Question Time 25th March 2021
Andrew RT Davies (Conservative)
Vaughan Gething (Labour)
Adam Price (Plaid Cmyru)
Nigel Owens (Rugby referee)
Baroness Fox of Buckley (Former Brexit Party MEP)
Tonight, Question Time returns to Wales for the first time since November 26th when the programme featured three of the same panellists, Vaughan Gething, Adam Price and Baroness Fox of Buckley. Do they all live on the same bus route?
Author’s note: The Welsh Assembly and the Senedd are the same thing. I think.
The first question was from Daniel. Will we be allowed to go on a holiday this year abroad? Vaughan Gething (Labour) didn’t know. He confessed he wasn’t going to go on holiday himself. International travel may import coronavirus back into Wales, he reminded us. Across the past year, Vaughan’s R rate has been jumping about all over the place and he blamed this on travel. Claire Fox (former Brexit Party MEP), up on the big screen, apparently already sat on the stairs in a travel lodge reception, thought the vaccine was a brilliant success and declared us all safe. If we go abroad we won’t bring coronavirus back, she decided because we’ve been vaccinated. She was a ‘not have a holiday’ sceptic.
Baroness Claire Regina Fox of Buckley was a Brexit Party MEP for the North West of England between 2019 and 2020. On being elevated to the House of Lords, and taking the title of ‘Buckley’, the good people of that Flintshire town, far from being falch fel dyrnu (proud as a punch), were incandescent. Town Clark and Financial Officer, M B Wright FCPFA AFA MAAT, wrote the following to Mr Johnson:
Dear Prime Minister,
RE: Baroness Fox of Buckley
I write on behalf of Buckley Town Council to express the Town Council’s complete opposition to the above appointment.
The Town Council is surprised that no forward communication was received with regard to the above lady taking the title of the town of Buckley in her letters patent, to seek the Town Council’s opinion on the use of the town’s name in her title.
The Town Council wishes to inform you that it renounces any association with Baroness Fox of Buckley and dissociates itself from her title.
The actions of the said lady, in the past, do not associate with the values of Buckley or the Town Council.
In press interview, Councillor Arnold Woolley added that Baroness Fox had spent some of her early years in Buckley but had attended secondary school elsewhere before she “vanished off the face of the earth as far as Buckley was concerned.”
Councillor Woolley and the Town Council do have a point. A QT Review biography of the Baroness appears here. The low points being her membership of the Revolutionary Communist Party, defence of Garry Glitter’s ‘right’ to download child pornography and her support for the IRA. Her sister, Fiona, is another Revolutionary Communist who writes for the Guardian.
As usual, when visiting a Celtic fringe, the regular QT 50 audience had been stood down and replaced with a Zoom type audience in Wales. Having said that, judging by their accents, nearly all of them were on holiday from England.
Nigel Owens (Rugby referee) hadn’t made plans either, he’d be following the guidelines instead. Nigel Owens MBE is a retired international rugby union referee now farming a herd of 27 Hereford cattle in his native Mynyddcerrig. After completing his education, Nigel became a farmhand, school technician and referee, being promoted to Rugby Union international duties in 2005. More recently, he is a TV celebrity, being the star of Bwrw’r Bar and Munud i Fynd on Welsh broadcaster S4C. Munud I Fynd attracts an audience of 22,000. Given the differences in population, not too different from the audience share that Question Time enjoys across the whole of Britain.
Meanwhile, in the 2020 Wales Online pink list, at number 23, Nigel Owens is the meat in the sandwich between 22nd placed Rob Keetch, “One of Cardiff’s iconic and legendary drag acts,” and Dr Elliot King “an NHS clinician and the cabinet member for children’s services.” One hesitates before dabbling in age-old tropes but, well, you tell me.
Despite considering himself a travelling gentleman of some experience, your humble author has never heard of Mynyddcerrig. Sounding like a tiny little dot on the map, one begins to wonder . . . . hmm.
