Question Time 17th March 2022
Suella Braverman (Conservative)
Wes Streeting (Labour)
Max Hastings (Historian)
Rev Richard Coles (Broadcaster)
Lesia Vasylenko (Ukrainian MP)
Max Hugh McDonald Hastings was educated privately at Charterhouse (alma mater of Dimblebys Jonathan and David) following which he failed to graduate from University College, Oxford, leaving at the end of his first year. After a brief attempt to join the Parachute Regiment, Hastings moved into journalism, becoming a foreign correspondent, newspaper editor (The Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph) and author specialising in military books.
Like the Dimblebys, Max is a hereditary journalist. His father was newspaperman McDonald Hastings, his grandfather was Basil McDonald Hastings, a journalist and playwright. Embedded with the Parachute Regiment during the Falklands War, it was Hastings who liberated Port Stanley, in much the same way the BBC’s John Simpson liberated Kabul. In an interview with The Oldie, he recalled,
“I saw Stanley Cathedral and the Argentine lines about half a mile ahead. I took off my camouflage gear, put my hands in the air and thought, if I can walk up this road and live, then I can bore everybody to death for the next 30 years – which indeed I have.”
Friends describe Hastings as, ‘an insufferably pompous, bumptious egoist’. His nickname is General Hastings. His Private Eye nom de guerre is Hitler Hastings. In interview with The Observer newspaper, the General conceded he has only been on the Tube once. A left of centre one-nation Tory, he voted for Blair. In a London mayoral election, as then editor of The London Standard, he advised his readers to vote for Ken Livingston while himself voting Conservative.
An imposing character (at 6’5″ Parachute Regiment instructors told him he was tall enough to step out of the plane rather than jump) we must reinstate Question Time Review’s hair/face age co-efficient. Seventy-six-year-old raven-haired Max delivers a ratio of 3:1. One can’t help but wonder after being able to, in his foreign co-respondent days, find Saigon and East Falkland, why can’t he track down a toupe with a bit of grey in it?
In response to the first question, is it inevitable that Russia will occupy parts of Ukraine for decades? Max thought all conflicts must end with a conversation, this time with Putin who has been raping Ukraine.
Lesia Vasylenko (Ukrainian MP) asked him how?
He didn’t know and used it as an opportunity to mention his latest book about the Cuban missile crisis. He mentioned Putin’s ‘horrible’ weapons. The lesson of history is people have to talk.
Fiona Bruce (chair) passed the question to Lesia who was in the Kettering studio. She wanted an anti-Putin coalition, outwith any United Nations resolution which the Russians could veto given their permanent membership of the UN Security Council. She suggested a no-fly zone over the most sensitive parts of Ukraine.
A gentleman in the audience said that we’d gone into Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, why not Ukraine?
Suella Braverman (not her real name) reminded us NATO is a defensive alliance. Except when it isn’t, one might add. She was keen to arm the Ukrainians rather than invade the place ourselves.
Suella Braverman (NHRN) is Conservative MP for Fareham in Hampshire.
Originally one of the Middlesex Fernandes her Christian names are Sue-Ellen and Cassiana. Given she was born at the right time (April 1980), QT Review can’t help but conclude she was named after soap character Sue Ellen Ewing, J R Ewing’s wife in the American soap opera Dallas. Stay classy Pinner.
Privately educated at Heathfield School, Pinner, Sue-Ellen read law at Queen’s College Cambridge before embarking on a career of charging £350 to bash out a letter in five minutes.
Ms Fernandes contested the 2005 general election in Leicester East, finishing under Keith Vaz. Not something one usually associates with Mr Vaz and a pretty girl.
Finally elected to Parliament in 2015, three years later she married her sweetheart Rael Braverman at a ceremony in the House of Commons chapel, followed by a reception and party at the Titchfield Holiday Inn. More class.
If you think she is good on the telly, that might be because of £5,400 of media training gifted to her by Melior Advisors as declared in her Member’s List of Interests. Also declared is £2,000 from the Conservative Friends of Isreal for a jolly to Isreal and the West Bank.
Barnbrook Systems also make regular £4,000+ donations to Ms Braverman. Although its difficult to be cynical about Barnbrook, a family-owned Fareham business employing 45 people (who manufacture components for the defence industry), should they be giving money to an MP? And should Ms Braverman be accepting it, especially during a war?
Given our other QT Review co-efficient is the panellist’s written works compared to Amazon sales of the Marquis de Sades 120 Days of Sodom, an unread comment beneath last week’s column suggested I review the Marquis’s great work instead of this tosh. Puffins will be pleased to hear the aforementioned can be downloaded to the tablet computer for a mere 49p.
One wonders how corrupting anything that allows change out of 50p can be? However, a friend informed me, back in the day, he spent an unpleasant nine hours at the Sex Museum in Amsterdam for 33p (or a Guilder as it was then known). I made an excuse and put the Kindle to one side. I need not have, Sodom was stalking me via the QTpanel.
A full QT Review style biography of Nasty Wes Streeting (Labour) can be found here. Suffice it to say he’s never had a job, is openly ‘gay’, has connections with creepy Stonewall and his partner is a quangoland nonentity called Joseph Dancey. The compulsory ‘dancey boy’ joke is contained within the aforementioned QT Review biography.
