polish. Lucky old Grandpa Wyporska. Bermuda or Krakov? I know where I’d rather be in February. She also mentioned about ‘we’ being portrayed as prostitutes. *guilty face*.
Amongst a bewildering array of other nutty left-wing appointments, Dr Wanda Wyporska is the Executive Director of the Equality Trust. In the interest of equality, Wanda’s 2019 salary was £57,495. According to their accounts, the Equality Trust has 5.75 employees, between them earning £219,000. Therefore, we can calculate that Wanda, in the interests of equality, earns 68% more than the average of the other employees.
On the Equality Trust website, they campaign to “Call on HSBC to adopt fair and transparent pay practices” and invite us to listen to their new podcast, “Inequality Bites”. Another campaign is #EqualPay50, “50 Years is Long Enough”. This seeks to overturn the disgraceful 15.5% gender pay gap which the Trust claims still exists in the UK fifty years after the Equal Pay Act.
Rest assured, dear Puffin, there isn’t a 15% gender pay gap at the equality trust. Far from it. In their own declaration of transparent pay practices, the Equality Trust’s male to female pay ratio shows a disparity of 35%. Is there a Hypocrisy Trust we can report them to?
Privately educated Ms Wyporska, who has a Polish grandfather, attended University College London where she graduated in Polish Studies, before moving to the University of Oxford to complete an MSc and then a PhD in, ah-hem, Polish Studies. Her thesis was entitled “Representations of the Witch in Early Modern Poland 1500-1800”. Haven’t read it myself, but apparently it’s
A most interesting look at the effects of Post-Tridentine Catholicism on popular belief. Well written, it resonates with the broader context in many other national contexts.
So said the judges of the Folklore Society’s Katharine Briggs Award in 2014. Unfortunately, Wanda’s mighty tome lost out to winner “The Anglo-Scottish Ballad and It’s Imaginary Contexts”, with author David Atkinson being awarded the £200 first prize and an engraved…. Engraved what exactly? The text is very small on the Folklore society’s website, and your humble author can hardly read it. Ordinarily, I would go with “the engraved goblet” but, especially given the subject matter, I really do think it says “£200 and an engraved goblin.” A friend reminds me of a far superior prize, a crate of Hookey and a Dartington crystal tankard.
Published by Palgrave Macmillian, Wanda’s work is rated as the 1,290th best selling book on Polish history. If you prefer your own judgement over the bestsellers lists and the Folklore Society’s judges, new copies of Wanda’s great work are available via Amazon at only (in the interest of equality?) £72.56 each. And, on the Amazon website, although “Representations of the Witch in Early Modern Poland 1500-1800” has been in print for over seven years, you can still be the first to review it.
After completing her education, Wanda had a series of non-jobs in the Trades Union and charity sectors, specialising in “equality”, before joining the Equality Trust in 2016. If you prefer to listen to Wanda rather than read her, she is available to speak via the All American Entertainment agency where, in the interests of equality, she charges between $5,000 and $10,000 for live or virtual events.
Wilfrid had had a text telling him to go for his vaccination and he had had it last week. They’re doing a fantastic job, it’s amazing. He’d taken some publicity photos but Facebook wouldn’t let him post them. The Government needs to be creative, get high profile black people out there giving this vaccine a plug. Fear versus hope, said Wilfrid, let’s base our decisions on hope.
The next question was about dangerous flammable cladding. Questioner Natalie had a scouse accent. Behind her on a shelf were some group photographs. All of the faces had been blanked out, as though Nathalie had been murdering them one at a time. Three of them were astronauts. Very strange.
Thangam said the cladding situation was morally wrong. She wanted the burden to be lifted from leaseholders, whose flats were now worthless. She wanted to charge the expense to the industry responsible. Wilfred said he was prejudiced against insurance companies as they would always try to wriggle out of their responsibilities. It wasn’t just down to the Government, lots of companies were responsible and should help to fix the problem.
Thangam Elizabeth Rachel Debbonaire is the Labour Party MP for Bristol West and Shadow Secretary of State for Housing. In the interests of equality, Comrade Thangam was educated privately at Bradford Girl’s Grammar School and at the £33,000 per annum Chetah’s School of Music. Ms Debbonaire graduated in Mathematics at Oxford University and has also been awarded an MSc in Management Development and Social Responsibility from Bristol University.
