Always Worth Saying’s Question Time Review

Question Time 26th January 2023

The Panel:

Jake Berry (Conservative)
Tracy Brabin (Labour)
Konstantin Kisin (Comentator)
Alison Phillips (Daily Mirror)

Venue: Scunthorpe

What? Islington’s wunderkinder glitterati lebensborn don’t do Scunny on a Thursday night in January? Who would have thought it? At the time of doing my prep, only hours before this week’s edition of Question Time is broadcast, there are still only three guests. Let alone an un-funny leftie comedian, there isn’t even a Labour MP. Is there a Puffin out there with George the Poet’s or Dianne Abbott’s agent’s number?

The first question was about QT Review favourite Nadhim Zahawi. Jake Berry declared Nadhim a friend and then, in the true Tory Party Westminster spirit, gave him a good hard stab in the back by suggesting Mr Zahawi step away from power while clearing his name. Latecomer Tracy Brabin (Labour Mayor of West Yorkshire) said what has gone on is as clear as day. Rishi Sunak is weak. The solution is more devolution and metro mayors like herself. She told us she was a survivor of male violence who commutes on the bus. Drain the swamp she suggested, quoting The Donald. As she moved into greater detail concerning that which is as clear as day regarding Mr Zahawi, La Bruce muddied the waters for legal reasons.

A lady in the audience introduced herself as a local GP. So what?

Alison Phillips (journalist) was very excited. Mr Zahawi was demonstrating that one rule exists for rich Tories and another for everybody else. For some strange reason, she forgot to mention rich lefties being above the law too. Yes, you, unindicted war criminal Anthony Charles Lynton Blair. La Bruce also interrupted Alison for legal reasons when she went into details. Very rich people use the law to avoid scrutiny, Ms Phillips observed wisely. Aided and abetted by the mainstream media, she could have added.

Alison Phillips claims to hail from Essex. This may well be true but Puffins should resist the temptation to place her on the outskirts of the old East End or on the prom at Sarfend-on-Sea. Given that she was educated at Bishop Stortford’s Herts & Essex girl’s school and that her first newspaper appointment was at the Harlow Star, QT Review is forced to conclude she comes from rural Essex, north of London and, as with Jacob and Konstantin, is a lot posher than she makes out to be.

Between postings at regional rags in the South East, Alison studied at Leeds University, staying an extra year to edit their Leeds Student newspaper. Back in the smoke, she worked on women’s titles until 1998 when she joined Mirror Group newspapers, firstly at the Sunday People. Twenty-three years later she’s still there, (although Mirror Group is now part of the Reach group of titles) and has risen to be the editor of the Daily Mirror. If you thought Puffin’s favourite Kevin Maguire was the editor of the Mirror, you’d be mistaken. He is the associate editor, who has spent nearly all of his life in Essex and South West London and who only assumes an odd pseudo-northern accent (which only he is capable of speaking) when the television cameras are rolling.

Konstantin Kisin set off by bashing Zahawi’s role as vaccine minister. Bruce interrupted again. And again. And again. Konstantin got the better of her. Zahawi paid a tax penalty, not just the back tax. The sooner he goes the better, he’s an embarrassment.

Bruce interrupted Tracy Brabin as well when she reminded us of a loan to Boris Johnson set up by the BBC Chairman, Richard Sharp. Allegedly.

The next question was about levelling up. Should it be hard-wired into law? If so, what should that mean? Tracy said that no matter where you live you should have the same standard of living. Jobs, courses, busses. At present it’s not good enough. There is a Hunger Games beauty contest competition to bid for funding with some getting lots and Bradford getting nothing, or کچھ نہیں as they say these days in Bradford.

The income disparity between north and south is greater today than between East and West Germany before the end of the Cold War, claimed Jake. This is a national disgrace. La Bruce pointed out that the Germans spend £71bn a year on the Osties. Hold on. How did she know Jake would mention that in his answer? Hmmm. Surely Question Time isn’t as bent as you know who from you know where who does you know what between the Iraqi oil concessions and Caribbean tax havens while claiming thingamajig for his horses from his parliamentary wotsit?

Jake Berry, not his real name, Sir James Jacob Gilchrist Berry, is the Conservative MP for Lancashire’s Rossendale and Darwen constituency and a former chairman of the Conservative Party, albeit briefly under the eventful premiership of Mrs Truss. Privately educated Jake (£40,000 a year Liverpool College, who refer to their pupils as ‘learners’, yuk) studied law at Sheffield University and trained to be a solicitor in Chester and London before qualifying as such in 2003. The 44-year-old entered parliament at the 2010 general election.

As well as homes in London and Rossendale, Jacob has four properties on Angeslsey, a fact not uncommented upon by the Welsh island’s curtain twitchers. On their blog they log Mr Berry’s movements and are determined that he broke the lockdown rules with various comings and goings from his and his parent’s holiday homes during the coronavirus pandemic. They also stalk Rightmove and note his buyings and sellings – one a cool £780,000 paid for in cash. Rather than right-minded residents taking a neighbourly interest, Jacob describes his new friends as ‘Welsh ultra-nationalists’ waging a ‘hate campaign’.

