Question Time 8th December 2022
Guy Opperman (Conservative)
Lucy Powell (Labour)
Patrick Grant (Fashion designer)
Isabel Oakeshott (Journalist)
Stewart Hosie (SNP)
Venue: Bishop Auckland
An unlikely boulevardier, Mr Hosie has suffered a sex scandal. His affair with former actress turned political journalist Serena Cowdy ended his marriage to fellow SNP trougher Shona Robison, the MSP for Dundee East. And a financial scandal, Stewart’s House of Commons credit card was blocked in March 2016 on account of an outstanding debt of £3,446.95.
As Puffins are repeatedly reminded, the SNP has its origins in Nazism, fascism, racism and sectarian bigotry. SNP founding father Arthur Donaldson associated with the Hitler Youth. Another founding father, Alexander Dewar Gibb, was a self-confessed fascist who quoted Hitler in his speeches and expressed a visceral hatred of the Irish.
Incidentally, long-suffering readers will be aware that your long-suffering reviewer lives very close to the border. On the other side of which lie … Tory shires full of nice people, hardworking and polite, who support the Union and return Conservative MPs. The border with Scottish nationalism lies much further north of Scotsdyke, Liddlewater and the River Sark. For a taste of that territory, after taking appropriate precautions, repeat after me in a loud voice, “Alexa, show me peak Motherwell.” And if the Scots want their own government, lucky them, they already have it in Edinburgh. Unlike the English who are stuck with a UK parliament stuffed with ungrateful Celts in a hostile foreign country called Londonistan.
Hoping for a heated debate on a cold winter’s night the first question was delivered by Bishop Aulkand’s only person of colour. With all these strikes, is Britain broken?
There is no need to go on strike because of all the government handouts (paid for out of your wages) said Guy Opperman (Conservative). Junior barrister’s massive pay rise is different, he reminded striking nurses.
Guy Opperham is the Conservative MP for Hexham in Northumberland. Not quite as northern as Michael Parkinson, Mr Opperham was born in Wiltshire and educated privately at £46,000 per year Harrow.
With a degree from the University of Buckinghamshire and a diploma from the University of Lille, Mr Opperham was called to the bar in 1989 and entered parliament in 2010. In a parliamentary debate in 2013 regarding the problem of insecure work, Mr Opperaham claimed he knew what it was like to live on zero hours as for two and a half years he had worked without a contract as a £250-an-hour barrister.
Which reminds me, while I was looking for the fees, I accidentally fell across Harrow’s situations vacant. If Puffin parents are having difficulties with the demands made by the 300-acre school (complete with its own golf course and farm) why not get a job at the North London establishment? According to their website, the school’s caterers work an average of 40 hours per week, spread over 5 days out of 7, across a 3-week rota. This includes evenings and weekends. Split shifts may be required. While doing so caterers are ‘expected to conduct themselves in line with the school’s values which are: Courage, Honour, Humility and Fellowship’. In the interests of humility, catering staff are paid £11.54 an hour, 40p an hour below the London living wage.
Shame on you, Harrow.
Lucy Powell (Labour) said public sector workers are 4% worse off, which is a false economy as nurses join agencies, get paid more and therefore it costs the taxpayer more. “Got to get around the table,” she advised the government.
A teacher spoke from the audience. Schools can’t find the money to fund the independent pay review body’s recommended rise. A fireman with a nurse wife also asked for a pay rise, “With hard cash.” He decided inflation is already stratospheric and saw the secret to growth in the economy as giving him more money to spend.
Posh Ms Powell is Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and MP for Manchester Central. Comrade Lucy is an old girl of Parrs Wood High School in Greater Manchester’s posh Didsbury. As well as her own massive pension, paid for by you, she can also look forward to her husband’s public sector retirement wedge as he is an accident and emergency doctor. A graduate of Somerville College, Oxford, and Kings College, London, Lucy has enjoyed a non-career of non-jobs in the Labour Party, PR, campaigning and quango-land.
Interestingly, one of her positions was as a project leader at Nesta, as was last week’s guest Adam Price of Plaid Cymru. Nesta’s mission statement claims they address childhood inequality, public health and acceleration of the UK’s transition to low-carbon. What is Nesta? It is a registered charity. Reference to the Charities Commission website shows that Nesta currently holds £449 million in long-term investments. Nesta was set up by the previous Labour government and stands for the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. It is funded from the National Lottery and seeks to influence future generations of decision-makers through a Nesta Democracy Pioneers project. Why on earth has a 12-year-long Tory government allowed Blairite Common Purpose style organisations like this to continue in existence?
La Oakeshott (journalist), looking more glam than ever, fluttered her giant eyebrows seductively, from beneath a forest of hair extensions, while saying the whole country is broken and nothing works. Which is tosh. May I recommend to her the private sector? Where all productive citizens work, providing for themselves and for the public sector too through their taxes.
Isabel went all leftie and said there aren’t enough nurses.
If Angela Raynor has a ginger growler flashed to all then La Belle Oakeshott nestles a silken whisper in a secret place. For Raynor’s £5,600 rock-hard silicon boob job read naturally flowing verdant hills alive with bird song and covered in spring flowers.
Isabel Euphemia Oakeshott (not her real name) was born in Westminster and brought up in Dunbar, 30 miles along the coast from Edinburgh. Educated privately at £33,000 a year St George’s School, Edinburgh and Moray’s £42,000 a year Gordonstoun, Isabel graduated in History from the University of Bristol. Pursuing a career in journalism, the 48-year-old worked for a variety of English and Scottish regional and national newspapers before a six-year stint at the Sunday Times.
