Headscratchers: The Thick of It

  • What is the meaning behind the nickname "Screaming Crutch"? I'm sure it's some kind of gay innuendo but I can't figure out how.
    • It's actually a reference to the British satirist/politician Screaming Lord Sutch, who was once the leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party, an actual political party in Britain.

  • Am I correct in thinking that the lead up to the Inquiry was: 1. Malcolm forced Nicola to call for the Inquiry 2. Nicola promised Malcolm that the Inquiry would fuck him over. 3. Malcolm assured Nicola that the Inquiry couldn't possibly fuck him over as badly as it will fuck her over. 4. The Inquiry fucks Malcolm over pretty badly in which case how did he not foresee this?
    • Because Malcolm is incredibly confident that it won't possibly lead back to him. We've seen before that he can underestimate or not entirely forsee or predict everything that's thrown his way; Most of the series shows him reacting to Do SAC's fuck-ups and generally doing a stellar job of correcting them, but that's with time to do so. Throw him in front of an Inquiry where he thinks he has his bases covered and then nail him with the photograph of the leaked medical documents, and it's not something he can counter in his usual fashion.

  • In Season Two, how could Glenn allow them to pin the email scandal on Terri? Sure he was defending his friend and Terri was nothing more than an annoying bitch to him, but the way he praises Malcolm for basically humiliating and framing an innocent woman who had just lost her father, and then makes light of Terri's grief seems quite out-of-character and corrupt.

  • Why do Phil and Emma flat together when they hate each other? (I know...Rule of Funny!)
    • Well, there are many possibilities. One is that one had a big flat that he couldn't pay and the other had no flat but money and so they decided to put their differences aside. Another is that Phil put an ad on the newspaper, Emma responded, they decided that as flatmates go they weren't that bad and they went on to live together, wrongly assuming that the other couldn't get any worse. Hell, maybe they actually liked each other at the beginning and it was sharing a flat that made things worse- after a year, I couldn't look at my flatmate without feeling the urge to repeatedly punch her in the soul.
    • In addition, if there's anywhere that living space is at a premium and renting costs are astronomical, it's Central London. Given that both would want to be as close as possible to Whitehall for work (which would push up the costs) and finding decent accommodation isn't easy at the best of times, they probably decided that the flat was good enough to compensate for the company and / or it wasn't worth the headaches that moving away and trying to find a new place / flatmate (and the possibility of ending up rooming with someone worse either way) would result in. They also probably keep their own space as much as possible, and the flat looks big enough that they're able to avoid stepping on each other's toes as much as possible.
    • Don't forget Emma's brother Affers. Possibly he's friends with Phil and had been rooming with either him or Emma already, inviting the other to join.

  • Who gave John Duggan a job? Surely it can't have been Malcom?
    • He might be a Poxbridge twat they hired just for his scholastic experience and now they either can't get rid of him or does enough good to balance the bad. Maybe he's vaguely good at his job but it gets hidden by his complete lack of social skills. Probably it's nepotism.
      • Or maybe (and I myself doubt it, but what the hell, Alternative Character Interpretation) he's a Bunny-Ears Lawyer extraordinaire. Maybe he is actually good, but he treats people who aren't politicians so poorly you forget it, and the reason why he wasn't even making an effort was because the first time our "heroes" were from DoSAC (a department so low he can't even be bothered) and then they're the Opposition, so who cares. Again, I doubt it, but the second time he appeared his only problem was the lack of social skills. Which, still, in his job is a big problem.

  • Did Malcolm leak Tickell's records? Obviously he's not a reliable witness, so his "wouldn't hurt a civilian" speech, or other denials hardly settle anything. BUT: having set up Helen to be photographed with "Quiet batpeople", would he really risk being caught the same way, at the very same time? And then tell the inquiry about how he set up Helen? If someone else set him up, though, or even accidentally gave him those numbers, who would it be?
    • Well... it's improbable that somebody would set him up. Nobody had any reason to create such a scandal just to get rid of Malcolm: if they really wanted to fuck him up, I'm sure they could have found something that would have taken care of him and him alone. I also doubt somebody would give him those numbers accidentally: if you think about it, it has every sense that Malcolm would try and get every information he can about the twat in a tent that's causing so much trouble to the Coalition. Maybe somebody in 10 Downing (or whatever it is the Shadow Cabinet version of it) could try and set him up, but the only two that could possibly get near Malcolm's stuff are Sam (who has no reason to do it, since he's basically her job) and Jamie (who would never do something quite so clever). Maybe Nicola, but that's really not something she would have done. It's highly probable that he found the numbers and leaked them. Now, you say that he wouldn't have done something as stupid as point to the very picture in which he's showing the numbers to the press: well... yeah he would. I mean, I know that we've idolized him, but he did do a lot of mistakes in the past. Stupid mistakes. Like, 'not checking if the mobile phone has actually sent the text' mistakes. Also, consider the fact that he believes to be above us petty humans and that he thinks that nobody would ever dare to attack him: he was, after all, quite cocky with the inquisitors, even using them to leak that Fergus had met Dan. So, really, it's not too hard to think that a very cocky person who believes to be above everyone else might have made a stupid error.
      • Well, I've never personally idolized him, and you're right that he's both very cocky and capable of doing stupid things, but he usually seems to have a sense of self-preservation. He also usually saves his overt Manipulative Bastard behaviour for people who have less power or won't tell. Boasting about something that could get him in serious trouble live on air to a public enquiry seems a bit out of character. Also, at least in the DOSAC files, he's explicit that he's used the "get them photographed holding incriminating documents" method a lot, so not watching what he's holding himself when there's cameras about AND he's just set up Helen for the cameras... As for the scandal part, any number of people would have reason both to implicate the others who got caught out in the enquiry and Malcolm himself. If they were from his own side, they could always insist he was a lone bad apple, and wash their hands of him, as Miller seemed to be doing. I'm not wedded to this view by any means, it just bugs me a bit.
      • But, you see, you have to remember that at the time Tickell was just a twat in a tent. Had somebody set that up, they would have pointed at that picture the very next day and said "the bastard is harrassing a poor undeserving homeless guy". In that case, however, everyone would have had every right to look at Malcolm disapprovingly: seriously, even the Coalition could use the opportunity to say "well, we would have never done that" and look good. It would have been very risky, because if Malcolm goes down then by fucking fuck he will take all of you down with him, but I guess that worse things have happened. Instead they ignored that photo for months and they only got to see it because Tickell died: that couldn't have been arranged. At least, I hope. That would have been horrible. And still, they needed an inquiry on the subject of leaking rather than on Tickell's death, and nobody could reasonably believe that everybody would cooperate in making an even worse mess out of it. It's more probable that Malcolm looked at the journal, thought "well, I've been cut out of this picture and they have no reason to look for the original photo" and got careless: he seemed to think, after all, that the Inquiry was just a show to quiet down the public and that for that reason the inquisitors wouldn't dig too deep in the culture of leaking.