Oh, no she didn’t. Looking at small print she ‘took the first stage of a mathematics degree at the University of Oxford’, which suggests that she gave up after failing her first-year exams.
In 2015 Thangam became the MP for Bristol West after benefitting from an all-female Labour Party selection list. In her member’s list of interests, Thangam declares an income from filling in questionnaires. Take a look at all the entries via this link. She fills in dozens of questionnaires, generally for between £50 and £100, for between 15 minutes and 30 minutes of ‘filling in’. Is this a euphemism for something?
On 23rd January 2019, she was paid £30 for 5 minutes “filling in a questionnaire”. In the interests of equality, that’s the equivalent of £360 an hour. Are you on £360 an hour? This “questionnaire filling in” lark sounds even more profitable being a House of Commons washing machine repairman’s helping hand. Ms Debbonaire claims that all of the proceeds go to charity, but what charities does she support? Fallen women? As if a gipsy collecting for the homeless?
Ms Debbonaire’s maiden name is Singh. Her husband is Kevin Walton the opera singer. So where does the ‘Debbonaire’ come from? Might it be a ‘professional’ name? Already out of his small town Debatable Lands comfort zone, this humble reviewer began to panic when hearing of Ms Debbonaire’s hobbies. In interview, she describes what begins to look like a list of extras or even beyond-vanilla ‘specialities’, such as ‘knitting’, ‘my telescope though I am not very good with it’, ‘the hedgehog’, ‘nocturnal experiments’ and ’my back garden’, at which point your humble author made an excuse and left. We shall keep an eye on Ms Debbonaire’s entries. Or maybe we won’t.
Bruce mentioned ‘building regs’ as though she lays a few bricks and bangs in a few nails between Question Time appearances. Wanda mentioned cuts and shortcuts and Grenfell. The head of housebuilders Persimmon was paid a £75m bonus. He’s not worried about the cladding on his house, she noted. It’s a human right to go to sleep in a safe house.
Robin said Government can act quickly if needs be, for instance, the vaccine. There is a moral imperative to move at speed. Oliver completely understood. There is a billion-pound fund. The principle was clear, progress had been made, solutions were being looked for.
The next question was about Brexit and Northern Ireland. Bruce referred to Wilfred as a ‘farmer’. Hmmmm. Wilfred had voted for Brexit but he was having trouble with his meatballs. The only way he can get them in is by paying ten grand to customs. Wilfred was stoical. With change comes pain. In the long run, he still thought Brexit was a good thing. He compared the nimbleness of our Covid vaccine to the chaos at the EU. We will get through, he concluded.
In the guff that comes with QT, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones is billed as being a “farmer”. This is misleading and untrue. Wilfred is not and never has been a farmer. He does not and never has farmed. Wilfred is a PR man in the food industry.
Challenged during an interview with The Guardian’s Rachael Crooke, ‘Devon farmer’ Wilfred admitted that he lives in South London and doesn’t farm. He owns a farm in Devon but the land is rented out for grazing while the farm buildings are holiday lets. Fake farmer Wilfred promotes a brand called “The Black Farmer” but doesn’t actually provide any produce. In The Guardian article, Rachael Crooke writes,
He claims “I like to use small, family companies, which make the sausages to my spec,” he says. “I don’t actually provide the meat myself.”
According to the trade website Food Manufacture, those “small” companies include Traditional Norfolk Poultry (turnover in 2019, £33m) and Cranswick who provide The Black Farmer’s pork and beef items. In 2019, “small” company Cranswick’s turnover was £1.6 billion (yes, billion).
Wilfred claims to have been born in Jamaica and raised in inner-city Birmingham, one of nine siblings. Aged 16, he says he joined the Army after which he worked in catering. Aged 25 he was accepted onto a BBC apprenticeship, eventually becoming a director/producer of food programmes. From there he took the sideways step into PR, starting his own marketing agency through which he promoted food brands such as Kettle Chips, Cobra beer and Lloyd Grossman’s sauces. In 2004 he started his own Black Farmer brand.
