Question Time 27th January 2022
James Heappey (Conservative)
Jonathan Reynolds (Labour)
Liam Halligan (GB News)
Alison Phillips (Daily Mirror)
Kavita Oberoi (Sales Rep)
“Mr Worth-Saying, you told the Puffins that QT Review HQ never sleeps. Holidays are for wimps. Days off are for girls. Where were you last Thursday?”
Your humble author muttered through his tear-stained face mask, a broken man.
“I had a runny nose and a sore head, Beth. I wasn’t partying, honest.”
Apologies for last week’s non-appearance. While Adele couldn’t get the choir and the fireworks, this side of Vegas your modest reviewer couldn’t get out of bed. His effigy’s head was being knitting needle pierced by the likes of Professor Doctor Chief Juju Man Robert Peston MD, Dominic Lawson, Layla Moron and George the Poet. No, it wasn’t Covid. As an essential vital key vulnerable worker, I was lateral flow tested on Friday evening. It came back negative. Voodoo was at work.
One headed to bed faster than a Bury South Conservative MP might be corrupted to the Metropolitan media Champaign-leftie Labour Party.
Speaking of pain, despair and disappointment, this week’s Question Time comes from Morecambe.
An opportunity providing even greater scope for material than previous guest Jess Phillip’s determination to rehabilitate the genital wart. One feels obliged to riff over what the Lancashire seaside town’s old-timers recall as the Barbary Coast.
The last resort. A graveyard with lights. Seagulls throw bread to the people. An explosion might cause millions of pounds worth of improvement. The locals gather to watch the traffic lights change. They don’t bury the dead, they stand them up in bus shelters. Further apologies, and thanks, this time to Colin Crompton.
Your humble reviewer has done time in Morecambe. If short of material, visit Hart’s Cafe on the corner of Queen Street and Marine Road. Sit and listen. The world will come to you. In that previous life, alone with his teacake, this suffering wordsmith strained to overhear a lady of a certain age at a neighbouring table whisper of her cat being neutered. It had to be done.
“He was vicious, savage,” she reflected to a companion, “but not in a nasty way.”
Although denying it to her tragically early final breath, Victoria Wood lurked too. In a corner. Thinly disguised. Taking notes.
One weekend was enlivened by a persons of exceptionally small stature convention. Dear Puffins, promise me you’ll never, ever, ever, ever feel sorry for a midget. Those boys and girls know how to party.
Back in the bay-windowed front room of my digs, an amusement park chairlift passed every 45 seconds on its relaxed passage from nowhere to nowhere. The holidaymakers waved to me as they swung their feet, half a lamp post’s height from the wet cobbles, while I practised my punchlines and patter. The landlady chided as I shook a fist at them in return.
“I have to feed and clear up after them, Mr Worth-Saying, you only have to make ’em laugh.”
Little did she know. They only came to the shows when it was raining. Steam rose from them. There is nothing remotely funny about comedy.
Premier League matches were played at Christie Park. That’s Northern Premier League matches. The ground was of three reasonable sides completed, as is Western Iraq, by a sand embankment. On match days, Eric Morecambe’s cousin stood vigil at the halfway line tunnel of a chilly paddock.
There was a Morecambe dome. Dougie Brown (brother of Lynne Perrie, Coronation Street’s Ivy Tilsley) topped the bill. In the days that such things were allowed, the Miss England beauty contest heats were held in the adjoining open-air swimming pool. The same girls turned up week after week, Wednesday afternoons, taking it in turns to qualify for the televised final.
Roughly 1 mile and 60 chains on the way to Lancaster Castle sat Bare Lane. Yes, there was a Bare Women’s Institute and, if Lord Montagu of Beaulieu was in the newspapers again, a Bare Boy Scouts troop. One felt obliged.
In the intervening decades, and returning to the subject of improvement, the dilapidated white knuckle death trap amusement park has been replaced by a Morrisons and covered market.
