Always Worth Saying’s Question Time Review

Question Time 22nd February 2024

The Panel:

Laura Farris (Conservative)
Stella Creasy (Labour)
Camilla Tominay (Journalist)
Jason Arday (Academic)

Venue: Maidenhead

Berkshire-born Laura Farris is the Conservative MP for Newbury. The 45-year-old graduated in PPE from Oxford University before studying law at City University, London, and embarking upon a career in employment and discrimination law. A member of parliament since 2019, Laura’s husband Henry is another legal type who practising at the Mishcon de Reya end of the profession’s spectrum.

Although Farris really is her real name, her maiden name is revealing. An hereditary MP, father Michael McNair-Wilson was also the Conservative MP for Newbury. An old Etonian, Mr McNair-Wilson was a national serviceman in the Royal Irish Fusiliers and worked for the BBC. His brother and Laura’s uncle was another old Etonian and Conservative MP, Sir Patrick Michael Ernest David McNair-Wilson. An officer in the Coldstream Guards, he served in Palestine and North Africa before entering parliament.

Laura’s auntie via Uncle Patrick is Diana Evelyn Kitty Campbell Methuen-Campbell, the daughter of the Hon. Laurence Methuen-Campbell. The Metghuen-Cambells being another military family, this time packed with field marshalls and brigadier generals.

Despite being well-connected, Laura is happy to take donations. Those registered with the House of Commons authorities last month include two of £5,000 and one of £1,500 from Lord Richard Benyam, £3,000 from Sir Christopher Gent, £10,000 from Cloudmuni Ltd and £10,000 from Stockford Ltd.

Speaking of posh people clutching the begging bowl, Stella Creasy, not quite her real name – Dr Stella Judith Creasy, is the daughter of an opera singer and head teacher. Grammar school girl Stella’s (Colchester High School for Girls) posh ancestors include John Prendergast Vereker, Viscount Gort (III), Standish O’Grady, 1st Viscount Guillamore, Darby O’Grady the High Sheriff of the County of Limerick and a Mr Hugh Bellas Martin MBE of the Indian Civil Service. Stella’s mother, Corrina Frances Avril Martin, a graduate of Newnham College, Cambridge, is an old girl of £40,000 per annum (ex VAT) St Margarets School, Bushey.

Despite the 46-year-old’s connections, Miss Creasy has a GoFundMe page which thus far has raised £10,824 of a £15,000 target.

Stella graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge, with a degree in Social and Political Sciences before completing a PhD at the London School of Economics.

After completing her education, Dr Stella enjoyed a non-career of non-jobs including think tanks, political research and speech writing before being elected to parliament as the Labour MP for Walthamstow in 2010. An enriched constituency ranked in the 2021 census in the top twenty most diverse, Ms Creasy enjoys a ludicrous 76% of the vote.

Ms Creasy’s partner is Dan Fox, hm, a former director of the Labour Friends of Isreal, hmm. Like his partner on tonight’s programme, and his party leader during a war in the Holy Land, Mr Fox chooses to point in two directions at once.
Filmed at a round table London house meeting of concerned Jews, Mr Fox assured his co-religionists that despite their concerns, Sadiq Khan, who his audience claimed had ‘links terrorists’ and was a member of an anti-Semitic Labour Party, was the ‘counter-intuitive’ Muslim mayoral candidate Jews should support. Hmmm.

An old girl of £22,500 per annum St Albans High School for Girls, Camilla Tominey graduated in law from Leeds University and studied journalism at The Sheffield College.

Upon completing her education, the 45-year-old embarked upon a traineeship with the Hemel Hempstead Gazette which led to a successful career in the media industry, including becoming a Royal Editor and a columnist for the Sunday Express in April 2005. Over the years, she has held various roles in different news channels and magazine companies, eventually becoming the Associate Editor of The Telegraph, where she covers politics and the British Royal Family.

Jason Arday is a sociologist and writer best known for his research on race, ‘inequality’ and education. One of four siblings and a son to Joseph and Gifty, the 39-year-old was born in Clapham, South London. Diagnosed with ‘global development delay’ and autism spectrum disorder, he was only able to communicate by sign language until aged eleven and couldn’t read and write until eighteen.

After gaining two GCSEs, PE and textiles, Arday studied for a BTec before completing a first degree in PE and education studies. Following two master’s qualifications and a PGCE (postgraduate certificate in education) Jason completed a PhD at Liverpool John Moores University. Those who know about such things, inform this humble reviewer his doctoral thesis focused on peer-mentoring among student teachers to inform reflective practice within the context of action research. Quite.

Making a profession of his skin colour, Mr Arday’s research interests encompass areas such as education, social mobility, mental health and race. Notably, he has conducted research into the experiences of black students at universities and has been vocal about the omission of people of colour in academia and the enduring effects of ‘racial discrimination’.

Perhaps proving himself wrong, by March 2023 Arday had made history by becoming the youngest black professor at the University of Cambridge where he was appointed as the Professor of Sociology of Education.

According to wiki, his published works include, ‘Fighting the Tide: Understanding the Difficulties Facing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Doctoral Students’ Pursuing a Career in Academia’, ‘The Black Curriculum: Black British History in the National Curriculum Report’ and ‘No One Can See Me Cry: Understanding Mental Health Issues for Black and Ethnic Minority Academic Staff in Higher Education’.

However, these aren’t published works, they’re niche articles elevated beyond their status as the box-ticking Jason is over-praised.

The one book of his I was able to find is ‘Cool Britannia and Multi-Ethnic Britain: Uncorking the Champagne Supernova’ which sits a very disappointing 1,940,079 places behind the Marquis de Sade’s ‘120 Days of Sodom’ in the (racist?) Amazon best sellers chart.

