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On Thursday, January 16, 2020, the BBC’s Question Time (QT) had an unusual guest: an actor.

He was no ordinary actor, as the presenter, panel and live audience were to discover.

Laurence Fox, co-star of the popular Detective Morse-spin-off series Lewis, spoke his mind cogently and calmly.

What he said was controversial to half the people who heard it and common sense to the other half.

Guido Fawkes promptly posted Fox’s ‘best of’ moments early Friday morning (emphasis in the original):

Few knew who Laurence Fox was before last night’s Question Time appearance. After this barnstorming performance Guido reckons his appearances will be more keenly anticipated.

Most viewers would make time to watch QT were Fox on it again. However, unlike Guido, I doubt whether he will be invited again. Although his views are centrist, that’s too balanced for the programme, known for its overwhelmingly left-wing panel and presenter (Fiona Bruce) as well as the blunt, emotional discussions, if one can call them that.

No one with any common sense watches QT unless there’s someone on they want to see. I only watched the programme in full after seeing Guido’s post.

This was one of the best QTs ever, because of Fox.

One wonders if the programme researcher who booked him still has a job. I hope so, because ratings on the online replays of the show must have gone through the roof over the past week.

This is what Spiked‘s columnist, Patrick West, wrote about the actor only a few weeks ago in November 2019 (emphases mine below):

We need more Laurence Foxes

Most intelligent grownups don’t pay attention to the political opinions of actors. The film Team America summed it up. Their opinions are usually shallow and conformist. Not so the actor Laurence Fox.

He is decidedly un-luvvie in his opinions and pastimes. The Lewis actor told The Sunday Times the other week that he recently walked around south London in a MAGA hat. He’s fine about multiracialism, but hates multiculturalism: ‘You have to be a Somewhere person. If you’re in England, be English.’

He openly doesn’t hate Donald Trump. He doesn’t think there should be 50-50 gender quotas for scriptwriters at RADA. He calls his fellow thesps ‘hypocrites’ for supporting Extinction Rebellion while leading ‘high-carbon lives’. He is irked most by today’s culture of conformity. ‘Our parents taught us to think for ourselves and then stayed out of the way. Now our kids turn up with a preconceived idea which they’re getting from school.’

Research by King’s College London’s privacy institute published last month showed that young people today had much more liberal views on soft drugs, homosexuality and abortion than they did 20 years ago

This is the great paradox of our day: young people are more tolerant than they used to be, except towards those who question the consensus.

You can see an interview here from December 1 in which he describes his MAGA hat experience in London and the Trump Derangement Syndrome he received:

This is the full 27-minute interview:

The Telegraph‘s Madeline Grant was also on the QT panel last Thursday. She wrote about it on Friday morning, including a clip of the show when the Sussexes departure from the Royal Family was discussed:

The woman attempting to take Fox on over his views on the topic turned out to be a BBC plant, a lecturer at Edge Hill University (a former teacher training college):

Now on to Madeline Grant’s article, most of which lies behind a paywall:

To say I was in a state of panic on the way to Liverpool for my maiden Question Time outing on Thursday would be an understatement. I imagined vomiting onstage, trying to speak and croaking, wardrobe malfunctions, furious audience members throwing tomatoes, and more. I considered pulling a sickie or emigrating.

Yet the experience defied my expectations; with a rare Right-leaning panel, a terrific audience posing intelligent questions, a generally polite and enjoyable conversation without the point-scoring tedium that often accompanies such shows.

Perhaps the most astonishing revelation, however – the needle in the haystack, the flying pig, the blue moon – was the presence of a non-woke actor on the panel. My new friend Laurence Fox, who perfectly captured public resentment of stifling identity politics and the culture of permanent offence. He skewered the hypocrisies of pontificating celebrities and disconnected politicians. And, like Ricky Gervais’s tirade against the Hollywood elite at the Golden Globes, his words found a receptive audience

The aforementioned lecturer, Rachel Boyle, accused Fox of being ‘privileged’ in his comments about the Duchess of Sussex. The Telegraph‘s Jamie Johnson wrote an article, free to view, which recapped some of what the actor said:

Responding to a claim from an audience member that the media’s treatment of Meghan amounted to “racism”, Mr Fox responded: “It’s not racism… we’re the most tolerant, lovely country in Europe.