Remembered in bronze, lonely local hero Eric Morecambe faces the Kings Arms, shorn of his lifelong stage partner by penny-pinching alderman “because Ernie Wise was from Leeds.”
“Bring me sunshine” is the inscription on the steps before him. God and nature do, with the Lancashire Evening Post reporting the local chamber of commerce insisting Morecambe Bay to be the sunniest place in Britain – some of the time.
The Midland Hotel has been restored as has the original Midland station opposite, but the railway itself has fared less well. One platform and a bus shelter survive where parallel lines once disappeared to the horizon, stacked with carriages disgorging mill town workers by the millions for their annual fair or race week seaside holidays.
The old station is now a venue, The Platform. Living on tribute bands, the following weeks promise the AC/DC experience, T. Rextasy, a Freddie and Queen experience, Coldplace (oh dear), The Jam’d (groan), Bootleg Blondie. I can’t take any more. Roll on April 14th at 7:30 pm when the tone is lowered to where only the real Roy Chubby Brown (straplined by promoters, a hesitant Lancaster City Council, as ‘not everybody’s cup of tea’) can sink it.
Before then, an appropriately fake five-piece, compared by Fiona Bruce, clear their throats and prepare their cheesy punch lines, predictable patter and exaggerated, near absurdist self-importance (afore a fuming audience) in anticipation of the first question.
With the cost of living crisis, should the rise in National Insurance be postponed? The questioner added that people in Morecambe work 50, 60 hour weeks in order to not make ends meet.
James Heappy (Conservative) said that the government were in listening mode and that millions of the poorest didn’t pay any National Insurance anyway. Inflation is 6%, said Alison Phillips (Daily Mirror) and there’s a hike in energy bills still to come. It’s going to be incredibly hard for everyone, she reminded us while sitting on a panel of millionaires.
A lady in the audience pointed out that inflation is higher for those on low wages. Another smirked while questioning Liz Truss’s use of a ‘private jet’ on government business to Australia.
A gentleman had been fortunate enough to be in a school that morning. The Covid cleaners were in tears as they couldn’t put food on the table.
“Short of money? Writing off Covid debt?” chipped in someone else.
Kavita Oberoi (sales rep) has 20,000 sq ft to heat and it costs too much. The NI increase should be delayed.
Nobody mentioned abolishing the nutty green taxes that make energy so expensive in the first place.
Jonathon Reynolds (Labour) wanted it delayed but added to with lots of other taxes on lots of other things, for instance, property. Which will make taxpayers better off how, Jonathon?
“Every day in Morecambe is an emergency,” observed the audience.
“Hear! Hear!” bellowed at least one viewer.
Liam Halligan (GB News) also wanted to help taxpayers by increasing taxes. He suggested taxing ‘unearned income’, whatever that is supposed to be.
James Heappey is Conservative MP for Wells and Minister for the Armed Forces. Jonathan Reynolds is Shadow Business Secretary and Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde. Alison Philips is editor of the Daily Mirror and Liam Halligan is a journalist with GB News.
Having got that out of the way, we arrive at the exotic Kavita Oberoi who reminds one of the carefully crafted Chubby Brown line,
If any ladies in the audience are having trouble with their *******, I’m not saying I’m a gynaecologist, but I’ll have an ******* good look at it for you.
As an aside, and on a similar note, fellow panellist Alison Philips reminds one of West Country raconteur and wit Geoffrey ‘Jethro’ Rowe’s story that concludes ‘skunk with an axe’.
QT Review has previous with Ms Oberoi after she appeared on the June 10th 2021 edition of the programme.
Suffice it to say, the BBC exaggerates her achievements in order to big-up a female, tinged Muslim from the North. Not clever enough to be a doctor, Kavita studied chemistry in Huddersfield and became a sales rep in the very lucrative pharmaceuticals industry. Setting out on her own as a ‘management consultant’ to GPs and pharmacists (ie taking a commission on things she sells to them on behalf of third parties), Kavita is based in a modest business unit on a Derby trading estate. Her husband, Kavan, has a lighting shop nearby, hidden amongst council houses. A fuller QT Review biography can be found here.