Her ex-husband, Niger Rosser (£20,000 a year Magdalen College and £33,000 per annum Dragon School) is also a media professional and, together with his ex-wife, was a director of Rosser Communications. Currently Isabel is the sole director of Diamond Ink Ltd, a ‘television programming and broadcasting activities’ business within which her Talk TV presenter and other fees tax-efficiently accumulate. As of March 2022, she was sitting on a cool £231,598 via Diamond Ink, an increase of £86,012 on the previous year.
Ms Oakeshott’s present partner is Richard James Sunley Tice (£40,000 a year Uppingham School), a scion of the Sunley property dynasty, former Brexit Party MEP and current leader of the Reform UK party.
The extended Oakeshott family is packed with Oxford dons, members of the House of Lords, diplomats, war heroes, archaeologists and at least one crackpot leftie. Isabel’s sister Veronica is a do-gooder qungogoland trougher who’s never had a proper job. A former Labour councillor in East London, Veronica has a First in Politics from Newcastle University and another in Political Campaigning And Reporting from City, University of London. She is presently head of Forests Policy And Advocacy at Global Witness, an organisation committed to sacking the natives from their highly skilled, well-paid and sustainable forestry jobs in developing countries. Her CV should be framed and placed on every wardroom dart board. I shall post it in an addendum as a warning to well-connected parents of brainy daughters.
“We shut our borders to our friends in Europe,” began Stewart Hosie (SNP), to applause from the carefully selected BBC audience. Patrick Grant was no better, he thought everything is broken too. He focused on sewage, power and trains. He refused to blame Putin for our energy problems but then spoiled the effect by suggesting useless wind farms as a solution.
Another public sector worker spoke. One in eight nursing positions is vacant. Do some overtime, I thought you wanted more money? Another NHS worker spoke! This time on the HR side of things. And another, 75 children on the ward, with a ‘struggling’ farmer waiting at home.
How would Labour fund all of this? Asked a man in the audience. La Bruce (chair) moved very rapidly on.
The second question was about our new coal mine in Cumbria. Lucy Powell understood, she claimed, the need for economic development in places like Cumbria and Bishop Auckland but would stop it from happening because of ‘green’. She mentioned energy production but the mine is for metallurgical coal for the steel industry, not for a power station. Guy understood that difference and was in favour of using our own coal rather than importing it from Putin.
Lucy was still dead against. It was the equivalent of running 2 million cars, she said, 2 million cars made from steel she forgot to add.
The carbonphobia was strong, except for Isabel who thought we might produce our own fracking gas rather than import it from America. Odd claims for nuclear power were made from the audience which weren’t challenged by La Bruce. Ultimately, carbon dioxide derangement syndrome is a mental health problem for the truly committed and political and financial opportunism for the hangers-on and green-washers.
Stewart thought useless wind farms and half-built nuclear power stations would provide ‘energy security’. Mr Grant told us of his engineering degree and therefore has no excuse. His comments were 100% virtue signalling and had nothing to do with science. He mentioned hydrogen-produced steel, omitting to mention it’s hydrogen that puts the ‘hydro’ into hydrocarbons and we have to drill and dig like mad to provide the natural gas that hydrogen is made from.
Patrick Grant (£16,000 a year Edinburgh Academy and £28,000 a year Barnard Castle) is a Materials Science and Engineering graduate from the University of Leeds. He is also an MBA via Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. Although described as a fashion designer in the Question Time guff, he is more on the business side of things having been in corporate sales and marketing before buying into Norton and Sons and expanding the clothing business while relaunching its subsidiaries. In 2015, he took over Cookson and Clegg. Well known to those who watch television, Mr Grant is a judge on The Great British Sewing Bee. Whatever that is.
Guy thought Bishop Aukland was in Cumbria and when contradicted decided it was in the North East. Oh well, the panel’s geography is as bad as its science.
The next question was about Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary which reminded me there is something better on the telly than this tripe. Isabel gave the happy couple a good kicking. La Bruce contradicted the viewing figures and the Sussex’s fees.
The royal family wont be damaged by this, thought Stewart, they’ve come through worse. Is there a campaign against the monarchy? Nope, he didn’t think there was. He wished Harry and Meghan a happy life.
A young man wondered why any of this is relevant to a British audience. Good point, the programme’s aimed at middle-aged, middle-class, female Americans.
And me, I should add, at which point the temptation became irresistible and this week’s QT was binned. As for next week, Jacob Reees-Mogg and Peter Hitchens are on the BBC show, but at the same time another three episodes of Megan and Harry are dropping on Netflix. Descisions, descisions!
Veronica Oakeshott’s nutty CV. Parents of brainy children, take this as a warning.
Manager: Cecily fund, HIV educational charity education for vulnerable Zambian Children
Campaigner for Obama: LNS Deligation
Senior Researcher: House of Commons
Political Advisor: House of Commons
Consultant: Institute For War And Peace Reporting
Nigeria: Democracy Under Pressure
Consultant: Vision Campaign Works (Cambridge Analytica style politics)
Consultant: Kenya Women’s Parliamentary Association (as above)
Political officer: Human Rights and Conflict, Foreign & Commonwealth Office
EU Observer: Mission to Kenya
Senior Campaigner: Save the Children UK
Public Affairs Manager: End Violence Against Women Coalition Ltd
Head of Public Affairs and Policy: SafeLives
Drive Project (domestic abuse): Head of Communications, Public Affairs & Policy
Head of Forests Policy and Advocacy: Global Witness
Veronica is too ashamed to include her time as a Labour councillor in Newham Council’s Boleyn ward.
© Always Worth Saying 2022
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file