PMQs: Miliband’s Sixth Sense

The Sketch Team spent the morning drowning kittens to train for PMQs. Piteous sights and sounds we beheld, quite wither-wringing. On a positive note, we got through the carnage of Ed Miliband’s performance without a tear.

How the Tory dogs leapt on him. Tore at him. The noise (so chamber reporters said) has never been noisier. Cameron was on his best form for years and made a very decent joke.

“Bill someone,” Ed Balls had said last night on Newsnight, when asked to name a Labour business backer. “Bill,” Balls said. Bill who? It turned out to be Bill the chairman of Labour’s Small Business Task Force. Balls had just been having dinner with him, not an hour before the interview. Small business significance in the Labour cosmology can be determined by the fact that his name had escaped the shadow chancellor. Bill, Bill someone.

Cameron was laughing at him (and to be fair Balls was laughing back), “Bill someone! It’s not a person, it’s Labour’s policy!”

Several Labour MPs committed hari-kiri on the spot.

The Tories threw off the thin veneer of civilization.

Bercow lost control twice. That’s the danger for him, as he knows. His position is deteriorating fast. Though not as fast as Labour’s.

Miliband returned five times to hedge funds that didn’t pay stamp duty on stock market transactions (three concepts that don’t exactly ring the doorbell in Burnley Bumbleside, but still). Five times Cameron came back with a different answer. Labour had allowed foreigners to avoid stamp duty and capital gains tax, Labour didn’t put on a bank levy, Labour took donations in shares, Labour’s fund raiser was a tax exile.

“I’m afraid I’m going to keep asking,” the Labour leader said, kittenishly.

He has never looked so small. But that’s not to say he can’t shrink further. At some point he will disappear.

He is being wiped out in Scotland by a party to the left of him, and south of Nottingham by the business-friendly right. It’s because there isn’t really anything there.

It may be like that film with Bruce Willis where you only realize at the end that he’s been dead all along.

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Quote of the Day

Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”


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