Friday, January 22, 2010

Political Games

Beleaguered Prime Minister Gordon Brown is hoping to regain the political initiative with a bold programme of constitutional reform, with the aim of bringing the glamour of showbusiness to the mother of Parliaments. “I want to bring Parliament into the twenty first century and tap into the pulse of popular culture,” he told Fearne Cotton during a recent Radio One interview. “It is vital that increase the appeal of politics the popularity of politicians to the 18-25 year old group. They are our future!” It is widely believed that his first target for reform will be the increasingly tired-looking Prime Minister’s Question Time.

The new Question Time will be modelled after the popular BBC TV series Shooting Stars. There will be no set running order for questions, with the House of Commons instead collectively calling down the 'Dove From Above', which will have all of that week’s prospective questions attached to it. Both sides of the House will then engage in a series of speciality rounds in order to win the right to choose a specific question from the Dove. It is proposed that these speciality rounds could include an impressions round in which members of each party would be called upon to perform their impersonations of well-known celebrities. If members of the public in the gallery can guess who the impression is of, then the right to choose a question is won. It is thought that the Labour leadership is particularly keen to include this round as Deputy Leader Harriet Harman is known to have frequently entertained her Cabinet colleagues with her amazing repertoire of impersonations - her Noddy Holder is said to be especially convincing. Harman isn't the only cabinet member with a gift for mimicry. Many senior Labour politicians fondly remember the 1998 Downing Street Christmas party at which Peter Mandelson donned one of Cherie Blair’s dresses, balanced a bowl of fruit on his head and performed a Carmen Miranda number.

According to plans drawn up by top Downing Street advisors, senior members of the main parties will adopt the guises of the popular stars of the TV series. Brown and Ed Balls will obviously be Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, with Foreign Secretary David Milliband donning a blonde wig to portray Ulrika Jonsson, whilst Tory leader David Cameron will be greasy fifties throwback Mark Lamarr. It is believed that shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague will be offered the role of George 'What Are The Scores' Daws (he’s a big baby). However, it is believed that Hague has privately been highly critical of Brown's plan, arguing that Shooting Stars is already a dated format and its use by the Government underlines just how out of touch with popular culture the Prime Minister is.

The opposition is believed to prefer a more contemporary model for Question Time, such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It is thought that Cameron is preparing a set of counter proposals under which MPs who have tabled questions will first face a preliminary quiz to establish which can complete his or her expense accounts quickest - the winner will then be quizzed by a smarmy host (possibly Tony Blair). If they get the initial answer right they will be allowed to ask their tabled question - they will then be given the chance to 'double up' and ask a supplementary question, provided they get the next answer right. A wrong answer will bring their line of questioning to a halt, and the runner-up from the preliminary round will take their place and the process start again. When the Prime Minister answers the questions posed by the contestants he will be allowed the opportunity to phone a friend or ask the Commons for help with an answer.

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