“It’s so easy to throw the charge of racism and it’s really starting to get boring now,” he continued.

The audience member then described Fox as a “white, privileged male”, to which he responded: “I can’t help what I am, I was born like this, it was an immutable characteristic.

“To call me a white privileged male is to be racist,” he claimed.

You can read an analysis of Boyle and QT here. She tweeted on Saturday, January 18, and got a number of pro and con responses, including this one:

Fox believes that the media turned on the Sussexes when they decided they did not want to put in the hard work as Royals yet still get paid a salary:

Further discussing Meghan and Harry’s decision to quit as senior royals, he told host Fiona Bruce: “When you’re younger you do want to make a life for yourselves.

“So I do empathise with them, but I do think there’s a little bit of having your cake and eating it which I don’t enjoy.”

Absolutely! The more one reflects on this, the more one can see the British public’s indignation at the indirect insinuation by the Sussexes that we’re just not good enough for them. They cannot bear the idea of pressing our oh-so-common flesh on a regular basis. They’re far too good for the likes of us. What snobs.

Returning to QT, the first of Fox’s brilliant comments came on the subject of climate change and frequent flights. He willingly admitted to flying a lot:

Joking about the hypocrisy of celebrities who fly regularly, Fox said: “The carbon footprint’s huge.

But we make up for it by preaching to everyone how they should change their life.”

Yes! (Looking at you, Sussexes — along with dozens of others!)

Fox received lots of praise from QT viewers:

The Mail on Sunday has more reactions from Twitter on Fox’s views as expressed on QT.

In this interview with journalist and polemicist James Delingpole from January 16, Fox discusses his attitude towards dating:

The aforementioned Mail on Sunday article reported some of what Fox, 41, said on the topic:

Laurence Fox has revealed he once broke up with a girlfriend because she liked a pro-#MeToo TV advert

The actor, 41, told his ex-lover: ‘Bye. Sorry I can’t do this with you,’ after she praised Gillette for their TV campaign on ‘toxic masculinity’

He also said he no longer dates women under 35 as they are ‘too woke’ and most of them are ‘absolutely bonkers’

The controversial Gillette advert subverted the razor brand’s famous ‘The Best A Man Can Get’ slogan by challenging traditional views of what it means to be a successful man. 

It featured news clips of reporting on the #MeToo movement, as well as images showing sexism in films, in boardrooms, and of violence between boys. 

In an interview with the Delingpod podcast, Mr Fox, who has two children with actress Billie Piper, 37, said of his Gillette argument: ‘I don’t know how we ended up together. It was a very short relationship

‘We were walking down the road together and she was talking about how good the Gillette advert was. I just looked at her and went, ‘Bye. Sorry I can’t do this with you.’

It is not clear which former girlfriend Mr Fox was referring to.  

He told the podcast that before his current relationship began, he was put off dating women under 35 because they are ‘primed to believe they are victims’

Mr Fox’s previous girlfriends include DJ Lilah Parsons, Sky Sports News presenter Kirsty Gallcher, 43, and Vogue Williams, 34. 

Asked what his former flame would think about him sharing the unusual reason for their break-up he told the podcast: ‘She will probably sit there and say, ‘See I told you he was patriarchal. He’s abusing me and I’m offended.’  

That same day, Fox gave an interview to Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill, an ex-leftist who is now centrist and/or libertarian. This is a good discussion, just a little over an hour long. O’Neill clearly agrees with Fox:

Fox said, among other things, that he was very grateful that people were beginning to be more open about their views in the face of political correctness. As a result, he believes the tide is beginning to turn.

Millions of us are grateful to Laurence Fox for going on national television and unreservedly voicing his opinions in a calm, civilised manner.

On Friday, November 22, 2019, a special two-hour Question Time was broadcast.

Fiona Bruce, the show’s host, moderated a discussion involving questions from a live audience put forward to the four main party leaders in half-hour segments.

The programme began with Jeremy Corbyn. Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP followed. The last two were Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats and Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party.

It was really sad to see that Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are the only political party running on a pro-Brexit platform. Labour favour a watery Brexit with a second referendum. Jo Swinson said in a previous interview on ITV last week that in the (unlikely) event she became Prime Minister, she would revoke Article 50 all by herself on the first day. The SNP are all about Scottish independence and only the Scots can vote for them. They, too, oppose Brexit and would appeal to the EU to allow Scotland to join as a separate nation.

Who won?

On Saturday, November 23, The Express reported on a poll it conducted among readers. Not surprisingly, most participants thought that Boris won (emphases mine):

A total of 50 percent of people believed the Conservative leader stole the show, with less than a quarter of readers (23 percent) convinced Jeremy Corbyn won.

Of the 22,368 people who voted in the poll, 11,307 believed Boris Johnson won – versus just 4,816 people. who voted for Mr Corbyn.

Of the four candidates, Jo Swinson seemed the least popular, with just eight percent – 1,776 people – believing she won the debate.

In fact, more people said they didn’t know who won – with this option being chosen by 1,924 people.

Coming third was Nicola Sturgeon, who teased a “less formal” arrangement with Labour to stop Brexit and end austerity, with 2,545 votes for the SNP leader.

One commenter, ‘fitz’, said the Prime Minister managed to “scrape through” after a tough start.

They said: “Boris had a tough job, but he scraped through ok at the end.

“I do not have any doubts that he will win the election with a modest majority of MPs who will support him.”

I hope that proves to be the case.

Nicola Sturgeon

Nearly all the leaders received tough questions from the audience. Nicola Sturgeon seemed to receive fewer:

I was hoping someone would ask her more about Scotland being financially self-sufficient post-independence without English money provided through what is called the Barnett Formula and what plans she would have for a Scottish currency. The SNP believe they can continue to use the British pound!

But I digress.

Sturgeon was adamant that Scots alone could decide the fate of the Union, which has existed since 1707:

Sturgeon relaxed with a book on the way back to Scotland:

Jo Swinson

Jo Swinson got a verbal blast from a Brexit supporter. The Express reported on the exchange:

Catherine, the audience member, asked: “Is revoking Article 50 confirming to 17.4 million people that you think we’re stupid and don’t know what we voted for?”

The Lib Dem leader said: “You cannot accuse us of not being upfront about wanting to stop Brexit. We have been crystal clear about that from the very beginning.

“Not for one second do I think that means you or anyone like you is stupid. I think it means we disagree.

“I really want us to be in a situation in this country where we can disagree with each other, Catherine.”

Ms Swinson continued: “That means that you want to leave, and I don’t think that makes you a bad person.

“I want to remain in the EU and I hope you think that doens’t make me a bad one.”

The audience member shot back: “You can disagree with me but you lost.

“You don’t get to keep disagreeing with me.”

Well said, Catherine.

On Saturday morning, Chuka Umunna, former Labour MP, now a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, was asked on a BBC radio programme about Swinson’s Question Time performance and the Lib Dem’s anti-Brexit policy. The Express reports:

Mr Umunna, who standing in the cities of London and Westminster constituency on December 12, insisted the Liberal Democrat position to revoke Article 50 was not a mistake, despite Ms Swinson facing a tough grilling by furious audience members on the special leaders debate last night. The Labour-turned-ChangeUK-turned-Lib Dem politician told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “No, there’s been no mistake made on this policy.”

Mr Umunna added: “It’s absolutely clear – you can’t save the NHS and address the issues in it at the same time as not seeking to stop Brexit, not least because 10 percent of our doctors come from the EU, and 7 percent of our nurses come from the EU.”

What no one from any party has addressed is WHY we have so few British doctors and nurses these days. I do not have an answer myself.

Anyway, The Express article related another audience member’s blast at Swinson on the Question Time special:

Ms Swinson faced yet another awkward encounter when another audience member branded the plan to stop Brexit “undemocratic”.

An audience member said: “You are not saying we will go back to the people, you are unilaterally saying ‘Revoke it.’

It’s undemocratic from somebody who wishes the last three and a half years had never happened.”

A startled Ms Swinson responded by saying the Liberal Democrats had campaigned for a so-called people’s vote for the past three years without getting the support in the House of Commons.

