Who is going to replace David Dimbleby as the next host of BBC Question Time?
If your answer is “I’d rather suck out my eyeballs with a vacuum cleaner and fill the sockets with acid than give a damn about that noisome dross” then congratulations – you have the measure of possibly the grisliest political TV programme in the entire world, with the exception of the insanely left-wing Australian version Q&A which, amazingly, is even worse.
Question Time, for curious non-British viewers who’ve never had to endure it, is supposedly the blue riband of British political TV.
Each week, a panel of MPs plus a token real-ish person has to sit in front of an audience carefully selected for its left-wing bias in order to answer dreary, dumb-arsed questions invariably demanding the renationalisation of the railways, the beatification (prior to full sainthood) of the NHS, or asking why it is that the government isn’t spending more money on everything. Plus there’s usually a boring local one about the bus service in Dumfriesshire or the badger cull or the cottage hospital which is on the verge of closing.
Just in case any right-wing questions slip through the net, host David Dimbleby is on hand to make sure that left-wing MP Diane Abbott gets her statutory 25 minutes half flirting with Dimbleby while explaining why it’s all the government’s fault, while Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg get five seconds between them to reply that actually it’s a bit more compli…
No wait, that’s a gross exaggeration. No way would two properly conservative panellists be permitted at any stage on the same Question Time edition. This is a BBC programme, remember, and the balance per episode goes roughly like this: one drooling extreme-liberal; one borderline Communist; one very, very left-wing green; one squishy conservative; one whacko comedian/performance poet/author of unreadable books with too many long words (that’ll be you, Will Self) carefully chosen for their impeccably left-wing views.
All bar possibly one – if you’re very, very lucky – will have voted Remain in the EU Referendum.
Because he’s leaving and because he’s an institution lots of people are saying just how marvellous David Dimbleby was as the host.
But I’m not sure that this is actually true.
Sure he’s very, very rich and speaks in an old-school plummy voice and has something of the Flashman-esque cad about him and had a famous dad who helped Britain win the war. But Dimbleby – who has never got over the fact that his dad sent him to Charterhouse rather than Eton, though he did get into the Bullingdon at Oxford – is fundamentally unsound. He probably voted Remain; he is almost certainly not a conservative. And even if he is, he does a very good job of hiding it – invariably giving the left-wing panellists far too much time to waffle on with their dreary, virtue-signalling cant while cutting short anyone who says anything right-wing.
Not that people generally do say right-wing things on Question Time because they’re terrified of not getting a clap from the left-wing audience. There are exceptions – Isabel Oakeshott is always good as is Julia Hartley-Brewer, as is newcomer Chloe Westley, as are Claire Fox and a few others. Note that they’re all women: the only way you can be right-wing and get onto Question Time unless you’re Jacob Rees-Mogg or Nigel Farage is to slip under the net via the BBC’s obsessive gender agenda. (Or, like Rod Liddle, you do so by pretending you’re left-wing. Or, like Peter Hitchens, you do so by savaging everyone, the righties even more than the lefties, because basically you’re just in it to show how maverick and not-owned-by-anyone you are.)
Anyway, the programme is horrible. No one real watches it. The only way any sane person can watch it is on fast forward to the bits where Jacob Rees-Mogg (or similar) is speaking, and ruthless editing out all the waffle from the virtue-signalling lefties. Sometimes, when the episode is filmed in a working-class Brexit stronghold, someone in the audience says something robust and sensible. But if that happens you can catch up with it when it goes viral on YouTube.
Whoever they choose as the next host of Question Time will be selected for all the wrong criteria.
But that’s OK because none of us are going to be watching, any more than we did when David Dimbleby was presenting it.
We need a new political programme, presented by me. I’d watch. Well, I would if I weren’t presenting it.