Even Peter Hitchens looked and sounded a little jaded. He roused briefly when Victoria-Coren Mitchell asserted that the current housing crisis has nothing to do with record levels of immigration, but thereafter seemed content to rest his case.
When the panel’s Liberal Democrat related her chastening experience of visiting migrants in Calais and how her heart had bled, Hitch looked like he was about to nod off. I don’t suppose you can blame him – he’s heard it all before: the horror! Oh the horror!
Even the audience, who can usually be counted upon to whoop and clap frantically over the merest pro-immigration comment barely reacted to Coren-Mitchell’s platitudes.
As one half of a couple that are a virtual BBC subsidiary, that Coren-Mitchell denied the realities of mass immigration was only to be expected. More surprising was her attack on Russian oligarchs whom she blamed for pricing ordinary Londoners out of the housing market.
Weird. On the one hand she denies that hundreds of thousands of immigrants from poor African and Asian countries have anything to do with housing shortages, and then she goes on to blame a handful of Russians! I wonder why…
When the BBC acolyte suggested that London’s population was the same in 2015 as it had been in the 1940s, it looked like that old mutt Hitch was finally going to show his teeth. After all as statements go, they don't get any more disingenuous than that.
Coren-Mitchell's choice of 1940s is a predictably very selective comparison to make. Following WWII, the capital's population took several decades to recover and indeed receded considerably throughout the 50s and 60s - periods of low/moderate immigration.
The trend from the 80s and particularly the 90s however, has been sharply upwards, a trend that is predicted to result in some 11 million inhabitants by 2050. Indeed, had it not been for post-war austerity and realignment, the capital's population would be considerably larger than the 8.5 million of today. Population growth denial. It's got a ring to it....
But no. Hitch was snoozing in front of his favourite hearth. He opened a lazy eye, thought about it, and returned his attentions to the hearth. Can’t be bothered…
Nobody could be bothered. Even when Tory Justine Greening started talking some bonkers about young Londoners buying homes in the capital, there were but a few titters of laughter. Coren-Mitchell managed a scornful laugh, but had to be careful. Champagne socialists might be the norm in Hampstead, but don’t tend to go down too well elsewhere.
Thankfully the discussion did not get onto jobs and unemployment because that would have been another sticky wicket for a woman who, between herself and her husband, seem to have a stranglehold on the light entertainment department of the BBC.
And so it went on. And on. It started off in neutral and really never looked like getting out of first gear the entire evening.
The audience never did quite mange to shake themselves out of their stupor with the result that, for once, Peter Hitchens left the QT studio without the sounds of boos and jeers ringing in his ears.
All very underwhelming.