Question two, is the love affair between the British public and Boris Johnson over?
Jonathan Reynolds questioned the Prime Minister’s honesty, to universal applause. The criticism of the Tories during question one had been universal too. Which is odd, as Morecambe Lunesdale is a Conservative seat with a decent 6,000 majority.
Speaking of loonsdale, somebody in the audience quoted Rory Stewart.
Lie after lie after lie, said a lady wearing sunglasses across the top of her hairdo. In Morecambe. In January.
James Heappey didn’t blame Boris for being ambushed by a birthday cake but was cut by the Downing Street staff press conference giggles video and an event there the day before Prince Philip’s funeral. Since ‘Partygate’, all sorts of other things had happened and Boris had showed laser-like focus in meeting after meeting after meeting.
Lies and lies and lies, repeated Alison Phillips. The Borisphobes and going to chant ‘lie’ over and over again, possibly for the rest of time, certainly until your ears bleed. She moved on to Pen Farthing and the Afghan hounds, more lies, apparently.
As a leader, people put their trust in you, said Kavita, trust that has been lost. If Boris brings in sanctions, will the people listen?
Against Russia, wondered Bruce?
No, Covid sanctions, Kavita assured her.
Jonathan boasted his Labour Party had lost four elections in a row, as though that proved they must be honest. He promised to win the next election by taxing everybody to death in order to cut their cost of living.
Heappy got bogged down justifying the dog-lift from Kabul. Alison contradicted him. Journalist Halligan blamed the media for constantly bashing Boris. A lady in the audience had had enough. Beyond the ear-bleeding phase, she was sick of the obsession with partygate and told the panel so.
The next question was about the zero possibility of Russia invading The Ukraine which in BBC speak translates into ‘an imminent third world war’.
Halligan thought diplomats removed from Kiev would have been safer stopping there rather than going back to LA (or to Londonistan one might add). However, he also thought pushing the boundaries of NATO closer to Russia was unwise.
Heappy reminded us that The Ukraine is not in NATO and no NATO troops will be going there. He’d looked into the eyes of the Ukrainian military and they were going to fight if needs be.
Given the history of the place, one wonders on whose side.
Jonathan Reynolds reassured the Ukrainians we stood with them while reminding them that we weren’t going to do anything for them. The Russians, during the time of the USSR, had exploited the Ukrainians. Just like the Germans who occupied the place before that, he didn’t seem to realise.
“He’s a nasty little bully,” said Alison, meaning Putin. We need unity across Europe in order to counter the threat from the east.
Kavita absolutely agreed. To avoid a war she suggested mobilising Ukrainian troops.
Final question, previously Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne had been to Morecambe! The mind boggled. The beauty contest? Hart’s Cafe? Shared a chairlift? Student summer jobs propping up corpses at bus stops? No, it had been to do with ‘levelling up’. When will the North-South divide narrow?
Southerner Alison said, not soon. An audience member mentioned the Eden Project North which, I think, is planned for the site of the demolished Dome that, at the moment, appears to provide free parking for pikey travelling people of a Romany inclination.
Southerner Heappy, wasn’t happy, “We in the South-West feel your pain.” Wells! Hahahahahahahahahaha. Jonathon earnestly said nothing, apart from promising to raise taxes even higher through ‘net zero’. Southerner Liam wanted money put into local commuter routes. Bare Lane to Morecambe in four minutes instead of five. Southerner Fionna Bruce said “Alrightie” (as they do in the North) and announced the programme out of time.
Colin Crompton (1931-1985)
Lynne Perrie (1931-2006)
Edward John Harrington Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu (1926-2015)
Geoffrey ‘Jethro’ Rowe (1948-2021)
Victoria Wood (1953-2016)
© Always Worth Saying 2022
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