Swinson also received a grilling about her voting record when she was an MP in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government from 2010-2015. Swinson voted ‘Aye’ to more Conservative policies than Conservative MPs did during those years:

The woman asking that question was no ordinary member of the general public. To some viewers, her face seemed very familiar. They were not wrong. The woman is an actress:

That did not go down well with some viewers, and, in my humble opinion, rightly so:

Returning to Jo Swinson, the questions did no favours for the Lib Dems:

Jeremy Corbyn

Right at the outset, Jeremy Corbyn received a verbal smackdown from a long haired, bearded man:

Then, one of Corbyn’s supporters chimed in:

Corbyn’s position on Brexit has been rather nebulous, so, someone asked him about it:

This is what Corbyn said:

Boris Johnson

Boris confirmed to Fiona Bruce and the audience that he had been watching the programme backstage.

The Left have been hammering at Boris for an alleged lack of integrity. Yet, I cannot think of a single politician who has told the truth 100% of the time. Anyway:

As in the United States with the 2016 election, the Left are alleging that Russia interfered in the Brexit referendum campaign. Before Parliament was dissolved, Boris declined to release an official report about it, saying that, customarily, the Prime Minister reviewed such documents over a matter of weeks rather than days:

Someone brought up former Conservative MP, Dominic Grieve, a muckraking Remainer:

Boris got many more difficult questions.

He handled them well. Here he is on education:

And on Brexit:

Many of the questions and remarks were not fair, because he was not a sitting MP for most of the time the Conservatives have been in government. He was Mayor of London during several of those years, a fact that he put forward to the audience. He also said that he has been Prime Minister for only 120 days!

Overall, he managed a conversational tone with everyone, no matter how obnoxious they were:

Nearly everyone is upset over the blatant bias that Fiona Bruce and Mentorn Productions show on Question Time. Therefore, people overall — outside of Leftist activists — empathised with Boris, such as this journalist:

Boris also got a boost from this viewer:

And these:

The Prime Minister was gracious afterwards:

Conclusion

Outside of the usual bias, the Question Time Leaders Special was good, because it is probably be the only time in this election campaign when party leaders will take questions from a live audience.

For those who would like to read more about the programme as it happened, see the Daily Mail (here and here) as well as The Guardian.

When I was in the US recently, I met up with two former classmates of mine, both devout Catholics, who said that they ‘just loved’ BBC America and BBC World Service.  They were shocked when I said I hardly watched the Beeb anymore. 

Twenty years ago the BBC produced high-quality, objective programmes and news — the main reasons that I watched its channels.

Over the past decade, the Corporation has moved ever leftward in virtually all its programming.  I stopped watching BBC News regularly when I woke up one morning in 2004 to see a News 24 reporter, Barbara Plett, burst into tears on air announcing that Yassar Arafat had died.  Please — give me a break: the man started his career in terrorism with the PLO then legitimised himself as a politician

The following year, BBC News did a poor job in reporting on the 2005 London bombings, giving an excessive amount of coverage to apologists for the bombers.

Furthermore, BBC Breakfast has been onside with politically correct social engineering since the mid-1990s. 

And if you lodge a complaint with the Beeb and are fortunate enough to be given a soundbite on Raymond Snoddy’s (ex-Financial Times) brief show on Saturdays before 8 a.m., he always tells you, with the help of a BBC producer or head of department, why you are wrong.  As we all know, Auntie Beeb is always right.   

Within the past couple of years, however, the rest of their programming has taken a pro-Labour turn.  Even Have I Got News for You (HIGNIFY) isn’t as funny anymore.  Everyone on it snipes regularly at the Tories and now at their coalition partners, the LibDems.  Even Private Eye editor and satirist Ian Hislop has fallen prey to the predominant leftist memes.  It used to be comedian Paul Merton for the left and Hislop for the right as team captains, but now that they’re all firmly on the left, the show has lost its edge.