Mynyddcerrig is in Carmarthenshire. Lying at right angles to the B4310, it consists of a single road running between Bancffostfelan and Hoel-Ddu. The village begins at a closed working men’s club (walking distance from the Torcoed tarmac mine) and ends at Glyn’s wedding car hire establishment 600 yards later. Between those extremities lie four dozen properties. Nigel’s claim to have been born on a council estate would appear to be untrue as there isn’t one.
Therefore, Question Time Review can declare, based upon the kind of independent adjudication and verification of which Sir James Hamilton and Nichola Sturgeon would be proud, that Nigel Owens is the official and evidentially based only gay in the village.
Continuing the theme, and using QT Review’s baseline for such things, Nigel’s autobiography is the very respectably placed 7,285th most popular book on Amazon, a full 19,136 positions ahead of the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom.
Andrew RT Davies (Conservative) said that we must be led by the science rather than by a desire to have a holiday. He “built on the point” that we should have systems in place to cope with the situation we face. “How about coming to Wales?” wondered Bruce. “Oh yes,” said Andrew, staycations. “Even from England?” asked Bruce. Andrew was enthusiastic about that too.
Adam Price (Plaid Cmyru) wanted to align priorities. Opening wouldn’t be happening tomorrow or even in June but businesses needed notice and direction and the Welsh Government weren’t providing that at the moment. He wanted his liberties back. There were positives, the vaccinations, the weather even. He hasn’t been out in it, has he? Cold and wet here. Claire came back in. She told us the data was ahead of where it should be. She wasn’t bothered about variants and found reference to them xenophobic and unnecessarily frightening.
Christopher asked the second question. Somehow, in a very BBC kind of way, he managed to blame a third wave of the pandemic in Europe on the success of the vaccine here. He earned extra points by saying, “Vaccine nationalism.”
Bruce took the side of the EU, and nitpicked over contracts. Andrew stood up to her and told her that it was the EU who were protectionist and our vaccine rollout was a big success. Nigel didn’t want to keep it all to himself, when the time was right, we should help others.
Bruce lept on him, how dare he help himself before throwing vaccines at the disorganised shambles in the EU. Nigel wanted to do both at once and get the balance right. Bruce was determined to commit him to send vaccine abroad before we have our own. But Nigel stood up to her, helping everyone includes helping ourselves, he wisely noted.
Adam invented a mutual self-interest where, if you close your eyes and pretend it to be so, everybody could be happy simultaneously. Bruce was absolutely determined to send our vaccines abroad. Andrew Price said it was the flailing Macron who was self-interested, not us.
A lady on Zoom said we should vaccinate ourselves first. The EU were motivated by bitterness because of Brexit. Bruce champed at the bit, but she dare not bite a member of the public. Another lady said that good work had been done and it would be a shame if the supply chain suffered. She had little faith in the EU either. It was “dog in the mangerish” not to give our vaccines away, somebody else said. This somebody else turned out to be a health care worker who had already had hers. What she meant was, it’s dog in the mangerish not to give your jab away. All these Welsh audience members had English accents. Another AstraZeneca side effect? Ten times worse than a blood clot?
Claire said we weren’t hoarding vaccines, it was the EU who were protectionist. And anyway, if we had spare vaccines they should go to poor countries, not continental Europe.
Vaughan wanted everybody to calm down, comments were unhelpful. Don’t read them, Vaughan, nobody else does. Bruce persisted with asking if we should vaccinate our own people first. Vaughan laid his trump card. “Yes,” he replied, without drama or hesitation. Bruce was livid. She was itching to call him a racist, a xenophobe, a Nazi literally worse than Hitler. But she dare not. Vaughan’s mother is from Zambia. Without even realising it, by simply passing on a tinge, the good Mrs Gething had shot Bruce’s Fox and sunk her battleship.
