SKETCH: Ladies Tennis, ISIS and EVEL MacSporrans

Were they tails that the Speaker was wearing, and a waistcoat? Is he finally dressing the part? It’s cruellest trick he’s playing on his critics. He’s turning himself into a decent Speaker. Acting the part, dressing the part, sounding the part. He doesn’t even intervene with his tortured Macaulay-isms to kick things along (and as a result, for the first time ever he didn’t get through the order paper). He’s obviously settling in for the duration. He will die in office and even then he will not quit.

Harriet played a pleasant, polite and perfectly charming game of ladies’ tennis with the prime minister. In their exchanges, they mused about Heathrow, the death of tourists, the Prevent program and how it hadn’t succeeded in preventing anything. So now, it appears there is “a statutory duty on public bodies to challenge radicalisation.”

But how?

For politicians the first tactic is to manipulate the language.

Don’t call it Islamic State, Rehman Chishti said, call it something else – Daesh. It means ‘no fries with that, thanks’ in one of the Middle Eastern languages. Cameron agreed. Calling it Islamic State, as the hated BBC did, was to confer a false sense of authority onto it. “It’s not Islamic and it isn’t a state.”

Really? If it beheads people like an Islamic state, and stones people to death like an Islamic state, and takes the left arm and right leg like an Islamic state, and executes adulterers, homosexuals, apostates, unbelievers and librarians like an Islamic state – it’s probably an Islamic state.

It doesn’t represent the true Islam, the PM said. Of course, extremists counter-claim and say moderates don’t represent the true Islam. Because the Koran is quite unambiguous when it says, “slay the idolators wherever you find them”.

What’s unIslamic about that?

But he has to say it’s unIslamic, or it all ends up in Armageddon and Tony Blair ruling the world.

I’m now worried that an extreme moderate will behead me in the street for saying Islam isn’t a religion of peace.

The SNP – the aggressively independent-minded MPs all asked the same question. Were they going to be relegated to the second tier of a two-tier system of MPs? The answer was Yes. But such a cunning yes that it sounded like no. Would they or would they not be allowed to vote on English-only laws? The PM told them that all MPs would be voting on all Bills. Even Blair wouldn’t have dared such a prestidigitation.

They all, independent-mindedly, spat haggis at the prime minister and bared their woad-painted bottoms at the cameras. (I hope it was woad.)

They say they resent being excluded from voting on English-only laws. They have a unique cultural ability, probably inspired by the bagpipes, to whine and drone at the same time.

Look here, you MacSporrans – had we in south been allowed to vote in your Scottish-only referendum, you would have won what you say you want. And there wouldn’t be a Scottish MP in the place – except the ones who’d had the foresight to stand for an English constituency.




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Quote of the Day

Sky’s Faisal Islam on the mood in Parliament at the moment:

“It’s a totally febrile atmosphere here. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones meets House of Cards – and if you chuck in the Labour Party – Laurel and Hardy too.”

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