So, that leaves us in the mousehole watching only a couple of the cooking series — Masterchef (in all its guises) and Great British Menu.  I haven’t seen the former get politicised yet, although it’s probably only a matter of time.  However, the current series of Great British Menu seems to feature a stitch-up of an accomplished chef in favour of a more ordinary one in ingredients and style.  Recently, Jason Atherton gave Tristan Welch a right pasting in judging, throwing him out of the competition with unbelievably low scores.  Welch won last year for London and the South East for his outstanding pudding (that’s the traditional word for ‘dessert’, by the way).  This year’s was no exception, yet Atherton (whom I previously admired but have gone off totally now) let a chef with a mediocre recipe win.  It was pretty clear that Atherton and the other regions’ chefs, with the exception of Northern Ireland’s Richard Corrigan, judged their own threesome of hopefuls in the same way.  Why would one want sub-standard food at a banquet for the Prince of Wales, his consort the Duchess of Cornwall and the nation’s top real food producers?  ‘Banquet’ implies grandeur and elegance.  But, no, it seems that the BBC must change the way we think about banquets, too.

On to the BBC’s current affairs programmes by way of closing.  I’m heartened to read that I’m not the only one fed up with them.  Last week’s Question Time (shown on Thursdays after the 10 p.m. news) created a furore; Labourites spin doctor Alastair Campbell and ex-Mirror editor Piers Morgan were on the panel. Campbell and Morgan have never held elected office.  The BBC, it seems, wanted the new Coalition to send two Cabinet ministers to balance the panel.  The Coalition said no, although they did send along senior Tory MP John Redwood and former LibDem MP Susan Kramer.  That’s good enough.  

A number of people watching at home are disgruntled with the BBC’s tiresome proselytising for the left.  It is difficult for ordinary members of the public to obtain tickets to see the show, because the BBC reserves these for Labour sympathisers who have become increasingly assertive — aggressive, one might say — and noisy during the show.  Guido Fawkes’s readers have had enough (hope they don’t mind my borrowing a couple prescient comments):

Cleggometer: Time for this government to stop the Beeb from inviting sycophants of the last government from appearing on current affairs programmes. How can the national audience get a representative view of politics from inviting ex-spin doctors and ex-national rag editors? Good on the government not to send anyone …

revolting peasant: Would this be a good time to repeat my tale of a friend who was told her application for three tickets to the Woking edition of QT before the election had been successful. Only for the offer to be withdrawn by QT the following day because she was a floating voter and not a Labour supporter.
The same QT that is now self righteously claiming to be impartial
.

Even the BBC website received comments from disgruntled viewers:

jbatpersonal: The BBC are displaying their usual Labour party bias by inviting an unelected spin doctor TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THE LABOUR PARTY.
QT has got it utterly wrong. If they must have Campbell on the panel he should be there to speak as a commentator and NOT to represent the Labour party. He may well have controlled the Labour party but he has never been near any election himself. His twisted and vengeful actions have cost this country dearly. He has no authority to speak on behalf of Labour.
We used to enjoy watching QT but it is quite clear over recent months it has become increasingly biased and dysfunctional. Consequently we are switching off in protest. You won’t worry about the loss of two viewers, but we do ask the BBC to change the management and get back to discussing important political questions of the day with genuine representatives of political parties and independent commentators. Then you may get us to watch again
.

Many people living outside the UK are unaware that every television-owning household in the country has to pay for the BBC.  During the 1990s it emerged that poor single mothers were given prison sentences for non-payment of their annual TV licences.  Since then, these matters have been dealt with somewhat differently.  However, people who do not own televisions are hassled by TV Licensing, an outsourced body which bills and monitors these payments.  Charles Moore documents his own experiences and those of the public in his weekly Spectator column.

In a future post, I’ll feature the story of Lord Reith, a staunch Scottish Presbyterian who asked God for direction one Sunday at church in London.  He ended up founding the BBC, whose remit, as he put it, was to inform, educate and entertain.  I do wonder what he would make of it all now.  Not a single BBC channel on television or radio reflects a balanced, impartial perspective.  I’d love to be able to watch and listen to more of the Beeb, but for now, that’s a non-starter. 

That’s why, if you live overseas, I would advise you to exercise discernment when watching BBC News and documentaries.

For further reading:

Biased BBC

David Dimbleby’s blast at BBC communications: ‘Nobody knows what anybody else is doing’

Question Time row as No10 refuses to field Cabinet minister to face Alastair Campbell

Has the BBC’s Question Time Had Its Day?

No. 10 hits back at BBCQT. Re Ali C.

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