Question Time 15th April 2021
Bernard Jenkin (Conservative)
Rosie Duffield (Labour)
Xand van Tulleken (TV Presenter)
Geoff Norcott (Comedian)
Ayesha Hazarika (Labour Commentator)
This week, all of the panellists and Ms Bruce were in black (and looked better for it) as a mark of respect to the late Duke of Edinburgh. The first question was, is it time to make political lobbying an illegal act?
Bernard Jenkin (Conservative) said, ‘no’, lobbying is part and parcel of democracy. Everybody lobbies, constituents lobby their MPs. “But,” he wondered, “do some people have privileged access?” And as for a part-time civil servant, also working part-time as a lobbyist, Bernard was baffled. Maybe this a re-set moment?
Brexiteer Sir Bernard Christison Jenkin is the Conservative MP for Harwich and North Essex, Chair of the Liaison Committee and son of The Lord Jenkin of Roding, better known to Puffins as Patrick Jenkin MP, a one-time minister in Mrs Thatcher’s cabinet.
In the 2009 expenses scandal, Bernard had to return £36,000 of expenses that he’d claimed as rent paid to his sister-in-law. Tut, tut.
Mr Jenkin’s wife, Anne, is a member of the House of Lords and the daughter of the 4th Baron Rayleigh. Appropriately, she has sat on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Food Poverty and Hunger. A former squeeze of leftie media type Richard Curtis, her and Bernard’s nuptials are rumoured to be the inspiration for Curtis’s famous luvvie lovefest film “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”
In the interests of equality, Mr Jenkin was educated privately at the £21,000 a year Highgate School, then read English Literature at Corpus Christi, Cambridge, before entering politics after a stint in business. Despite his constituency being an easy commute from Westminster, you pay Bernard £1,910 a month to rent in London.
You also pay his £191 annual Daily Telegraph subscription (How come? Mine’s £3 for three months) and his £175 subscription to The Economist. You also pay his bargain-basement £134 a year subs for the Essex County Standard which can be read online for free.
Ayesha Hazarika (Labour Commentator) was speaking from ‘down the line’. Why? She lives in Camden, which is in North London. Sleaze, nepotism, corruption, said Ayesha. She mentioned teh 1% pay rise for NHS staff. Fat cats cleaning off the cream and filling their boots, said Ayesha. Mixing her metaphors to political effect, perhaps she is lobbying to get herself a job as a lobbyist?
It’s grubby, claimed Geoff Norcott (Comedian). Would David Cameron declaring his Greensill lobbying meetings have helped, asked Bruce? “Being a working-class Tory voter,” replied Gregg, as if being a TV media wallah in London makes you working class. David Cameron, not short of pennies to start with and he was the Prime Minister, said Geoff, with the remarkable salt of the earth insight of the working classes.
Comedian Geoff Norcott hails from South London. Originally a teacher, he progressed to being a part-time performer on the stand-up comedy circuit. From there, he began writing for TV, eventually appearing on the other side of the camera on panel shows. Looking for a new angle, his wife suggested that he ‘riff’ on the fact that he votes Conservative, from which he has gained a reputation as one of the few mainstream media right-wing comedians. He has entertained the troops in Afghanistan and voted for Brexit. He claims to be working class, but the accent is a bit ‘mockney’ and his father was a draftsman. We shall see.
Rosie Duffield (Labour) wanted to be lobbied, as she finds out lots of interesting things that she didn’t know about from lobbyists. Rosie is the Labour MP for Canterbury. Last year she got into a tangle with the ’T’ community and the trades unions when tweeting that only women have cervixes. Two members of her office staff resigned after being triggered by Rosie’s constituents writing in and phoning up to agree with her. Can’t have that!
Make connection, network but be transparent, suggested one of the QT50 audience. “Integrity,” said one of the others. “It feels grubby,” she added. But, said Dr Xand van Tulleken (TV presenter), sunshine isn’t necessarily the disinfectant you might think it is. Only the voters should control MPs. Look at America with the big healthcare and gun lobbies. Sheer weight of money decides these things whether there’s transparency or not.
Ayesha had a pre-prepared laundry list of alleged Tory sleaze, topped off with the race card. She is lobbying to become a lobbyist.
Bernard was on a committee, and if people would only take notice of his committee then this kind of thing wouldn’t happen. “The whole system seems to have become blind.” A sense of entitlement had crept into the political culture.
Nobody mentioned the influence trades unions funding has over the Labour Party.
