Esther McVey, “5’s Company” and me

I first met Esther McVey, the current Minister for Disabled People, when I was booked to perform my routine on Channel 5’s bizarre afternoon programme, 5’s Company, some time in 1997. This show had 5 presenters, which was a recipe for disaster in my mind. I had been asked to do about 5 minutes worth of stuff. Not an easy task for someone who was once known as one of the circuit’s three sweariest people, which also included such illustrious company as Bob Boyton and Jerry Sadowitz (apparently there was a ‘book’ on which one of us said “fuck” the most in any given week). After spending some time cleaning the salty language from of my material (which was never vetted, by the way), I left all the political material intact.  It was risky to be sure.

After my first spot on the programme, I was invited back a year later because someone had pulled out. It was on this occasion that I met McVey in the wings, who said (or words to the effect) to me, “I didn’t like your stuff about the Conservatives”. I paused, looked at her and replied, “You’re a Scouser”. “Not all of us are left-wingers”, she snapped back. “In which case, you’re rather unusual”, I quickly retorted. That was the last time I ever said anything to McVey’s face. Since then, I’ve been tracking her career and so wasn’t surprised to discover that she’d been elected as Tory MP for Wirral West. The Wirral, once in Cheshire, is where Scousers tended to go once they’d made it big. I’m not so sure that’s the case nowadays. I mean, have you seen what Birkenhead looks like these days?

Scouse Tories are as rare as unicorns and to this day I can only count them on one hand. There’s Steve ‘Shagger’ Norris, Edwina ‘Eggs’ Currie, Stephen McPartland MP and Kit Shitehouse Malthouse, who is one of Bozza’s deputies. I only became aware of McPartland the other day when he rose to speak in The Commons. That’s a total of 5 Scouse Tories in the public eye. That isn’t many for a metropolitan county with a population of 1,380,000. But then if you look at Scotland, you’ll see a similar picture.

Here’s a clip of McVey on 5’s Company being used by ventriloquist Scarlet Ray Watt as his ‘impromptu’ assistant. Doesn’t he look a little like Eddie Murphy?


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