Always Worth Saying’s Question Time Review

Question Time 7th March 2024

The Panel:

David TC Davies (Conservative)
Nick Thomas-Symonds (Labour)
Rhun ap Iorwerth (Plaid Cymru)
Stephanie Flanders (Economist and Journalist)
Guto Harri (Former No 10 Adviser)

Venue: Cardiff

Eagle-eyed Puffins will be aware that last week I called the Rochdale by-election wrong. There is a reason for this. I learned the wrong lesson when calling the 2021 Batley and Spen by-election wrong.

As you may or may not recall, the 2021 vote was necessitated by Labour MP Tracy Babin standing down from parliament after being elected Mayor of West Yorkshire. Labour chose Kim Leadbeater as a candidate, the sister of Jo Cox, the local MP killed in the run-up to the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Leadbeater was a controversial choice, not a member of the Labour Party before the by-election. Owing to the racial and religious segregation of the constituency, she was unable to be open about her sexuality and referred to her partner, Claire, as ‘he’ and ‘him’.

With the presence of George Galloway on the ballot, this naive correspondent assumed the Muslim block vote would be split, allowing for a possible Conservative victory given Brabin’s 3,525 majority at the previous general election.

However, in actuality, sufficient of the block vote remained with Labour and was augmented by an increase in postal voting. In the 2001 general election, 4% of the votes cast were by post. By the 2019 election that had ballooned to 21% and doubled to 42% for the 2021 vote. Leadbeater took the seat, albeit with a majority of only 300. Galloway finished third with 8,264 votes.

To his chagrin, this reviewer assumed history would repeat itself. Last week and the week before, this column claimed (wrongly) former Rochdale Labour candidate Azhar Ali had won the contest weeks before the ballot thanks to the local block Muslim Labour postal vote.

Elsewhere in the Greater Manchester mill town, a larger-than-life 65-year-old, four-time married fedora-bedecked Dundonian judged better. Aided by events in the Middle East, George Galloway wrestled the local Muslim Labour Party election-winning machine from Islington’s Keir Stamer and was returned to parliament with a majority of 5,697.

Pandemonium ensued. The resulting panic in the London media-political bubble led to last week’s Question Time being pulled from its live iPlayer slot. A last-minute panel of predictable race card professionals, appeasers (yes, you Caroline Lucas) and a bed-wetter called Tim Stanley was assembled to chant the usual and ineffective obsessive-compulsive disorder slogans of the London bubble.

The following evening, Mr Sunak gave an unprecedented address from a lectern outside the front door of No 10 Downing Street. Bizarrely, the Winchester old boy, Oxford graduate, former Goldman Sachs investment banker and Indian billionaire’s son-in-law claimed, ‘[your success will be determined by] just your own hard work and endeavour.’

Worse followed. According to the prime minister, racial and religious segregation, the mass rape of British girls, bombings and beheadings occur in ‘The world’s most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracy.’

With establishment self-delusion off the scale, Galloway hopes to capitalise by running candidates (some of whose extreme views will be kept at arm’s length by standing as independents) across the Muslim ghettos at the next general election.

The new MP for Rochdale claims this election will be all about Muslims. As many as a hundred seats will be contested. Angela Rayner’s in Ashton-under-Lyne and Wesley Streeting’s in Ilford North are in George’s sights.

Will a Black Flag of Islam Wall emerge? The 2015 post-independence ballot created an SNP Tartan Wall of 40+ MPs in Westminster. A Brexit Red Wall helped Labour to lose 48 constituencies in 2019.

By referencing Nick Griffin of the British National Party and shoehorning the far right into his Downing Street address, Mr Sunak points us in a helpful direction. At its height in the late 2000s, the BNP returned two MEPs and held numerous council seats in places like Stoke-on-Trent and Burnley. In the 2010 general election, the party fielded 338 candidates and gained well over half a million votes.

