Always Worth Saying’s Question Time Review

"You have entertained me," Dominic Lawson

Question Time 20th May 2021


Nadhim Zahawi (Conservative)
Nick Thomas-Symonds (Labour)
Devi Sridhar (Academic)
Richard Walker (Retailer)
Harriet Green (Buisnesswoman)

Venue: London & Edinburgh

Never mind that, Puffins want to know about my toothache. First slide. Wednesday, 11 stone 11 lbs, pain killers at 12:30. Next slide. Thursday, 11 stone 10 lbs, pain killers at 13:00, went to the toilet. Next slide. Friday, Professor Dr Sir Robert Peston MD, redundant employees of Warren Medical, Doria Ragland and the Board of Directors of the Bank of Panama will be pleased to hear that your humble author is mocked remorselessly because of his continuing near-death experience brought about by a pulled molar. On informing my family (over yet another dinner of soggy bread and tap water) that I’ve lost 9 lbs in weight, my eldest son was overheard to say, “How big was that tooth?” Very funny.

Elsewhere, a smiling Fiona Bruce, dressed like a hospital porter, invited the first question which was, “Should we abandon trips abroad?”

Nick Thomas-Symonds (Labour) complained that everything the Government had done thus far had been slow. Then he concentrated upon the ‘mess’ of the red, amber and green travel advice lists. He wanted amber to be abandoned in the interest of cautious clarity.

Nadhim Zahawi (Conservative) informed us that all countries were on the amber list except the ones that were on the green and red ones. Nick wanted a pause. There’s a mess at the airports. Put the amber list onto the red list and then we’ll quickly get to the green list, he said. I think.

Harriet Green (businesswoman) thought all this frustrating. She said ‘vacation’ instead of holiday. We have to look very carefully at what is happening as tremendously successful Covid countries have had to move back into lockdown recently.

Devi Sidrhar (academic) acknowledged the success of the vaccine programme but urged caution. She reminded us that she was from Miami and would rather be there than here. She was looking forward to an even more impressive Americanism than vacation – ‘safe time’.

Richard Walker (food retailer) from Iceland had booked a holiday in Greenland. Or in a green land? He didn’t say. We can’t seal our borders as 10,000 lorries a day cross them.

Richard is the joint managing director of food retailer Iceland. In the interests of equality of opportunity, he serves under Executive Chairman Sir Malcolm Walker, his own father.

Devi didn’t want to seal off the country but greens and reds are mixing at airports with Indian variants. Is this what they mean by identity politics? Devi mentioned yellow fever. India’s on the red list, commented Nadhim. Bruce told us of the different infection rates in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India but, Nadhim claimed, this was because of the South Africa variant in Pakistan not the Indian variant from neighbouring India.

Got that?

B61762 in Singapore, said Nadim, muddying the waters further before bringing Blackburn and Darwen onto the road map. Are we there yet? Devi mentioned New Zealand and B117 (did she mean F117? More of which later). Go to restaurants, go to shops, but do it on this island, she instructed. Where is she? Devi Island? I shall book a tour, even if it’s on the red list.

Richard thought this a game of chess. He complimented Nadhim and his team on the vaccine rollout. The ultimate cure was to get everyone vaccinated.

Nobody dared mention the Portuguese variant……… You heard of it here first, Puffins.

The second question was about the new Great British Railways railway authority. Just a gimmick?

Harriet worried about single points of contact causing a loss in innovation. “The dead hand of the state,” added Bruce somberly. Did I say she was dressed as a hospital porter? No, a BR guard in the 1970s. My mistake.

Grammar school girl Harriet Green was born in Cheltenham in 1961 and graduated from Kings College London with a degree in Medieval History before further study in Business Psychology at the London School of Economics. Following a career in electronic component distribution, Harriet became Chief Executive Officer of struggling tour operator Thomas Cook in 2012.

Green appeared to have turned the company around by cutting costs. The City was impressed by the strategy (2,500 jobs were lost and 400 high street outlets closed) and the resulting rising share price allowed for a cash injection into the business of over £400 million via a share sale. However, the underlying problems of low growth and difficult trading conditions persisted and Green was replaced in a board room coup only two years later.

One thing Harriet omitted to cut was her own salary. Not only was she paid £248,000 for two months work in late 2014 but an additional £451,000 during her boardroom coup gardening leave. Additionally, she was awarded bonus plan shares worth £5.6 million.

As well as failing to tackle the underlying problems (Thomas Cook went into administration a few years later), Harriet was unpopular at the company. Cost cutter Ms Green lived in a five star Mayfair hotel during the working week, in the interests of equality of opportunity she employed her brother as her chauffeur, knew nothing about the travel industry and regularly humiliated colleagues in public.

After leaving Thomas Cook, Ms Green continued to be a non-executive director of BAE Systems where her particular style of cost-cutting continued with, in 2018, Harriet being paid £118,000 for attending thirteen meetings.

In the present day, she is the Executive Chair of Red Badger, a technology consultancy whose clients include the BBC and NHS.

Nick worried of the plans, seeing the franchised privatised railways under Great British Railway as a bit of a dog’s dinner and preferring a monolithic dead (no doubt trades unionist’s) hand on the controller.

Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds is the Labour MP for Torfaen and Shadow Home Secretary. Nick read PPE at St Edmond Hall, Oxford, and was called to the bar in 2004. He has tutored at St Edmond Hall and, during her overseas studies year, found himself over QT Review favourite Kayleigh McEnany.

Richard drew a distinction between monopolies and a competitive marketplace. There were lots of places to buy frozen peas, but only one railway line from his house to London. Despite being a capitalist, he was in favour of a sort of nationalisation. His father had told him that, in the days of National Rail, the system had been crap. He meant British Rail.

Devi didn’t understand why it was so much cheaper to fly. Because the airlines don’t have to pay to maintain a continual infrastructure from A to B, they just fly through the air you silly mare.

The next question was about the trade deal with Australia, with a little bit of global warming thrown in by mentioning the transportation of meat over long distances.

Richard got his frozen peas locally and didn’t care. Harriet wept because we’d left the EU. A happy farmer from the QT50 audience noted that Australia and New Zealand don’t use up their present UK import quotas and are more likely to trade with China.

Nadhim thought negotiating trade deals for ourselves was a good thing as long as high-quality animal husbandry wasn’t compromised.

QT50 audience members naively thought that we can produce everything we need locally and that people will buy on virtue (air miles, CO2, local businesses etc) rather than on price.

Next question. Israel and Palestine. Should the UK be doing more?

Oh yes, said Nadhim. Dominic Raab has worked tirelessly. President Biden has worked tirelessly. Have they? “Strain every sinew.”

As a Question Time regular, Puffins are familiar with Nadhim Zahawi, Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon and Minister for Covid Vaccine Delivery.

Previously we have learned of Mr Zahawi’s £25 million property empire, his well-paid connections with the Caribbean tax havens and Kurdish Iraq’s oil concessions, and his horses having their stables heated on his Westminster expenses.

Following his January 6th appearance on Question Time (the review being published on the 7th) the QT Review spotlight illuminated Warren Medical, a company set up in June 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Warren Medical’s three company directors were Mr Zahawi’s wife, confusingly declaring herself as Ms Lana Fawsi Jamil Saib, and two of Mr Zahawi’s sons, confusingly declaring themselves as Jaafar Shanshal and Ahman Shanshal. Even more confusingly, the Zadawi’s family interest in the medical business was not declared in Nadhim Zahawi’s December 2020 list of parliamentary interests.

Interestingly, the subsequent Minister for Vaccine Deployment’s family had no previous medical experience other than, in the interests of equality of opportunity, Jaafar Shanshal having been employed as a researcher by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

May QT Review claim a scalp? Signed and dated documents lodged at Companies House show that the day after QT Review was published, January 8th 2021, Ms Saib and Messrs Shanshal applied to have Warren Medical struck off the company’s register and be dissolved.

Now Puffins know how the Serbian Home Guard felt when they shot down that stealth F-117.

Harriet agreed with Nadhim’s incomprehensible comments and blamed fake news rather than the people who are actually fighting with each other.

“Do we know what the two sides want?” asked a QT50 audience member. To kill each other, pal, they’ve been at it for thousands of years.

Devi mentioned international law. It’s such a shame that we forget the humanity in each other, she said, most people are pretty similar to each other, she claimed, as the missiles continued to rain down.

Devi Sridhar is an Indian American (not to be confused with an American Indian) born in Miami, Florida, in 1984. In the interests of equality, Devi was educated privately at the £28,000 a year Ransom Everglades School. Ms Shivar graduated in Biology (not medicine) from the University of Miami and then studied in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. After which she joined the University of Oxford Global Economic Governance Programme and perused a career in academia. Currently, she is a Full Professor and Chair at the University of Edinburgh and was QT Review’s ‘Would of the Month’ in May 2020.

At the other extreme, Ms Sridhar is the author of The Battle Against Hunger: Choice, Circumstance, and the Work Bank, which lies a stomach emptying 2,120,023 places behind the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom in the Amazon best sellers chart.

Guardian columnist Devi has also authored an unfortunate tweet in which she Devi-splained to Americans that Scotland was doing well in its Covid response but anti-Scottish Unionists were criticising her because she advised the Scottish Government.

In the ensuing Twitter spat, Rangers fans (and others) were on hand to remind Devi that Unionists aren’t anti-Scottish, she isn’t qualified to give medical advice and even if she was she could stick it up her ‘clunge’.

Aid into Gaza, pressure for a genuine peace process and a two-state system with a secure Israel and a viable Palestine, suggested Nick as if wishing for dry rain and red hot ice.

A well-informed lady from the QT50 appeared to have read the Hamas charter as she mentioned their commitment to the annihilation of the state of Israel. And removing every single Jew from the Holy Land, she could have added. And the Gaza Palestinians keep on voting for them, I shall add myself. Blame Iran, who had been held down by Trump but not by Biden, she said to total silence.

Richard preferred words like “geopolitical” and “historic”. He decided, completely out of the blue, that people in the Holy Land were disillusioned with their leaders, after which he commenced to conjure from nowhere a “new, young, progressive, leadership, committed to a two-state solution.” Is he twelve?

With that, Bruce called a ceasefire until next Thursday.

© Always Worth Saying 2021

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