Always Worth Sayings Question Time Review

Question Time 22nd September 2022

The Panel:

Brendon Clarke-Smith (Conservative)
Wesley Streeting (Labour)
Layla Moran (Liberal Democrats)
Gerard Lyons (Economist)
Claire Fox (Academy of Ideas)

Venue: Grimsby

As we enter the Carolean era we turn a new page and expose new text. The writing is not the same, neither is the sentiment. Why should it be? He says this, she says the other, George the Poet struggles for a rhyme, La Bruce interrupts, a lady with purple hair becomes over-excited, is all too Elizabethan. In the times of King Charles III, we shall sharpen the prose and take a more holistic view. A reviewer now feels obliged to summarise and understand rather than merely report. Not least because it’s easier to do and by 10:45 pm on a Thursday evening this humble wordsmith is cream-crackered.

Puffins may recall an alarming dispatch from Kazakstan when it was reported that the powers that be were going to stop paying me to do nothing. In future, I must rely upon a one-off lump sum. The original Kazhak itinerary included returning to England via Kiev and, upon wide and peacefully boulevards, being photographed sneering at the snowflakes who thought there was going to be an invasion. If you want to give God a laugh, tell him your plans.

In the ensuing mad scramble, my own advice (never fly with an airline you’ve never heard of registered in a county you can’t spell) had to be roundly ignored. An unsettling trip, during which every bang and rattle was ack-ack and every twitch of an aileron was a missile strike, did eventually result in a safe arrival back in Blighty. All is not lost. There will be Postcards from Tashkent and Samarkand when time allows. Incidentally, if they tell you the Aral Sea is a dried-up dessert, they are spreading fake news. Looked like a sea to me, although not quite as described in my old school atlas.

In every good spy book there is a passage where the traitor is confronted with the consequences of his actions. In a garden backing onto the Rhine, beneath ancient fruit trees recently harvested for juice, the Chancery secretary’s pretty wife, daughter of a West Country non-conformist plasterer, while feigning a need for fresh air, insists a Cambridge type away from the drawing room. She remembers to him a pile of dead bodies on the river bank at Komárno, spotted through a misty autóbusz window during a disappointing 1970s Embassy Sunday school nature trip to the River Váh.

“Your adolescent politics,” she whispers in malice, a faint scent of Liebfraumilch interrupting the mouldy miasma of early autumn North Rhine-Westphalia fallen leaves. “Proud of yourself?”

Oh, for the simpler days of being suspected of handing out leaflets on a street corner in pre-war Vienna on behalf of the Communist Party during an uprising. Blurry pictures. Unreliable eyewitnesses. Smudgy fingerprints. The problem with a weekly column on a superior politics and current affairs website is it confers a terrible thing called immortality to one’s schoolboy understanding of the grown-up’s world. They say the internet never forgets. They are right.

Not content with a squeaky bum flight over The Ukraine, a rotter called Putin has pointed his air vacuum artillery at the Worth-Saying family finances. The energy and cost of living crises have done to my lump sum what the KGB did to those men disguised as washerwomen next to the munitions factory all those years ago. The web archaeologists are upon me, exhuming old quotes like decayed officers’ bodies from a forest pit in Poland. The word-crime scales filling against me contain the likes of ‘get a job’ and ‘they are hiring’. Did I instruct impoverished food bank-dependent single mother nurses to ‘get married’?


I shall go on strike, feel sorry for myself and claim entitlement to a handout. Or rather I won’t. A painful dose of my own advice sees me filling in forms, fighting with apps and knocking on doors. Tragically the counter-offensive met with success. I am back in uniform. On a payroll. Doing as I’m told for the pennies. Actually, I quite enjoy it and I shouldn’t complain. Being knackered by Thursday night will sharpen the reportage with more prep, a longer introduction and a briefer summary of a programme nobody actually watches anyway. It might even be what the Queen would have wanted.


Your humble author has never been to Grimsby. Earlier this season, my Local XI’s Wendyball fixture against the Lincolnshire side was abandoned because of a waterlogged pitch. Perhaps the tide came in? Even if this fair-weather fan had travelled, he wouldn’t have been in Grimsby as the Mariner’s Blundell Park theatre of dreams lies in neighbouring Cleethorpes – a place, it is said, where the seagulls throw bread to the people.

