maybe a game-changer, maybe the great white nazi masses don’t give a shit

PM refuses to look at picture of boy forced to sleep on hospital floor
Peter Walker, Groon, Dec 9 2019

Boris Johnson has been accused of not caring after he repeatedly refused during a TV interview to look at a photo of a four-year-old boy forced to sleep on the floor at an overcrowded A&E unit, before pocketing the reporter’s phone on which he was being shown the picture. In an ITV interview during a campaign visit to a factory in Sunderland, the prime minister was challenged about the plight of Jack Williment-Barr, who was pictured sleeping under coats on a hospital floor in Leeds as he waited for a bed, despite having suspected pneumonia. Johnson refused to look at the photo and, out of camera shot, eventually took the phone from the reporter and put it in his own pocket. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, responded by tweeting a video of the exchange with the message:

He just doesn’t care.

First asked if he had seen the photographs, Johnson said he had not. The ITV reporter, Joe Pike, then showed the prime minister the photograph on his phone, describing what it portrayed. Johnson declined to look at the picture, saying:

I understand. And obviously, we have every possible sympathy for everybody who has a bad experience in the NHS.

He went on to discuss investment in the NHS and Brexit. Pike pressed the prime minister:

I’m talking about this boy, prime minister. How do you feel, looking at that photo?

Johnson replied:

Of course. And let me tell you … I haven’t had a chance to look at it.

Pike asked:

Why don’t you look at it now, prime minister?

Johnson, still not looking at the photo, replied:

I’ll study it later.

Pressed again, he said:

If you don’t mind, I’ll give you an interview now. What we are doing is we are taking this country forward, and we are investing in the NHS.

Johnson then appeared, out of camera shot, to take the phone out of Pike’s hand and put it into his coat pocket. The reporter challenged him on this:

You’ve refused to look at the photo. You’ve taken my phone and put it in your pocket, Prime Minister. His mother says the NHS is in crisis. What’s your response to that?

At this point, Johnson removed the phone and looked at the picture for the first time:

It’s a terrible, terrible photo, and I apologise, obviously, to the family and all of those who have terrible experiences in the NHS. But what we are doing is supporting the NHS and on the whole, I think patients in the NHS have a much, much better experience than this poor kid has had.

Johnson ended by handing back the phone:

I’m sorry to have taken your phone. There you go.

At a subsequent media Q&A at the factory, Johnson was twice asked about his reaction in the interview, but declined to address the questions, instead talking about investment in the NHS. Johnson has previously been accused of showing a lack of empathy, for example during a speech at a police training college in September, when he pressed on with a speech even after a cadet directly behind him half-collapsed. Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, tweeted:

Don’t give this disgrace of man 5 more years to carry on driving our NHS into the ground. Sick toddlers like Jack deserve so much better.

Johnson slips on hospital floor photo
Andrew Sparrow, Groon, Dec 9 2019

Boris Johnson made one of his worst campaign trail errors today when he repeatedly tried to avoid having to confront emotive evidence of a young boy not getting proper treatment at an NHS hospital. He was giving an interview to ITV’s Joe Pike, and Pike tried to get him to comment on a picture of four-year-old Jack Williment-Barr having to sleep on the floor in Leeds general hospital, where he was being treated for suspected pneumonia, because there were no beds available. The picture makes today’s Daily Mirror splash. Johnson repeatedly refused to comment on the picture, which Pike had on his phone, and kept making general points about the NHS. It is not unusual for politicians to avoid difficult topics in interviews, but as he was speaking Johnson took Pike’s phone and placed it in his pocket (apparently to stop Pike asking further questions about it), thinking his ploy would be out of shot. But the cameraman filmed what he was doing, and Pike revealed it to viewers, and so the clip when viewed in its entirety is much more damaging to Johnson than the usual “politician dodges tricky question” footage. Labour has been saying it is evidence that Johnson “couldn’t care less.” Pike’s clip has now attracted 3.7m views.

Boy on the floor photo prompts Boris to add larceny to mendacity
Marina Hyde, Groon, Dec 9 2019

Boris Johnson was asked by BBC Radio West Midlands:

What are you getting Carrie for Xmas?

The PM replied:

I’m going to get Brexit done.

Wow. I feel like I know how this fairytale ends. Guest vocals by the late great Kirsty MacColl. Yet even by his own standards of thermonuclear disingenuity, Johnson’s turn on ITV news on Monday morning reached new depths. In a fish market in Grimsby, ITV News reporter Joe Pike asked Johnson about newspaper reports featuring Jack Williment-Barr, a four-year-old boy with suspected pneumonia, who was pictured being forced to sleep on a concrete floor in an overcrowded NHS hospital this weekend. “I haven’t had a chance to look at the photo,” Johnson said. “Look at it now,” said Pike, who had it up on his phone. At which point Johnson simply took the reporter’s phone and stuffed it in his pocket. What has happened to reality? What can you say? Other than: may all would-be statesmen disport themselves with the casual larceny of a guy who knows if you don’t let the legal papers physically touch you, then they haven’t been served on you. For my money, the inclusion of the auto-satirical words “Prime Minister” at the end of Pike’s next sentence mark it out as a contender for quote of the campaign. Let’s see them in action:

You refuse to look at the photo. You’ve taken my phone and put it in your pocket, Prime Minister.

YOU’VE ROBBED HIS PHONE LIVE ON AIR. Sorry: you’ve robbed his phone live on air, Prime Minister. A pause. Eventually, fumbling around in his pocket for another man’s phone and some more lies, the PM of the UK blustered:

Sorry. I’m sorry to have taken your phone, but there you go. I was just …

But he couldn’t finish the sentence. How on earth could he have finished the sentence? He simply tailed off. Later, at a Q&A in a Sunderland factory, Johnson appeared to float scrapping the BBC licence fee simply to distract from this story, a move that vaguely reminded me of Bill Clinton bombing the Sudanese aspirin factory to distract from his blowjob hearings. As Johnson put it:

I’m under pressure not to extemporise policy on the hoof.

Incorrect. You’re under pressure because you nicked a phone live on telly. When she was through the looking glass, the White Queen famously told Alice:

Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

No offence to Her Majesty, but this is an incredibly low score if you’ve been listening to Boris Johnson’s early morning media round. That said, the PM’s breakfast interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC on Monday gave us a little insight into his process, kind of like an episode of Inside the Liar’s Studio. The PM allowed lucky listeners a real-time chance to see how he turns in some of his more memorable mendacious performances. Take the other sort of lying: lying on the floor in front of bulldozers, which he’d once promised to do if Heathrow went ahead with a third runway, but which now appears in direct opposition to government policy. Is he going to do it? wondered Ferrari, rhetorically. Johnson mused:

I would … have to find some way of honouring that promise. It might be technically difficult to achieve.

He sounded like one of those pundits who promise to eat their shoe live on air if something doesn’t happen, then are proved wrong but eat a shoe made out of cake and imagine they’re quits. Like this, but with his entire climate morality. Johnson continued, ostensibly talking about the bulldozers, but subconsciously surely weighing up the technical challenges of the lie. This would be a 4½ reverse ferret in the pike position with 2½ twists. Technically difficult to achieve, near-impossible to guarantee a perfect 10 from the Russian judge, yet somehow entirely doable for this most tireless of all competitors. Even when not actively advancing one of his own lies, Johnson has developed a new tic of lying that he doesn’t understand his interviewer’s questions. He lied to Ferrari about a term that has been bandied about by his Tory strategists throughout the entire campaign, saying:

I don’t know what you mean by breaking a red wall.

It was the same last week when people were asking him questions about the film of him taking the piss out of Donald Trump with some other NATO leaders. he lied then

I really don’t know what is being referred to. I don’t know where that’s come from.

The prime minister remains a man whose deep personal philosophy can be summed up by the video for Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me. His other stylistic trait has been linking two things that have precisely no bearing on the other. Asked by Ferrari about Jack Williment-Barr, Johnson appeared to suggest that the real illness is Britain’s political constipation. Not having Brexit is “blocking things,” he explained. “Once we’ve got things motoring,” he suggested, situations like a small child being treated on a floor would no longer occur, “but that can only happen when we’ve got Brexit done.” Hang on, what? Why? What in the name of logic, never mind empathy, are you talking about? We expect sociopathy, but at least lace it with basic coherence. Then again, we have reached the stage of the campaign where Johnson’s words feel terminally unmoored from reality. Take his Grimsby visit, where he offered fishermen “the chance to recapture some of that spectacular marine wealth,” a way of putting it that makes one of the country’s most hard-scrabble industries sound easily as rewarding as running a hedge fund. Follow Johnson, even if it goes against your instincts, and he will make you fishers of men. Which is to say that you’ll be retraining as cold callers if you currently fish sustainably, then he ends up going for no-deal and you lose paper-free access to the single market. And that’s if he hasn’t had your phone off you, preventing you from even making the calls.

