Question Time 28th September 2023
Mark Spencer (Conservative)
Lisa Nandy (Labour)
Wendy Chamberlain (LibDem)
Tim Montgomerie (Writer & Broadcaster)
Henri Murison (Northern Powerhouse)
For provincial photos to front the London BBC’s London panellist’s desk, I dispatched my pupil Mr A.I. Bot to the Cheshire town hosting tonight’s Question Time. His developed film showed Worthington Park, Walton Park, the Bridgewater Canal, St Paul’s Church, The Bridge Pub and the Makers Market. Might they be yokel enough for Fiona Bruce?
As for the view above the desktop, Tim Montgomerie (writer and broadcaster) is a respected figure in British politics, known for his activism, blogging, and column writing. He co-founded the Centre for Social Justice and created the Conservative Home website, both significant platforms in the UK political landscape.
But not quite as significant as your favourite politics blog. Whereas at Going-Postal we boast that nobody reads the thousands of comments beneath each article, at Conservative Home they cut out the middle man and don’t bother to comment. This week’s mighty headliner, ‘How to be an effective councillor’, by Charles Fifield (a councillor on Cheshire West & Chester Council from 2011-2023), received but one comment. ‘Reducing demand for government: Volunteering. The alternative to a monolithic state is a strong civil society,’ managed a mighty eight.
Your humble author doesn’t like to boast and hesitates to upstage the Marquis De Sade and his ‘120 Days of Sodom’ when it comes to an index of popularity. Still, I do feel compelled to point out that Tim’s very own article, ‘Lessons for ideology-free Johnson – and the Conservatives – in ideology-free Merkel’s Legacy,’ received 25 comments, an embarrassing 3,269 fewer than this reviewer’s ‘In Praise of the Naughty Girls – a Brief History of the Philippine Ladies Football Team.’ Know your reader.
From an Army family, the 53-year-old was educated at The King’s School, an establishment for the children of military personnel in Gutersloh, West Germany. His father, Major Hugh, served at Bielfield under General Inge, a senior officer so severe that his staff car was saluted even when apparently empty – just in case.
After school, Tim studied Economics and Geography at the University of Exeter. Following graduation, Mr Montgomerie joined the Bank of England as an analyst and became a staffer at the Conservative Party six years later. A committed Christian, in 2004 he founded the Centre for Social Justice and in 2005 he founded and began an eight-year stint at Conservative Home. There followed a spell at The Times, ended in 2019 when Tim became an advisor to Mr Johnson’s Number 10. Following his departure from that post Tim writes regularly for the New Statesman, The Times and makes podcasts. Away from the disappointments at Conservative Home, according to the Academic Influence website, Mr Montgomerie is the 7,399th most influential person.
Common Purpose wallah Henri Murison (Northern Powerhouse) left the University of Cambridge in 2005 as a Social and Political Sciences graduate. Since then the ‘public affairs and stakeholder relationship expert’ has pursued a Common Purposey kind of career in a Common Purposey kind of way. Straight from Uni to the Labour Party, then installed in a safe Labour local government role: Cabinet Member for the Quality of Life on Newcastle City Council. Thence, Labour’s Regional Campaigns Officer and Research Director for the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire.
The native of North Yorkshire’s posh Boroughbridge who was educated in even posher Harrogate, enjoyed a brief foray into the private sector. Installed as Public Affairs Manager at the Yorkshire Building Society, he managed four years before becoming a director and subsequently Chief Executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership – the leading voice of business and civic leaders across the North. Mr Murison’s present position primarily revolves around promoting and developing the Northern region of the UK while being based in Leeds.
Lisa Eva Nandy (Labour) is a prominent politician known for her commitment to social issues. She has served as Labour Member of Parliament for Wigan since May 6, 2010. The 44-year-old holds the position of Shadow Cabinet Minister for International Development, having been moved in Mr Starma’s recent re-shuffle from Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Lisa has been on the QT programme far too often, a total of 23 times. This is her third appearance this year. Being brown, female and left, she ticks BBC boxes but as a reviewer one runs out of things to say about her.
Puffins already know the Newcastle University Law graduate has never had a job, is the daughter of an Indian public schoolboy, has a brainier sister called Francesa who went to Oxford, and her husband Andy Collis is a public relations consultant for blue chip corporations. It is rude to comment on a lady’s weight but in this age of inflation, one feels obliged to observe the following. Across those 23 appearances, Ms Nandy has morphed from being one of those gals from the subcontinent who might just win a beauty contest to looking like the chap who owns the corner shop’s irritating Gujarati auntie.
Mark Spencer (Conservative) currently serves as a Minister of State, specifically as the Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries. He has represented the Sherwood constituency since 2010. Before his current role, he has served in various other possitions in government.
Brainy Wendy Chamberlain (LibDem) hails from Greenock where, I’m reliably informed, the seagulls throw bread to the people. Ms Chamberlain was awarded 7 Highers (A-Levels) and 8 Standard Grades (O-Levels) from her local academy before attending the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated with an MA in English Language and Literature. Falling within the top 1% of those born in Greenock, she presumably has seven fingers on each hand.