Is the government doing enough to tackle the energy crisis? Wesley Streeting (Labour) pointed out the energy cap was being paid for by taxation rather than by taxing the profits of the energy companies. He insisted upon energy security but then made the mistake of pinning that upon (useless) ‘renewables’ rather than fracking.

Brenden Clarke-Smith (Conservative) claimed 40% of our energy is renewable. Gridwatch, as he spoke, put it at 14% which means 28,000 Mw of installed windpower was producing only 4,000 Mw of electricity.

Gerald Lyons (Economist) suggested the government are doing enough, by taking on energy cost risks themselves rather than leaving it to the consumer. Energy companies are already taxed, with a rate of over 60% levied on North Sea oil and gas production.

Lush Layla Moron (LibDem), in fetching green, said ‘no’. She was in favour of a windfall tax on extra excess energy company profits, rather than the planned corporation tax cut. Liz Truss is out of touch, especially regarding the anticipated cut in tax on bankers’ bonuses.

Difficult times were predicted by Claire Fox (Academy of Ideas), but what we need to do is kick start the economy with a new economic revolution. We need a bigger cake. We need growth through major investment in new technology. We should have fracking! Energy is being demonised by politicians which led us into question two which was about fracking.

Layla was against. She thought it wouldn’t bring prices down and that the geology of the UK is unsuitable. She wanted to invest in ‘what would work’ but I’m not sure what she meant by that. Someone in the audience noted that we go without wind and sun for long periods. There needs to be fracking or the lights will go out.

Layla Moron is the pansexual half-Palestinian Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon. Puffins are already aware that Ms Moron, despite being opposed to selective education (which she has previously described as “state-sponsored segregation”) was educated at the exclusive £44,000 a year Roedean girls’ boarding school and went on to teach at the £40,000 per annum International School in Brussels. QT Review can now disclose that Layla also taught with Oxford Study Courses Ltd who charge £1,890 a week for lessons at an Oxford college.

On the plus side, since she had her hair frizzed, her teeth whitened and bought new specs, she is rather nice to look at.

“I strongly disagree with fracking,” said Wes. He preferred the very renewables that the gentleman in the audience had just explained were insufficient. He said the last Tory manifesto was against fracking. No, it wasn’t, there has been a moratorium, not a ban.

The BBC and La Bruce are against too and the chair read out a list of claims supporting that prejudice.

Brendan was neutral. This should be treated on its merits. Some locations may be the wrong place to frack. Pressed by Wesley Streeting, Brendan conceded his constituency was the wrong place for such things and he wasn’t going door to door promising to get drilling. Someone mentioned hydrogen as a replacement but omitted to mention it’s made from natural gas.

Brendon Clark-Smith is the first Tory MP for Nottinghamshire’s Bassetlaw since 1929. A native of Nottingham, Mr Clark-Smith was born on a council estate and was the first member of his family to go to university Trent Polytechnic where he studied politics and subsequently qualified as a teacher of religious studies. Mr Clark-Smith has taught in Romania and is married to a Romanian doctor, who gave birth to a son on the day the Queen died. Named Alexander, QT Review HQ can’t help but recall that Boris Johnson’s real given name is also Alexander. Pictured here, one wonders if the infant’s little hat is concealing a revealing shock of unkempt blonde hair?

Brendon is keen on Brexit, unenthusiastic about food banks and free school meals, champions personal responsibility over handouts and refers to the National Trust as Cultural Marxists with a woke agenda. Is he a Puffin?

The scale of fracking will be quite small, said Gerard, if it’s safe and affordable we should do it. Gerard is a renewables fan but base loads can be low when it’s not windy. Hydrocarbons and renewables need not be in competition, we need both.

Do not demonise fossil fuels, said Claire. Net Zero is not a democratic choice, but rather an unknown forced upon us by politicians.

Can the ills of the NHS be cured by Health Secretary Two Ton Therese Coffey’s new plan? Brendon saw a systematic problem with different parts of the system not fitting together, for instance visits to A&E rather than to never-available GPs.

Wesley blamed the government, new hospitals only exist in Boris Johnson’s imagination and he’s gone.

