Questionable Time: Humza Yousaf faces up to battle

Plus, Brian Souter's got history with Trouble. So back away, carefully

Share
Fact File
  • 7/10 Yousaf: Sprite(ly)
  • 5/10 Moore: (Squeezed his eyes together too) Tight(ly)
  • 5/10 Macleod: (Did well to stay out of) Sight
  • 6/10 Falconer: (Didn't) Indict (Souter for crimes he failed to commit)
  • 4/10 Souter: (Looked like he was going to throw a) White(y)
  • 7/10 The Crowd: (Were high as) Kite(s)?
Related Topics

Good morning Lemmings and welcome to yet another instalment of the UK's most popular blood-sport-disguised-as-middle-brow-gum-flapping-contest, a beast that is otherwise known as Question Time. Now, despite having gorged itself senseless on topics featuring the word 'referendum' in the past few weeks, the monster's appetite remains apparently undiminished and this week finds us heading north in search of fresh plebiscitary morsels. What's that you say? You're all referendumed out? Well too bad because we're off to Scotland and they've got a whole load of crazy new referendum flavours to get your chops around. Tonight Lemmings, we dine in Stirling.

We'll be seeing more of Humza Yousaf...

So this is only the second QT appearance for the SNP's Minister for External Affairs (an appointment that sounds suspiciously like 'Minister for Guttering and Drainage' in my book) but I've got to admit that this guy's already showing some impressive form. Let's start with the basics: First off, he's got a really good QT face that hangs well off his head and naturally defaults to a look that's just on the right side of the Relaxed/Cavalier line. That's a big advantage from the get-go, but a face alone will only get you as far as the kettle - it won't get the milk out of the fridge. Luckily for Yousaf, he's had plenty of time to watch the master of the Relaxed/Cavalier line – Alex Salmond – at work and he seems to have taken plenty of notes.

Take the first question for example: This was the one on the Mid-Staffordshire Trust and he did that classic Salmond thing of pressing the right populist buttons (that whole "SNP as the True Defenders of the NHS Faith" thing always seems to work quite well) but doing so without pleading or shouting. As an opener it worked a treat and he continued to rack up the points with the "should Huhne do time?" question by slipping in a cheeky little dig at bankers without getting too carried away with it. So far, so good. However, the real test was the referendum question and here we saw that he's still got a thing or two to learn from his sensei.

Clearly, this was a question from which there was no easy way out: Your party, who's reason d'être is to win independence for Scotland has finally secured a referendum yet only a quarter of Scots are behind you on leaving the Union. What gives? Now, had it been Salmond up there, we would have been treated to one politics' most splendid creatures – the Knowing Blag. This is where Salmond would blather some things that held no real consequence whilst giving you this look that says "Yeah, you know as well as I do that I'm just playing for time, but the fact that we both know makes it kind of fun doesn't it?" to which I'd agree and subsequently let him off the hook. Humza's not got that down yet and when he's playing for time he just looks like, well – he's playing for time. Having said that though, these are minor quibbles and last night was a largely valiant effort that should cement his position as the 3rd Carpenter to Alex's Richard and Nicola's Karen.

 

On the subject of QT faces...

...Michael Moore has a pretty unfortunate one. That's not to say he's bad looking or anything, it's just the way he scrunches up his eyes when he's thinking really spins me out. Is he confused? Is he cross? Is he cross and confused? Is he cross at being confused? This is so confusing that it's making me cross! Anyway, I feel sorry for him on this front as he's actually pretty good when he finally hits his stride but that look combined with his rather halting delivery is just a little too jarring for me. It makes me scrunch up my face in a confused and cross looking manner.

 

I get nervous watching Brian Souter...

Ok, Question Time, I see what you did there.... It's the week in which gay marriage is all over the news so why not get the guy who spearheaded the campaign to keep Clause 4 in Scotland on? On any given week, I'd happily get behind this logic and chuckle heartily at the inevitable carnage that would ensue unfolded but this time around? I don't know, there's just something a little frightening about Brian Souter. There's the twitchiness, the impromptu confession that he'd tried to get his wife to take his speeding points and the entire glass of water he chugged in a microsecond – not to mention the fact that the crowd had his number and pre-emptively shouted down any funny business before he had a chance to get busy with it. All of this says to me that Brian Souter and Trouble have history and that history has a funny habit of repeating itself. If it's all the same to you Brian, I think I might just quietly let myself out the back before Trouble turns up...

 

My long thaw with Charlie Falconer continues...

We've never been on the same page, Lord Falconer and I. His style of delivery has always been heavy on insistence and as he was generally insisting on things I wasn't too keen on I can't say that it was a match made in heaven. However, over time I've found myself mellowing on him and while he's still very insistent, at least he's actually quite good explaining things (particularly lawyerly things) while his distance from power has taken some of the sting out of his tail. One day Charlie, one day we'll be wed...

 

Mary Macleod wisely followed the Four Steps to Tory Survival in Scotland...

Step 1: Make no sudden movements.

Step 2: If forced to defend anything, make sure it's the Union.

Step 3: Conserve energy: There are no votes to be chased here.

Step 4: Don't eat the yellow snow.

 

Pro tip: Buckfast isn't actually wine.

 

Well done Mary, you live to fight another day.

For more please visit QuestionableTime.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

August catch-up: architecture, suitcases and ‘pathetic figures’

John Rentoul
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading

Robert Fisk
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape