GB News 29th July 2021
Catherine (Travel expert)
Laurence Fox (Political activist)
Angela Levin (Royal watcher)
Dave Rogers (Olympic correspondent)
Venue: Brazier & Muroki
We join the programme with regular presenter Mercy Muroki and with Tom Harwood covering for missing co-host Colin Brazier, perhaps resting like absent Andrew Neil or feigning a broken hip like Alastair Stewart or stuck in the knee position like Guto Harri.
The topic was a new royal yacht, anticipated to cost up to £250 million pounds, which will soon be out to tender and is expected to be completed by an optimistic 2025.
Tom reminded us the miseries in the Labour Party would rather waste the money on increased pay for nurses. He also said the construction of the royal yacht is a one-off expense whereas a pay rise is an ongoing cost, amplified by future increases.
Your humble author has a suggestion. People who know about these things inform him there is such a thing as a special forces pod attached to a submarine. Why not have a Royal Family pod fixed onto one of the new City Class frigates? HMS Hull could become the royal yacht at a fraction of the price, in the same way a lick of red, white and blue paint turned an RAF tanker into the United Kingdom’s Boris Force One.
Tom linked us to the South of France where, seamlessly, he informed us Lisa wanted to talk about the royal yacht. Except she didn’t, she wanted to talk about Covid 19 holiday restrictions.
Despite being an over-priced baguette’s throw away from GB News chairman Andrew Neil’s exclusive Grasse villa in the parfume region of Southern France (where his neighbours include Noel Edmunds), Lisa was stopping at a campsite. Wedged between the Dutch and some other Johnny foreigners, she had noticed all of the rules and regulations were different for different nationalities.
Speaking of camp, Tom Harwood was not only tieless but over-unbuttoned, as an inner Tom Daily tried to burst out.
Beside him on the sofa, the fragrant Mercy Muroki wore cream silk pyjamas with tiny hedgehog embellishments. Only slightly un-buttoned she persuaded us that if Gloria dePerio is a night in a Travelogue with Wayne Rooney after the VIP section of a night club in Derby, then Miss Muroki is a month at the Peninsular with Omar Sheriff following the baccarat tables.
One of the Northamptonshire Muroki’s, Mercy was born in Kenya and attended a school with no electricity and with dry pit toilets before emigrating to Northampton when she was five. Despite the clipped, crisp, received pronunciation she lived on a council estate and attended Northampton College where she excelled.
While taking A-levels in Politics, History and English Language, she was also President of the Student Union, a student governor, interned at the European Union and gave birth to a baby daughter.
After college, she moved to the capital and took a First in Politics at Queen Mary University of London. Meanwhile, she was awarded the Drapers Company Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement, was President of the Politics and International Relations Society and Editor in Chief of the Queen Mary Political Review Journal. She also won the Professor Lord Smith of Clifton prize for best undergraduate work in the field of public policy and government.
That Muroki spelt, S, W, O, T.
Many a Puffin (including myself), if blessed with Mercy’s brains, might have been tempted towards inventing a death ray or nobbling the gaming tables of Monte Carlo.
Not so Miss Muroki.
After graduation she turned her back on the world of paid employment, becoming a researcher in areas such as “NGO Advocacy and Campaigning Within East Africa”, “The British General Election of 2017”, “Secrecy in International Decision Making” and “Implementation of the Guidance on Smoking in the Inpatient Setting”.
Her talents went to even greater waste when she became a columnist at The Times and was appointed a commissioner on the Race and Ethnic Disparities Commission.
However, a glimmer of (electric?) light emerged above the open toilet pit of her wasted abilities when she became a board member of the Museum of the Home, formally known as the Geffrye Museum. The Geffrye in question being Robert Geffrye who made his money, in part, from the Atlantic slave trade. That’s the slave trade that’s not allowed. Forget about all the other slave trades. Rather than have Mr Geffrye’s statue removed, it has remained, although with an altered and explanatory caption. I haven’t seen it myself but I suspect a rainbow-coloured sign now hangs around his neck suggesting this evil whitey missed those three penalties. Or some such. Better than being thrown in the Thames.
After Lisa pointed out the onerous cost of Covid testing needed to get back into the country, as well as the cost of the actual holiday, we moved to a top of the hour news bulletin.
Over videos of today’s headlines, Mercy and Tom took it in turns to tell us about car production and microchips, furlough ending and cruises.
The next guest was Puffin’s favourite Laurence Fox. Dressed in a navy blue suit with blue socks was he auditioning for a role on a royal yacht?
Laidback towards the horizontal, as though having been asked to lick Meghan Markle’s feet clean, he declared vaccine passports to be discriminatory.
In giant horn-rimmed spectacles topped with quiffed hair, he resembled the patrician chap who tried to assassinate President DeGaulle with a bullet firing blowpipe hidden in his wooden leg. Could they be in some way related?
Next section was about age discrimination. Catherine the legal correspondent told us of someone who had tried to sue after being called ‘granny’ at work. The 62-year-old was in publishing, earned £50k a year, but had to go on the sick and leave after a colleague, while reviewing a Renault car, referred to, “Comfy wheels for a granny”.
No sense of humour according to Mercy. Rude but does it have to include a tribunal? Asked Tom. Catherine told us certain characteristics are protected from discrimination by law. She thought an internal apology might have been more appropriate. Having said that she still called it out as ageism and sexism and claimed such a word as ‘grandpa’ would never be used in reference to an older man.
Wrong! Catherine, take it from the oldest c*** in the local seven-a-side wendyball team, that kind of agist name-calling is omnipresent. The solution isn’t tribunals and laws but thick skin and studs down the shin when the referee isn’t looking.
Tom wondered where the line should be drawn with protected characteristics? Vegans, LibDems, Remainers? What if you are disparaging about Socialism or hate Tories? Is that a crime?
Catherine reminded us these things are defined in law and began to giggle as though she’d remembered some protected fetishes.
The conversation branched into free speech, in particular, a Speaker’s Corner attack upon a Christian preacher who had been wearing a Charlie Hebdo T-shirt.
Although GB News is much improved technically, there is still a limit to its editorial courage with a line drawn well south of the ‘M’ word. By coincidence, a safe-looking female reporter of a certain community, Inaya Folarin Iman, had been sent to interview the victim. For some reason, no one has been arrested and this isn’t being treated as a hate crime. Miss Iman forgot to query why.
The Christian preacher, herself tinged and with a thick foreign accent, told of the times she had been abused at Speaker’s Corner before being slashed last weekend.
Back in the studio, Tom likened this to “the man” (a teacher, Tom), up the “erm, erm, erm, north” (it was Batley, Tom. Batley Grammar School to be precise) who received death threats because of Muslimic images in class.
There followed a debate about provocation, with the subtext being the victim deserving to be attacked for wearing a Charlie Hebdo shirt. Remember #J’Suis Charlie? GB News don’t.
After the next break, we were further north than Batley, all the way to the slate landscape of North Wales which has been appointed a UNSECO world heritage site.
If you can’t say Batley Grammar School, you’re not going to pronounce anything east of the River Dee. Tom even struggled with Senedd. Sam Rowlands, a member of the Welsh Senedd, was speaking from the UNSECO site, or at least we presume he was, the background being a car park on an industrial estate.
Worse, a game of football with a tin can had broken out. Can of Stella? Suggested Mercy, proving you can take the girl out of Northampton but …..
Simon was given a long section to plug North Wales, and rightly so. Easy, open questions gave him a chance to outline the attractions of the area and how to book a holiday there. But the background was worth a million un-helpful words. Please, please, please, interview a girl standing in front of a mountain or a beach. She doesn’t even have to make sense.
Next, we headed to Balmoral where Northeast of Scotland correspondent Davie Donaldson informed us the Queen is one of the biggest landowners in Scotland and surprised us by adding her private land is to be exempt from the SNP’s green legislation that ‘blights the land’.
While we were all being cloured surprised, a ticker-tape ran across the bottom of the screen reminding us all it’s going to cost the average family £400 a year for corporations to “Suck the CO2 out of the atmosphere”, in the biggest con since Honest John Stonehouse sold sand to the Arabs.
If we needed to be reminded, Davie told us the Queen can do what she likes and there is one rule for ‘One’ and another for others.
Tom thought the Royal Family in Scotland splendid, and recalled King James VI uniting the crowns in the most successful union between two countries ever. As with Batley and Catherine and anti-male ageism, GB News lacks first-hand perspective outside of a metropolitan bubble. Your humble author lives within sight of Scotland and takes a different view, his trips to Scotland often including more ‘verbals’ than his appearances for the seven-a-side team.
Next, we had royal biographer Angela Levin who recalled it is 40 years since the royal wedding between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. She also said, on the wedding day, Princess Dianna, an independent woman, didn’t promise to obey and Prince Charles forgot to kiss his new bride at the altar but later made up to her by kissing her on the balcony. Never heard it called that before, but I’m sure he did.
She was lovely and innocent but couldn’t relate to her husband and he couldn’t relate to her.
A slice of royal wedding cake is coming up for auction and is expected to raise between £300 – £500. Angela told the lucky bidder not to eat it, presumably because it’s too expensive.
Tom remembered the day as being dispiriting, especially the lack of a kiss on the altar. Angela thought Prince Charles had forgotten through nerves, as Princess Diana was being sick a lot at the time. I had to laugh. Kissing her on the balcony compensated for everything. Please stop saying that, Angela.
Off we went to Japan, to Olympic correspondent Dave Rogers. Dave seemed to be broadcasting from a pod in a Tokyo love hotel or from the plastic shelf behind a curtain in Hard Class on the Mizukaze Twilight Express.
He pitched for the gold medal for cabin fever. Referencing the forty-year-old wedding cake, he said he wouldn’t mind a bit. He was living on snack food in Tokyo and had no idea what it was until he opened the packet as he can’t read Japanese.
He did a round-up of our recent medals and medal prospects including Nike Black Lives Matter shrill, the tiresome Dina Asher-Smith who, apparently, has ‘charisma’. A friend tells me she also has a weak cell phone password, whatever that might infer.
Talk of horsewoman Charlotte Dujardin’s medal record led a rather snobby Mercy to say it all sounded rather upper-middle class. London based media professional Miss Muloki had never met a dressage rider. Shame on her. Here’s something Mercy might volunteer for or contribute to, dressage for Down Syndrome children.
Those parents and children are the real heroes who get this reviewer’s gold medal every time.
© Always Worth Saying 2021
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file