What’s the purpose of Rishi Sunak’s government? It clearly isn’t to govern. The Tories have long since given up on that. Nothing really works any more and Sunak has little to offer but the promise of a few general election giveaways. But his outriders are clearly on a mission to plug the gap with entertainment. Banish those Monday morning January blues with the Conservatives’ comedy hour. The Revenge of the Idiocracy.
Step forward, Lucy Frazer. In a previous life, Frazer was by all accounts a successful barrister. Someone even thought her sharp – or posh – enough to make her a KC. Though what that says about all the other lawyers whom she beat to the promotion doesn’t bear mentioning. There’s no easy way of saying this. But Lucy just isn’t very bright. If the election doesn’t work out so well for her, you can’t see many people hurrying to her chambers asking her to take up their case.
As luck would have it, though, Frazer is now our culture secretary. Words you thought you would never say. The least you would expect would be someone who could talk in fully formed sentences. Coherent thought would be nice too. Come back, Nadine Dorries. Even at her most demented, even when she was totally pissed, Mad Nad was more articulate than Frazer on Monday’s media round. Almost as though Lucy was auditioning for her own standup show. A rival to Rosie Holt.
For reasons best known to themselves, every Tory culture secretary seems to have it in for the BBC. It could just be jealousy. The BBC is far more highly valued and trusted than the Tories. We Brits could easily do without the services of another second-rate minister, but we’d be pissed off to be asked to give up our guilty pleasures of The Traitors and Silent Witness.
No matter. Frazer had managed to get hold of another shoddy piece of research that claimed the BBC was not impartial and was determined to spin it out into a comedy gig on the airwaves. A helpful suggestion: most standups learn their routines before they take them out on tour. They don’t just make it up as they go along. But Lucy knows better. All she had done was skim the headline findings that the BBC were all lefty bastards before leaving the house in the morning and had decided to ad-lib the rest.
It didn’t go well. Frazer clearly thought she would be on home turf in the Sky studios. That a rival broadcaster would like nothing more than to indulge in a bit of communal Beeb bashing. The idea that a news source might have independent news values clearly hadn’t occurred to her. She clearly thought everything was like GB News. Kay Burley cut to the chase. “Do you think the BBC is biased?” she asked upfront.
“Er … I am looking at this from, um … the point of view as culture secretary,” said Frazer in her trademark high-pitched panicky nasal whine. Much the same as Sunak.
Burley looked around for a gun. Anything to put herself out of the misery of spending another second with this halfwit. “I know you are,” she said. “That’s why we’ve invited you on to the programme.” Poor Lucy. Yet to make the connection between her role as cabinet minister and being invited on to the TV. She thought it was just a coincidence.
Then we got down to the details. Or rather the lack of them. Frazer did think the BBC was biased because it had apologised for a mistake about the bombing of a Gaza hospital. Her dishonesty was transparent. Because you could tell that what she was itching to say but daren’t was that the BBC hated the Tories. Which some members and presenters probably do. Though equally, the boss class and some other presenters are very Tory-friendly. Which suggests that overall things are a lot more balanced than at GBeebies.
“So where’s your evidence?” asked Burley.
Frazer looked confused. Startled even. “Evi … Evi … Evi … dense?” What was that? Yup, she’s a lawyer alright. Er … the evidence was that some people perceived the BBC to be biased, she offered. Burley gently pointed out that perceptions were not evidence and invited her to have another go. Still nothing. Eventually Burley just gave up, spitting her out in disgust. Weirdly, Frazer repeated this interview across all the networks. Someone should tell her there’s a difference between an audience laughing at you and with you.
Still, Frazer was just the warm-up act on LBC. There we got a full half-hour of Comedy Central with the Tory candidate for London mayor. The never-to-be-forgotten Susan Hall. Quite possibly the stupidest person in the entire capital. The Conservatives must have chosen her for the LOLs. There’s no other explanation.
First off, Hall insisted that Sadiq Khan had saved up some money to give Londoners a pre-election boost. Wait until she finds out what Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have in store. Then she got totally confused over the repairs to Hammersmith Bridge. The holdup was because it was owned by two councils. A listener had to call in to point out that this was a lie. Since 1985 it’s been owned solely by Hammersmith and Fulham council. Though Hall may think that counts as two.
But Sue was only getting started. She was definitely going to give the police a pay rise though she didn’t know where the money was coming from. The presenter, Nick Ferrari, asked her if she knew what the basic salary for an officer was. “No idea,” she said proudly. But guessing? £30K. Which is the equivalent of £60K. Honestly, no one had any idea what she was talking about. Least of all, her. “It’s £36K,” said Ferrari.
Her ignorance was bliss. And total. She didn’t know what a bus fare was. Couldn’t give a toss. She never took one. Only travelled by trains. So nothing to do with her. And she was unrepentant about her tweets about Trump having the 2020 election stolen from him because she “always spent a lot of time on Twitter liking tweets that she didn’t really like”. Ferrari looked like he needed a self-help group by the end. We all did.
But hey, the LBC phone lines all lit up. With agents looking to sign Dim Sue up. This had been laugh-a-minute radio. Far better than anything Radio 4 could offer. And no one was laughing louder than Sadiq. Imagine Hall as mayor of one of the world’s biggest cities. Even my dog could do better. And still the fun wasn’t over, as hours later Liz Truss announced she would be making her comeback in February. The Edinburgh fringe is dead. Long live the Tory fringe. Our cup runneth over.