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James O'Brien is Just Asking Questions again
James O’Brien, the author of the best-selling upper-normie books How To Be Right and How Not to Be Wrong, sees himself as the voice of reason in a crazy world. In reality, he is Neil Oliver for Lib Dem voters. Along with his obsession with Tufton Street, he famously endorsed the theory that there was a paedophile sex ring in Westminster, and scholars of the Banter Era will fondly recall the time he claimed that Nigel Farage getting ‘milkshaked’ was a false flag attack.
O’Brien has recently been Just Asking Questions about the queue to see the Queen’s coffin. He finds it suspicious that the government has allowed such a large queue to form and is troubled that nobody apart from himself is trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. The queue is, he says, “completely deliberate” and there must be an ulterior motive behind it.
“Why are they doing it?”, he asks, before going into a rant about ‘The Establishment’ and cackling insanely about his fellow public schoolboys, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, who surely have nothing to do with it.
A more pertinent question is why does O’Brien care so much about it? Although it is several miles long and not for everybody, the queue is not causing any problems. Nobody has to join it. There seems to be a certain amount of camaraderie in it. Aside from the odd queue-jumper, it is a fair and equitable system to ensure as many people as possible can pay their respects in a finite amount of time without introducing a price mechanism. You might even get to meet David Beckham.
O’Brien does not tell us what he thinks motivated the Deep State to deliberately create the queue, but he gives us a hint when he says…
“Somebody somewhere has very deliberately conceived a plan to have hundreds of thousands of people snaking through London visibly, publicly and performatively queueing to pay their respects to the late Queen.”
The implication is that this is all propaganda designed to make it look as if the British public were fond of the Queen. The alternative explanation - that the British public were fond of the Queen and the queue is an example of spontaneous order - does not seem to occur to him.
It is the spontaneous and organic nature of the queue that seems to bother O’Brien as much as the sinister motives of the government that “allowed” it. Why rely on the tried and tested system of ‘first come, first served’ when the whole thing could have been carefully regulated and organised by bureaucrats?
“You could have applied online. You could have turned up in hour-sized windows. You could have…”
At this point he runs out of ideas for alternatives to queueing and has an uncharacteristic twinge of self-doubt. Immediately stumbling upon the flaw in his plan, he remembers that his own gigs with Sadiq Khan at the O2 have a lot of empty seats because, although people have to book them in advance, they are free. And since they are free, people do not value them. Some people book them without being certain that they can attend. The day arrives and they suddenly find better things to do than listen to James O’Brien in conversation with Sadiq Khan.
But no sooner has O’Brien had this revelation than he is swatting the objection away. People wouldn’t do that for the Queen’s lying-in-state, he insists, so there should have been a ticketing system.
People wouldn’t do it? Really? Republicans wouldn’t bulk-buy tickets to make a protest? People wouldn’t fall ill or miss their train or change their mind? They wouldn’t book extra tickets for friends and family who don’t actuallly want to go?
Let us consider the implications of O’Brien’s alternative arrangement. He thinks the government should have created a website with an online booking system ready to go within days of the Queen’s death. Knowing this government, an app would no doubt be created alongside it.
This would be commissioned from an outside IT company which would charge over the odds because that’s what businesses do when they’re negotiating with the government. The website would crash under the weight of traffic within minutes of going live and James O’Brien would be on LBC condemning “yet another government cock up” and Just Asking Questions about whether the people who got the IT contract were “Tory cronies”.
When the website finally comes back online, all 350,000 tickets are gone within an hour. There are reports of them selling for thousands of pounds on eBay. Keir Starmer denounces the “profiteers” and “price gougers” and tells the government to “get a grip”.
The app doesn’t work properly and there are sob stories in the newspapers about elderly monarchists who don’t own a mobile phone or couldn’t book online or couldn’t print out their tickets.
Before commissioning the website, the government had to estimate how many people would go through the hall every hour, but it got this wrong. In any case, the numbers vary from hour to hour. At times, people turn up to find the hall empty because ticket-holders haven’t shown up. At other times, they have to wait around because people have been filing through more slowly than expected. LBC is inundated with callers complaining about the “ticket farce” which they say is “disrespectful to the Queen”.
It turns out that you can get more than 350,000 people through Westminster Hall in four days, but when the government tries to make more tickets available, the website crashes again.
Even when the system runs smoothly, there are thousands of people showing up with tickets every hour. Most of them come ahead of time so they don’t miss their slot. While they wait, they form a large queue ‘snaking through London’.
James O’Brien appears on LBC criticising the chaos in central London and denouncing the huge costs of the ticketing system which are now believed to run into tens of millions of pounds. “This was a deliberate plan by The Establishment,” he says. “Why are they doing this?”