Friday, 23 October 2009


Apparently I belong to a group of two million people. People, who like me, sit down in front of the television and watch "Question Time" on the BBC on Thursday evening. Usually come 10.35pm and the start of QT, Mrs Troy decides to go to bed and I respond along the lines of "I'll just see who they've got on the panel and perhaps listen to the first couple of questions". Nine times out of ten though I end up watching the entire programme and find it generally very interesting though occasionally irritating [eg Shirley Williams].

However this Thursday was different. A further six million people tuned in to "Question Time" and even Mrs Troy delayed her beauty sleep. Only someone who had been out of the country for the past few weeks would have missed the phenomenal publicity the BBC had built up ahead of the first appearance on QT of Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP. Prior to his appearance the usual left-wing Rent-A-Mob had violently protested outside the BBC and Labour's Peter Hain, invoking a Mugabe interpretation of democracy, had tried to get Griffin's appearance banned. The show however went ahead and the BBC, rightly in my view, gave a place on the panel to the leader of a party which has two MEPs as well as growing band of local councillors.

At this point maybe you are wondering (and indeed worrying) whether Troy is a closet BNP supporter? The answer is a most definite NO!! Many of the BNP's policies, other than on "race" are ultra-left wing being extremely socialist in nature. The BNP support comes primarily from the white working class, let down by its instinctive home, the Labour party. I might flirt with UKIP but never BNP.

Thursday's QT was unlike any other QT I've ever watched. It was primarily a case of four panellists, a "chairman" and a largely hostile audience goading and baiting one panellist (NG) about BNP race policies. Attacked from all quarters, including an outrageous performance by the Chair, NG was interrupted and ridiculed throughout. The BBC had taken a calculated decision to reformat the programme away from its usual format of various topical issues being addressed equally to all panellists. The venue, Central London, ensured the BBC an audience representative of 'Inner-City' rather than being representative of the UK as a whole.

NG as an individual did not impress. However despite being in such a caustic, hostile environment he did land one or two solid verbal punches in the discussion. Jack Straw never seemed to recover from a revelation early in the programme that unlike NG's father who had fought in the RAF during WW2, Straw's father alledgedly spent the time in prison having refused to fight the Nazis. Later, Straw's outright refusal to concede that Labour's mass immigration policy had been a significant recruitment driver for the BNP won't have been lost on many viewers. Whilst Labour remain in denial the BNP will continue to flourish. For the Conservatives, Baroness Warzi performed extremely well other than for one major gaffe. At one point, she interupted NG telling him that there was no such thing as a "bogus" asylum seeker. In a clever legalistic way, perhaps she is correct, but I suspect the average BNP-targetted viewer would recognise an economic migrant claiming asylum for what they really are. (And if none are bogus then why are less than 100% deemed genuine and admitted?).

So, what were the final scores? No, the BBC didn't adjust the format of QT to the extent of having final scores - in many other ways they changed it, but not this! My own final scores (out of 10)would be:-

Straw (Labour) 2 [some commentators have since wondered whether he was ill]
Warzi (Conservative) 7 [would have been 9 without the above mentioned gaffe]
Huhne (LibDem) 5 [which is not bad for a LibDem]
Greer (playwright/novelist) 5 [generally a well measured performance]
Griffin (BNP) 4 [better than he could have hoped for given the bear-pit atmosphere]
Dimbleby (Chair) 1 [I think he will look back in shame on his performance as Chair]
BBC 2 [recognised the democratically case to include NG, but radically changing the format of QT showed total bias]

and publicity for the BNP - beyond price (and their wildest hopes).

(So, were you watching the same programme I watched?)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Hadriana kindly asked for an update on my 14th September posting (thanks!) and I started writing a postscript to that posting. However as the PS grew I decided instead to cut and paste it into a new posting. So here it is:-

Firstly I visited a local theatre group in Ipswich who keep an extensive warehouse full of old costumes which they rent out. They only open for costume hire on a Monday but they are much cheaper than fancy dress shops. I've used them before for a Tudor costume to attend a recreation event on the recommendation of another parent. At the warehouse I told them that I was looking for a Dahl character costume for my son. "Which character do you want?" they asked. This completely threw me - I was (rather naively) expecting them to have a rail of Dahl character costumes. A hurried phone call to Mrs Troy at her office produced a very short list of Dahl characters after she had first berated me for not taking any Dahl books along with me to the warehouse (!!!). "We do have a fox costume" and the lady went away and returned with a realistic fox costume (well not totally realistic - there were no tyre marks on it or guts protuding from the body). The big problem however was that it was a one-piece jumpsuit fastening at the neck, which didn't seem ideal for an eight year old to wear all day at school (toilet complications you understand - Troy is a very thoughtful father!). Frankly they didn't have much more to offer in a Dahl theme - thousands of costumes but not much that was "Dahly").

Meanwhile back in Mrs Troy's office a co-worker told her that she could lend her various accessories that would make up a cowboy costume. This would create what I believe is "TV Mikey", a child character who dresses constantly in a cowboy outfit and one who held one of the winning golden tickets in the Chocolate Factory story. Thank God! It was far from being the most imaginative, or even a central character, but it would suffice.

So Troy Junior went to school dressed as a cowboy. Another parent met him in the playground with "Hello TV Mikey!". I was relieved (not having read the books). Many of the costumes worn by the children were amazing - head to toe creations plus significant make-up applied. But our cowboy outfit sufficed. Troy Junior was happy with his holster containing two guns and I think he was quietly relieved not to be wearing one of the large padded costumes or anything that was plainly unsuitable for a whole day in the classroom. We'd also said we'd treat him with the money saved from not having to hire a costume from an expensive hire shop. (Blackmail often gets a child onside!).

Of course he didn't win the class prize but he wasn't in the least bothered about that. He told us that one boy in his class had come in his school uniform and he obviously felt quite sorry for him. Some parents just won't make an effort, will they - I feel like phoning social services!

The final bonus was that Mrs Troy's co-worker said that TJ could keep the cowboy outfit, complete with toy guns, because her son had outgrown it. TJ was very happy with that outcome.

[Finally, many thanks for all your comments on the initial posting. They were both helpful and supportive. It was obvious from the playground that some mothers relish making elaborate costumes and then take much pride in arriving at school with their children to show them off. I, on the other hand, am very proud that my Troy Blog readers don't fall into that catagory.]