The Labour Party were able to regain the council seats but it took a massive effort which diverted resources from other places where Labour should have done better. It also required the harassment of candidates and voters from a police force and media too terrified to try the same tactics on Muslims.

Not only that, defections to the BNP came from Labour voters whereas in Rochdale the scale of Galloway’s victory and the weight of organised postal voting in his favour shows the entire local Muslim Labour organisational hierarchy switched.

Are there enough Islington public school boys to parachute into Labour’s rotten racial and religiously defined boroughs to restore order? Can enough pressure from London be placed upon restless Muslim community leaders in the provinces? Maybe not. Within three weeks of the October 7th Hamas attack on Southern Israel, the Guardian newspaper reported the resignation of dozens of Labour councillors. A string of defections meant Labour lost control of Norwich and Oxford councils.

What does this mean for future editions of Question Time? Is there a tactic beyond the prime minister’s delusion and the tired and ineffective panellist cliches? Helpfully this week’s edition comes from the far side of the political moon in a place called ‘Wales’. Back in the capital, expect George Galloway to be ignored. He will struggle to catch Speaker Hoyle’s partial eye. His maiden speech will be delivered to an empty House in the middle of the night.


As for tonight’s panel, David TC Davies (almost his real name, David Thomas Charles Davies) is Secretary of State for Wales and Conservative MP for Monmouth. He previously worked for Burrow Heath Shipping, the rather self-important name of his family’s lorry business. The 53-year-old amateur boxer also served in the Special Constabulary and Territorial Army. Mr Davies is sound on Brexit, voted against ‘Gay’ ‘marriage’ and was booed by the National Black Police Officers Association. Hungarian wife Aliz is paid by you to be Mr Davies’s office manager.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, (NHRN and not double-barrelled, Thomas is his mother’s maiden name), Nicklaus T. Symonds is the Labour MP for Torfaen and has been since 2015. Before his political career, he was a chancery and commercial barrister and a tutor at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, from where he had graduated with a degree in PPE.

Stephanie Flanders (NHRN, Stephanie Hope Arlidge) is a hereditary journalist and daughter of Michael Flanders, one half of Westminster School old boys light entertainment double act Flanders and Swan. After being educated at £30,000 a year (ex-VAT) St Paul’s Girl’s School, Ms Flanders took a First in PPE at Balliol College, Oxford. Her grandfather was Times journalist Claud Cockburn, a second cousin of Evelyn Waugh.

Her uncles include journalist Alexander Cockburn, Andrew Cockburn of Harpers Magazine and Patrick Cockburn of the Financial Times and The Independent. Cousin Laura is a US-based journalist. The American side of the family also includes writer Lydia Davis. Husband John has written for The Guardian and Observer.

After Balliol, Ms Flanders joined the London Business School and Institute for Fiscal Studies as an economist before moving into journalism with the Financial Times. Between 2002 and 2011 the 56-year-old was at the BBC and presented various programmes including Puffin’s favourite, Newsnight. Following a spell at JP Morgan Asset Management, Stephanie joined arch-globalists Bloomberg News where her present title is Senior Executive Editor for Economics. Ooooo, get her!

Tonight’s third PPE graduate (The Queen’s College, Oxford) is Guto Harri. Not his real name, Griffith Pritchard-Jones is a Welsh broadcaster and writer, famous for being Boris Johnson’s Director of Communications. Guto also enjoyed 18 years at the BBC but didn’t enjoy a sacking from GB News for cringingly taking the knee on air.

Rhun ap Iorwerth is the panel’s third BBC journalist (fourth if you include La Bruce) joining BBC Wales in 1994 and rising to become the channel’s Chief Political Correspondent. The 51-year-old was elected to the Welsh Synod in 2013 as the Plaid Cymru candidate for Anglesey (Ynys Mon). Married to Llinos, the father of three is the current leader of his party.

