This morning, as the SNP are holding their conference in the city, and the question of independence for Scotland has come back to the fore during the Brexit debate, The Andy Marr Show™ came from Aberdeen. So England-based participants had to be interviewed by video link. One of those thus interviewed was the deeply unpleasant Priti Patel, inexplicably made Home Secretary by alleged PM Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
The smirk that never sleeps
And as always, Ms Patel was utterly incapable of answering any question put to her, in stark contrast with Marr’s other two guests, Rebecca Long Bailey for Labour, and SNP leader, and Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Ms Patel’s answers combined rather deliberately recited Tory talking points and verbal diarrhoea in a combination guaranteed to put paid to any residual early morning insomnia.
Giving more politicians some stick
There were moments of inadvertent hilarity, though: after Ms Patel had pretended that Labour moving towards a second referendum was “undemocratic”, Marr countered with “I guess a lot of people would say a referendum is inherently democratic, therefore it can’t be undemocratic”. Her autopilot reply? “Andrew, things have moved on”.
But then, among the welter of “the right thing to do”, “get Brexit done”, “quite frankly”, “we have been clear”, “I think it’s important”, and events “taking place” (all basic elements of Priti Patel interview bingo), it turned deadly serious as Marr put it to Ms Patel that a number of trade associations had claimed Bozo’s deal “is a serious risk to manufacturing competitiveness and will result in huge new costs and disruption to UK firms”.
The Patel expression moved from neutral to a visible smirk. Marr was clearly unimpressed, and said so: “I can’t see why you’re laughing”. This spurred Ms Patel on to even greater verbosity: she wanted viewers to know that she was “working assiduously”. In fact, she was “working assiduously” twice. But there was no objection to Marr’s admonishment.
There was elsewhere, though, as a clearly organised pushback began, with the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog frothing “Marr Falsely Attacks Patel For Laughing At Industry Warning”. Replacement sandwich monitor Christian Calgie pretended to be a real journalist with “Bad form from Marr”.
Elsewhere, support for Ms Patel was predictable: tribal Brexiteers, BBC haters, and of course the humourless Laura Perrins of Conservative Woman, which relies on the Fawkes blog plugging its rubbish for a significant part of its traffic.
Sadly for Ms Patel’s cheerleaders, though, one Labour supporter had a Before and After screenshot: “For those too blind to see Smirking [Priti Patel] on the [Marr] show, I've set them side by side from the bit before he reads the list of businesses to the point where he tells her ‘I can’t see why you’re laughing’. You're welcome”. Bang to rights.
Moreover, as Will Thorpe reminded everyone, there is a more serious issue here. “A political system that allows a character like Priti Patel, who was thrown out of cabinet in disgrace for holding secret meetings with a foreign power, to subsequently hold one of the three great offices of state, needs fundamental reform”. Quite.
Priti Patel was indeed smirking. But she should not be in office in the first place.
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