Wesley was uncomfortable. A no-fly zone would be declaring war on Russia. Wes has a red line around NATO territory but not elsewhere. Using chemical weapons, however, he defined as a terrible act rather than a red line crossed. He is going to prosecute every single Russian general, as well as Putin, for war crimes in the Hague. How? He didn’t say and all without a no-fly zone.
The Rev Coles witnessed the end of Communism in the early 1990s. He decided that tyrants will fall on their own without the need for military action.
The Reverand Richard Keith Robert Coles FRSA FKC is an English musician, journalist, radio presenter and Church of England parish priest. A BBC type, he hosts Radio Four’s long-running Saturday Live programme.
Privately educated at Wellingborough School, Richard was a member of the popular music combo The Communards. Alongside fellow band member Jimmy Summerville, he achieved three top ten hit parade singles in the 1980s.
In 2003 he began religious formation at The College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, West Yorkshire, and was ordained into the Church of England in 2005.
Unfortunately, Richard was bunking off lectures the day they pondered the mores of the Old Testament’s book ofLeviticus, subsequently entering a civil partnership with Rev David Oldham who died three years ago from the effects of alcoholism.
Following his partner’s death, the Rev Coles received a belated crash course in the third book of the Bible through ‘a small but lively correspondence’ informing him his late partner was frying in Hell for eternity. Mamon also rose to the occasion with a scam GoFundMe page being set up in David’s name.
Rev Richard is a member of the Labour Party.
Max referenced Hitler, Stalin, the Prague Spring, the 1956 Hungarian uprising and the 1938 Russian invasion of Finland. The worst outcome from all of these things would have been a general war against the Russians. He wanted to prevent escalation and told a baffling JFK quote from his new book.
There was support from the audience for some kind of a limited no-fly zone or at least for the use of airpower.
Lesia called Putin a paranoid type of individual difficult to reason with. Ukraine will never be a threat to Russia.
The next question wondered why a named Ukrainian individual was needed before a virtue signaller’s spare room could be offered to them?
Sue-Ellen said we’re very generous but need to know the Ukraianain’s name to ‘match them up’. The questioner was named Clover. She was offering a room in her home but didn’t know any Ukrainians.
Rev Coles was frustrated. These things need to be streamlined at the government level. In his parish there were Ukrainians who were able to get in touch with people in their native county but dealing with the British authorities was ‘Mission Impossible.
Someone who worked in local government said he was scared. They’re already more than full with existing ‘refugees’, often placed in unsuitable accommodation. There is no plan. Recent arrivals, many of them very young, are left to their own devices.
Max wanted somebody to explain to the public what kind of a new world are we heading into. He foresaw Putin invading the Baltic States and making things even worse. He announced us a spoilt generation, a situation likely to change. He reminded an un-comfortable looking Lesia that Ukraine had been flattened during the last war and rebuilt.
Lesia suggested they didn’t want to be flattened again. The Ukraine is sick of being invaded. She didn’t want her three children to be slaves. She suggested the alternative to well-ordered mass emigration would be those people falling into the hands of people traffickers.
Sue-Ellen, with the gravitas of one named after a character from Dallas, said she was disappointed people were criticising the government. They’d done such a lot for ‘The Afghans’ and ‘The Syrians’. She announced her father, who sent her to public school, to be a refugee too.
A lady in the audience gave her a good kicking over the bureaucracy involved.
Sue-Ellen reminded us bombed Ukrainian children are a security risk that need to be vetted.
Nasty Wes mentioned Lebedev getting a seat in the House of Lords. Sue-Ellen, well triggered, sprang to the defence of ennobled Tory donating Russian oligarchs.
Max told her the Tory Party’s links with the oligarchs was a badge of shame.
She continued her defence of the right sort of oligarch, proving the above point that MPs shouldn’t be taking money off anybody let alone Russians.
The next question was about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and the extent that we should try to accommodate Iran and Saudi Arabia. Lesia focused on climate change. Presumably she doesn’t know about Naz, the cack-handed MI6 officer who can’t set up a spy ring and disinformation operation in Iran without getting caught.
Max pointed out we can’t fight everybody at once. The focus is on Russia, not Saudi Arabia and Iran.
But you won’t fight Russia either, pointed out Lesia.
Sue-Ellen said oil prices are going up and down. No, they aren’t, they’re just going up. She said Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil producer. She was wrong about that as well. She was delighted to see Naz and the other chap released. She is glad Boris has been to Saudi Arabia to set up a three-way deal whereby the Iranians get well north of $1/2 billion and promise to lay off the Saudis, in return for which we get the Saudi oil with Naz thrown in as a distraction.
Wes doesn’t want to be beholden to people who don’t share our values. He re-arranged the laws of physics to allow for wind and sunshine to provide all our energy needs. At the moment of writing, 20% of our electricity is coming from wind and solar. The other 80% Wes? And this is in the middle of a windy night when demand is low. Much of the time Wes’s plan will be over 90% short of what we use.
Lesia had the last word, she thanked us for our support and told us that over there in The Ukraine they are fighting for values the whole world shares. The QT panel and audience were convinced and gave her a round of applause.
© Always Worth Saying 2022
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