Ah, I’ve spotted the tactic. Pack the airwaves with PPE graduates and BBC journalists. That’ll pacify the Black Flag of Islam!


Question one, an Australian asked if Jeremy Hunt’s budget will make any difference to British people’s lives.

Yes it will, replied David TC Davies before rhyming off benefits regarding National Insurance payments et al. The only people who’ll be worse off are non-doms, he quipped. He blamed high taxes on the pandemic.

Nick Thomas-Symonds disagreed. Taxes are higher than they have been for 70 years. Fourteen years of Conservative economic failure. The only bright point was taxing non-doms which had been Nick’s idea in the first place. Nick wanted a general election, NOW!

How can Labour do what they claim they will do in government without raising taxes further, wondered La Bruce? Nick didn’t know other than ‘stability’ and ‘the jobs of the future.’

The pre-election Chancellor, noted Stephanie, had done rather well as this is not the time for tax cuts. The room for manoeuvre is unchanged if not lessened by Mr Hunt’s minor cuts.

Paying more and getting less, thought Rhun ap Iorwerth. There will be spending cuts and higher taxes, in so much as tax thresholds never seem to rise.

When asked, only one person in the audience was happy with the budget. We need to bite the bullet and spend on schools and old people, she added. Politicians are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Guto Harri pointed out the ungrateful public soon forget about the handouts they get from government. He seemed to think more and longer-term Net Zero nonsense would make money appear from nowhere.

La Bruce kept on quoting from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Who are they and who are their donors? The institute claims to be ‘the UK’s leading independent economics research institute.’ As for their funding, cross out the word ‘independent’ and replace it with ‘globalist’. A list of their donors is available here.

Theres a gap between what we aspire to have and what we are prepared to pay for said Stepanie. We have a growing population. Hmm. Usually, the clowns on the panel talk about an ‘ageing population’. Which means less spending per capita, Stephanie continued. Instead of a debate on such things, there is cheap point scoring.

Question two wondered how much Labour should be worried about George Galloway and how much the Tories should be afraid of the Reform Party.

Nick blamed democracy, as the people of Rochdale had voted for the wrong candidate. He promised to retake the racially and religiously segregated seat in a sign of unity at the next election.

As for David TC Davies and Reform, he intends to defeat the party of which Nigel Farage is a member by celebrating immigration. Good luck with that, Dave!

Guto wanted the political parties to ignore what people want and to pretend both George Galloway and Reform don’t exist.

Rabbits in headlights, all of you, observed an audience member.

What’s common across Europe is people feeling excluded from the political debate and reaching for what Stephanie referred to as ‘extremes.’ The best plan is for the main parties to tackle the issues people are concerned with rather than try to bring the extremes ‘into the tent.’

A lady in the audience was keen on Reform. Their leaflet ticked every box. A startled La Bruce, slack-jawed and about to faint, asked why. One in one out immigration.

The Australian spoke again. People are screaming out for change and leadership. A great time for fringe parties.

Barat asked the next question. It was a ramble, critical of the police. Barat was pleased that the police commissioner for South Wales has said his force is institutionally racist. Barat had been a police trainer, turning out the right kind of (woke?) trainee police officers, but after a few years in the force, these officers’ attitudes changed. I wonder what kind of real-life experiences and with what kind of people causes that?

Stephanie wanted to stop violence and assault against women. Meanwhile, a huge amount of time is wasted on trans issues that are cheap culture wars point-scoring that solves nothing. Stephanie forgot to mention that the vast majority of the victims of violence are men.

All the panellists and La Bruce had watched a documentary about Wayne Cousins, a police officer convicted last year of murdering Sarah Everard.

The panellists talked in banalities bereft of, despite persistent questioning by La Bruce, any constructive suggestions for improving the force, oops, service.

As if committing a serious assault against common sense, instead of wanting more of the best people, David TC Davies wanted more women, gays and ethnics in the police. Time for bed.

© Always Worth Saying 2024

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