PMQs SKETCH: How Have Labour Got Themselves Here?

The weekly pleasure of Ed Miliband in action.

He’s like an eight year old boy unused to fighting running into a fight. Wild face, arms windmilling, making strange noises, not punching but slapping like a girl.

He ran at Cameron six times. Six times Cameron put a hand on the lad’s forehead and watched the arms flail, the hands flap, the teeth dance in his mouth.

It was Europe. Would Cameron repeat what he said two years ago and say he’d campaign to stay in the EU?

A week is a long time in politics. Two years is time for an ice age and its inter-glacial period. Nonetheless, Ed insisted Cameron repeat his ancient undertakings.

Cameron had a perfectly serviceable  – if swervy – answer.

He wanted to stay in a reformed EU. That was the plan.

There really was nothing to see there. Did Miliband move on to the Treasury shambles following the EU’s £1.7 billion demand? Or to a forensic dissection of Cameron’s impossible task?

No, Miliband kept coming back to Cameron’s personal position on the forthcoming campaign, and kept getting the serviceable answer. His rhetorical climax was: “He’s the Don’t Know prime minister.”

At that point, twenty or thirty female Labour MPs could have posed for Munch. A mass Scream.


“My seat! My seeeeeeat!”

Cameron dragooned in a number of helpful Labour opinion-leaders. Thomas Docherty had been saying Labour was “moribund”, Alistair Darling that an EU referendum was inevitable and John Prescott (sic) that the party wasn’t communicating in English.

In the face of Tory jeering and cheering Labour looked crushed.

Ed himself of a man of principle. He will not compromise with the electorate. There will not be a referendum on EU membership because he has determined, with Stewie, in their bedroom, that EU membership is in the national interest. It is not a question the nation need be consulted on.

His front bench looked on with morbid amazement. How have they got themselves here? Six months before an election with a leader who has no aptitude for leadership running a presidential campaign – more particularly and most incredibly, with himself as president.

How many of us, they were thinking, will lose our seats, how many of the monkeys behind us will lose theirs?

Michael Foot was a heroic failure and polled 28 per cent.  Gordon was a flawed Titan and polled about the same. Both had enormous personal qualities.

This noodle, what’s he going to poll for his party? Twenty five per cent?

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Quote of the Day

No prizes for guessing who Andrea Leadsom is talking about:

“As you said last week, Mr Speaker, we have a responsibility to safeguard the rights of this House and as Leader of the House I seek to do exactly that, treating all members of parliament with courtesy and respect. I hope and expect all Honourable and Right Honourable members to do likewise.”


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