Always Worth Saying’s Question Time Review

Question Time 23rd May 2024

The Panel:

Mark Spencer (Conservative)
Jess Phillips (Labour)
Bridget Phillipson (Labour)
Ash Sarkar (Broadcaster)
Daisy Cooper (LiberalDemocrat)
Tim Montgomerie (Broadcaster)

Venue: Coventry

The other morning, embarrassingly north of 7:30 am, I heard myself using the excuse, ‘Oops, slept in, too much Lord Clark before bedtime.’ I’m sure I’m not the only Puffin who overindulges in Kenneth Clark’s 1969 iPlayer series ‘Civilisation’ over supper. These days it’s prefaced by what one assumes to be a trigger warning from Mary Beard – not that I watch that bit.

Your humble author is a fan of Lord Clark. A Winchester old boy and Ministry of Information wallah in the war, Cark lived in a castle that his Tory MP son, Alan, filled with Nazi war memorabilia. What’s not to like? In a recent Civilisation episode, while talking this Philistine through Dutch art from a superior century, His Lordship described a number of paintings showing gentlemen of a certain age and social status in the provincial Netherlands planning enterprises regarding ‘things that must be made to work’.

To organise the dredging of a promising tributary of the Rotte, build a cobbled bypass for Utrecht or fix cigar prices, men in black smocks and starched collars would gather to agree upon the necessities and, as it appears, have themselves painted by Rembrandt. This, according to Lord Clark, is a certain point in civilisation when a sufficiency of liquid capital and spare time make communal plans possible for the advantage of all. Made by men, you’ll note, as groups of females quickly turn a panelled room beside a canal into a catfight in a bear pit – with disastrous consequences for that blocked sewer in Groningen.

Readers don’t need me or Lord Clark to tell them that civilisation should have stuck at this point. All else beyond allowing necessities to work efficiently is excess. This will be at the forefront of QT Review HQ’s recommendations as Question Time enters the July 4th general election campaign, and we subtly massage readers towards voting for least worst option.

At the beginning of grisly trials, BBC legal correspondent Joshua Rosenburg, husband of occasional QT panellist Melanie Phillips, would warn viewers some of the evidence likely to be relayed in court might be too gruesome for the BBC. In short, if you want the grisly details, buy a tabloid. We have no such scruples at QT Review!

Therefore, I must warn Puffins that my concern with the practicalities and the least worst option in getting things done, might cause me to lean towards the C***********s (or not). In previous plebiscites, I have held my nose while voting thus, albeit before scrubbing myself in bleach upon returning home and then rushing to confession.

Of a stout constitution? Yes? Then read on.

Jessica Rose Phillips is the MP for Birmingham Yardley. Posh Jess is a grammar school girl and the daughter of public-sector millionaires. Her father was a teacher; her mother rose to be the deputy head of the Health Service lobby group, the NHS Confederation. Her parents also owned their own company, Healthlinks Event Management Services, which sold to the National Health Service. In the interests of equality of opportunity, the company employed Jessica. A tradition continued by Ms Phillips as, in the early years of her time as an MP, she employed her husband Tom (a lift engineer) as her constituency support manager.

Never having had a proper job, also in the interests of equality, Jess was part of an all-female Labour shortlist in 2013, which allowed her to be elected to parliament in 2015.

The 43-year-old briefly served in the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding in Keir Starmer’s Opposition but resigned after voting for an SNP amendment to the King’s Speach calling for a ceasefire in the war in Gaza.

One would like to think Ms Phillips is motivated by conscience, but political self-interest remains a strong possibility. This brings us to her constituency, Birmingham Yardley, whose good people, in the interests of equality and diversity, blockade the streets because of LGBT lessons in school.

Although Yardly itself is one of the posher areas of Birmingham, other parts of the constituency aren’t. Boundary changes mean that in the July election, Jessica will have to appeal to the voters in Acocks Green, Sheldon, Small Heath, South Yardley, Tyseley & Hay Mills, Yardley East, Yardley West & Stechford. In keeping with Birmingham as a whole, most of these areas are largely immigrant.

As Puffins already know, Birmingham’s Labour Council have bankrupted the city and yet in the recent local elections, voters elected a Labour mayor. However, with a majority of only 1,500 over Conservative Andy Street – out of 2 million registered voters – the eye is drawn to third place. ‘Independant’ Akhmed Yakoob gained 69,000 votes, an 11.7% share, on essentially a pro-Hamas platform.

Not only is Phillips a member of Labour Friends of Israel, and dare not leave given present circumstances, but a George Galloway GB Workers Party candidate, Jody McIntyre, is expected to stand against her in the general election.

The interesting Mr McIntyre, who suffers from cerebral palsy, hit the headlines and the pavement in December 2020 when he was tipped out of his wheelchair and dragged away by the police during a violent student protest in London. Puffins may recall yobs swinging from the flags at the Cenotaph and attacking a limousine carrying the then Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to the Royal Variety Performance. As noted above, civilisation should have stopped ‘progressing’ a few centuries ago.

In the 2019 general election, Ms Phillips enjoyed a majority of 10,659 over second-placed Conservative Vincent Garrington. However, in the next election, Jody McIntyre may eat into that advantage, not least because of the rapidly changing Birmingham demographic.