As for his pandemic movements, Jacob insists having four houses on Anglesey is merely ‘following NHS advice’. Things came to a head in November 2020 with Mr Berry claiming in The Times that threats to burn his house(s) down led to him going to bed with a pick axe handle. Perhaps clumsily, local councillor Dafydd Rhys Thomas accused Mr Berry of ‘pouring oil on the flames’ and that the MP’s comments ‘totally misunderstood the nature of the communities [Single eyebrow? Six fingers on each hand?] on the island.’

Speaking of the inbred and inward-looking, previously Jake was a member of the Number 10 Policy Unit alongside Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson’s brother. Jake’s wife, Alice, is a former office manager to Boris and, in his resignation honours, Mr Johnson awarded Jake a knighthood.

According to Lie News’s Westminster accounts database, Jake has taken £135,000 in donations since the 2019 general election. These include £20,000 from Total Care and Support, a Burnley-based TV, PC and printer repair company. Lord Ashcroft also donates, as does the Portcullis Club, a secretive so-called dining club whose donor members remain anonymous.

Besides his MP’s salary, Sir Jake is paid £3,500 a month for 15-20 hours work (that’s between £175 and £233 an hour) and as a solicitor with Manchester law firm Squire, Patton and Boggs.

These payments aren’t made direct to Sir Jake but to Ford Bridge Farm Ltd. The curtain twitchers inform me that Ford Bridge is the anglicised name of Rhyd y Bont farm at Rhoscolyn on Holy Island near Anglesey which, according to Companies House, is the correspondence address of wife Alice. Hmm.

Konstantin thought the problems in the north were caused by globalisation. It was pointless building infrastructure if there were no jobs. However, there is a deglobalising process caused but the present interruption to supply chains. This is an opportunity to make things here again. A proviso being, it would be a big help if the lead weight of Net Zero was abandoned.

A fuller QT Review biography of Konstantin is available here. The key points being that his different accounts of his own biography contradict each other with QT Review HQ being forced to conclude that Mr Kersin was never as hard up as he claims and didn’t flee from the Communist Soviet Union after a poverty-stricken childhood.

As for those despised Russian oligarchs. Konstantin did rather well out of them, working as a legal, financal and business translator in London prior to being a podcaster, media commentator and BBC favourite. According to his old LinkedIn account, Mr Kerson’s former clients included Russian mining corporations and oil companies. He also provided Russian ‘banking reports, statements, loan agreements, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development documentation, World Bank reports, contracts and deals, news and financial analysis, business-to-business correspondence, insurance, investment banking, tender documentation, risk management, macro-economic reports and analysis.’

Also on his old LinkedIn, he claimed extensive training in the ‘psychology of communication and human behaviour’. Another of Konstantin’s missions was to, ‘assist freelancers the world over in relationships with clients, making more money, working less,’ through a series of online training sessions under the umbrella title, ‘Making More Money.’

Alison Phillips saw the need for a long-term plan. She used the example of the steel industry – relevant to Scunthorpe. The industry had been treated disgracefully with a long series of short-term contradictory policies.

Jake was bigly triggered by the idea of the end of Net Zero. ‘Green-collar jobs’, he said. Useless wind farms that generate massive rents to the landowner and little electricity are made of steel, he pointed out. Does that make them green or not green one wonders? Tracy was triggered too. Jake was so triggered that one suspected the good burgers of Angelsey may one day soon be peeping out at piles of rubble with big masts and blades atop them.

The next question was about tanks to the Ukraine. It won’t spark WWIII Konstatin assured us. La Bruce wondered how he could be so sure? It’s a provocation but Putin will not attack the West. If you want Ukraine to survive you must provide them with what they want. Konstantin would also provide ack-ack to protect Ukrainian infrastructure, especially power stations.

Nobody, either on the panel or in the audience, suggested a negotiated solution between the warring parties. Tracy Brabin even referred to the Ukrainians as ‘our friends’.

The final question was about discriminating against women because of the menopause. Does such a thing happen? Alsion wasn’t convinced that the menopause needed to be a protected characteristic. It would be more useful to women to have better access to appropriate healthcare and treatment. Konstantin didn’t know a lot about it but felt people shouldn’t be discriminated against for any reason. He plugged his own non-discriminatory YouTube channel.

Tracy conceded she’d been through the menopause, while draped over a wheelie bin outside a night club in Batley.

As with Ukraine, Russia and peace talks, nobody on the panel or in the audience mentioned the obvious – the male menopause. La Bruce ended the programme without a hint of it, at which point it was time for your humble reviewer to park his new sports car in the garage, hang his toupe on a hook above the tanning bed and tiptoe upstairs in his silk pyjamas and medallion.

© Always Worth Saying 2023

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file