The chairman schmoozes politicians on the set of Question Time. Booked as a fount of all things financial, our fund manager translates the panel’s findings into all things “capitalist”.
”How on earth did you end up on Question Time the other day?” I asked the chairman of the implausibly-sized investment company Second Coming Asset Management as we met for a pint or two of Great Relief And Pride at The Other Half Winning Best IMA Freelancer Again. “I’m still not sure,” he replied. “Looking back at it, I suspect I thought I was attending a shareholder meeting.”
“But you don’t have any shareholders any more,” I said. “Not public ones, at any rate.” “Yes, you’d have thought that would have set some alarm bells ringing,” replied the chairman vaguely. “But this very nice young lady rang up and started talking about taking questions from members of the public and I guess I must have mentally slipped back a decade or so. Anyway, how do you think I did?”
”I keep having to remind myself that the audience are representative not so much of society as a whole but of the sort of people whose idea of a good night out is to be in a Question Time audience”
“Fine,” I conceded. “Even if the competition was a bit low-rent. To be honest, I find Question Time deeply uncomfortable viewing – partly because of the audience, who I keep having to remind myself are representative not so much of society as a whole but rather of the sort of people whose idea of a good night out is to be in a Question Time audience.
“And of course, regardless of whether their political persuasions chime with mine, I also find it very difficult to watch those ghastly people who appear on the panels … er, no offence.” “None taken,” the chairman bowed graciously. “Nevertheless,” I continued, “true pro that I am, I did manage to see your contributions. Though only by fast-forwarding to the relevant bits on the iPlayer. (article continues below)
“What I enjoyed most was trying to work out who looked more uncomfortable – you for having to share the stage with a bunch of politicians or the politicians for having to share the stage with a fund manager, which in the eyes of almost everyone in that studio made you to all intents and purposes a complete and utter banker.”
“No wonder that young lady sounded so pleased when I agreed to appear,” nodded the chairman. “They must have been hoping I was a reasonable substitute for having that scamp Goodwin on the show.” “It didn’t seem to bother the chap in the audience who berated you for charging excessive interest on credit card loans,” I said.
“Yes, it’s been a good few years since that’s happened,” smiled the chairman. “Makes one quite nostalgic really.” “I’m sure it does,” I said. “Now I think of it, another problem I have with Question Time – and, to be fair, any other show that requires a panel of experts – is that TV and radio don’t really do nuance or shades of grey.
“Certainty wins out over caution every time in the minds of broadcasters even though few subjects in the real world are best served by that approach. Still, with that caveat in mind, I thought you more than held your own with the politicians on the question about Europe and, perhaps more surprisingly, knowing you as I do, the economy.
“You even managed to sound quite man-of the-peopley about why the housing benefit system could stand a spot of fine-tuning. On the other hand, you did seem …” “Yes?” prompted the chairman. “Well, you just seemed less sure-footed on a couple of other matters,” I soft-pedalled “Oh, I am sorry to hear that,” said the chairman. “Was there anything in particular that stuck out?”
“For me, I would have to say it was when the young man in the audience checked to make sure he had understood you correctly and that you really had been condoning the medieval torture of terrorists,” I said. “And?” prompted the chairman. “And,” I echoed him, “it just occurred to me that moral issues might not perhaps be your strongest suit.”
“And having known me as long as you have, this comes as a shock to you in what way?” the chairman asked. “Fair point,” I conceded. “Hey – wasn’t it funny when the Milliclone Labour representative suggested you sounded as if you fancied going into politics?” “Funny?” replied the chairman, trying to sound innocent and with an odd look in his eyes that made me a little uncomfortable. “How so?”