The next question was about the vaccine cavalry’s failure to turn up on the battlefield and relieve the lockdown enclave.
The vaccine hasn’t had the opportunity to work, suggested Xand. The plan to unlock is gradual and depends upon surveillance. We’re lacking in a strategic plan which will stop this from happening again.
Bruce allowed the questioner to talk for too long on a supplementary point which went on forever and just caused confusion.
Xand reminded us that, as we come out of lockdown, there will be more deaths. It’s a trade-off we have to be prepared to make. People are right to be concerned, the lockdown will end but the pandemic won’t.
Geoff had noticed a psychological benefit from the partial lifting of the lockdown last Monday. Economically and socially, young people had paid a price over the last year.
The Prime Minister is right in his tone, noted Ayesha, who’d had her injection and her hair done. She was keen on the vaccination programme but there’s a risk with new variants. Her message was: the end is in sight, we have all suffered, don’t wreck it or go mad, keep your distance from people etc etc etc. The hand comes back up in horror films, she cautioned.
Next question, did the Government seriously misjudge the Unionists in Ulster by creating a border in the Irish Sea?
Working-class London Geoff drew a distinction between Unionists and Loyalists. He recalled the controversy over Sinn Fein members breaking the lockdown without being arrested. Rosie noted a more general confrontation between different peoples.
The customs rules are too strict, said Bernard, he blamed the EU. The Northern Ireland protocol needs to be replaced if needs be.
Aysha had warned over and over again of the fragility of the peace in Ulster. There is such a thing as recreational violence there. Jacob Rees-Mogg, au contrair, should have gone to the Irish border. What’s she on about? The Union is in peril. She called the rest of us ignorant as she’s the only one (from her apartment in Camden) who understands the Irish problem.
Long Kesh Linda was back! Having trashed Pontins during QT’s two-week-long Easter holiday, this week she was calling herself “Donna”. She spoke in suspiciously well-scripted generalities.
The questioner had served in Ulster in the 80s. Peace is an ongoing process, he said. Norn Irn has been used as a political football, especially by the EU. They had used it for leverage. There were better solutions than a border in the Irish sea.
Geoff kissed ‘Donna’s’ backside, saying he didn’t know what her occupation was, but she spoke well and should be involved in the solution. I’ll tell you who she is, Geoff, it was obvious from the first time she spoke on the first QT50 episode. She is a well-rehearsed SinnFein IRA shrill given a platform by the loons at the BBC. Now you know. It couldn’t be more obvious.
Children’s TV presenter Xand suddenly told us that his real expertise was in conflict origin. The way out of conflict is by addressing the underlying issues. Guy’s a genius.
A very brief QT Review biography of television doctor Xand van Tulleken (not his real name) is available here. The key point being that Dr Xand (NHRN) is not a practising doctor and doesn’t have a UK General Medical licence.
In the interests of equality, Dr Alexander Gerald van Hoogenhouck-Tulleken is descended from a Dutch Rear-Admiral and was privately educated at the £22800 a year Kings College School, Wimbledon. In the interests of diversity and equality of opportunity within London media, his twin brother Chriss is also a television presenter and a younger brother, Jonathan Sirett van Hoogenhouck-Tulleken, is a director of BAFTA-nominated short films.
On last week’s Question Time Review, Nick Griffin’s website was blank, this week, Dr Xands has ‘expired’. Make of that what you will.
Has the Duke of Edinburgh media coverage been a bit too much? Was the next question. The lady questioner would have preferred all of this to have been on the red button.
Prince Philip’s only going to die once, noted Geoff. Ayesha very much agreed. She felt sorry for the BBC who can’t win. There had been 100,000 complaints about the BBC’s excessive coverage. Ayesha shamelessly plugged her Times Radio programme.
If you’re ever within earshot of a crystal set in rural India, and you overhear a breathless commentator excitedly exclaiming, “Bernard Manning, Jethro, Jim Davidson, Chubby Brown, Bobby Thomp-son, Stan Board-man, your boys took a hell of a beating tonight,” then you may well be overhearing the end of an Ayesha Hazarika gig.
Public school comrade Ayesha, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and one of the Coatbridge Hazarika’s, was educated privately at the exclusive Laurel Bank Girl’s School in Glasgow. Doctor’s daughter Ms Hazarika (whose brother is also a doctor) studied Law at Hull University before heading further south, taking a masters in Communications and Politics, joining the Civil Service and pitching camp in Camden. Ayesha tells us that in order to relieve the stress of a job for life, long holidays and massive pension in the Civil Service, she took to stand-up comedy. Obviously, her gigs from all those years ago are long forgotten. Hmm. And her material is lost forever. Hmm.
