Always Worth Saying’s Question Time Review

Question Time 23rd March 2023

The Panel:

Andrew Bowie (Conservative)
Louise Haigh (Labour)
Zing Tsjeng (Vice UK)
Howard Davies (NatWest Group)
Tom Newton Dunn (Talk TV)

Venue: Newcastle-under-Lyme

Edinburgh University graduate Tomas Zolton Newton Dunn currently presents on Talk TV. Mr Newton Dunn has worked in various London media roles, especially at the BBC and more recently at Times Radio. His sister Daisy was also at the BBC as a producer (Monty Don’s gardening shows) and at Lions Gate films. At the moment she is ‘turning her talents and passion for China to the education sector’ having, as a mature student, just completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at University College London.

The Newton Dunn’s mother is a Hungarian European Union quangocrat called Anna Akri. Their father is Bill Newton Dunn, a career MEP for the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. Bill and Tom are old boys of £42,930 a year Marlborough College. Bill is a graduate of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Mr Newton Dunn senior was also awarded a tri-lingual MBA from business school in Fontainebleau.

Tom’s grandfather was Lieutenant-Colonel Owen Frank Newton Dunn, OBE, of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment.

It’s easy to laugh at Tom, Daisy and their posh relatives but here’s an important point. How do you follow that? This reviewer knew a chap, who knew a chap, who knew a chap, who went to Sandhurst with the son (or grandson?) of one of the heroes of Telemark. There might have been a Churchill there at the same time too. No matter how well those two did it was always going to be a bit ‘meh’. Whereas the rest of us can be thrilled to bits at writing a weekly review while just about being able to pay the bills – or being a captain (retired) while reasonably high-up at a bank – the upper orders will always be comparatively a bit disappointing and disappointed. For instance, having to appear on Question Time to plug struggling Talk TV for Rupert Murdoch. *Cringey face* We shall be kind to Tom Newton Dunn – but only out of pity.

Question one. Is there a way back for Boris Johnson? Not telling, replied Andrew Bowie (Conservative). As a member of the government it would be improper for me to comment upon the most important thing happening in government, he concluded unconvincingly. And anyway, he was very pleased Rishi Sunak is prime minister whist omitting to mention that Mr Sunak accepted a fixed penalty fine for party-party during the pandemic too. Incidentally, while we’re on the subject, why the hell does Mr Sunak pay all that tax? With a footprint that includes India, California and all the tax havens and hedge funds that lie between, surely he could dodge the lot? Gone down in my estimation.

Louise Haigh (Labour) wasn’t interested in the most interesting thing happening in politics either and preferred to rattle on about high inflation, the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine. She wanted the public to be assured that people speak the truth in the House of Liars and Thieves. She thought Boris’s evidence before his committee the previous day had been incredible. Presumably she meant non-credible.

A gentleman in the audience with Boris hair, a blue shirt and glasses, rambled. Another gentleman answered the question with a ‘no’ and recommend that the country moves on to more important issues. Howard Davies (businessman) thought this a long-running show like The Mousetrap. We all know who done it, Boris done it. Howard thought Boris’s defence wasn’t serious politics. It’s a soap opera.

No, it isn’t responded Zing Tsjeng, it’s about trusting people in power. No one is being held to account. Boris was like a sullen child when in front of the committee. She referred to those who couldn’t get to see their loved ones during the pandemic while Boris is said to have partied.

Never say never with Boris. He has a way of bouncing back, said Tom. La Bruce held a straw poll. Who thought Boris was telling the truth? Nobody, but one audience member thought there was a way back for him. Thing is, nobody believes any of the politicians.

Howard wasn’t surprised. Boris had contradicted one of Howard’s quangos (something about airports) and he didn’t like it one little bit.

Tranny alert! Didn’t take a blind bit of notice of what he/she/they had to say as I was trying too hard to think of a comparison. Imagine Princess Beatrice was a window cleaner on a council estate. Best I can do.

Fiona moved on. The second question was about trust in the police following a recent excoriating report on the Met. Louise had been a special constable. Ominously she began, ‘As a woman…’ She wasn’t surprised by the toxic culture and claimed to have experienced ‘outdated’ comments which she grassed up but nothing happened. She ran through the phobias and isms, including that her instructors at Hendon had sneered at the diversity nonsense.

How easy is it to change the culture of a big organisation, La Bruce asked of Howard. He took the opportunity to reference his lengthy CV, and so should we:

Manchester-born Sir Howard is one of the great and the good of British business and is currently the chairman of the NatWest Banking Group. Grammar school boy Mr Davies has, amongst many other positions, been a consultant at McKinsey and Company, a professor at the Paris School of International Affairs, chairman of the UK Airports Commission, chairman of Phoenix Insurance, Director General of the CBI and a Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.

After Manchester Grammar School the 72-year-old graduated in modern history and modern languages at Merton College, Oxford, following which his stellar career began at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and progressed through government services until the consultancies and directorships began to pile up. One of which, director of the London School of Economics, came to a stickie end after the LSE accepted a donation from the Gaddafis while, co-incidentally, awarding Saif al-Islam Gaddafi a doctorate despite someone else writing his thesis.

Sir Howard has too-many-to-mention other directorships and fellowships but they do include chairman of the Mann Booker Prize and chair of the Royal National Theatre. Is he a mason?

And the one-time auditor of all the police forces in England except the Met, he informed us.

Howard bored us with the Met’s chain of command. He wanted to break it up and make it more like New York and Paris where policing is much better than it is here… erm. Howard persisted, splitting would provide the shock required to bring about cultural change.

A policewoman in the audience wanted more money. The big change she suggested was to be allowed to strike!

