Question Time 6th May 2021
Robert Jenrick (Conservative)
Thangham Debbonaire (Labour)
Hugh Osmond (Businessman)
Deborah Frances-White (Media professional)
John Bercow (Former Commons Speaker)
Dominic Lawson, Wilfred Emmanuel Jones’ agent, Gal Dem (the magazine for marginalised genders of colour) agony aunt Aisha Mizra, Mrs Eddie Izard (not of this parish), 41.2% of the people of Northern Ireland and the entire population of Scotland will be pleased to hear that your humble reviewer is still suffering from terrible toothache.
As for his newly discovered painkiller induced world of crazy dreams, they now take place in an entirely two-dimensional monochrome universe containing only two figures of depth and colour – myself and a tiger. Half of the time the tiger wants to play. The other half of the time, it wants to harm me. Shall we pack this in and summarise Jung instead? No, we shan’t. God makes them and pairs them. Every sparra’ has a marra. These things are meant to be. BBC Question Time, British television’s very own dentist’s chair, demands a reviewer in pain.
Question one. Was the Government right to send the Navy to Jersey?
Into our prescription medicated Jungian dreamscape dropped the ridiculous figure of John Bercow (not his real name), former Speaker of the House of Commons, former Conservative MP for Buckingham and former Crackerjack contestant (CRACK-ER JACK!!). In the video clip, John is pictured on the far right coming last in a ‘put a ring on the end of your stick’ competition (no, don’t, stop it).
“Juvenile and down market,” John bellowed as if addressing Jack Tars from the fo’c’sle. Britain can do better than that. And it’s all the fault of Brexit, he continued from behind his eye patch and with one arm tucked into his jacket.
In 2009, as John became Speaker of the House of Commons, the Daily Telegraph ran a brief investigatory piece on him during which they discovered, as a young man, he had been a member of the notorious Conservative Monday Club and was secretary of the club’s immigration and repatriation committee which called for,
an end to New Commonwealth and Pakistan immigration, a properly financed system of voluntary repatriation, the repeal of the Race Relations Act and the abolition of the Commission for Racial Equality.
Other members recalled Mr Bercow’s admiration of Enoch Powell and his ability to ‘regurgitate’ Mr Powell’s speeches word for word, even mimicking Mr Powell’s voice as he spoke.
During his subsequent political career, Mr Bercow built a funeral pyre under himself and made himself unwanted in his own land by slewing to the left. He defied three-line whips to vote with Labour, clashed with his own party over Iraq, immigration and taxes and even became an uber Remainer.
If QT Review may paraphrase a startled concierge delivering champagne to a George Best recumbent on a bed of £50 notes, while Miss World refreshes in the shower,
“Oh John, where did it all go wrong?”
The Telegraph article also comments upon Mr Bercow’s unpopularity (in contrast to his wife, Sally, a woman loved by all), “Extremely pushy and rather pleased with himself,” at the Monday Club and, as a Politics student at Essex University, “universally despised.” A Colchester campus contemporary recalled,
He was always attacking left-wingers, gays and feminists. After one speech he made at the student union one of the feminists walked up to him and poured a pint of beer over his head.
No doubt he was also despised by his Granny and Grandad, Mr and Mrs Berowitz, wary of being sent back to Ceaușescu’s Romania. At family gatherings were they tempted to tip a Baniţă of donkey urine over him from a wooden bucket? I bet they were.
A sensible outcome concluded Jenrick. The French have gone home and so have the Navy. Brexit has been put to bed.
A chap in the QT50 audience suggested a sinking or fifty.
Thangham Debbonaire (Labour) made the mistake of countering the cannon fire with talk of protocols, intentions and outcomes. Nobody cares about that Thangham, we want war at sea.
Hugh Osman (businessman) speaking from the Zoom screen and looking a bit rough, as if Shackleton halfway between Elephant Island and South Georgia, thought this a failure of diplomacy and a bit of a waste of time. He was even wearing one of Shakleton’s high necked woolly jumpers.
