Question Time 7th July 2022
Dehenna Davison (Conservative)
Bridget Phillipson (Labour)
Tim Stanley (Daily Telegraph)
Winston Marshall (Musician)
Alastair Campbell (Former No10 Press Secretary)
Happy memories of Barnsley. Seriously. There are good things and bad things about being entertained by directors on the last day of the football season. The good thing is that chef is emptying the freezer and the portions are huge. The bad thing is if, in the reckoning that is Wendyball’s mid-May, the team is relegated, it will not be the fault of a struggling goalkeeper. Nor of an iffy back four. Responsibility rests with the high-ups. Their box will be stormed by the mob. Guests, including you, will hide under chairs in the directors’ wives’ lounge.
Previously on these pages, this humble reviewer has bored readers stupid with Gyles Brantreth levels of name-dropping. Three Popes. Being in the same place at the same time as Imelda Marcos. Wasim Akram, a friend of mine, even though I didn’t know who he was while sitting beside him on a plane out of Karachi. A brief intrigue with Mademoiselle Véro – every Puffins favourite French film star. Come to think of it, Gyles Brandreth. But the acquaintance from my old life more interesting who puts the C into (behave yourselves), puts the C into character is the late Mr Barnsley FC himself, Patrick Cryne. Previously, this review appointed Michael Knighton as the biggest villain in England never hanged. It is a close call.
We must not speak ill of the dead and we must nod towards Patrick’s popularity with the fans. A local lad of modest origins, Mr Cryne rose to be a partner in a top accountancy firm, spun off a non-core business, appointed himself chairman and turned the dot-com bubble into cash before the inevitable crash. One of his non-execs, former QT regular Digby Jones, made an arse of himself by trousering his fee and signing off everything put in front of him without reading it. The Serious Fraud Office tried to prosecute Patrick but by that time he was too ill to stand trial.
Back in football, after a Barnsley boardroom blood bath victory over his rival the ‘fruit and veg man’, Patrick announced himself the club’s ‘owner of last resort.’ Yes, Barnsley returned to the Championship, and yes, they stayed there until the end of this season. Yes, there is a Patrick Cyne building at Manchester Victoria Hospital and yes, I benefited from his generosity in the doughty South Yorkshire town on many an occasion but, dear Puffin, was it his money?
During secret filming by the Daily Telegraph “after receiving information that specific managers, officials and agents were giving or receiving cash payments to secure player transfers”, Patrick smelled a rat, made an excuse and left. Not so his coach Tommy Wright who was filmed taking an envelope stuffed with £5,000 in cash. In January 2020 Wright was convicted of bribery and handed a 12-month suspended jail sentence. Between being sacked by Barnsley and his court case, Wright was a coach with our local XI. Alongside manager John Sheridan, he acquitted himself well and squeezed good results out of a middling squad. Last seen at Oldham FC in the second half of last season, we wish him well.
Away from the madhouse of football another madhouse awaits, a Commons containing Westminster liars, thieves and perverts, scrutinised weekly on the envelope stuffed with hot hair that is Question Time.
First question, Adam wondered, with no functioning government what is going to happen next. You’re wrong Adam there is a functioning government, Mr Johnson is the PM until a successor is selected. He is presently filling the gaps in his cabinet.
In Dehenna Davison’s (Conservative) view, what happens next is the selection of a new Conservative PM who will get on with the job. Privately educated Dehenna Davison (£15,000 a year Sheffield Girl’s High School) is a graduate of Hull University who became a Red Wall Conservative MP for Bishop Aukland in 2019, aged only 26. Puffin’s will be unsurprised to hear Ms Davison has never had a job. Despite claiming on a GB News programme last October to be bi-sexual, Dehenna has a boyfriend. Not quite a man of the people, her squeeze is diplomat Tony Kay, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office pen-pusher on the Arabian Peninsular desk. Prior to that she was the partner of lobbyist Ahzaz Chowdhury of the corporate communications company Nudge Factory.
Ms Davison is herself a shareholder in DSD 22 Limited, another communications firm. According to her declared interests, the member for working class Bishop Aukland enjoys four-figure hospitality from the likes of Google and Channel 4 television. A self-confessed suicidal depressive, Ms Davison might seem an unlikely MP for a place like Bishop Auckland. Puffins will be pleased to hear she doesn’t spend much time there, preferring weekends in London presenting for the aforementioned GB News on a £1,879 a month Sunday morning gig.
Alastair Campbell (former No10 Press Officer) called Johnson a liar. Takes one to know one, Campbell. He’s corrupt and entitled and should go right away and be replaced by a caretaker PM.
‘Tim?’ prompted Bruce. ‘Things can only get better,’ began Tim Stanley (Daily Telegraph) quoting an Alastair Campbell New Labour catchphrase. Triggered, Campbell interrupted at once. The previous day, Campbell had had a spat on GB News that ended with him flouncing. Before tonight’s QT, Stanley tweeted that he had contacted the BBC and begged to be on the panel with Campbell. Alistair had brooded overnight and got some retaliation in before Stanley had a chance to develop an answer. Campbell accused Stanley of seeing this as a big joke and added that the reason Johnson had remained in power so long was because the right-wing press, including Stanley, sucked up to him. ‘They are part of the problem,’ he said pointing at Tim.
‘You lied this country into a war that cost thousands of lives,’ replied Tim, equalising straight from the kickoff. Campbell interrupted. Bruce tried to stop him. ‘He [meaning Stanley] will have to be careful what he says as the last guy regretted it,’ snarled Campbell. Surely not a tasteless reference to Dr Kelly? Stanley explained that Boris had been no more dishonest than his predecessors but had handled it badly, especially when sending out ministers to say something that wasn’t true regarding the promotion of Mr Pincher, the bottom pinching MP. Boris’s resignation speech was a surrender from someone who didn’t want to go. Stanley praised Johnson’s charisma at which point Campbell was heard to mutter, ‘Jesus’. Perhaps the beginning of a prayer for forgiveness over the illegal invasion of Iraq and the death of Dr Kelly?
A lady in the audience suggested a general election. A gentleman suggested charisma leads to disarray. Another read out a list of Boris insults written on a card. Someone else mentioned Starmer’s Beergate lockdown takeaway. Bridget Phillipson (Labour) was confident Starmer had broken no rules and bashed Boris over Partygate.
What should happen next? Asked La Bruce. Bridget was keen on a vote of confidence. In true Labour fashion, a vote that she is bound to lose. Winston Marshall (musician) talked bollocks about Boris’s criminal charge then pointed out the incompetence of labour shortages and inflation at 9%. Mr Johnson should have gone a long time ago.
Despite dressing like an Appalachian hobo and playing the banjo in a rough folk group, Winston Marshall is the son of Sir Paul Marshall, a hedge fund tycoon and former top banana at Unilever’s Philippine Refining Company. Winston’s aunt is Penny Marshall the ITN journalist. His great uncle was married to Maria Gabriella Giuseppa Aldegonda Adelaide Ludovica Felicità Gennara di Savoia, whose father was King Umberto II of Italy. Properly monikered Winston Aubrey Aladar deBalkan Marshall, even though (or perhaps because) he was born in Wandsworth and attended £40,000 a year St Paul’s School, Winston is a Manchester United fan. The deBalkan comes from his mother’s side, having been added when the family left Hungary and moved into the Parisian property business.
Despite being uber-posh, Winston has fallen foul of the Culture War. In interview with journalist Bari Weiss, herself bullied from the New York Times for being Jewish, Winston told of being hounded from his popular music combo, Mumford and Sons, after reading Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. In the interview, Weiss and Marshall both described being victims of the same progressive centrist tactic of not only being hounded on social media themselves but seeing their friends and family bullied there too.
Who should be the next leader? Dehenna listed desirable characteristics and then attached them to Liz Truss. ‘Oh, God’, said Alastair, obviously still distracted to his Dr Kelly/Iraq War contrition. We haven’t got a credible opposition noted a man in the audience, that’s why the Conservatives can do what they like. Alastair wanted to discuss Iraq. He claimed, wrongly, that he’d been cleared by six enquiries. He declared himself a victim and blamed whistle-blower Andrew Gilligan and a corrupt political-media class. ‘Do you know where Andrew Gilligan is now?’ asked Alastair. Dead in the woods? No. Puffins will be relieved to hear that Campbell informed us Andrew Gilligan is a transport advisor. Phew.
Campbell continued that Labour wasn’t strong enough. He is still ‘Labour to the core’ despite being expelled from the party for encouraging people to vote LibDem. Alastair feared for the future of this country under the Tories. Shame he didn’t fear for the well-being of British servicemen and women and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who were to die as a result of his lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
Although promoted by the fake BBC in the guff that accompanies QT as a ‘former Number 10 press secretary’ it is nineteen years since Alistair’s resignation from Downing Street during the Hutton inquiry into the death of Doctor Kelly. Withheld by the BBC, is the fact that Campbell is presently part of unindicted war criminal Anthony Charles Lynton Blair’s new Reset Britain Project political party. Campbell presents a podcast with Rory Stewart, a Reset Britain advisory board member, and last Thursday interviewed Blair at the Reset Britain launch event.
Grammar school boy Alastair is a graduate of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, whose dreaming spires were funded from the proceeds of slavery. A self-confessed asthmatic depressive mentally ill substance abuser, true socialist Mr Campbell’s nervous breakdown was treated in a private hospital.
As Blair’s press secretary, Campbell was instrumental in a dodgy intelligence dossier which justified the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2004 and initiated a sequence of events that led to the suspicious death of whistleblower Dr David Kelly. I shall repeat my waggish remark made during Campbell’s last appearance on QT (Hartlepool, 11th November 2021) – a waste of slaver’s good money.
Tim said he wasn’t part of a political class and mistrust in British politics began with New Labour and the culture of spin. Labour also promoted celebrity in politics rather than substance. Not all Tories are tainted by Johnson. Tim would support General Napoleon Tugendhat VC in the leadership contest. Winston noted all of the reasons voters swung in the Wakefield by-election were anti-Tory rather than pro-Labour. Starmer had voted 49 times against Brexit which suggests he was unenthusiastic about the democratic choice of the British people. Starmer didn’t support the strikers. What does he represent? Winston suggested a new Labour leader, perhaps Lisa Nandy or Andy Burnham. He mentioned the dodgy dossier and accused Campbell of being the pot that calls the kettle black.
Alastair repeated that there had been six enquiries all of which, he claimed, showed there had been no lies. Bollocks. Where are the weapons of mass destruction, Alastair? There were never any WMDs and Blair and Campbell knew that. Campbell went on to accuse Johnson of everything Blair ever did, including over-staying a welcome in Downing Street.
Question 2, has Boris won the Brexit question now Labour has changed its mind? It was won when Johnson won the election in 2019 but there are changes to be made to the deal that was negotiated, said Bridget. Not suggesting breaking international law is she? The greatest thing that Boris Johnson did was to allow us to escape from the clutches of the European Union, the questioner added. Bridget had been passionate about staying in but was now looking to the future. And taking us back in again, she was thinking.
Tim thought Starmer was trapped and had to accept Brexit. This opposition had been altered by the government in the same way the Tories had been changed by New Labour. There is a third way, a Norway option. Brexit is an opportunity, said Dehenna, but not so much in Northern Ireland. Therefore we must stand up to them. She was optimistic. Brexit will work and deliver. What has Brexit done for me? Wondered a soy boy snowflake. Jobs. There are hiring. Stop complaining and get working. This is the best jobs market there has ever been.
A sly chap in the audience (might he be a football club chairman?), complimented Alastair’s podcast and then told him to move on as we will never rejoin the EU. Alastair wasn’t listening and blamed Brexit for everything, as if a member of a street cafe panel of Nazi ex-pats in 1940s Montevideo blaming you-know-who for every ill in the world while expecting their fuhrer to come back to life. You’re a sad man, Campbell, a sad, sad man.
We need to move on said a number of people, both Remainers and Brexiteers, in the sensible Barnsley audience. I took their advice and headed for bed.
© Always Worth Saying 2022
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file