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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor Needed Nottingham/Derbyshire

£3360 - £16800 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Cover Supervisor requ...

English Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Urgently Required. En...

Supply teachers needed in Cambridgeshire

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad are looking ...

Geography Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Enjoy the sushi and hot noodles while you can, Barack – the Chinese will remain cold

David Usborne
David Moyes has been backed by Sir Bobby Charlton to succeed at Manchester United  

It's not David Moyes I pity, but the other over-50s facing unemployment

Simon Kelner
Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents