This was supposed to be a review of Tuesday’s SKY News televised Tory Party leadership debate but the cream of the party didn’t turn up. I wonder why?
These TV debates have a chequered history. They were supposed to be the type of massive nation-changing political events that have shaped America. Shifty-looking Nixon standing opposite the young JFK. Ronald Reagan and his ‘there you go again’. Donald Trump stalks the stage behind a struggling Hilary Clinton. In the UK it never worked out that way.
The first British televised debates were Cameron – Brown – Clegg in 2010. Spawning the catchphrase ‘I agree with Nick’, all agreed Clegg played a blinder and won at a canter. Meanwhile at the polls, the LidDem vote crept up by 1% and the party lost five seats. The ratings had been a let-down, about 8 million for the BBC and ITV broadcasts and 4 million on SKY.
Unabashed, the TV types added the figures together, announced 20 million watched (as if a Cup Final or Royal wedding) and carried on regardless while the voters took less and less notice. Although killer lines, silver bullets, and what you look like, are all-important in the behind-the-scenes media bubble bitch fests that define the fake industry, when attempted on-screen the voters just don’t care.
With Johnson ignoring calls for a 2019 General Election campaign interview with Andrew Neil and Tory leadership candidates now refusing to turn up for a set piece debate, the future of these pointless and vacuous television non-events must be in doubt. Perhaps the most damning epitaph for the genre might be that the only memorable event in the intervening 12 years since ‘I agree with Nick’ is Ukip’s Paul Nuttall confusing Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood with Holywood’s Natalie Wood.
In the meantime, it is a shame to waste one’s prep, fortunately easily rephrased from a review into a ‘runners and riders’.
Previously this reviewer has teased Puffins with tales of derring-do in faraway places drawn from his previous life more interesting. The harpoon attack at the Maharajah’s tea party. Saving the Pope’s life. Inadvertently asking Bin Laden for change in a Mujahideen cash and carry in Sindh.
There is a vignette in Evelyn Waugh’s Men at Arms. A wartime soldier on leave, with sewn-on pips he’s not entitled to, must entertain a pretty girl at an expensive Italian restaurant. First, he has to get past a head waiter whose accent and haughty demeanour are as inauthentic as the pips. Waugh notes that they observe each other knowingly as ‘fake to fake’. Eight decades later and during a different conflict, myself and Penny Mordaunt stare at each other via the miracle that is television.
- Question 1: When did you sit your captain’s exam?
- Captain Mordaunt (RN): I never sat my captain’s exams, I was timed out.
- Question 2: When did you become a regular in the Royal Navy?
- Acting Sub-Lieutenant Mordaunt (RN): I didn’t, I was in the Royal Naval Reserve.
- Question 3: Then why are you pictured here in a Royal Navy captain’s uniform?
- Acting Sub-Lieutenant Mordaunt (RNR): Erm.
Boom! HMS Walt is torpedoed below the waterline. However, in a convoy of fakes steaming towards the Tory party leadership, does it make any difference?
Bookies Odds: 9/2
Character from the Bible: Job. The rest of them gang up on her and she feels sorry for herself.
Reason for not turning up: Frightened she’s outed as a Walt in an un-read review.
Would rating: n’t
The Daily Mail’s chosen candidate, shouty council estate dinner lady Liz Truss, is the MP for South West Norfolk which lies between Cambridge and Norwich. NHRN, as per John Enoch Powell and James Harold Wilson, Mary Elizabeth O’Leary is known by her middle name.
In an embarrassingly bad 17th July puff piece, the Mail on Sunday described Liz as ‘lower middle class’, before informing us her father was a Professor of Pure Mathematics and her mother a nurse. The MoS also skipped over Ms Truss’s ‘brief dalliance’ with the LibDems. In fact, Liz was President of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats and a member of the national executive of their youth and student section. Liz spoke at the 1994 LibDem party conference where she took the opportunity to agree with Paddy Ashdown and argue in favour of abolishing the monarchy. Eat up your beans don’t be cheeky, she added before leaving the rostrum.
Having graduated in PPE from Merton College, Oxford, Truss became an accountant with carbon dioxide belching Shell and rose to be a director of fellow blue chip Cable and Wireless before being elected to Parliament in 2010.
There is a suspicion the Daily Mail doesn’t support Truss but wants to keep Sunak out. Likewise, a suspicion recently defeated General Napoleon Tugendhat VC and non-contender Defence Secretary Ben Wallace have no further ambitions in politics beyond raising their profiles in expectation of becoming lobbyists for the arms industry.
The Mail were not always as supportive of Truss. Beneath the headline “A-list Tory’s affair with married Cameron high-flyer”, the 20th May 2006 edition of the Mail reported married Liz’s 18-month long relationship with married Tory MP Mark Field. A shocked Daily Mail felt obliged to print,
A senior Conservative revealed: “The Tories have a system of established MPs acting as mentors to young activists. Liz, who very much wants to be an MP, was sent to ‘shadow’ Mark in his role but it seems Mark took his mentoring duties more seriously than intended.”
After informing its readers the Trusses lived in a £380,000 2-bedroom Victorian terrace house, smelling salts were passed around the newsroom as the simple sword of truth demanded the following be committed to hot metal:
Mr Field, the Oxford-educated son of an Army major, claims the physical relationship ended last June. Some weeks later Miss Truss, who lives in South-East London with her husband, Hugh O’Leary, 32, told the politician she was pregnant. Her baby was born on March 18 this year.