Andrew had been shocked. Systemic failures. Bruce obsessed over the word ‘institutional’ but Andrew wouldn’t take the bait. His comments amounted to ‘lessons will be learned’. He declared crime had gone down by 50% and paid tribute to what’s left of the honest coppers. Bruce said recorded crime had gone up. Howard explained the discrepancy is on account of fraud being removed from the figures.

A lady in the audience made an important point. What do the police do when things go wrong? They investigate themselves. She had no faith in a self-regulated force.

Zing pointed out that people in power, including the government, get away with far too much.

Like QT chair Bruce, Zing Tsjeng was born in Singapore and is a journalist. Presently she is executive editor of Vice UK and a graduate of Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London.

Since completing her education Zing has done nothing other than London media, having been an intern at The Guardian and holding positions at Wonderland Magazine, Rollercoaster Magazine and Dazed and Confused.

Who watches the watchman, wondered Tom. The politicians, that’s who and that means Sadiq Khan. The Met are so big they can’t be taken on. Not his words but an observation from former Home Security Theresa May.

Question three was about the inability of people to feed themselves. How should we bring the costs down?

Howard explained the big picture in terms of supply, demand, interest rates and inflation.

Wages have stagnated for years, said Zing, since 2008. She forgot to mention that’s when Labour’s credit crunch wrecked the economy. She talked about cuts, cuts, cuts when in fact the government has been spending, spending, spending.

A fat nurse spoke from the audience, and she was fat, even by fat nurse standards. Another lady mentioned those who come to ‘my food bank’. Gone are the days when Staffordshire ladies of a certain age boasted about a new Austin Princess or a cruise. Now they have their own food banks.

An even fatter woman spoke, dripping in jewellery. She wanted food vouchers. Zing wanted tighter regulation of the housing market to, in her words, ‘stop landlords from passing the higher cost of their mortgages on to the tenants.’ How stupid are these people? I hope she’s the first to be evicted from a boarded-up flat belonging to a bankrupt landlord. Then she decided to abolish rent altogether and spend the money on food. To be eaten in your cardboard shack in the gutter next to all the derelict properties.

Posh Tom thought it was horrific. £8 for a jar of coffee. Drink that cold tasteless coffee out the tap, Tom. It’s free at the point of use. He blamed Brexit yay!

There is real despair began Andrew. He blamed energy prices. Get fracking, he forgot to advise.

Andrew Bowie was due to appear on last week’s programme but didn’t turn up. I used my prep on him anyway so Puffins already know that the thirty-five-year-old was born in Arbroath and educated at Inverurie Academy. After school, he joined the Navy with his career in uniform reaching its apotheosis as a sub-lieutenant in the Ceremonial Events Commemoration Team. After failing his navigation exams Andrew was promoted backwards to study history and politics at the University of Aberdeen. After graduation, he worked for the Conservative Party in Scotland before being elected to parliament as MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine in 2017.

Last week QT Review speculated that Andrew’s pompous title and ridiculously named department suggested him a character from Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. Not so. Being Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Nuclear and Networks at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero suggests him an Austro-Hungarian Grand-Admiral, on account of having a Hapsburg princess as a cousin. Albeit after a treaty had removed the empire’s coastline.

Louise’s heart bled for the poor. One of her constituents hadn’t had a bath for three weeks. It is Sheffield, folks. There are global factors and the Ukraine but she blamed Mrs Truss for ‘crashing the economy’. The economy hasn’t crashed, it continued to grow, albeit slowly. Louise’s answer was to increase taxes and the minimum wage – an increased cost that will have to be passed on to consumers.

Privately educated Louise Haigh (£14,000 per year Sheffield High School) is the Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley. The 36-year-old graduated in politics from the University of Nottingham after dropping out of a government and economics course at the London School of Economics.

After graduating, Haigh worked for a local authority youth service and insurance firm Aviva. She was also a union official with the Unite union and a political researcher for Puffin’s favourite Litha Nandy. Louise was herself elected to parliament in 2015 and is currently the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport. Her brother Phil is a sports reporter with the Metro newspaper. As a sign of how much of a bubble the London politicians and media people live in, fellow panellist Howard Davies is a former director of the London School of Economics and, via her declared House of Commons member’s interests, Louise accepts jollies from Tom Newton Dunn’s sister’s Lions Gate Films.

As a regular on QT, readers already know that Louise copes with the cost of living crisis by accepting numerous four and five-figure donations from trades unions alongside jollies such as a £560 trip to the St Ledger courtesy of bookmakers William Hill, a £900 trip to Glastonbury paid for by UK Music and £1,840 worth of hospitality from Channel 4.

On a more serious note, Ms Haigh has accepted hospitality from Medical Aid for Palestinians, an organisation highly critical of *cough* ‘Israel’ and who have links to the terrorists at the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The final question was about ‘saving the planet’. Net zero is something else which is costing a fortune and making everybody’s life a mystery. A fact ignored by the panel. Zing talked utter crap. Historically Britain has chopped down trees and now the Third World is suffering. Apparently, this is ‘climate justice’. She wanted more net zero not less, piling on more expense and misery.

Some magic new technology is about to appear from nowhere announced Andrew. Phew! We’re not doing enough decided Louise. High-paid green jobs will also appear from nowhere. We’re not doing enough said Tom. But there are huge costs involved. Nobody mentioned the long winter with temperatures dropping. Nobody mentioned fracking instead of importing. Nobody mentioned expensive wind farms with their massive rents to big landowners. Nobody mentioned the sheer cost of basing energy policy on superstition rather than the laws of physics.

No wonder everything’s expensive.

© Always Worth Saying 2023

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