A QT50 audience lady suggested the French wrong and well out of order. Bruce took the side of the enemy, surprise, surprise, and demanded Foch and Clemenceau be given more time to do the paperwork.
Deborah Frances-White (media professional), in a yellow Arctic convoy sou’wester and big specs, thought this childish and wanted politicians to get out of the bed in the morning and behave like grown-ups.
Bercow set off again, grinding on like an old coaster, grumbling along the coastline as if full of manure for the Lincolnshire coast.
Jenrick tried to say something, but Admiral Bercow, overcome with his own self-importance, gave a lecture on what a good Speaker he’d been, in the same way that Villeneuve had been good at Trafalgar and Brueys d’Aigalliers excellent at the Battle of the Nile.
Question two was about the by-election in Hartlepool. Thangham didn’t say much as she’s expecting Labour to be hammered but dare not say so.
A QT Review biography of Thangham Debonaire (not her real name) is available here. Ms Debbonaire (NHRN), is in reality one of the Cambridgeshire Singhs and a privately educated uber posh Oxford-educated comrade married to an opera singer. How dare the people of Hartlepool fail to connect with the Labour Party!
Ms Debbonaire is the MP for Bristol West and the Shadow Secretary of State for Housing with a special interest in teh cladding. Hmm.
Hugh thought there was a need for good opposition which is lacking. Labour wasn’t there for the kind of people who need Labour, there was a need for policy clarity.
Thangham came back and mentioned cladding. Hmm.
Deborah wanted to like Kier Starmer but struggled. Then she became confused about Labour’s position on the Policing Bill, not realising Labour had voted against it. More from Starmer on Black Lives Matter, Deborah suggested. Not quite au fait with Hartlepool is she?
Jenrik had been to Hartlepool and had realised that the Labour Party offered places like Hartlepool nothing and had become too metropolitan.
John Bercow had decided (rightly) that Labour will lose. Should Kier Starmer go? No, because there has been a suspension of normal politics because of Brexit and the pandemic.
Hugh suggested it was John Lewis curtains for Starmer. He foresaw the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer in a ‘K’ shaped recovery. Good news for Hugh Osmond who is the big cheese at Punch Taverns. Educated at Merton College, Oxford, according to the Sunday Times rich list Hugh is worth £278 million. In terms of housing, Mr Osmond owns a shooting estate in Berkshire and homes in Oxfordshire, Cornwall and Marylebone.
Thangham didn’t have a counter-argument, only a contradiction. “Just not true,” she said to any criticism of the Labour Party, reminding the voters that they’re wrong, as they have been in the last four general elections and the Brexit vote.
Question three wondered about the speed of reopening hospitality.
Hugh wanted to talk about his court case. It was academic, apparently, according to the judge, so the case got nowhere. Jenrick urged caution aided by grants and business rates holidays.
An utter tragedy, said Thangham, the Government should have been driven by data but having said that she wouldn’t commit to earlier opening dates. Bercow set off again. The Government was committed to dates, not data. The hospitality sector deserves relief and support, he said, but not as concisely. Bercow thought he was back in the Speaker’s chair. He went on for too long and became too pompous.
Deborah compared the UK unfavourably to Australia in terms of Covid deaths, in the same way that one may compare chalk and cheese. She didn’t know what to do and she blamed that on the Government too. She was mystified by Hartlepool. Her attack on Jenrick amounted to asking why has New Zealand had only 900 deaths? Because it’s in the middle of nowhere, love, and hardly anybody lives there. Silly mare.
Australian Deborah Frances-White claims on her public speaker’s profile that, as a young woman, she gave up all she knew and came to England on a one-way-ticket to London. This is untrue, she came to Oxford to study English at Harris Manchester College.
After graduation she formed a media company, The Spontaneity Shop, with her husband, Southampton University graduate, actor and director, Tom Salinksy.
At the moment, The Spontaneity Shop provides corporate communications training to the likes of City financial institutions and blue-chip companies. Some of their training is available via Zoom, priced at £95 per person for a two-hour session.
