Ben Dean-Titterrell

Politics and beer

Parliamentary Roasts of the Week: W/C 09/07/18

Head image

Chamber of the House of Commons” by UK Parliament / CC BY 3.0 / Fire are 100 emojis placed upon original image

In an attempt to prove that the least appreciated of the UK’s age-old parliamentary conventions is MPs and Peers roasting each other, I’ve started a new project for this blog. Every week I’ll aim to bring you the best quips, one-liners, and straight fire roasts dished out in the Palace of Westminster.

W/C 09/07/18

Kicking things off with the first ever Parliamentary Roast of the Week is this fire from Jeremy Corbyn in response to the Prime Minister’s statement on Brexit from Monday. With David Davis and Boris Johnson resigning their cabinet posts within the proceeding 24 hours of the PM’s statement, Theresa May was a sitting duck.

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“To be fair—I want to be fair to the former Brexit Secretary and the former Foreign Secretary—I think they would have resigned on the spot on Friday, but they were faced with a very long walk, no phone and, due to Government cuts, no bus service either. So I think they were probably wise to hang on for a couple of days so they could get a lift home in a Government car.”

Corbyn’s jab landed on David Davis, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, and the government more widely. One roast, four hits.

ROAST RATING: THREE OUT OF FIVE
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Theresa May didn’t hold back in her response to the Leader of the Opposition on Monday, giving back some banter of her own. Under that much pressure, the heat of the roasts she got in was admirable.

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“The right honourable Gentleman has been in this House for quite a long time, and I know that he will have heard many statements. The normal response to a statement is to ask some questions. I do not think that there were any questions anywhere in that; nevertheless I will—[Interruption.]”

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“At the beginning of his response, he thanked me for giving him early sight of my statement. It is just a pity that he obviously did not bother to read it.”

I’ve included two quotes here from May’s reply. (The custom will be to treat any roasts in the same contribution as part of a larger encompassing roast.) Both coming in hot on the banter-metre. Lots of thinking on the feet action here.

ROAST RATING: THREE OUT OF FIVE
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Someone I didn’t expect to ever feature in Roasts of the Week was Iain Duncan Smith. The quiet man made a quip about the Labour leader and his shadow cabinet. A well-worn road to go down if you’re looking to roast Jeremy Corbyn, but the delivery was strong.

https://videoplayback.parliamentlive.tv/Player/Index/eab0ae9f-688b-4633-93c3-6ccd28696dad?in=2018-07-09T15%3A58%3A02%2B01%3A00&out=2018-07-09T15%3A58%3A17%2B01%3A00&audioOnly=False&autoStart=False&statsEnabled=True

“Whatever one’s view might be on the plan that my right honourable Friend has been talking about, I urge her not to accept a single recommendation from the Leader of the Opposition, as nobody else in his party does so.”

For the sheer achievement of even making it into Roasts of the Week, something he may never manage again, IDS gets our highest rating so far.

ROAST RATING: FOUR OUT OF FIVE
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This Wednesday featured a rare PMQs session in which the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition didn’t feature. Instead, they sent stand-ins, Cabinet Minister David Lidington took Theresa May’s role and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornbery took the Leader of the Opposition’s place. Thornberry came straight out of the block with a football themed shot at the Government.

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“Let me wish Gareth Southgate and the England team the best of luck for this match and hopefully for the final on Sunday. I may know very little about football, but even I can see that England’s progress so far at the World cup shows what can be achieved when all the individual players work effectively as a team, when there is a clear game plan, when they are all working together and, of course, when everyone respects and listens to the manager. Can I simply ask the Minister what lessons he thinks the England team could teach this shambles of a Government?”

This one’s a little long winded. I also feel it could have been better the other way round (i.e. ‘what could the government learn from the England team?’) But, could be worse and its certainly topical.

ROAST RATING: TWO OUT OF FIVE

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Another go from Thornberry here at PMQs. More jabs at the Cabinet and Government more widly. All her roasts so far have been focused on government dismay, plenty of material to work with.

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“May I ask the Minister once again the question I asked him at PMQs in December 2016, when he compared Labour’s shadow Cabinet to “Mutiny on the Bounty” remade by the “Carry On” team. By those standards, what would he describe his lot now as—perhaps “Reservoir Dogs” remade by the Chuckle Brothers?”

