So, there’s a prime minister in waiting. Gallery reports of his sneeriness should be discounted.
True, even when he isn’t sneering, he still wears a sub-cutaneous sneer, an impression of a sneer, some sort of metaphysical sneer plays around him like the smile of Lewis Carroll’s cat. But for us in the television audience, George Osborne was controlled, confident and across all that stuff prime ministers have to pretend to know about.
Deradicalisation, for instance. By a happy chance, his prepared joke about Hilary Benn prefaced his remarks on the teenage suicide bomber who blew himself up. For a jihadist to be remembered in Parliament as an adjunct to an indifferent joke about Labour party Bennites is a very fitting memorial.
The deputy leader of Labour is now the leader and her deputy seems to be this Benn fellow. He produced a series of sensible, dutiful questions which got the Commons talking excitedly (about who was winning what election for which committee chair). It’s a glimpse into the sort of PMQs that Speaker Bercow is trying to make the norm. Nothing will turn people off politics more thoroughly.
It’s still possible to hope Jeremy Corbyn will be up there at the despatch box after the Conferences. Are there 50,000 mental lefties out there? Democratic jihadists who’ll infiltrate the Labour Party and blow it to glory?
Now more than ever we need the audacity of hope.
At any rate – an utterly uneventful afternoon in which Tory spines were stiffened at the prospect of a plausible successor and a Tory government through the 20s.
If this was his audition for First Lord of the Treasury he’ll certainly get a call-back.