Nasty Wes Streeting is a QT regular. Never having had a job outside of politics and Third Sector advocacy (including for the misogynistic child proselytisers at the toxic Stonewall organisation), the Labour Member of Parliament for Ilford is an automatic BBC choice whether the age be Carolean or Elizabethan. Nasty Wes’s ‘partner’ is another media advocacy type called Joseph Dancy. Yes, yes, a Dancy boy. Now behave yourselves.

Nasty Wes’s biography has been well covered in numerous previous QT Reviews penned during his four appearances in the last 12 months. During this time, the Selwyn College, Cambridge, PPE gratitude has also been receiving donations bigly.

Global Radio pays him £600 a time for appearances, including on Full Disclosure hosted by James O’Brien, Puffins’ favourite un-hinged Remainer Ampleforth old boy and hereditary London media bubble dweller.

Wesley has also been paid £8,200 by Hodder & Stoughton as a first instalment to write a book and £15,000 by MPM Connect Ltd. In addition, he has received £2,500 from Sir Trevor Chinn, £5,000 from Red Capital Ltd, £5,000 from Anthony Watson, £15,000 from John Armitage, another £7,500 from Sir Trevor Chinn, another £45,900 from MPM Connect Ltd, another £7,500 from Anthony Watson, £4,500 from Dan Hughes, £10,000 from Linda Riley, £4,600 from Waheed Alli, another £6,000 from Linda Riley, £30,000 from Labour For The Long Term, (in return for two days a week ‘policy advice’ for a year), £3,735 from Great Britain China Centre, £500 from This Generation Ltd and £4,700 from Labour Friends of Israel.

In the past twelve months, Wesley has declared £176,835 in donations. Who are all of these people? And what are they getting in return for the 176 grand?

There are lots of shortages and unsatisfied demand, Gerard reminded us. We spend a lot more on health care but the problems remain. The system is too complex and the funding structure has to change. A ‘hypothecated’ tax was Gerard’s solution which, to be blunt, sounds even more complicated. Pretending to be as clever as Gerard, many in the audience clapped.

Help the patients by spending less on them and more on the staff was Layla Moron’s suggestion. Mental Health! She shouted.

Gerard Lyons is an economist, the profession who advised you to put your money into subprime, told Greece to join the Euro and conferred to Lehman Brothers a AAA+++ credit rating. A graduate of the universities of Liverpool, Warwick and Queen Mary, London, Gerard was born in Marylebone in 1961. His career in financial services began with Chase Manhattan and progressed to the Swiss Bank Corporation and 第一勧銀, which is Japan’s oldest bank. Mr Lyons eventually rose to be the Chief Economist and Group Head at Standard Chartered.

Keen on Brexit, following his banking career, Gerard became Chief Economic Advisor to Boris Johnson when Mayor of London. Gerard’s daughter, Elf, is an award-winning comedian, theatre maker, director, comedy writer and voice artist. Like many other hilariously funny creative types who can do Bruce Forsyth and Harold Wilson, she can’t quite afford to pay the bills. In between gigs, her day job is teaching drama in a London comprehensive.

This goes beyond party politics, said Claire. The system is broken and lockdown has made people iller. We should be ambitious. Rather than pay the staff more, we should sack a few tiers of management and euthanize diversity courses and talk of ‘pregnant people’.

Beyond being keen on Brexit, Baroness Claire Regina Fox of Buckley was actually a Brexit Party MEP. Before readers become over-excited at the prospect of three Brexiteers on the panel, it must be pointed out that the Baroness has also been a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a supporter of the IRA, a Bosnian war crime denier and has previously claimed that Gary Glitter had a right to download child pornography.

If you’d like to be as nutty as Baroness Claire, all the way to the House of Lords, you might like to take a lower second at the University of Warwick, followed by a teacher training certificate and a sought-after academic post at Thurrock Technical College.

The great thinker, chair of the Academy of Ideas, has put pen to paper. Her mighty work I Still Find That Offensive is available for £1.68 and sits an inoffensive 215,836 places behind the Marquis De Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom in the Amazon best sellers list.

Question four was about the Ukraine. Claire began by saying ‘discombobulate’. Every cream-crackered reviewer’s safety word, it was time for bed!

© Always Worth Saying 2022

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