Vaughan Gething is the Welsh Labour Party Minister for Health and Social Services and the Senedd Member for Cardiff South and Penarth. A QT Review biography of Mr Gething is available here. The notable points being that he isn’t particularly Welsh, having a Zambian mother and being brought up in Dorset. Vaughan has also been caught out swearing on Zoom.
The rhetoric had been dialled up by the EU, not by us, said Andrew. Poor Bruce was getting a real kicking. She insisted someone quote unhelpful comments from Dominic Raab. Adam obliged. Raab had said that the EU were acting like a dictatorship. Claire said that’s because they are a dictatorship. Vaughan sighed, saying that was exactly the kind of coment that he didnt like.
Question 3 adressed ‘hard-working’ Scottish NHS staff. Should their 4% pay rise be matched in Wales? In other words, should the English taxpayer, as well as tipping money on Scottish public sector workers, also be forced to tip money on Welsh public sector workers?
Adam said, oh yes, yes, yes, they should get 4%.
Andrew said a 4% rise is an 8% cut. You can tell he’s farmer! The last time Adam and Andrew had debated, Adam had promised that the English taxpayer would pay an extra 12% to Welsh NHS staff, now it was just 4. Andrew said that we should follow the pay review boards. Adam thought the clapping on the doorstep should be backed up by English taxpayer’s money, like clapping for the dog to bring its bone.
Claire reminded us that lots of people want a pay rise, some of whom presently get nothing. Why should NHS workers get a bigger pay rise compared with everybody else? The NHS are some kind of protected species. Politicians were hijacking nurses in order to virtue signal. This is divisive. What a mass of contradictions the gal is. She is doing my head in as well as the town council’s. Maybe I should write to the Prime Minister?
Vaughan spoke calmly, in recent years, as Welsh Health Secretary, he had paid NHS staff more English taxpayer’s money, and employed more NHS staff with even more English taxpayer’s money.
Contributors from the Welsh audience, still all sounding English, wanted to pay higher wages but, simultaneously, forgot to offer to pay any more tax.
Nigel wanted to mention other workers as well as those in the NHS. He found it all wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. They are special cases. They have been clapped. They’d saved his life twenty years ago. I wasn’t going to mention this but when Nigel was on Desert Island Disks, he told a startled Kirsty Walk that previously he’d gone to his doctor and asked to be castrated. I know. I wonder if that’s what was saved? Maybe the waiting list was so long he’d had a chance to change his mind? You can’t really ask. Bruce certainly didn’t.
So be it, they deserve it, Nigel concluded.
A Welsh person asked the next question. Gracious. Which party will benefit most from 16 and 17-year-olds voting in May’s assembly elections?
Claire thought it cynical, we can’t engage the 18+ never mind the younger ones. She thought the Labour Party were expecting to benefit but said that the SNP had been caught out thinking such in the independence referendum, and the same might happen to Labour. Bruce said there were two young people in the audience. Both were English, the second one said she was twenty-seven and got the “vibes” that Plaid and the Greens might be the ones who benefit.
Adam thought that we all benefit by having the young at the heart of democracy. He looked forward to the future. We’re all thinking. Dear God, what a load of tripe.
Adam Robert Price is the leader of Plaid Cymru and the Senedd member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. A QT Review biography of Adam is available here. The high point being Mr Price’s Cardiff University degree in European Community Studies, *snarf*, and his 7th position on the 2014 Wales Online Welsh pink list, wedged between a rugby player and the Army’s first transgender officer.
Since then, dark clouds have gathered over Adam’s rainbow, with his relegation to position number 27 in the 2020 list. He is now beneath 26th placed Amy Richards, founder of a Cardiff lesbian’s club, but on top of Mike Parker, “a strong supporter of the mid-Wales queer arts scene”. According to Wales Online, Mike composed and performed “a bilingual poem on the theme of Pride for the first Aberration virtual Pride.” Is there really a place in mid-Wales called Aberration? Containing enough homosexuals for a parade? If so, conclusive proof that God exists.