Following university, Wendy joined the police force and served as a constable for six years. Joking apart, in 2000 she and a colleague were awarded a Chief Constable Commendation for helping disarm a violent offender during a domestic dispute. In 1983, her father, also a police officer, was awarded a Royal Humane Society Testimonial for his central role in rescuing a man from drowning in Greenock’s James Watt Dock.
After serving as a constable, Wendy moved into the training and personnel side, picking up odd tiles and certificates as she progressed. Business Management Unit Project Officer? A CMIE Executive Diploma Level Eleven? Upon leaving the police, she worked for a year as a retraining manager for an MoD contractor and then for brewers Diageo. There she finally picked up a useful qualification: The General Certificate in Brewing (Cereal Elective). Wendy became a Member of Parliament in the December 2019 general election and is currently the MP for North East Fife and Chief Whip to the 15 Lib Dem Commoners.
In these difficult times of austerity and cost of living crisis, rather than turn off the central heating or get a job in a supermarket, Wendy prefers to take donations. According to her registered parliamentary interests, on the 28th June 2023 a Miss Claire Enders gave her £10,000. The following month a Mr Bob Reid donated another £10,000. In addition, as a trustee of St Andrew’s Links Ltd, a trust that manages the Fife town’s publicly owned golf courses, she received a free hamper worth £260 and a 25% discount in golf course shops and restaurants.
Question one, Sale’s Gracie asked about yesterday’s fatal stabbing in London. What’s to be done?
Stabbings in Croydon are a tragedy for the whole country, noted Lisa. She blamed criminal gangs and announced a national strategy of more police on the streets and stronger sentencing. But she blamed those grooming young (black?) boys rather than the black boys themselves.
Mark Spencer reassured us that knife crime has dropped since 2019 and that, bizarrely, you’re more likely to be killed by your own knife than by a stabber’s.
La Bruce had been on the internet and found a two-foot-long zombie knife for sale. Mark reassured Fiona that she could be stabbed to death by a kitchen knife from Tescos. Then he blamed the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
The audience wondered of parental responsibility and the effect of reducing local authority youth services which did such a good job during the nearby, erm, Moss Side riots.
Wendy wanted to police the right things in the community like beat police officers such as her father had. Trust in the police has eroded. Wendy was allowed by La Bruce to make assumptions about the Croydon case despite its present legal position. Wendy used the opportunity to blame the patriarchy.
Somebody spoke ‘as a teacher’, a profession who does, according to herself, ‘such a lot to reduce knife crime.’ Then how come …?
Henri wanted a ‘violence reduction unit.’ He’d been with Sadiq yesterday. Yes, they’re on first-name terms. He reiterated the view, canon law within the Islington elite, that schoolgirls being stabbed to death isn’t evil but a ‘wrong choice’ and a ‘public health problem.’ One almost wishes for the consequences of these people’s stupidity to be visited upon them.
Tim blamed family breakdown and policing. He reminded us that shoplifting no longer appears to be a crime. There’s no consequence for breaking the law. We need more stop and search suggested a retired police officer in the audience. He also wanted profiling. ie searching blacks because they’re far more likely to be criminals. At the mention of which La Bruce moved on to the next question as quickly as a warm knife passing through soft butter.
Question Two. Is HS2 still worth it or is it a waste of money?
It’s being reviewed said Mark ominously. La Bruce put up a graphic showing how the HS2 plan had got smaller and smaller even to the point of now terminating at Old Oak Common rather than in central London.
Henri thought stopping at Old Oak would mean zero passengers. Not so, you can access London’s urban railway system at Old Oak in the same way you can at Euston, especially the Elizabeth Line. Henri was expecting HS2 to be cancelled to Manchester with the money saved not being spent on other rail projects in the North. HS2 was over-expensive because it had been over-engineered to appease the South’s Conservative constituencies.
Lisa wanted to see this built but she forgot to mention her party isn’t committed to it. She referenced easier access to Leeds and Newcastle but they aren’t on it. Silly mare.
Man of the people Tim Montgomerie can’t drive. He lives in Salisbury and travels ‘up’ to London by train and it’s jolly good. However, when he visits the North he travels from colour to black and white. Platforms are more crowded. There is no air conditioning. Busses are scruffy. Children in rags lick the motorway clean 25 hours a day. He didn’t say that but you can tell he does when he’s at home in his billiard room. Tim, mate, stay in the south and spare us this nonsense.
Question three. Suella Braverman says that multiculturalism has failed. Has it? Tim defined multiculturalism for La Bruce as ‘I don’t know.’ Despite not knowing he informed us ours is the least racist country and a very orderly place where immigration has to be orderly too. Wendy defined multiculturalism (I think) as a monoculture formed by different cultures ‘coming together.’
A lady in the audience referenced the housing crisis. An idiot blamed earthquakes, climate change and volcanos for people from the hotter climes (the tinged) needing to live with people in the colder climes.
Mark claimed that Britain being used as a human dustbin by globalists showed what open and welcoming people we are. Really? La Bruce stated that the wall of immigrants arriving here have been invited. Did you invite them? Neither did I.
Lisa hurried to mention growing up in the shadow of Enoch Powell. Before the programme, London Labour’s spin doctors will have briefed her to reference Powell in order to connect their own sub-culture of triggered luvvies in Islington.
Meanwhile, a pavement in Croydon runs with a dead schoolgirl’s blood.
They were warned.
© Always Worth Saying 2023
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