Tories accused of lying to distract from photo of boy on hospital floor
Peter Walker, Heather Stewart, Rowena Mason, Groon, Dec 9 2019

Labour has accused Boris Johnson’s campaign of “lying and cheating” to try to distract attention from the prime minister’s insensitive reaction to a sick four-year-old boy forced to sleep on a hospital floor. With just days to go until polling day, the Tories suffered one of their worst days of the campaign as Johnson refused on camera to look at a picture of the poorly child and pocketed the phone of the reporter who tried to show it to him. The incident escalated when Matt Hancock, the health secretary, was dispatched to Leeds General Infirmary in an effort to show that the party was taking the case seriously. But Johnson’s team ended up trying to deflect the story on to Labour by wrongly briefing that a Tory aide was “punched”outside the hospital by a left-wing activist. The claims quickly turned out to be untrue when video footage showed that the adviser was accidentally brushed in the face. a Labour spokesperson said:

The Tories are so desperate to distract from a four-year-old boy sleeping on a hospital floor because of their cuts to the NHS that, once again, they have resorted to barefaced lying. This is a new low and the Conservative party has serious questions to answer.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, tweeted:

Johnson and the Tories lie and they cheat to manipulate the media. A sick child treated on the floor of a hospital and they try divert attention with a dead-cat lie story. Never has our politics sunk so low in our country.

The Tories struggled to get to grips with the story of the sick child after the Daily Mirror printed the picture of him on their front page. Corbyn responded by tweeting:

He later added:

He took the phone off Joe! Strange behaviour! I don’t think anyone should behave like that. Whilst sometimes lots of questions from journalists do irritate politicians, that’s the way it is, it’s part of the democratic process. I don’t think that’s the kind of behaviour we should be doing. I would never do that.

At a subsequent media Q&A at the warehouse, Johnson was twice asked about his reaction in the interview, but declined to address the questions, instead talking about investment in the NHS. Asked later by the Guardian why he had not acknowledged the photo, he said:

I did! I did! I did! Next question!

Johnson has previously been accused of showing a lack of empathy, for example during a speech at a police training college in September, when he pressed on with a speech even after a cadet directly behind him half-collapsed. The incident was compounded by the Tories’ apparent attempt to distract from Johnson’s behaviour by wrongly accusing a Labour activist of violence. The party was forced to make an embarrassing climbdown after aides initially briefed that an adviser to Hancock been hit by one of a group of Labour protesters in an incident that it later emerged had been innocuous. Having later been shown footage of the alleged incident, aides were forced to acknowledge that it looked as if the adviser was hit in the face accidentally, but still tried to turn the story against Labour by claiming that the activists’ behaviour and language had been unacceptable. West Yorkshire police later said they were “unaware of any reports” of an incident involving election campaigners at the hospital. Hancock and his aide were heckled as they walked to a waiting car, with people shouting:

Shame on you! We do not want you in this country! You are not welcome in this hospital!

A source present at the scene said they had seen no sign of the incident described by Tory aides. The aide to the health secretary has not responded to a request for comment. The chaotic day for the Tory campaign came after Johnson criss-crossed target seats in north-east and south-west England by chartered plane. The prime minister acknowledged criticism over the environmental cost of taking a short 25 minute flight between Doncaster and Teesside, but insisted the carbon emissions had been “offset.” On Tuesday, Johnson is due in Staffordshire, where he will rail against the threat of tactical voting to his chances of getting a majority. The pressure remained on the Tories on Monday evening as further reports emerged of long wait-times in NHS facilities. Birmingham Children’s hospital confirmed one young patient had been left for 17 hours in A&E on Saturday, saying it had been “exceptionally busy over the last two weeks.” Giving context, a spokesman said the average waiting time that day was about four and a half hours. Tuesday’s Daily Mirror ran another story about a sick child the paper said had been made to wait for hours before being seen. The Mirror reported that nine-month-old Lily Webb had spent six hours on a chair in A&E with just her mother’s cardigan as a blanket. The front page story bore the headline:

Here’s another picture you won’t want to look at, Mr Johnson.