In 2019, Tom wrote and directed the ‘hilarious’ play Brexit which ran at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington. Not quite The Mousetrap, it lasted four weeks.
Deborah presents the Guilty Feminist podcast. Puffins will be pleased to hear that the latest edition, appropriately entitled ‘Noisy and Annoying’, is co-presented by well known feminist and Going Postal favourite, Femi.
Actor Tom also has a blog, within which he auditions for Pseud’s Corner. While reviewing The Sound of Metal, Mr Salinsky observed,
Certain scenes play like a weird looking-glass version of the nightmare scene in The Artist wherein objects sudden (sic) create noises. It’s the contrast between the kinetic movement in the frame and the precisely judged presence or absence of accompanying sounds that give these moments their profound impact.
To his credit, elsewhere on his blog, Mr Salinsky gives Doctor’s Receptionist Woke (the embarrassment formerly known as Dr Who) a good hard kicking.
Together, Tom and Debrah have co-authored, The Improv Handbook. Despite being billed as ‘the most comprehensive, smart, helpful and inspiring guide to improv available today’, and despite containing ‘a range of games, interviews, descriptions and exercises that illuminate and illustrate the exciting world of improvised performance,’ The Improv Handbook is a disappointing 295,314 places behind the Marquis De Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, in the Amazon best sellers list.
If this pair of north London leftie crackpots weren’t daft enough, in a December 2019 investigative report, Daily Telegraph journalist Eleanor Steafel found, as well as cats and books, a Syrian refugee called Steve Ali in their spare room. Mr Ali, obviously, turned out to be an aspiring architect.
If only the Frances-White-Salinsky’s had stood for Labour in Hartlepool. The Red Wall would have been breached! No, it wouldn’t.
The final question was about a football pitch invasion at the weekend. Should fans have more power? Or will they be ignored?
We need a shift in power from the billionaires to the fans, according to Jenrick. Pass laws, regulate and intervene in their interest, he suggested.
Cambridge educated grammar school boy Robert Jenrick is the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and is, therefore, the minister responsible for teh cladding. Hmm.
If you’re worried about the Housing Minister’s own housing arrangements, given the country’s never-ending housing crisis, don’t be. Mr Jenrick’s family home is Eye Manor in Herefordshire, a Grade I listed building built in the late 17th century in the Carolean style for sugar and slave trader, Ferdinando Gorges. Although featured in The Times in September 2008 at an asking price of £1.5million, Mr Jenrick bought the property in 2009 for a bargain £1.1 million.
An inconvenient 129 miles from his Newark constituency and 161 miles from the House of Commons, Puffins will be pleased to hear that they pay for Mr Jenrick’s travel expenses.
Since 2015, you have paid Mr Jenrick £20,786 to travel between his mansion, his constituency and parliament. Simultaneously, you have also paid him £121,340 to rent in central London. And that’s just the rent, you will also have paid all of his central London bills. Why can’t his family home be a bit closer to Westminster? Perhaps on the Westferry Printworks site in East London? Developed by Tory donor Richard Desmond, housing minister Mr Jenrick over-rode local officials and timed the decision in order to save Mr Desmond £45 million.
A fan-led review, pounced Thangham, which was the idea of the Labour Party. Hugh didn’t know much about football but had noticed a shift towards bought media rights and away from fans.
Deborah didn’t know anything about football but had been pleased to see British people involved politically, albeit only in sport.
Fiona suggested the German model, where the fans own the clubs. Bercow congratulated Bruce on knowing about the German model and then off he went again. “I speak as an Arsenal season ticket owner,” he bellowed, “Stan Kronke, get out of our club.”
Strangely, despite the Minister for Housing and the Shadow Minister for Housing being present, and the BBC’s obsession with such things, there was no question about teh cladding, which was a bugger as that’s what I’d done all my prep on.
*Sad face with swollen jaw next to a pile of pills*
© Always Worth Saying 2021
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file