Question Time 20th April 2023
Jeremy Quin (Conservative)
Wes Streeting (Labour)
Carla Denyer (Green)
Lord Sentamu (Christian Aid)
Merryn Somerset Webb (Finance Journalist)
John Sentamu (not his real name, The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Lord Bishop John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, Privy Councilor) is a retired Anglican bishop who served as Archbishop of York and Primate of England from 2005 to 2020. He was the first black archbishop in the Church of England, and throughout his career, has been outspoken on social justice issues and has criticized former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. Lord Sentamu is a member of the House of Lords and was recently created a crossbench life peer. He is known for his passion for sharing the Gospel and his advocacy against racism, unfairness, and violence.
One of those senior Anglican clergy who refreshingly believes in God, John was born in 1949 in Masooli village, Gayaza, near Kampala, Uganda, as the sixth of thirteen children of Reverend John Snr and Ruth Walakira. He obtained a Law degree at Puffin’s favourite African university, Makerere (alma mater to George the Poet’s mother) and worked as a High Court judge during Idi Amin’s regime. However, he fled to the UK after experiencing threats and violence. In the United Kingdom, Sentamu studied at Selwyn College, alma mater to fellow guest Nasty Wes Streeting. In 1979 the 73-year-old was ordained as a priest after completing studies in theology at Cambridge’s Ridley Hall.
In 2007 he became the popular first chancellor of the newly created University of Cumbia where he was known to accompany the singing at their Carlisle cathedral graduation ceremonies by playing the African drums.
Question one. Is patient care being neglected by striking nurses and doctors or thirteen years of naff government? There’s a quarter of a million more people working in the NHS, began Jeremy Quin (Conservative), as if that was a good thing. Challenged, he wasn’t keen on either the strike or arbitration to end it. The BMA should enter discussions with the government and call off the industrial action. Demanding a 35% pay increase isn’t a solution.
The Health Service isn’t on its knees it’s on its face, began baby-faced Wes Streeting (Labour). He blamed the pandemic on underspending, rather than nature and the Chinese, and parroted a lame catchphrase about clapping for an NHS which is now clapped out. The York audience, who incidentally are responsible for electing a Green/Libdem coalition local council, clapped like seels.
His Grace (retired archbishop) had been to hospital for a test and had been looked after properly. He has had five major operations and thought all of the healthcare professions involved were excellent. He thought the 35% pay claim was a barrier to be ignored and that there should be negotiations. Oddly, he then referenced the Royal College of Nursing as being the first organisation to decide to, and to achieve, the defeat of racism. These difficult things can be done. “When elephants fight or make love, the grass gets hurt,” he concluded even more oddly.
Screechy Carla Denyer (Green) made the point that real terms increases in spending only take into account inflation, not increases in demand. Presumably the girl’s against immigration? She had been down on the picket lines. The strikers don’t want paid more, they want to save the Health Service, she said somewhat naively. She wondered aloud how the Labour Party would make things any better.
Merryn Somerset Webb (journalist) told us that over their entire careers, doctors are very well paid indeed. She wanted them to pay less into their pensions so that they would get less in retirement and have more to spend when juniors. That’ll please them! She then addressed student loans, the repayment of which she suggested cutting if a doctor stayed within the NHS. She wanted to copy the Australian health care system because that’s where the doctors and nurses emigrate to. Interestingly, not free at the point of use but a public/private arrangement. The people of York, rich enough to vote Green and LibDem, even clapped that.
Merryn Somerset Webb (not her real name, Merryn Rosemary Somerset Scott) is a financial journalist and commentator, born on June 23rd 1970 in Clonmel, Ireland. After Wycombe Abbey School (£43,000 per annum) she studied history and economics at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and completed her education at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies as a Daiwa Scholar. After working in Japan to produce business programmes for NHK, she returned to London in 1998 to work for BNP Paribas. Interestingly a friend worked at the BNP but can’t remember Merryn. Maybe there’s another BNP, perhaps something to do with banking?
In 2000, she became the launch editor for the financial weekly MoneyWeek and has won multiple awards for her financial journalism, including Personal Finance Journalist of the Year in 2008 and 2018. Ms Webb is a senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and also hosts the Merryn Talks Money podcast. She is the author of two books, Love is Not Enough: A Smart Woman’s Guide to Money and Share Power. Additionally, she is a non-executive director of two investment trusts and a popular speaker and broadcaster.
In the interests of equality, woman of the people Merryn lives in Edinburgh’s proletarian New Town where her husband, Alexander Q R ‘Sandy’ Cross Esq, works for the minimum wage as a partner in Edinburgh-based wealth management firm Rossie House. On her website, Merryn pretends not to have a nanny and, beyond scribing and podcasting on behalf of the globalists, claims to spend the rest of her time ‘ferrying children around and around town.’ Despite their privations, the Webb-Crosses own their own island. Vementry in the Shetland Isles even boasts two 6-inch QF Mk I First World War guns originally from the Edgar-class cruiser HMS Gibraltar.
