Sketch: Quiet Commons Helps Cameron


For once, our television screens broadcast a quiet, respectful, intelligent PMQs.

How the public detest it! My mailbag was full of disgusted members of the public complaining about the lack of passion, energy, class war, amusing abuse, animal noises, flying fruit, incarnadine faces and generalised, unspecific roaring.

“If aliens had landed in the middle of this and were told ‘This is how we hold our Government to account’ they’d say, ‘Bollocks you do! That’s just a bunch of kids pretending to be grown-ups!”

Some say the tenor was set by the death of popular Paul Goggins, announced this morning. There was mourning, condolence, fond memories, kind wishes. And this is how it should be, the decencies were observed. Though in my experience, the political reaction is “X has cancer. He’s dying.” “Oh no! That’s awful!” Beat. “What’s the majority?”

Ed Miliband used his attractive quiet voice. The face didn’t look like Gromit in a wind tunnel. Should have been good. Maybe it was, I can’t tell any more.

He was flanked on the front bench by his minders, or mentors or keepers – Mr and Mrs Balls. The Lemon and the Lemon Squeezer.

Three of them probably add up to one complete Kinnock.

A quiet Commons suits Cameron, allows him his lordly ease. “I think he’s making a reasonable point,” he said about Miliband. Oo, he meant it to sting!

To Katy Clarke’s charge of the agency worker loophole that allows short term workers to be paid less. “Loophole fact number one,” he began. By the end, the agency worker loophole was a dead issue.

An atmosphere of calm deliberation makes Labour look ridiculous. Their leadership made a catastrophic strategic mistake by betting half their capital on Too Far Too Fast when the business cycle would inevitably turn their argument upside-down.

And now the other half of their capital is on the Cost of Living Crisis just as real wages are about to start rising and tax about to start falling.

Maybe the troika at the top of Labour aren’t a single Kinnock. Maybe they’re two complete Kinnocks. A ten-year Kinnock.

It’s now possible to see a Government through to 2020 – the same as we have now, and a Boris-led coalition for five years after that.

The next Labour prime minister may be Chuka Umunna’s son.




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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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