Bookies Odds: 9/4
Character from the Bible: Hysterical and rambling Jezebel taken to Jesus by worried relatives hoping for a miracle.
Reason for not turning up: Over reaction to a chip pan fire in the school kitchen.
Would rating: n’t
One of the Hampshire Sunaks, Rishi was born in Southampton in 1980. The son of a GP and a pharmacist, he attended £43,936 per annum Winchester College after prep school at Stroud. Mr Sunak took a first in PPE at Lincoln College, Oxford, before moving to global investment bank Goldman Sachs. Subsequently, he became a partner in the The Children’s Investment hedge fund, known as TCI. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘children’. TCI is owned by a holding company in the Cayman Islands. Interestingly, TCI can also stand for Turks and Caicos Islands, one of Her Majesty’s notorious Caribbean tax havens whose excess led to it being placed under direct rule from London in 2009. Is this that Winchester / Oxford / Goldman Sachs sense of humour again?
Originally claiming to be a donor to the charitable Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, current TCI small print reveals, “The fund no longer donates money to the foundation on a contractual basis, though it may do so on a discretionary basis.” I bet.
In 2006 Rishi undertook further studies at Stanford University in San Francisco, gaining an MBA as a Fulbright scholar, where he met his future wife, Akshata Murthy, daughter of N R N Murthy, Bangalore billionaire founder of IT multinational Infosys.
The couple enjoyed a rather modest wedding by Indian billionaire standards. Although this humble author is only fluent in 92 of the 107 languages spoken in Bangalore, he was able to ascertain that Akshata picked the same pretty pink saree she wore for the pre-wedding puja. For the evening reception, she chose a beautiful orange lehenga choli. Puffins had probably already guessed that.
At the time of the nuptials, the local Bangalore rags reported the new Mrs Sunak held a 1.4 per cent stake in her father’s business, valued at around Rs 1,600 crore.
It makes me smile when lefties say everywhere in the world uses the same measurements and therefore there’s something wrong with our Imperial system. Time spent haggling for change with the Mujahideen is never wasted.
A crore is 100 lakh. Ms Akshata memsahib’s shares are worth Rs 160,000 lakh. A lakh is 1,00,00,000 (yes, they sometimes use groups of two digits in the subcontinent). Trust me, 1,00,00,000 means one hundred thousand. Therefore, myself and the Deccan Herald’s Perfect Weddings pull-out estimate the Sunak’s wealth at Rs16,000,000,000,000 which, when converted to Sterling, is a completely different figure to the £900 million given on wiki and in the British newspapers.
I know who I believe.
Suffice it to say, the Rishi Sunaks are wealthy beyond avarice and own properties all over the world. At first glance, their California (Waverley Apartments, Ocean Drive, Santa Monica) home looks a bit crap, somewhat ‘student accommodation’, or even ‘housing association’.
Having said that, where would you rather live? Bangalore? Londonistan? The California coast? Santa Monica lies at the northern extreme of the Los Angeles urban sprawl and boasts endless spotless Pacific beaches. It is close to Beverley Hills and the exclusive star-studied Brentwood residential subdivision, former home of OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown.
Although the tabloids claim Mr Sunak’s $5,000,000 apartment faces the ocean, in reality it faces a hotel after which is the rather fancifully named Appian Way, another row of apartments and rentals, and then the beach. Next door to the Waverley sits 1776 Main Street, the headquarters of the RAND Corporation.
The Sunaks hit the headlines when it was revealed Mrs Sunak is non-domiciled for tax purposes, despite apparently living in the grace and favour (ie you pay for it) Number 11 Downing Street. It was also reported Mr Sunak retained his Green Card (his permission to work in the US) after assuming office here. In reality, the Sunaks live in California, with Mr Sunak spending the lengthy parliamentary recesses over there with his young family.
Bookies Odds: 10/11
Character from the Bible: Judas.
Reason for not turning up: Sleep walking through a political career until his wife secures him a globalist job in California.
Would rating: N/A
An honorary mention goes to Puffin’s favourite Kemi Badenoch, kicked out during the most recent round of voting. Originally one of the Surrey Adegoke’s, Kemi was born in Wimbledon in 1980 but left aged 2 to live in Nigeria. Her father was a doctor and her mother a professor of physiology. Kemi was educated privately at the International School, University of Lagos, whose fees are presented in a particularly Nigerian manner. One suspects an ex-pat travelling Englishman of a certain age and social class enrolling his children would be charged the biggest number on the screen, times by at least ten.
After returning to England and completing her studies at the University of Sussex, Ms Badenoch worked in IT and rose to be a financial services consultant and associate director at posh people’s bank Coutts. Kemi’s husband is Hamish Badenoch, Global Head of Future of Work and Real Estate Transformation at Deutsche Bank. Golly.
Bookies Odds: You’ve lost your money
Character from the Bible: Left birthplace as a young child and returned when much older. Some very good ideas. Popular with the people but less so with an establishment of liars, thieves and perverts. Has to be Jesus.
Reason for not turning up: Did turn up and stood alone, rather disappointed, wondering why all had forsaken her.
Would rating: Mega deffo
© Always Worth Saying 2022