Beyond her success at owning islands and artillery pieces, Merryn’s literary endeavours have fared less well. Her mighty work Love Is Not Enough: A Smart Woman’s Guide to Money sits on the Amazon best sellers list in 1,978,498th place, a heartbreaking 1,782,606 painful positions (*snarf*) behind another old romantic, the Marquis De Sade and his 120 Days of Sodom.
Question two. Should a right to protest include the right to disrupt? In a long-winded way, His Grace said, ‘No, it shouldn’t,’ but added the police also shouldn’t be allowed to stop them. At least not to stop them before the event.
La Bruce decided that if you don’t disrupt no one will take any notice of you.
Carla was and wasn’t in favour of such things, nor was she or wasn’t she against them. It’s really, really not my job to arbitrate every protest, she announced. Having said that, all this disruption might be worth it if it publicises the Green Party’s insulation programme.
Carla Denyer is a Green politician who has been a city councillor in nutty Bristol’s nutty Clifton Down ward since 2015. She is currently the co-leader of the party in England and Wales. Denyer played a leading role in achieving the declaration of a climate emergency by Bristol City Council in 2018, which was the first in Europe.
An engineer, Canny Carla preaches what she practices. Before moving into politics she worked in the wind energy sector. Denyer has campaigned for ethical investment and fossil fuel divestment and has participated in direct action campaigning against SUVs by bravely patrolling the streets of Bristol’s posh Clifton and sticking Anti Social Behavior Orders on Chelsea tractors. That’ll save the planet! The 37-year-old has also run as a candidate for the Green Party in European and UK parliamentary elections. In the 2019 general election, the St Chad’s College, Durham, graduate finished runner-up in the Bristol West constituency. However, a full 29,000 votes behind QT Review regular Thangam Debbonaire.
Co-leading the Green Party being a part-time occupation, according to her LinkedIn profile, Ms Denyer also works for Adfree Cities, a network of groups across the UK that are concerned about the impacts of corporate advertising on our health, well-being, environment, climate, communities and the local economy. Erm.
Puffins will be pleased to read that Carla is a member of ‘LGBTIQA+ Greens’ and defined to her local newspaper on ‘coming out day’ as being ‘bisexual or pansexual.’
Incidentally, in case you haven’t noticed, at G-P we pride ourselves that nobody reads the comments and nobody reads the articles. Furthermore, the proofreader (me) can’t spell. Not only that but while we have an outstanding set of much-appreciated, hard-working, talented and valued contributors, increasingly my own content is augmented by AI. Invoicing by the word and capable of dealing with anything, the all-knowing global brain bot charges me double for Question Time Review. A message there.
Well, yeah, Climate change is going to be the big disrupter, exclaimed a twelve-year-old in the audience, not glueing yellow power to snooker tables while an ambulance tries to get past.
Merryn touched upon the unworldly fanaticism of the climate crackpots. Wes said the opposite, he invented new well-paid jobs based in an energy-free industrial wasteland. Carla was going to have a giant insulation programme which will cost nothing and use no resources.
Question three was from a very large lady who had an independent coffee shop. With a limit to how much she can charge for coffee and cakes, how can the business survive the cost of living crisis?
Mr Quin said there’s been £90,000,000,000 of support, particularly regarding energy bills. He was expecting energy prices to come down in June. He blamed Putin for the energy price rise rather than the Net Zero nonsense which has made Continental Europe so dependent upon Russian gas.
Merryn struggled to find anything positive to say. She said energy prices are coming down. Are they? Retail energy prices aren’t, in fact they’re going up as the government has stopped the £67 a month handout.
Wesley was going to take £10 billion in windfall taxes and use the money to freeze the Council Tax and cut energy prices. It sounded as though he was going to ‘help the high street’ by inventing a tax for your online purchases. Dr Sentamu didn’t have the words. Everything I say with sound trite, he added modestly. Small businesses don’t get a fair share. He suggested the lady business owner who asked the question take a pay cut, which might not have been what she wanted to hear.
The Green Party is the party of small business, apparently. Ms Denyer would provide grants to bring down energy use, do away with business rates and do away with National Insurance contributions too. With the money coming from…? Then she blamed Brexit, yay! Then she blamed inflation on the very natural gas whose price is plunging – albeit a reduction not yet passed on to the consumer.
The final question was about the Labour Party’s attack advertisements on Rishi Sunak. Have Labour lost the moral high ground? Nasty Wesley chanted a carefully rehearsed list of ways in which the Tories have lost the moral high ground. Nasty Wes was in his element.
A graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge, alma mater to fellow panellist Lord Sentamu, nasty Wesley Streeting has never had a job beyond politics and advocacy. His previous positions have included the toxic Stonewall organisation. A full QT Review biography of the Labour member for Ilford North and present Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is available here.
Those posters are disgraceful, said Mr Quin and should be withdrawn. No politicians have the moral high ground, it has gone, noted Merryn to applause. His Grace wasn’t keen either. The war of Jennifer’s ear. For three days we were tortured by it during the 1992 election. He then pointed a finger and said something I didn’t understand either. Carla pointed a finger at Wesley. She preferred issues to personal attacks.
Then Bruce informed us of a successful attack from an old and undefeatable foe – time was up.
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