Question Time Portsmouth: Pasties, Petrol And Steven Seagal

In the final show before the Easter sabbatical, Dimbo and co headed to Pompey to argue about food and petrol. As ever, the tweets made it more fun...
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In the final show before the Easter sabbatical, Dimbo and co headed to Pompey to argue about food and petrol. As ever, the tweets made it more fun...

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The panellists on last night's Question Time should count themselves extremely lucky. With the BBC super-computer having already designated Portsmouth as the next stop on Dimbleby's nationwide Civic Centre tour, there was no need to fear the kind of ferocious backlash they might have encountered somewhere more... Cornish.

@markinreading : Pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties, pasties

Those grateful souls were comedian Alexei Sayle, Labour's Douglas Alexander, Sarah Teather of the Liberal Democrats, Anna Soubry of the Conservatives and Simon Jenkins, columnist and Chairman of the National Trust.

@TheWaxOff : Why do you all think the queues at petrol stations are because of petrol and are nothing to do with the Steven Seagal 5 in 1 DVD's?

Yes, the week's key issue was given the cold shoulder for a moment while the entire country got itself in a right old state about how we were about to run-out of petrol. And not be able to drive our cars.  And die.

Thankfully, Jenkins was able to put it all into perspective, noting that, “When someone goes on TV and tells you not to panic, you panic.” Teather tried to ease the situation as only a politician knows how, by encouraging the great British public to use their common sense. Sadly, the Minister for Children assumed she was talking to an assembly full of seven-year-olds rather than a room packed with furious taxpayers. Sayle pointed-out the delicious irony of fear-struck road-users driving around for hours in search of an in-service petrol station before remembering that he had to drive to Liverpool the next day, with his lack of fuel set to leave him stranded in Stoke. It was a realisation that seemed to haunt the rest of his performance.

@matthewbradford : Do the Tories serve their £250,000 dinners cold to avoid VAT?

@ianshawjazz : End of my Teather. Off for a wank and a pasty...

Personally, Matthew, if I paid 250K for dinner I would expect something slightly better than a pasty. Soubry let us know that the answer, “should,” be no... but left us all hanging as to whether such an answer would be correct. Jenkins continued his good form, suggesting he doesn't mind, “If idiots give money to other idiots.” Speaking of, Alexander jumped in and demanded to know why the Conservatives sent no Cabinet Minister to the QT arena tonight with such important culinary matters on the table. Soubry looked positively insulted by the suggestion she couldn't hack the debate. Teather simply couldn't comment, her complete incompetence apparently getting the better of her. Sayle, his mood darkened by the prospect of being stuck in Stoke, said he wasn't sure on the matter, then put his head in his hands and proceeded to weep.

@Cory_Tunt : I can't believe people use the internet to espouse extreme views. String the bastards up.

On to QT's favourite subject, Twitter. Or, more specifically, the prison term handed-out to the student who used Fabrice Muamba's collapse as an opportunity to unleash his racism unto the World Wide Web. Jenkins' solid performance came apart here, as he waffled on about the 'File of Silly Sentences' that he keeps on his desk. We can only assume this is some kind of unpublished dossier designed to make the National Trust cool again. They've always got an agenda.

As luck would have it, the madness continued. Alexander started talking about football, conjuring disturbing images of a local MP relaxing with a pint in the pub on a Saturday lunchtime watching Chelsea versus Arsenal. Politicians can't like football; they're sub-human. Soubry revealed that she reads the tweets about herself after she's appeared on television. Conceited bitch. Unfortunately, she admitted to feeling the human emotion of 'sadness' upon realising very few of her fans take to the Twittersphere to defend her. Dimbleby laughed-off such a suggestion, clearly safe in the knowledge that even his robotic alter-ego has a greater following than the MP for Broxtowe.

@Tony2Pints : Are we sure people are queueing for petrol and not some BP Pasties?

Tony makes a valid point. Assuming the pasties weren't hot. Or were bought cold and then heated up. Or were hot, then cooled down. Or... ARGH. It has truly been a standard week in Britain when something as simple as a pasty becomes politicised. Just wait for the protests; Greggs workers manning the picket lines, Cornwall seceding, pasties setting themselves on fire in front of Whitehall.

Soubry took the party-line, stopping just short of chowing-down on a Ginsters in Dimbleby's face. She didn't breast feed her children, you know. That's how convinced she is of the nutritional benefits of the humble meat and potato pie. Teather described the move as an attempt to create a level playing field among takeaways, but Alexander was having none of it. Class warfare! Clearly these toffs want to hurt the working classes in the most horrific way imaginable. “Lies!” came the muffled cry from Soubry, spraying the table with flaky pastry and chunks of gristle.

Sayle informed Dimbleby he just didn't care about the whole issue, his forlorn expression casting a dark shadow over the left-hand side of the table.

@MattChorley : No #bbcqt for two weeks. Start stockpiling platitudes, cliches and panicked ministerial stares

Fortunately, no one else did either. Dimbleby let the audience know the show was taking an Easter sabbatical before jumping up, grabbing his suitcases and heading straight to the nearest airport. Leeds awaits in two weeks' time. See you then.

@ianshawjazz : End of my Teather. Off for a wank and a pasty...

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