Once upon a midnight Bleary…

Last night;s Question Time was one of those occasions where you really do end up feeling a bit sorry for David Dimbleby when you some of at the distinctly low-rent panellists he was landed with; Ian Hislop was moderately entertaining and Shirley Williams provided the kind of welcome gravitas one sees all too rarely these days and then usually only from politicians old enough to have been MP back in the days when we had real politics, but as for the rest…

Well, as it was Tory conference week, they got two panellist all to themselves, so surely they could fielded someone a bit more interesting than Cameron’s policy gimp, Oliver Letwin.

For fuck’s sake even ‘Two Brains’ Willetts would have been more interesting than Letwin who, for reasons known only to far-flung frontiers of genetic engineering, manages to combine the classic looks of an archetypal loathsome Tory Boy – slightly bloated and faintly patrician but giving always the sense having been a bit of porker at public school and therefore the kind of kid whose best position on sports field was as a corner flag but who excelled at giving light relief to the head prefect whenever he was left out of his box in the corner of the dorm – with all the personality of wet sponge.

The only thing you get from watch Letwin is the inescapable feeling that his middle names must be Jeremy Hilary Boob – he is the political Nowhere Man, making his nowhere policies for noboby.

And then there was Sandra Howard…

…what the fuck was that all about?

She doesn’t so much have an opinion as a faintly camp simper, so much so you begin to wonder whether you’ve swtiched over to one of Kid’s TV channels by mistake and have inadvertantly ended up watching re-runs of Rainbow instead – in fact the only way I could sure that I was still watching Question Time was to keep checking Dimbleby out of the corner of me eye to reassure myself that he was still wearing a suit and not a pair of ill-fitting dungarees.

But that’s enough talk of effeminate pink hippos for now, because just at the point where you think you’ve hit rock bottom and it couldn’t get any worse, it’s then that you realise that Hazel Blears is there as well…

It’s pretty much common knowledge that throughout the Blair years, a fair few Labour ministers have been sent off on media relations-type course with the aim of impriving their performance in front of the cameras -as I recall, Prescott famously declined such an opportunity when offered to him, which is just as well as ‘Prescott’ and ‘Media Relations Training’ are terms which go together like… well like ‘turd’ and ‘Brasso’.

So, as a Labour Party member I think it only fair I ask two questions at this point in proceedings.

Has Hazel Blears ever been on such a course? and,

If she has, can we have our money back?

Look Hazel, for fucks sake try and relax a little bit. I know you’ve probably been told that sitting up straight and maintaining a good posture makes you look a little bit more authoritative and a bit less like an emaciated chipmunk but that only really works if you don’t end up looking like rigor mortis set in twenty years ago and hasn’t shifted since…

…And please, please, sit fucking still, or at least try not to do all that wobbling and rocking from side to side.

It’s not just off-putting,  it’s like watching a meerkat trying to doing a fucking impression of Stevie Wonder.

And do try to remember that when members of the audience start harping on ‘uncontrolled immigration’ and pitching in comments that have come straight off the BNP’s website that the correct response for Labour Party member is not to start wittering about how the population in constitutency is changing rapidly and how we need to consider the ‘concerns’ that people like them are raising about immigration, but ‘Fuck off you xenophobic twat’ or words to that effect – it really is an embarrasment to see a Labour minister making a piss-poor attempt to empathise with a couple of racist dickheads in the hope that we might score a couple of votes after seeing Ian Hislop lay into them for what they are – a pair of ignorant arseholes.

Look, I know that QT has its fair share of ropey panelists – I particularly remember an appearance by Patti Boulaye in which every answer she gave began either with ‘As a Christian…’ or ‘As the Bible say…’, which prompted me to email the producers to ask them get Dimbleby to reminder her that she was sat next to Nick  ‘fatty’ Soames and not fucking Harry Seacombe – but last night’s show really was in the shitter even by those piss-poor standards.

  • I agree about the overall standard, particularly the Howard woman who brought the words ‘rabbit’ and ‘headlights’ to mind. I think even Dimbleby lost control when she referred to ‘in my constituency’. Shirley Poppins was typically Shirley Poppins, i.e. a wish-washy waste of space, Oliver Halfwit lived up to his name, Blears was like an animated Mrs Merton, and Ian Hislop could have done with Mr Merton to freshen up his stale gags. Legends of Private Eye, Ingrams, Cook, Rushton have left their legacy to this irritating little twerp. A face like a smacked arse… and you could make a fortune charging people half a quid to smack it.

  • I think it’s got to the point where, like the kid’s edition they do at the end of a run, they should do a blogger’s edition of QT – using real bloggers not media pundits who blog to while away the hours between paychecks.

    Aside from Boris’s Upper Class Twit of the Year routine, which is generally quite entertaining, the last really good QT was the one where they were kind enough to feed Otis Ferry to Tony Benn in much the same way that you’d chuck a side of beef into the Lion enclosure at Longleat – now that I enjoyed watching.

  • dsquared

    Letwin’s exact facial resemblance is to the title character of the Viz cartoon “Felix and his Amazing Underpants”.

  • .

    I think you’re a little too hard on Hislop, Bob. He easily improves the programme by 50% whenever he’s on it. The only really interesting thing that Howard said was that she had opposed the Iraq war, which if true must have caused some arguments with her just as hopeless husband.

  • I gave up on Question Time at more or less the same time Robin Day did. Politicians are so well media house-trained these days that they are even less use and interest than the PR drones that companies and such like put up on the news to explain their latest bugger up.