Friday 1 November 2019


Last night's BBC Question Time was a very good watch indeed.  With Brexit-blocking Lib Dem Layla Moran sat next to pro-Leave journalist Isabel Oakeshott it was always going to be a good ride.  The Brummie audience didn't disappoint either.  About ten minutes in a very young man tore into both Moran and Labour's Jon Ashworth.  Ashworth was writing notes when the teenager began and wasn't taking any notice, but was soon shaken to attention when the audience began applauding.  It was one of the highlights of the show.

This quickly became our most popular tweet to date, but also attracted the fury of Labour leftists.  The word 'plant' was deployed time and time again as they vented their anger that a Tory supporter had been allowed airtime.  The irony of their referring to him as a 'fascist' while denouncing his right to speak was clearly lost on them.

The young lad was soon identified as Layton Smith, a pro-Leave Conservative and 'aspiring politician'.  Some Labour trolls were cock-a-hoop as it provided further evidence of their crazed 'Tory plant' conspiracy.  One daft professor spun a bizarre yarn about a BBC producer dressing the young man up to look more 'working class'.

In an excruciatingly embarrassing u-turn the professor later admits that he got the wrong producer (Rob Burley doesn't work on Question Time) and that the lad in question is not actually 'Cyril' at all!

Even the basic premise of a 'plant' doesn't stand up to much scrutiny.  Anyone, literally anyone, can apply to be in the Question Time audience.  Activists from a myriad of political parties have popped up in the audience over the years - including Labour activists.  Naturally, these people don't complain as long as it's the Tories who are being attacked.

In any case this episode backfired on them immeasurably.  This time yesterday Layton was a fairly anonymous young man who had a couple of hundred followers on Twitter.  After the trolls began spreading his name around the Twittersphere he garnered a following of more than 5,000 (and counting).  Needless to say, the 19-year-old is now the very happy recipient of a rapidly growing profile!