The Independent said it had seen a leaked NHS email that said a 12-year-old with learning disabilities and mental health issues had spent 57 hours in an Essex hospital’s A&E department waiting for a specialist bed to become available. The trust declined to comment on Monday evening. Speaking on the campaign trail earlier on Monday, Corbyn said the Tories’ response to the case of the sick child had been unacceptable. He said:

They’ve had nine years in office and whilst they now claim they are funding the NHS, they are not. They’re not even beginning to make up the shortfall it’s had over the past nine years. We are determined that we’ll put £26b in, which will over time amount to £40b into the NHS, to ensure it’s properly funded, but also social care and mental health services.

Fake claim about hospital boy ‘came from hacked account’
Alex Hern, Groon, Dec 10 2019

A false online story that the photograph of an ill boy lying on the floor of Leeds General infirmary was staged came from a hacked account, according to the medical secretary whose name was attached to the initial post. The woman, whose name the Guardian is withholding because she says she has received death threats since the post was made, denied posting the allegation that four-year-old Jack Willment-Barr’s mother placed him on the floor specifically to take the picture, which was on the front page of Monday’s Daily Mirror. The woman said:

I was hacked. I am not a nurse and I certainly don’t know anyone in Leeds. I’ve had to delete everything as I have had death threats to myself and my children.

She said she had tried to report the hack of her Facebook account to the advice service Action Fraud. The row over Jack’s treatment has become a central part of the election campaign, with Boris Johnson being criticised for repeatedly refusing to look at the photograph he was shown by a journalist during an interview on Monday. Despite the claim that the photo was staged having been acknowledged as false, it has continued to spread on both Facebook and Twitter, largely through individual low-follower accounts cutting and pasting the original text to share with their friends. One version, posted by a man who claims to work for the British army’s intelligence corps, has received 2,000 shares on Facebook. Another, from a self-professed former soldier, has received a further 500. The same claim was shared on Twitter, where it was spread by much more significant accounts. The Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson retweeted screenshots of the Facebook page to her followers twice, telling them “I presume this is genuine,” and adding later that the photo was “100% faked.” Her posts have received thousands of retweets between them. According to the researcher Marc Owen Jones, Pearson is “perhaps the most influential proponent of the faked floor theory,” although a tweet from the former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen sent to Piers Morgan may have been seen by more people as a one-off. While many of the users who initially posted the claims to Twitter shared it with identical wording, there is little indication that the false narrative is being artificially boosted by automated accounts. Twitter metadata shows the vast majority of the tweets were posted through the social network’s website or smartphone apps, and the accounts sharing them overwhelmingly appear to be those of real people with an interest in politics. Despite claims of a staged photo, Leeds General infirmary has confirmed that Jack did suffer due to an exceptionally busy week. Dr Yvette Oade, the chief medical officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS trust, said:

Our hospitals are extremely busy at the moment, and we are very sorry that Jack’s family had a long wait in our emergency department. We are extremely sorry that there were only chairs available in the treatment room, and no bed. This falls below our usual high standards, and for this we would like to sincerely apologise to Jack and his family.

BBC reporter roasted for focusing on fake news of Labour activist ‘punching’ official at Leeds hospital protest, Dec 9 2019

A BBC reporter is feeling the heat on Twitter for deflecting from protests at a Leeds hospital by claiming, without evidence, that a Labour activist punched Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s adviser, which was fake news. When protesters confronted Hancock over a disturbing picture of a four-year-old boy sleeping on a floor at Leeds General Hospital, BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg seemed to think that the public would be best served by her spreading evidence-free claims that a Tory aide had been punched by a person she described as a “Labour activist.” Kuenssberg fired off the incendiary and now deleted tweet claiming the protest “turned nasty” based on things she was “hearing,” though she didn’t clarify who exactly she was hearing it from. When video of the incident emerged online, it showed no evidence of any punches thrown, or much of a scuffle at all. The BBC journalist admitted as much when she posted a subsequent tweet saying it “doesn’t look like” the official was punched. Rather, that one of the Tory team walked into a protester’s arm as his back was turned and he was gesticulating.

