Always Worth Saying’s Question Time Review

respected from Carlisle to Kiev

Question Time 27th October 2022

The Panel:

David Lammy (Labour)
Julia Hartley-Brewer (Journalist)
Armando Iannucci (Writer)
Late arrival:
Lucy Frazer (Conservative)

Venue: Dulwich

Never mind that. It’s my birthday. On the premise that if you don’t ask you don’t get, a while back I accidentally mentioned to Swiss Bob that my fifty-tenth approached. Kind enough to dispatch some beer on your behalf, may I take this opportunity to express my appreciation both to SB and to all of the Puffins. Many thanks. As for my other prezzies, I’ve given up trying to solder. Is it because they don’t put lead in it any more? Previously, a good session in the attic might lower your IQ by ten points but at least you got the little trains moving around the track. Having hit the chicken switch, I’m now the proud owner of four sets of rail connectors with wires attached. This will help to get my bone moving. Behave. I should have asked for a Class 60 but I prefer the Class 58 ‘bone’ as it just about squeezes into my layout’s Corporate Blue era.

Mid 19th century provincial Victorian clergyman with time on their hands were able to reach a consensus. Studying the genealogies contained within the Bible, combined with the dates therein and the described length of the reigns of kings, allowed a precise moment to be set for the Creation. It mattered not that the genealogies in different parts of the Good Book contradict each other, nor that the three sets of fourteen generations between Adam and Jesus described by St Mathew suggests such things are meant symbolically rather than literally. Oh no, the world was created on a Saturday morning in late October 4004 BC. True fact.

By now Puffins will be aware that this humble reviewer has a big opinion of himself, only reinforced by being born on a Saturday morning in late October. The 27th to be precise, 60 years ago today, although falling on a Thursday this time to clash with, or to compliment, the latest edition of BBC’s Question Time. All of which provides further proof both of the existence of God and that QT Review is part His intention.

Down south in Yorkshire they play a game of ‘When I Were a Lad’. We licked the motorway clean. Got up before we went to bed and walked twenty miles t’mine while our dad flogged us. Amateurs. Your humble author was born in the local Union Workhouse. As Harvey Price owns the internet, so I own the Four Yorkshiremen. My own creation story continues by being so upside down and the wrong way around that my mother was told she was expecting twins. Throughout the decades I have imagined my non-twin as a girl called Dorothy. Had she existed she would have been the dominant one, would have married a Free Mason and would have owned an impressive four-wheel caravan on the Ayrshire coast. One can tell. Furious at the ladies’ retirement age being raised above sixty, she would have been in a foul mood today making our birthday party a flaccid anti-climax for the friends of Dorothy.

Looking back exactly six decades, the newspapers were full of the Cuban missile crisis. Do You Love Me Now by the Contours was top of the hit parade. In the days when Wendyball matches were occasionally postponed because of cholera outbreaks, our Local XI sat three places below Bradford Park Avenue. As for my own efforts between the white lines, after this week’s fixture I took our Wednesday night 8-a-side team to one side and broke the terrible news that they’ve been dreading. Now that I’m 18 years older than the prime minister, I’ve decided to retire from the game – when I’m 18 years older than the Pope. Bantz with the ladz.

Originally, after an gap of 30 years, I’d intended to return to America for my special day. What a great time we were going to have. A tour along the wall and a visit to the Trump Whitehouse to be topped off with a coach trip to the state penitentiary where Hilary waits on death row. However, following the steal, the trade winds insisted I stay in Carlisle.

The new plan is for a card school and takeaway on Sunday. The carefully chosen guest list includes, unbeknownst to the others, a collaborator who is on my team during the hands. Despite my current dilapidated state I can still count and mark the cards, and deal them from the bottom of the pack if needs be. Added to which, house rules apply. It will be a shearing shed. No doubt something similar happens at other Puffin birthdays. Sorry? Barbecue? Countryside? Fine wine, excellent food and polite conversation among frens? Each to his own. After the fleecing, it’s Halloween, Bonfire Night and the American mid-terms followed by the next series of The Crown (a month of Netflix being another of my pezzies).

They say that life begins at sixty. They might just be right.


At the time of doing my prep, only three panellists have been announced and one of those is David Lammy. After last week’s disappointment, moving the broadcast to 8 pm when I’m at work and bouncing installation artist Cornelia Parker (the great talent behind Cold Dark Matter, Subconscious of a Moment and Thirty Pieces of Silver) in favour of Ghislaine Maxwell apologist Rachael Johnson, maybe they can’t get anyone?