Andrew had wanted the voting age kept at 18 but had an exciting manifesto all the same. He had a snipe at Plaid. There’d be constitutional chaos if another Welsh independence referendum was called.
Andrew Robert Tudor Davies CBE is the leader of the Conservative Party in the Cardiff Senedd. Andrew represents a region, South Wales Central, not a constituency, as he was elected from a party list rather than as an individual.
Mr Davies was privately educated at the £22,000 a year Wycliffe College in Gloucestershire before working on his family farm in Cowbridge a few miles from Cardiff.
In 2008, the Wales Yearbook Political Awards, sponsored by ITV Wales, appointed Andrew as the Assembly Member to Watch. As if watching grass grow or a ship rust, Andrew’s career has consisted of a number of shadow positions within the Welsh Assembly combined with pointless parochial in-fighting amongst Welsh Conservatives and low-intensity warfare with the local newspaper. On the other hand, Andrew is very keen on Brexit, so much so that he was forced to resign after offending uber-Remainers, and part French Government-owned, Airbus Industries who are big employers in Wales.
That local newspaper is Wales Online, also known as the smoking ruins of what used to be the Western Mail. Formerly one of the great thundering mouthpieces of Her Majesty’s regional press, the Cardiff based Western Mail was founded in 1869 by 3rd Marquis of Bute who, amongst many other things, was a Glamorganshire mine and railway owner. The Marquis’s great-great-grandson is retired racing car driver Johnny Dumfries (also known as John Bute) who died this week.
As part of their running battle with Mr Davies, Wales Online reports that the MS (Member of the Senedd) claims £102,000 in constituency office spending. That constituency office appearing to be an abandoned wooden hut fifty yards behind a security fence on a neighbour’s farm. They also report that Mr Davies claims a £35,000 a year salary for his wife, the lush and watchable Julia, as a parliamentary personal assistant. However, Julia’s parliamentary email is so little used that the account has become dormant. Anonymous warring Welsh Conservatives queued up to tell the Marquis of Bute’s organ that Julia is never about the place. Meanwhile, Wales Online’s action news reporter uncovered Julia’s £60 an hour hypnotherapy business from which e-mail enquiries are answered within minutes.
Mr Davies fired back, claiming that he needed Julia for his dyslexia, not having switched on a desktop computer himself since 2016. All very Welsh.
An observation. Part of the reason that the likes of the Western Mail have been reduced to one office full of journalism students with the printing contracted out, is because of a digital media revolution over which they have no control. The other part of the reason is that they have lost touch with their readers, eg pink list woke bollocks.
Vaughan had always been in favour of 16 years olds voting. Therefore, without saying so, suggesting that his own Labour Party would be the beneficiaries.
Nigel didn’t know which political party would benefit but he hoped the politicians would be honest. Sixteen is the new eighteen he told us. All of us should have a say.
The last question was from posh English Sarah and regarded flying the Union Jack on public buildings. Good idea thought Andrew, and fly the Welsh flag beside it. He was proud to be a Unionist and a Welshman and to weigh nineteen and a half stone, he un-necessarily added.
Vaughan was proud to be British, Welsh and Zambian, but he had the Labour Party’s lack of enthusiasm for the flag. He didn’t want to see the UK fall apart but didn’t sound keen on our unifying national symbol either.
The questioner talked bollocks about inclusion and bringing people together. I think she was complaining that national flags could be nationalist. Well, yes, they’re supposed to be, that’s the whole point.
Claire had had her mini Union Jack confiscated when she’d been an MEP.
Adam didn’t like the Union Jack because he wasn’t on it. Bruce said that’s because Wales and England are the same country. Adam was so thick that instead of taking long and windy national offence he talked about furlough instead.
You shouldn’t mandate the flag on anybody, said Nigel. At rugby internationals, they used to fly his flag between that of the two teams he was refereeing. The thought flying the flag on public buildings to be a bit too forced and confessed to being hung up about them (groan).
© Always Worth Saying 2021
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file