This is funny, fair play to whoever thought this one up. Turns out this isn’t even the first time the Chuckle Brothers have been mentioned in Parliament, it’s actually the fourth. Better stuff here from the Shadow Foreign Secratary.

ROAST RATING: THREE OUT OF FIVE

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David Lidington didn’t throw many banter punches in during his exchanges with Emily Thornberry, but he got one roast in right as the PMQs session started.

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“Finally, I am sure that all Members, whichever part of the United Kingdom they come from, would join me in congratulating Gareth Southgate and the England team on their fantastic performance in the quarter-final on Saturday, and in wishing them the very best for this evening’s match against Croatia. I will happily buy the right hon. Member for Islington South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry) a flag to help her to join in.”

Blink and you’ll miss it, this is a poke at Thonrberry’s resignation from her position as Shadow Attorney General in 2014 after posting a photograph of a house in Rochester adorned with England flags. Niche, but a fairly fire roast here.

ROAST RATING: THREE OUT OF FIVE

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That’s all the roasts we’ve got time for this week, all that remains is to crown our Roaster of the Week. As he may never have the chance to win this covetted acolade again, I have to give the innaugral Roaster of the Week award to Iain Duncan Smith.

My time may not be particulalry valuable, but it certainly is limited. If you’ve spotted a roast in Parliament that you think is worthy of being included in Roast of the Week, let me know by contacting me.

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1001 Beers: 16. Thornbridge Jaipur

Bottle.jpg

Thornbridge Jaipur IPA

From: England

Brewed by: Thornbridge

First brewed: 2005

ABV: 5.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

I’ve had a Thornbridge beer before for this blog, and I’m afraid it was not a success. I think more than anything else it was the style wot lost it; I’ve never been a stout fan. But I’ve read good things about Thornbridge as a brewery, so in a style that’s much more to my taste, I’m expecting good things.

We’re off to a good start colour-wise. That’s a lovely bright yellow. I love to see beers with a nice bright colour and this really ticks that box. There’s a haziness there too. I honestly sit on the fence on the haze/no haze debate. I think it works in Jaipur’s favour here though. In short: it’s a lovely looking beer.

Cap

You get citrus everywhere with this one, and the first place you get it is in the aroma. It’s lovely and fresh, smelling of lemons and oranges. When we get onto flavour I taste even stronger citrussy notes. It’s razor sharp and only gets sharper the further back on the tongue it goes. I like a sharp note to a beer but this was a little sharper than what I’d have in a perfect world.

All in all, this is a top quality beer. It’s got plenty of flavour to it, it’s very well made, and the citrusy notes make it a very refreshing IPA. No less than four stars.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 15. Brooklyn Lager

Bottle

Brooklyn Lager

From: USA

Brewed by: Brooklyn Brewery

First brewed: 1988

ABV: 5.2%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

If you haven’t tried it you’ve almost certainly seen Brooklyn Lager. You see it everywhere, and you can almost guarantee that if a pub or bar sells beer by the bottle, it’ll stock Brooklyn. I must admit, this isn’t the first time ever I’ve had this beer, but it is the first time I’ve properly considered its merits rather than just casually sipping away.

Let’s start with that colour. Far darker than a typical lager, more amber than gold. Not that it’s too dark, it still catches the light well. Off the top of my head, it’s probably the most distinctiveness lager I’ve had in my time. I think if you were to show it to me without saying what it was, my first guess would be IPA.

I get a pleasant fruity hop aroma to the nose. This aroma’s strong and I might go as far as to say its stronger than the flavour of the beer. The flavour’s good; it’s sweet and malty and goes down really smoothly. I don’t think the intensity of the flavour is on the same level as the intensity of the aroma, but maybe that’s just me.

Cap

Brooklyn Lager is incredibly drinkable. It’s effortless, and from my limited experience in the world of beer that isn’t something that’s always guaranteed. Without a doubt, I’d have this beer again and I think it’d best suite a scenario where the beer isn’t the main reason for being where you are. It’s not a performance piece, its a companion. And sometimes that’s everything a beer needs to be. Four stars.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 14. Goose Island IPA

Goose Island IPA

Goose Island IPA

From: USA

Brewed by: Goose Island

First brewed: 1993

ABV: 5.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

I’d been looking forward to this one for some time. I’d seen and read and heard good things about it. So, it was with a sense of optimism that I went into this, with the abiding memories of my previous tasting from Goose Island positive ones.