Ayesha became involved in Labour Party politics and worked as an advisor to the likes of Harriet de-criminalise child pornography Harman. In 2010 she was parachuted into East Lothian to stand unsuccessfully as a prospective parliamentary candidate. Missing out words like ‘Camden’, ‘special’ and ‘advisor’ she described herself to the local paper, The East Lothian Courier, as ‘a part-time stand-up comedian’. It’s a shame none of her old routines are on Youtube. *snarf*
In the modern-day, Ms Hazarika works for Times Radio and is a public speaker via the Speaker Corner agency. On their website, she is advertised as,
Combining tales of her time as a special advisor with some great impressions of senior government figures, Ayesha’s comedy is a force to be reckoned with. The perfect figure for corporate entertaining and after-dinner functions, Ayesha’s fresh and unique style ensures she is a highly sought after act.
As Puffins may have guessed by now, your humble author was able to find an Ayesha Hazarika performance from twelve years ago. It consists of vile, lazy, racist and ‘Islamophobic’ tropes, and disgusting stereotypes of the West of Scotland and working-class people. Although ordinarily the ‘humour’ would be unrepeatable in a family column, as QT Review is a work of historical record, one feels obliged. For obvious reasons Mein Kampf is banned in Germany but available in public libraries, explained via carefully annotated pages. Your humble author endeavoured to do likewise while being forced to watch Ayesha’s obscene public act.
Trigger warning, Ms Hazarika misgenders and wrongly pronouns a lesbian biology teacher. Sounding much posher, less Scottish and appearing alluringly low cut, Miss Ayesha begins,
I’m from Glasgow, I know what you’re thinking, brown skin, white teeth, normally it’s the other way round with Glaswegians.1My parents are from India, which doesn’t explain the passing resemblance to Felicity Kendall. That’s just random.2 I saw things in India I never knew existed, like fruit and sunshine.3
1 Skin colour-ism. Bullying humour based on an immutable characteristic (bad teeth). 2 Fake news. Could well explain it. Felicity Kendal lived in India as a child and was educated there by the Loreto Sisters.3Anti-west of Scotland stereotyping. Fake news, Wemyss Bay gets 1310 hours of sunshine a year. Over-simplistic prejudice regarding Glasgow’s complicated relationship with the Lidl fruit aisle.
I went to a posh all-girls school in Glasgow, some of the windows still had glass in them.4 All my teachers were lesbians, including my biology teacher, Mr Laidlaw. He got bullied into it bless him.5What religion are you? I’m a Muslim. Are you a Rangers Muslim or a Celtic Muslim?6
4Lazy stereotyping. 5Homophobic, misgendering and mis-pronouning. Suggesting lesbianism is a choice, rather than an orientation.6Islamophobia. Sectarian bigotry. And nowhere near being remotely funny on any level.
Which is more deviant? Reading the Koran or Scottish country dancing? At least in Islam I never had to pretend to be a gay man called Gordon.7 Being Muslim I feel I shouldn’t celebrate Christmas, being Asian, I feel I should have the biggest tree.8
7Words fail me. Incidentally, If Puffins aren’t laughing, nae bother, neither was the audience 8Did she invent the anti-Asian hate crime thing? I think maybe she did.
Meanwhile, we have a winner:
Dad sat me and my brother down and said, you’re both in your early thirties, isn’t it time you thought about marriage? I said, Dad, I just don’t fancy my brother.
If Puffins would prefer to laugh, they might like to read the unread comments on her Youtube page.
Xand enjoyed watching the same thing for ages. A tinged chap, from a culture that hasn’t invented the comb, wasn’t at all keen on Prince Philip. Obviously not from Vanuatu, the misery guts said Philip’s was a privileged life and a privileged death.
Rosie agreed with everybody, despite the fact that she said he hadn’t been watching it. Controversial, loved, admired, extraordinary, said Bernard. Not at all privileged, the Royal Family’s life is a life of service. The Royal Family are a unifying force.
The BBC being more interested in their own leftie royalty, the programme ended with a compilation of the recently deceased Shirley Williams’ QT appearances. “Bloody bugger orf, silly bloody woman,” one feels obliged to say.
© Always Worth Saying 2021
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file