Though, despite the lack of anything particularly dramatic happening, Kuenssberg still called the non-incident a “pretty grim encounter.” Daily Mail journalist Claire Ellicott also got in on the act, hyping the incident even further by tweeting about unspecified “reports” that an activist had “been arrested” for punching the staffer. Ellicott deleted her tweet after the footage appeared online. Fellow tweeters wasted no time in calling out the reporters for attempting to make a mountain out of a molehill, and scolded her for spreading the rumor without having any of the facts straight.  The activist accused of throwing the punch even tweeted to say the incident occurred on his way home and that in reality it was “all over” after a few comments, no punching involved.

Others also chimed in to berate Kuenssberg for sensationalizing the situation.

Kuenssberg later said:

Plenty of angry commenters also demanded that she name and shame the sources, who one person described as having “seriously misrepresented an incident of a man walking gently into a finger.”

Bid to label Leeds hospital photo ‘fake news’ backfires spectacularly, Dec 10 2019

A transparent attempt to discredit a heart-rending photo of a young sick child sleeping on the floor of the emergency department at a hospital in Leeds has been spread so widely and flagrantly that it has become its own meme. A photo of the four-year-old boy, taken earlier this month, was published by the Yorkshire Evening Post on Dec 8 along with an apology from the chief medical officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Despite the prime minister’s own efforts to downplay it, the photo was soon shared widely online by people criticising cutbacks to the UK’s health services. However, it wasn’t long before the tale took another turn, as a blatant online push began to try to discredit the image by claiming the incident was staged and was simply ‘fake news.’ A comment, opening with “Very interesting. A good friend of mine is a senior nursing sister at Leeds Hospital. The boy shown on the floor by the media was in fact put there by his mother,” was posted on numerous accounts on Twitter and Facebook, as though a surprising number of people were friends with the staff member and their unverified insider info ‘debunked’ the image. The claim was circulated by some prominent social media accounts including Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson, who shared screenshots of the message with the note, “I presume this is genuine.” The proliferation of exactly-worded posts drew accusations from some social media users that the Tory party or their most ardent supporters was involved.

That the comment was shared verbatim by so many accounts in apparent sincerity generated huge mirth online and a massive backlash against the apparent effort to undercut the shocking photo. Some simply attached the quote to their favorite meme images, while others rephrased the latter part of the original message to emphasize their incredulity.

The political fallout from the plight of the sick boy has been wider than just a partisan troll-bashing. PM Boris Johnson was confronted by an ITV reporter with images of the child and instead of answering questions about the situation, Johnson took the journalist’s phone and pocketed it. Later, Health Secretary Nick Hancock was dispatched to the hospital at the center of the furore and a fresh controversy erupted when MSM reporters, including BBC political journalist Laura Kuenssberg, reported unfounded claims that one of Hancock’s advisers was punched by a Labour protester. Footage of the incident revealed that the adviser had accidentally walked into the man’s extended hand while passing.

The Tories have punched truth in the face
Joel Golby, Groon, Dec 10 2019

Matt Hancock. Photo: Matt Dunham/AP

Violence is never the answer, even when Matt Hancock is involved. Yesterday, the secretary of state for health and social care and, apparently, aspiring Littlewoods model, visited Leeds General Infirmary, where Labour supporters took it upon themselves to batter him and his aide to death in a paid hit funded by Momentum. The A&E department, not having any space left for their brutalised corpses, had to lay them down on the floor, with the children. Boris Johnson is expected to lay a wreath upside down on the tattered remains of his body later today. Of course, I’m reading this information from BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg’s tweets, and choosing not to double check it. No, don’t make me watch the video. I’m not going to watch the video. Matt Hancock is dead! I will take your phone and put it in my pocket, so help me! Let’s get Brexit done! To catch you up: a week ago, a child with suspected pneumonia suffered from sub-standard hospital care. Sorry to bring it back to the root cause like that, but in the hysteria of a cyclist standing quite near to Hancock’s aide and shouting, it has been a little lost in the fuss: four-year-old Jack Williment-Barr, admitted to A&E and facing a huge waiting time, was forced to sleep on the floor on a small pile of coats while waiting for a bed. A photo of him, asleep and ill, went suitably viral after it was on the front page of the Daily Mirror. The hospital chiefs apologised.

Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson went full tinfoil hat by tweeting that the photo was “faked.” The tweet has been deleted. In a bizarre interview with ITV News, instead of saying, “Leeds General Infirmary is one of the six hospitals we have confirmed funding for, so this shouldn’t happen again,” Johnson took the journalist’s phone and put it in his pocket. Enter Hancock, who had to take time away from staring ominously into his phone and saying how excited he is, to go and clean up the mess. A common theme of the election cycle so far has been senior Tories tucking their tie into their shirt, putting their hands on their hips, and apologising to nurses. Hancock dutifully did all that. He said he was sorry. He remembered to actually invoke the LGI funding boost in his apology. Then he nipped away home. So all that’s done and dusted. No more drama here. But Laura Kuenssberg, Robert Peston, Tom Newton Dunn and Paul Brand were otherwise briefed. Kuenssberg tweeted to her 1.1 million followers, with that famed BBC impartiality we all pay our licence fees for:

Peston et al backed the story up, everyone spent a half hour wondering who could possibly have turned to violence and battered the simple and innocent aide of Matt Hancock. Don’t punch him, mate! He’s just there to take the harbourside thirst traps! Then the video of the incident emerged and, ah:

Actually not that violent when you look at it. It’s actually quite a lot more like someone not looking where they’re going and walking into someone’s finger. I think a proper decking looks a bit different to that. It took a while, but all the “Matt Hancock’s Aide Was Assaulted in Daylight” truthers dutifully put their tails between their legs, burped out quiet apologies and carried on like nothing had happened. With the mild and neutral detachment of someone I can only assume doesn’t read their own tweets, Kuenssberg tweeted:

Labour says Tories have ‘resorted to bare faced lying’ over the punch that turned out not to be a punch after all in the footage from the hospital.

And then, hours late to the party, after everyone else had seen the video which showed what really happened, Hancock added:

Today saw concerted attempt by Labour activists to intimidate me and my team. This is completely unacceptable at any time, particularly around an election. We will not be daunted. We must defeat this aggressive intimidation.

Matt, someone on a bicycle shouted at you because you let a child sleep on the floor, then your mate walked into his finger. Calm down. But does anyone remember the child with pneumonia on the floor? The phone in the pocket? Say what you want about fake news and the propagation thereof in plain sight, and senior Tory aides briefing political editors from the BBC and ITV with news that is almost instantly proved wrong, but the storm around the punch that never happened has quite handily drowned out all those bad headlines about the bad things that actually did, so fair play I suppose. Another CCHQ masterstroke.

Rubbish, Actually

Boris Johnson. Photo: Conservative Party/PA

Let me get this straight: Love Actually, a warm-centred Xmas film that came out 16 years ago that is quite often about men stalking women like prey and Alan Rickman cheating on his wife, is good and that’s why for some reason politicians keep making campaign videos ripping off the central and worst scene? It started with Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour’s incumbent candidate for Tooting, south London, who in late November did an “Election, Actually” video that I chose not to shed light on at the time because I hated it. Weeks later, Johnson did almost the exact same one, though ended his with a finishing grunt of “Enough! Enough!” that was slightly too sexual for my tastes. And now David Gauke did a much lazier version where he just held up a single sign in front of Amber Rudd outside a Laura Ashley in Hertfordshire. I don’t want to criticise him too hard, because by the looks of him he’s very tidy and he really could finish me with one punch, much like a Labour supporter might demolish a Hancock aide. Watch another film, people!

New Tory boy

Robert Jenrick. Photo: Victor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media

Repetitive though they might be, the various TV debates this year have been a fascinating glimpse into the squad depth of each of the major British political parties: who, other than the famous ones, is actually in them? Newest Conservative on the radar is Robert Jenrick, a sort of shaved teddy bear who is Newark MP and secretary of state for housing, who flailed his way through the Question Time Under 30s debate by saying easily disprovable things about legal aid spending and bus routes that all got fact-checked to within an inch of their life on Twitter about five seconds after he said them. Best was this, from TES deputy editor Ed Dorrell:

The previously unknown Big Bern replied:

No matter how bad a day you’re having, no matter how stretched and tired and anxious you’re feeling amid all this, at least know your former headteacher isn’t out there, owning your arse on Twitter.

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