July 2nd, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: When Teenage Ed Campaigned to Leave the EU

Cruel, cruel Tony Baldry. He told the House about the 1983 election and Labour’s anti-Europe commitments of the time. And how a 13-year-old boy had delivered a leaflet through his letterbox on behalf of Michael Foot. “That boy, now leader of the Labour party,” he said in his large, deep, fat-uncle manner.

“That boy, now leader of the Labour party.”

Little Ed’s pain was visible. And for those who have an appetite for that sort of thing, palpable.

There he was on the front bench, shoulders down, smiling wanly, slightly angling his smooth, young face towards the big bruiser next to him. He had grown up by four or five years since 1983 but was clearly the junior partner as Big Ed joined in the joshing and rollicking that Cameron was dishing out.

“Not my idea of fun,” Cameron laughed about delivering leaflets at the age of 14. “What was your idea of fun?” Big Ed kept jabbing. “Not hanging out with the shadow chancellor,” Cameron said. “I feel sorry for the Leader of the Opposition who has to hang out with him all the time!”

Tories were entering a stage of pre-climactic pleasure, Big Ed was pointing, pouting, heckling, laughing back.

Little Ed sat shyly, too young to join in the game.

The Labour leader had done his six rounds with the prime minister. If you are of the loyal left you will claim he won on the NHS. You will like it when he said, “He talks about Wales because he can’t defend his record in England.”


But you may also feel his statistics were kicked back in his face – there are no rules in a statistical fight – that he lost his way, that his delivery was wild, and that the flesh and blood story he needs to tell has to be left to others.

This is how it went.

Q1) Has the number of people waiting for more than two months for cancer treatment got better or worse?
A1) The number treated for cancer is up by 15 per cent. The key waiting targets for A and E have been met (in April).

Q2) Two cancer charities disagree, is he really saying things are getting better not worse?
A2) The Coalition introduced a cancer drug fund which has treated 50,000. A million more patients are being treated. In Labour-controlled Wales, they haven’t met a cancer target since 2009.

Q3) In Wales, more cancer patients start cancer treatment within 62 days than in England. In four years, has the number of people waiting four hours in A&E got better or worse?
A3) We have met our waiting time targets. The average wait has gone from 77 minutes to 30 minutes. And Wales hasn’t met a target since 2008.

Q4) The four-hour waiting target has gone from 353,000 to 939,000. An increase of 300 per cent.
A4) The average waiting time is down by more than half. And the shadow health secretary recently said the NHS is the best health service in the world.

Q5) What is the number of people waiting for four hours on trolleys?
A5) They are waiting for less time than under Labour. And what about mid-Staffs? We are spending £12.7bn extra which Labour said was irresponsible. Wales. People are dying under Labour.

Q6) Trolley waits up from 61,000 to 167,000. There is worse access to cancer treatments, A&E waits are longer, GP access is worse. It’s all his fault.
A6) The NHS was named best health service in the world by an independent authority, for the first time. Labour lacks policy, misquotes figures, was accused by his host of planning a bureaucratic nightmare.

Who won that?

Whatever the summary looks like, in the flesh it was David’s younger brother against Goliath’s younger brother. And the noodle had forgotten his slingshot.

“Honestly,” the PM said, “if he can’t do better than that on the NHS, he is in trouble.”

Quite daring to tempt fate like that, on the NHS.


  1. 1
    Ghost of Leon says:

    Can I go Back to the EU, it’s getting hot in Pimlico ?


  2. 2
  3. 3
    Ed Balls says:

    Soz Ed I was holding the calculator upside-down.


  4. 5
    UKIP is the only way to vote says:

    School kids unite, we only see you on the television and radio and all you ever do is lie and try and get one on the other politician, you all belong in school better still jail, heard it on radio 4 today, I don’t usual turn the car radio on,kids at play, know wonder the country is in a mess when the supposed grown up’s act like little children, time the house of corruption was emptied of this trash .


    • 43
      For goodness' sake. says:

      Oh OK yeah, let’s jail all democratically elected politicians. You sound pretty childish yourself, that and pathetically fascistic.


  5. 6
    Bosun Higgs says:

    Now that the brief and unsatisfactory PvP session is over. they can all go back to playing Politician’s Creed IV against the AI. I’m on Level 16 – Return of the Red Plague.


  6. 7
    David Cameron..International Socialist says:

    Len McCluskey has just issued a statement calling for Ed to offer an EU referendum. His reason being that the EU offers real international socialism. So why is Cameron also going to campaign to remain in the EU?


  7. 8
    The Mean says:

    In this uncertain world it is good to see that Scotch Murray has reverted to form, showing that last year was just an aberration,


  8. 12
    Mz Kerching, KBE,OBE,MBE MC,PHd,BSc, says:

    Rolf ruined my life.


  9. 13
    eds paperbag says:

    In 1983 under the foot opposition, waiting times for leaflets was down by 20%, it was a golden time for leaflet delivery. Boy Ed should never have given the job up.


  10. 14
    Leon says:

    Did someone mention little boys?


  11. 16
    Camermong says:


  12. 17
    Red on Red says:


  13. 18
    Servan Volli says:

    Oh for the days when the worn patch on the court went right up to the net and we weren’t subjected to the tedium of interminable baseline rallies


  14. 19
    Sunday Newspaper journalist says:

    What the fuck is going on here?


  15. 20

    It is rumoured that some hospitals don’t even serve borscht.


  16. 23
    Guido closed down Leon Brittan comments... says:

    What an incredible indictment that comments on Leon Brittan story have been turned off. I am guessing now that this story has made it into the mainstream media the tabloids will push the subject further toward the boundaries.


  17. 24

    Will the Prime Minister join me in welcoming the increased provision of unaffordable housing in London and the sterling work done by antisocial landlords in getting more of our elderly in London out into the fresh air?


  18. 25
    The EU says:

    Have I been reformed yet?


  19. 26
    Norm Normal says:

    Why is the Stop the War coalition strangely silent on Iraq?
    Now that the bbc confirms Iranian aircraft are bombing Iraqi cities I was sure there would be some sort of protest? Not a mention???
    I thought they were an anti war group?


  20. 28
    Disgusted of Neasden says:

    But Dave didn’t answer Ed’s questions – again! 0 out of 6. Must try harder.


    • 33
      Au contraire says:

      The Prime Minister doesn’t go to Prime Minister’s Questions to answer questions – where did you get that idea from ?

      He goes to ridicule the Leader of the Opposition.


    • 38
      If you'd asked him the time in PMQs, Gordon Brown says:

      Ashcroft O’Clock


  21. 32
    Fitz says:

    Guido just gets better & better… The Frakfurt school is getting edgy…


  22. 35
    Everyone says:

    Tony Baldry? Was he the scruffy one in Blackadder?


  23. 36
    Mycroft says:

    I do worry that even the commentators don’t quite get it.

    I parliament spaz-cameron won, everyone who is at the sharp end will agree 100% that spaccer-ed won.

    Spaz-cam’s performances of late have been too centred on the “know f’ck-all about real life” body of the house.

    It’s good, spaz-cam alienates many core voters by appearing to crow when the troops on the ground are rumbling with discontent and the spaccer-ed just looks f’cking useless as per usual.


  24. 42
    Ed Jong-mil says:

    Onry a rabour government can deriver orr burry shot. Whore worrd copy Wersh NHS. Who light? Who light? Not Toly pig burry!


  25. 44

    Another waste of time for PMQs


    • 54
      Helpful surf (geddit?) says:

      Suggest you forward your complaint to the ignorant lefty tit who writes all that stuff every week for the Milipede then. Proper informed questioning might (just might) prompt informed and helpful responses.


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