Wilfred is also a pubic speaker, via the Public Speakers agency. Far too self-effacing and modest to publicise his fee online, I am indebted to Debbie who informs me via email that,
His fee for a LIVE event is £6500 + VAT – but I think for a VIRTUAL event, he would take £4500 – £5000 + VAT.
Is Going-Postal a virtual event? I think it is. Shall we? No, we shan’t. Also in the interests of equality, the two younger of Wilfred’s three children were “boarders at the best public schools.”
Wanda thought it was ironic. She said she wasn’t an expert on Brexit and Northern Ireland and then proved it by mentioning a border down the North Sea. Hahahahahahaha. Irish Sea, love. Oliver got the blame for all of this as well (not the EU or the Irish). “What are you going to do about it?” Asked Bruce. Bumps in the road with constructive progress was what Oliver said he was going to do.
Vanessa asked the final question. Wendyball legend St Marcus of Rashford has been getting racist abuse. Should we ban anonymity on social media? Own what you say, suggested Vanessa. If you have to say it behind a mask, maybe you shouldn’t say it at all?
If you have an opinion, you should put your face behind it, said Robin. But he didn’t know how to “turn that on”. With photo ID when you set up your account Robin, not all that complicated.
You may have heard from mainstream media of Covid’s UK variant or South African strain but they are much more reticent before mentioning China flu or Wuhan flu, despite the fact that Covid 19 originated in the Wuhan area of China. Will Imperial College Covid vaccine Professor Robin Shattock be more forthcoming? I doubt it. In a June 7th 2020 New York Times article, entitled “UK Lab to Sidestep Drug Industry to Sell Potential Virus Vaccine”, correspondent David Kirkpatrick wrote,
To make the vaccine as widely and cheaply available as possible, Professor Shattock said, Imperial College is creating what it calls a “social enterprise” — a special-purpose, for-profit company chartered to sell the inoculation.
The new social enterprise is called VacEquity Global Health or VGH. The New York Times went on to report that Imperial and VGH will waive royalties for the UK and low-income countries abroad. I wonder of a low-income country they might have in mind?
Imperial College’s partner in VHG is Morningside. By coincidence, the genteel Edinburgh suburb of Morningside was mentioned in last week’s QT Review, regarding spinsterish panellist Kate Green. But this Morningside is the venture capital investment vehicle of Hong Kong property billionaires the Chan family. Also known as MSVC (Morningside Venture Capital), late last year the fund changed its name to 5Y Capital and is now headquartered in Shanghai, on mainland China.
On a previous Question Time, Uxbridge 9th April, QT Review was puzzled by the comments of panellist Dr Peter Openshaw. At the time I noted,
In a crisis, Dr Peter prefers to believe everything that the Chinese Communist Party tells him. He appointed them ‘generous’ because of the information that they have furnished us with.
Now we know why. Dr Peter also works in Covid immunology at Imperial College.
Morningside Venture Capital/5Y is not to be confused with The Morningside Foundation which handles the Chan family’s philanthropy. Last year, the Foundation donated $350m to Harvard’s School of Public Health. In future, I wonder if the recently re-named Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, or anybody associated with Imperial College, will be mentioning ‘China flu’ or trying too hard to find out what caused it? Possibly not.
Wilfred said banning things simply pushed it out of sight. He would rather people were aware of these problems and then we could have a debate about it. He seemed to suggest that, ideally, racist abuse shouldn’t be illegal but, ideally, nobody would want to do it as, ideally, there wouldn’t be an audience for it.
Wanda was concerned about those targetted. She stated (wrongly) that women and people of colour were disproportionately affected by online abuse. She mentioned inequality again. The no photo ID community would be discriminated against if photo ID was needed to join social media. She also suggested that media platforms should be held more responsible for content.
Oliver had been on a round table with footballers. He recalled they went to bed at night with racist abuse on their phones and woke up the next morning with a bit more. Oliver wanted to hold the social media companies to account, and fine them up to ten percent of their global revenue.
Thangam was looking forward to an Online Harm Bill. She suggested social media companies be treated as publishers and should be responsible for content, rather than be merely a conduit for data.
At that, the hour was up, without, for some bizarre reason, any of the panellists having offered the more obvious solution, “Don’t read the comments.”
© Always Worth Saying 2021
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file