No doubt Jason’s impressive CV will be further augmented tonight after easy questions from Fiona Bruce and patronising pap from a BBC audience.


Question one, are MPs more interested in point scoring than life-saving decisions? A reference to the previous day’s Gaza non-debate in the House of Commons. Stella agreed. Point-scoring word gamer Stella said scoring points and playing games with words is not what any of us came into politics for.

Laura decided Speaker Lyndsay Hoyle a decent person. She agreed with Stella. There had been a consensus in the house last night. Fiona Bruce asked then why did the Tories walk out and Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt withdraw government support for the proceedings? Laura wasn’t sure and said she had lost track of it all. Both of the ladies referenced a two-state solution for Gaza, omitting to mention there are already two states and they’re at war with each other.

A covered lady in the audience mentioned ‘genocide’. La Bruce reminded her it was up to an international court in The Hague to decide what audience members can and can’t say. Mr Hoyle wanted to ensure MPs’ security, began Camilla Tomilly. Procedures in the house had been changed because of a (pro-Palestinian) mob outside of parliament. La Bruce explained to the audience that Mr Hoyle had been correct as the London bubble must run away and hide when Britain’s hostile Muslim population stirs.

Camilla disagreed, when will these angry mobs end? People should be able to express their opinions. Arguably putting the horse on top of the jockey, a gentleman in the audience suggested the only people who influence the situation in the Middle East are the Biden administration. An audience member blamed it all on Penny Mordaunt.

Jason found it difficult. The priority should be the preservation of human life. Speaker Hoyle has shown contrition. Politicians should coalesce around a permanent ceasefire. La Bruce pointed out that people had been convicted for threatening both Creasy and Farris. The ladies waffled on, in denial both about the measure of hostility towards MPs and the pointless shenanigans on the House of Commons the previous evening.

This week’s yokel photos on the front of the panellists’ desk included what the uninitiated might have mistakenly thought to be the Maidenhead multiplex. In fact, it was the regular foreign railway station – Casablanca Port. Puffins who protest they could see ‘ODEON’ written along the front in big letters are wrong. It read ‘ONCF’ – the abrevaition for Morocco’s Office National des Chemins de Fer.

Question two. Is the UK in decline or on the rise? Hard times. Once-in-a-century pandemic. An invasion in the Ukraine and now a war in the Middle East but we’ve turned corner, stated Laura. Into recession, noted La Bruce. The ladies squabbled over OECD and G7 economic predictions that are always wrong anyway.

Jason didn’t think such things are binary. Some people are suffering. The political tune has been wrong for the last 14 years. We are residing in a broken Britain and that includes the present type of politics. We are declining and there is some way to go. The audience exercised their frustrations. The education system. Bankrupt councils.

Camilla thought the issues were bigger than the government. We pay more in tax for declining services. It’s difficult to get things done. (True fact, have any of you tried to hire a car recently?) All these problems won’t be irradicated by a change of governing party. A tinged lady in the audience wanted more regulations. A gentleman in a turban spoke. An ageing population was blamed. ‘Can we not all be more possitive?’ asked another in the audience.

Stella told us we are all amazing. Well, not all of us, just those running community events. Austerity. Waiting lists. Childcare is 80% more expensive. Building a life is fragmented. Brexit. The pandemic. We’re not turning a corner, we’re travelling through a tunnel. More pandemic. Excuse me for a minute, Stella, I’ll just go out the back and cut me throat. Dear me. Hold on a minute, Puffins. Here are the most honest words you’ve ever heard on QT or in these reviews. Are you all listening?

God helps them that help themselves

Take no notice of these miseries, get busy.

Question three came from another tinged gentleman. With Navalny dead and the Russian economy growing, are Western sanctions working? Camilla referenced Western hubris. She wanted more sanctions that don’t work. Camilla sees this ending with Putin dying or being disposed of. To be replaced by who, Camilla? One of those nice Russians?

Laura announced Putin to be ‘inherently weak.’ La Bruce rhymed out the economic stats that show the big, big, big world outside of a Western bubble doesn’t care about the war in the Ukraine.

Are there sanctions against white people in Maidenhead? Only the tinged seemed to be allowed to talk from the audience. The next suggested a negotiated settlement to the Russia-Ukraine war. Stella wanted loopholes such as the re-export of Russian hydrocarbons from intermediate countries to be closed, thus depriving us of even more energy.

The next question was from Panjit, surprise, surprise. Should workers have a legal right to switch off out-of-hours? Labour’s new deal for working people will introduce such a right, explained Bruce. Yes, said Jason. People are overworked. Mental health is compromised by pressures at work. If your students wanted to contact you out of hours … pondered La Bruce. Jason smiled and spoke without saying anything. No wonder he has gone so far so quickly.

Laura wasn’t in favour, as there is already such a right. La Bruce quipped she must have a word with the BBC. Laura mentioned ‘presentee-ism’. A dialogue between employees and employers is required. Journalist Camilla said it would be impractical in a newsroom. Oh, I dunno Camilla, there’s at least one current affairs reviewer who, upon recently hearing the phrase ‘switch off’, was tempted to press the big button and head for bed.

Camilla is better than the rest of us and told the audience she likes being surprised on holiday and disturbed at the weekends. Behave yourselves! Regarding less engaging careers, the omnipresent mobile phone is a nuisance for everybody – even children.

A comment from an audience member moved the conversation to the expense and difficulties of nursery care for her young child. Laura congratulated the ‘lady’ in the audience for ‘expecting number two’. Gendered! ‘Ladies’ having babies not ‘people’?! Laura will be getting an angry out-of-hours email!

© Always Worth Saying 2024

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