Feb 9, 2010

Tower Block of Commons (episode 2): Twitter digest

Now, I know this episode of Tower Block of Commons contained more than one MP, but this is a blog about Nadine Dorries, so those with a broader interest will have to make do with the following summary:
bloggerheads: Mitchell's lost in time. Oaten's out of his depth. Dorries is off with the pixies. Tim Laughton? Find it hard to fault him in that lot #tboc

I was neck deep in the Twitter chat at the time and busily re-tweeted what I regarded to be a representative sample of reactions (i.e. I didn't just RT Nadine-related tweets or the stuff I agreed with). This post is primarily a digest of some typical reactions to Nadine's 'highlights'.

Knowing what Dorries is like, I feel I should point out there was very little in the way of outright abuse. In fact, there was about as much abuse as there was support for Nadine Dorries (each group would be lucky to get a 4% share) and I saw very little that would rival this reaction, published at the time of filming by one of Nadine's hosts:
ihatemps: nadine dorries is a lying two faced bitch........i no first hand

Note the account name ('ihatemps') and the way that all MPs have been judged by the actions of Nadine Dorries. Food for thought, especially after Nadine's notorious "witch hunt" and "'suicide watch" remarks over expenses and how well that went down with the public.

After the programme aired last night, Nadine herself found solace in the fact that a lot of people were talking about her, but - as when she brags on her website that she's been "featured in Private Eye" - she neatly glosses over the fact that she got a monstering:
nadine4mp: OMG, I'm trending in the UK , I'm Twitter famous> wish I knew what that meant :)

Earlier the evening, real casual like, Nadine published on her weblog a claim that she'd almost forgotten she was on TV that night. Odd that she would claim this after all that effort to peddle her excuses and slag off the director ahead of time, but there you go.

On with the main tweets, presented in rough order of appearance (and/or grouped by relevance)...

Nadine Dorries arrives on the estate and it is noticed (not for the first time) that she feigns/adopts an odd regional accent when talking about poverty:
_jock: #tboc 11 mins in and Dorries is on her 3rd accent.

seanbeynon: I love Nadine Dorries 'scouse' accent but tower block of commons is awful. if this is the impression people get of MPs, we're in trouble.

Nadine also relied on some rather bold fibs here, but we'll leave those to one side for now and instead look at the reaction to her overall attempt to convince her hosts that she actually had it quite hard, too, and were all working class, like:
brokenbottleboy: Nadine Dorries trying to explain how having a £65,000 salary and expenses is worse than living in a council flat on benefits. Smooth. #tboc

rad6380: Is Nadine Dorries REALLY trying to make a badly-paid working mother feel sorry for the financial woes of MPs? #tboc

chrisspann87: #TBOC Check out Dorries slummin' it wid da po'. Is she really arguing with these people?

Later, we're in the bathroom, Nadine is graciously allowing her (now weeping) host to speak, and putting on her best show of compassion;
chrisspann87: #TBOC Dorries seems to be having trouble doing a caring face.

c_m_carter: Nadine and a shit impression of listening with compassion #tboc Time to whip out the fiddies?

brokenbottleboy: Nadine Dorries looks like a robot saying "What is love?" when she tries her empathetic face. #tboc

And before you know it, the revelation is upon us, as Nadine's host angrily reveals that this MP has met the challenge of living on just over £60* a week by stuffing an extra £50 down her bra. The rest is a spectacular car crash that's a match for any disaster manufactured by Ricky Gervais or Larry David:

(*£64.30 = a week's job seekers' allowance)
geospiza_fortis: "she put her hand in her bra and pulled out 50 quid. That pissed me right off". #tboc

therealsim_o: is this what's called in the trade, 'the money shot'? #tboc

clawedfrogs: Haha I did, I did, I took money out my bra! I brought it for the kids though. Errrrr #tboc

annaturley: Dorries caught in 50 quid stuffed down bra cheat. Oh no - don't say it's for the kids nooooooo! #tboc

tomcallow: @Nadine4MP "money's not for me, it's for the kids" do you not see how patronising that is?! "You can't provide for your kids. I can" #tboc

bevaniteellie: The "money was for the kids". Dorries not just lying, but patronising her hosts too. Nice. #tboc

brokenbottleboy: "I bought it to get things for the kids…" Nadine Dorries is starring in her own version of Secret Millionaire. The Patronising Cheater. #tboc

bookdrunk: "I brought the money to buy your love.. uh.. something for the kids." #dorriesfail #tboc

jdc325: Hm. Which was the bigger mistake? Smuggling the £50 or claiming it was "for the kids"? #tboc Ppl seem unimpressed by both.

There's a further blogged summary of this moment here:
politicalhackuk: Nadine Dorries this week assumed the role abandoned last week by Iain Duncan Smith - he left the series for understandable reasons - and quickly displayed her publicity skills. Required to present herself on a council estate with nothing but her clothes - no credit cards or cash - she secreted a small stash of cash in her bra. When this was discovered - the cash, not her bra - she claimed that it had been brought to allow her to buy presents for the children. Her claim would have been helped if it wasn't for the shifty glance into the camera as she 'explained' the discovery.

As the challenge moved on to supermarket shopping on a tight budget (and Austin Mitchell continued to cover himself in glory), the bra/money jokes started to emerge:
ahmnohere: It's ok Nadine, you probably have some caviar in your pants #tboc

bloggerheads: I once bet Nadine Dorries £5 I could make her boobs move without touching them. Walked away with £45. #tboc

nibus: Only £50 in her bra? The kids should take up PR, they might get an extra £34,950**. #tboc

(**Recently, it was revealed that Nadine Dorries paid $35,0000 of taxpayers' money to a close friend in PR.)

And before we knew it, the flaming wreckage was taking one final tumble before rolling off the nearest cliff:
frankiedav: "All I've learnt is life is remarkedly better on a council estate' #tboc what a dick

salihughes: Tory Nadine has declared life in a council block to be dramatically improved because people in them now have mobile phones. #wankers #tboc

arwenfolkes: Of course there weren't laptops and mobiles Nadine Dorries; they didn't exist. (And that's not me being bitchy, just factual) #tboc

nicholasmilton: Dorries said life much better than when she lived on council estate with computers, mobiles etc. How dare poor communicate with each other.

bookdrunk: I see Dorries' memory of her supposed past trumps actual lives of people in present. How charmingly selfish. #tboc

chrisspann87: #tboc Dorries is just doing a one woman re-enactment of the Three Yorkshiremen - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1wHxTyo

_jock: #tboc Dorries had it worse, what a fuckin' surprise.

chrisspann87: #tboc To be fair, Nad's life in a council house probably was easier - She never had to put with patronising twats like her coming round.

We were also treated to an eye-catching glimpse of Nadine visiting a mosque with her hair covered in black cloth. I guess time will tell if this description of events from one of her council estate hosts is in any way accurate:
ihatemps: nadine dorries has upset the muslim community by ranting and raving in a mosque on behalf of a racist oap on the estate

I've no doubt that supporters of Nadine Dorries will be desperate to play the sexism/misogyny card in response to much of this, but the brutal fact is that Nadine did not hide the money in a Yorkie bar. And on that note, I leave you with this:
steveshark: I bet when she pulled that £50 out of her bra, Nadine felt a right tit #tboc

Roll on, Episode 3 (C4 at 9pm, Mon 15 Feb).


UPDATE - My estimation of support for Nadine at somewhere near 4% is supported by the current results of this poll on the Channel 4 website. Austin Micthell shares a place with Nadine in the reputation basement:

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