In 1951, Birmingham was 99% white and British. As recently as 1991, 78% of the population was white. But by the 2021 census, this had dropped to 42% and to only 30% for those below 20.

The population is not evenly distributed but racially segregated. This heatmap of the city shows many areas are over 80% Asian.

As well as a challenge for the political future of Jessica Phillips MP, this is a threat to the future of our country and is why, if Puffins will forgive me, QT Review may suspend any attempt at election campaign neutrality and lean towards the C***********s, Reform or any party opposed to Labour’s open door to uncontrolled, unlimited immigration.

From an Army family, 53-year-old Tim Montgomery was educated at The King’s School, Gutersloh, West Germany. After school, Tim read Economics and Geography at the University of Exeter. Following graduation, Mr Montgomerie joined the Bank of England and became a staffer at the Conservative Party six years later, rising to be an advisor to Boris Johnson’s Number 10. These days, he writes, makes podcasts and appears on TV.

Puffin’s favourite, Ash ‘The Tash’ Sarkar, is a grammar school girl and English Literature graduate of University College London. Originally one of the Chittagong Waddedar’s, Ash The Tash is a lot posher than she pretends to be and is presently employed as a box-ticking journalist, academic and activist.

Sir Mark Steven Spencer is the Conservative MP for Sherwood and Minister of State for Food, Farming and Fisheries. From farming stock himself, Sir Mark has been an MP since 2010.


Let alone survive the election, Jessica Phillips didn’t survive the first day of the campaign and, for whatever reason, is replaced before the off by boring fake northerner Bridget Phillipson. Ash Sarkar is another casualty, presumably as a Labour supporter at a time of supposed balance when there’s already a Labour MP on the panel. Her replacement is the gormless LibDem Daisy Cooper.

Daisy was last on the programme in February and Bridget only four episodes ago. We are going to tire of this election campaign very quickly, aren’t we?

As well as the guests being kiboshed by yesterday’s surprise election announcement, so were the pre-prepared questions. Instead, La Bruce asked the audience to suggest areas of concern off the cuff.

Mark Spencer claimed that a strong economy could address all of the audience’s concerns. This is beginning to happen as we ‘turn the corner’. La Bruce cherry-picked some statistics to contradict him. She spoke of the Eurozone average outperforming Britain but didn’t mention the countries in the zone below that average and below us.

The word ‘Eurozone’ also gives a false impression. It does not mean all of Europe or even all of the EU but only those countries that use the Euro as their currency, only 20 out of the 44. Throughout the election campaign, Fake News Fiona and her colleagues in the Lying Media in London will try to pull this kind of trick over and over again.

Bridget promised to upskill people throughout their working lives with an apprenticeship levy paid to our ‘wonderful universities’. Note the word ‘levy’, which means nothing other than more tax and ‘wonderful universities’ means spending it on even bigger wages for the higher education leftie fat cats. She kept on mentioning the Labour buzzword ‘change’. Expect more of this as well.

Perhaps if Bidgett fancies a change, she might give her millionaire’s mansion in London to the poor and move to a one-up one down in the Muslim half of Bradford? She could take her party leader and his family with her. I’m sure Mrs Starmer and the children would be welcome in enriched and tolerant, kinder, gentler, Labour voting Manningham.

On behalf of the LiberalDemocrats, Daisy claimed the health service and social care would be front and centre of the campaign. Followed by the cost of living crisis and sewage in rivers. How can we save money? she asked, echoing one of the earlier audience questions. Primary care has been gutted under the Tories. She decided we can save money by spending more on dentists, doctors and ambulances.

Tim Montgomerie was relieved that we were finally talking about the issues rather than about yesterday’s ‘things can only get wetter’ weather outside Number 10 Downing Street. Fake News Fiona interrupted at once and wanted more discussion on the Rishi Sunak announcement optic that no one outside of a Fake News bubble in London cares about.

“Did you watch it through your fingers?” Fiona asked. Now, you’re distracting me, Tim complained. We’ll come back to that, promised Fiona. Tim thought Mr Sunak looked like a politician literally drowning, although his neighbours in Salisbury had felt sorry for the PM. Tim thought Rishi a ‘decent man’ which is more important than the theatrics.

He complimented his fellow panellists but then noted their cliched and unclear responses. We’ve heard all this before, while the country is in trouble and, according to Mr Montgomerie, so is the West. The security of our civilisation is under threat, he continued, threatening to outdo the cliched politicians. China. Iran. What do we get? We get soundbites. He wanted real solutions.

I and he should be in a back room in Delft discussing a good way to transport seashells from South Molucca to the local market square!

Where is the radicalism and the solutions? Tim was worried the election would be dull and advised the audience to ask hard questions of the politicians and insist they be brave.

Years ago, an acquaintance lived abroad in a difficult part of the world. One morning, the political turmoil over there made the foreign pages of the daily broadsheets over here. Concerned, and without a thought of the time zones, I rang at once and, over a crackling line, asked if he was OK and if there was anything I could do. Of course he was, and of course I needn’t, came the sleepy and puzzled reply.

The crux of the matter was that no one took any notice of politicians in that territory, and life went on oblivious to them. The opposite to Mr Montomerie’s position, but tempting all the same.

© Always Worth Saying 2024

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