Consensual Ed. What’s that about? Again, he was picking a cross-party subject to consensualise on. It might from week to week be – Our Glorious Dead, They Died For Us. The Queen, God Bless Her. Those Evil Islamicists Are So Un-British.
This week it was Child Abuse Can’t Go On.
Good choice. It let Ed make his Who Will Speak For the Children? face. It stopped Cameron backing him into a corner and bashing his face in. And talking about children made him look more grown-up. Triple win.
And true, very few of us publicly support child abuse any more. But what a can of worms it will prove to be as the inquiry enquires. Cameron itemised the institutions that will need to be purged. The Church. The BBC. The NHS. Parliament. We haven’t really started to include the Police, the Judiciary, social services, aid workers, teachers, or one-parent families. Still, it’s a good step on the way for a society bent on consuming itself.
Back to Ed, consensualising. Voters tuning in would be thinking, “I like how non-partisan the Leader of the Opposition is. He is well capable of reasoned discussion, isn’t he? Thank heaven someone’s above petty politics. If only the Prime Minister were so mature. But, tell me, what’s that his is face doing? Aren’t there drugs to stop that?”
Having nailed the politics-weary, One Nation swing voter, Ed felt he needed to shore up his Tory-hating back benches and launched a railing reprise of the NHS waiting times statistics. He had proof in his hand that Cameron needed to “correct the record”. Things he’d said last week weren’t the case, and the House of Commons Library agreed.
Cameron read out the waiting times in detail. Compared with Labour – down, down, down, down. But what about waiting times in A&E? Half. Was 77 minute average, now 35. Down, down, down went Labour’s collective head. Ed wondered if he should have stuck to child abuse.
Tories rocked out, Labour trailed despondently. They really are thinking, “What happens if we win?”
PS: Speaker Watch. Disappointingly, Bad Bercow is leashed and kennelled. The Speaker is in a flight plan to May of next year when his re-election comes up.
He isn’t joining in the debate with his pirouettes, curtseys and Brucie-in-a-tutu routines. His calling is crisp and professional. He spits far fewer tacks at the Tories and laps at Labour hardly at all. He knows just how far he can go. His treatment of Chris Bryant’s accusation of a conspiracy to mislead the House was treated with indulgence, and heard without interruption from himself (many cries of Order! from Tories). Bryant is, famously, the Speaker’s Pet. And maybe they both got away with their public display of affection.