The first thing that hits me: citrus. There was a strong citrusy taste that came immediately to my mind. Then came the hoppiness a mere moment later. To my taste, they were both strong and forceful, but they played off each other well. They complimented one another and balanced out nicely.

There was also a sharpness to this beer. From my very limited experienced IPAs can often have less of an edge to them, blunter somewhat they a crisp lager. But this one had a sharpness that I liked. It added to the refreshing nature of the beer.

Bottle CapAnother nice thing about this beer was the colour. It seems almost silly and unimportant but I really believe the colour of a beer adds a lot to how much you enjoy it. The glowing golden colour was a lovely thing to look at. Never underestimate colour in a beer.

This was great. (Though my memories of it, for now, might be somewhat soured by the fact I dropped and broke one of my favourite glasses while drinking it.)

Broken Glass

I could drink pints of this all night long. A certain four.

4 out of 5

An update on my MP weekly series

Those of you who read this blog regularly, or have at least read it once, will likely be aware that I used to publish a weekly blog on the activities of my local MP. At first, it was about James Heappey, and then, for a while, it was about Bernard Jenkin. Now is the time where I should be posting about my new MP, Will Quince. However, I will not be posting blogs about Will Quince’s weekly activities in Parliament on this website. I will instead be publishing them on a different website.

Rebel is the University of Essex’s student media organisation. And from (hopefully) this Sunday I’ll be posting two weekly blogs about the activities of two local MPs, Will Quince and Bernard Jenkin. The first will be for students, like myself, living off campus and in Colchester, the second for those on campus and, I believe, in Wivenhoe. As a new Deputy News Editor (online) for Rebel, I’ll be publishing these straight to the website every Sunday (hopefully).

This is fairly big news for me. A little project I started two years ago that was read by almost no one on my own website will now be read by (hopefully) a few more people on someone else’s website. Three cheers for perseverance.

1001 Beers: 13. Goose Island Matilda

Matilda

Matilda

From: United States

Brewed by: Goose Island Brewing Company

First brewed: 2005

ABV: 7%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

Matilda by Goose Island is, at first glance, unlike any other beer I’ve had before. That’s because it comes in a bottle ordinarily used for wine, not beer. Safe to say this Belgian Style Pale Ale was a brand new kind of beer experience for me.

First thing that you notice upon taking a sip of this beer is the fruitiness. The second thing you notice is the dryness. It was odd for me that a liquid could have such a dry taste. The dryness stays in the mouth from start to finish. Upon reading the bottle’s label I deduced that this came from the dry fruit used in the brewing process. After much thought I believe the fruit to be dried apricot, but I cannot know for sure.

Bottle Cap

The colour of the beer was something I noticed particularly here as well. My quite poor quality photograph doesn’t show it but this was a deep rich orange that had a strong haziness to it.

When I do these reviews I like to think of where I’d see myself most enjoying each beer. This example would best be had in a group. The size of the bottle and the general feel of the beer suggests to me it would be best suited as a social beer. I tried this beer in the company of a couple of other people, and the discussion about the beer greatly improved the overall experience.

This was another strong showing. I enjoyed this a lot. Four out of five pints.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 12. Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Steam Beer

From: United States

Brewed by: Anchor Brewing Company

First brewed: 1896

ABV: 4.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

A steam beer is apparently something that uses lager yeast but ferments at an ale temperature. Apparently all the rage many years ago, Anchor have been pumping this beer out for years to ensure it has a place in contemporary brewing.

It’s taste is full bodied and rich from the very first sip. The intensity of the flavours is apparent immediately and there is no delay in realising the strength of taste this beer has to offer. It’s also got a lovely strong sweetness to it. As a particular fan of beers that have an overall sweetness to them this was an certain positive.

Bottle Cap

The colour was something I noted. It was a dark coppery colour that glowed a deep orange in the path of direct light. It certainly seemed a halfway house between lager and ale in terms of its colour.

I also greatly appreciated how mellow in the mouth this beer could be with regards to how fizzy it was. It hit what I thought of as a good balance that made it ever more enjoyable. One of the best compliments I can pay this beer was just how drinkable it was; it was easy to drink, something that shouldn’t be undervalued in beer.

Really liked this one. A strong four.

4 out of 5