First question, can Rishi Sunak unite and succeed? Yes, said late arrival, Lucy Frazer (Conservative). Armando Iannucci (writer) pointed out we have made the prime minister’s role presidential. He singled out Suella Braverman as being the one likely not to stay in post. The Home Secretary really has triggered the hypersensitive race obsessive. As it was Armando who packed the corporation’s Personal History of David Copperfield with tinge, let’s hope Suella lasts for ever.

Julia Hartley-Brewer (journalist) wanted Sunack to succeed especially as there won’t be an election called with the government being so far behind in the polls. “We need to have this work.”

Speaking of things that lower the IQ, David Lammy spoke next, again having a dig at Suella Braverman, who according to Lammy is in the pay of the Tory Party’s pro-Brexit (or far right according to Lammy) European Research Group. “We need a general election!”

Patients aren’t discharged because of the social care crisis, what’s to be done? Was the second question. A&E is blocked up which then blocks up the ambulance service. A&E is blocked up because there’s nowhere for patients to be discharged to. All this is happening in the world’s best health service.

“It’s desperate,” said Lammy, “you can’t get a dentist”. David blamed a decade of cuts and predicted future austerity. He forgot to say it’s the best in the world, but I’m sure he thinks it.

“People are getting older and fatter,” noted Julia. She put a name on the problem, ‘bed blocking’. It would have been a good idea not to sack tens of thousands of un-vacinated social care workers, she added. It’s a Cinderella service. A fit and healthy looking lady in the audience self defined as being permanently disabled by covid. She also self defined as being stuck in bed and using a wheelchair while seating on a seat in the front row.

We have backlog, said Lucy. Sounds nasty. She said we have 40 new hospitals and when challenged corrected herself to there being a commitment to 40 new hospitals.

Armando blamed Brexit and wanted more people to come here in order to, erm, have fewer people using public services. It’s a very, very good health service, said someone in the audience who hadn’t been paying attention.

NHS employees queued up to comment. A lady with a giant pension said that she’d retired from the NHS ten years ago. She blamed the present problems on private sector investment initiatives. “Nothing has changed in the last decade.” Another lady moved the issue to education. Too many Tory politicians send their children to private schools, as did Mr and Mrs Iannucci (St Aloysius’ College, Glasgow), Mr and Mrs Frazer (Leeds Girls’ High School) and Mr and Mrs Bruce (Haberdashers Aske’s). Even Mr and Mrs Lammy sent their son to boarding school (The Kings Cathedral School, Peterborough). Tonight’s venue was Dulwich. Dulwich College to be precise, not only an exclusive public school but alma mater of Nigel Farage – more of whom later.

The next question was about carbonphobics tipping tomato soup on artwork. “It’s too late,” decided climate scientist Armando Iannucci. His sympathies lay with the hooligans and trying to stop them is, apparently, what happens in Putin’s Russia. Julia thought climate models to be nonsense and even if they proved to be true it didn’t really matter. She blamed climate crap on the middle classes and their cosy lives. She wanted everyone to benefit from fossil fuels.

Lammy put Julia into the Conservative Party, which she reminded him she’s not a member of. Lammy will not be issuing licences to explore for oil or gas, which he compared to apartheid and the Poll Tax.

Did we not all experience 40 degree heat in the summer, asked a crank. No, we didn’t. There have been floods in Pakistan during the monsoon season, she added.

Shocking, ignorant and more shocking, wailed another loon, bigly triggered by Julia.

The last question was a strange one. If the Thick Of It was written today, would it be funnier or not funny at all? Armando observed that the political game of musical chairs was proceeding so quickly that it was difficult to keep up, let alone to make jokes about it. He made a serious point about career politicians who’ve never done anything other than college and think tanks. “The country’s run by twenty-four year olds.” Julia thought we get the politicians we deserve. Lammy blamed Brexit and exercised his Suellaphobia, triggered by her wanting to be on the front page of The Telegraph for sending illegal immigrants to Rwanda.

Lucy said there’s postman in Conservative Party, so everything’s alright then.


Incidentally, you know those birthday greetings from celebrities and great statesmen? I honestly think more was included than what my family put on the form when they were paying the seventy quid. Is Farage another long-suffering reader? The suspicion was reinforced when the GB News supremo and former leader of Ukip included “Respected from Kiev to Carlisle” in my birthday message. He even pronounced it Key-Ev.

© Always Worth Saying 2022

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