It’s all gone a bit Pete Tong for the PM. It turns out lining up every global leader, trade envoy and financier from Canary Wharf to Chongqing to warn the serfs to vote Remain on threat of nuclear apocalypse wasn’t actually the best idea. Who’d have thought it? People voting in a referendum on global elites don’t want to listen to those same global elites telling them which way to vote. How very bizarre!
Luckily for the Leave camp, master political strategist David Cameron is so comprehensively divorced from any semblance of normality that he doesn’t realise this, and will continue treating the British people like benighted little peasants who need to sit down and listen to what the clever dignitaries and technocrats tell them. In fact, unwittingly, the red-faced ex-Buller boy is one of the Leave campaign’s single biggest assets.
And so onto proceedings. As is apparently the fashion these days, the Leader of the Opposition kicked things off by offering his solemn condolences to the fallen celebrities of the past week. Today that honour was bestowed upon Muhammad Ali, eulogised by Corbyn as “the greatest in his chosen field” (that “chosen field” being battering another man’s skull in until he loses consciousness). Those initially shocked at the Labour leader’s seeming admiration for Ali’s proficiency in bloodsports will have been reassured when he went on to praise his “courageous campaigning on civil rights, anti-racism and peace”. Mr. Corbyn noticeably skipped over the fact that Ali was a firm believer that a woman’s place was at home and avowedly against interracial relationships (for which he deemed death to be a suitable punishment). On top of that he wasn’t too keen on the Jews, although I’m not sure that would bother Jeremy all that much.
Having dispensed of his priestly duties, the Labour leader turned his attention away from the celestial realm towards matters earthly, principally the troublesome fate of Sports Direct head honcho Mike Ashley. “The case of Sports Direct”, opined Corbyn, “shows that Mike Ashley certainly is not Father Christmas, indeed, he makes Scrooge look like a good employer”. Corbyn of course neglected to mention that he was himself no stranger to the brand’s charms, being regularly spotted in Islington bedecked in exactly the sort of grey shell-suit that Ashley flogs for a tenner a pop in his stores. Naturally Cameron had little trouble batting away the question – which eventually went on to accuse the Tories of rolling back workers’ rights – emphasising that his “modern, compassionate Conservative Government have an excellent record on these things, underpinned by our membership of the European Union”. Someone pass the sick bag.
I couldn’t help but feel rather mournful for the good old days when Jezza would read out a letter from the ‘public’ (by which I mean the small sub-set of clinically deranged leftists who spend their week penning rambling missives to Labour HQ). “Laura from Outer Timbuktu wants to know”, he’d begin reproachfully, “just how many Ferrero Rocher the Prime Minister can fit in his gob on Whit Sunday after half a bottle of claret?”. And so we’d have a good few questions on those sort of lines, or something similarly mental and irrelevant, followed each time by the surreal situation of the PM addressing his response to the possibly fictional protagonist of Corbyn’s letter. Nonetheless, at least it whiled away the time, and added a bit of colour to what are by now becoming increasingly monotone sermons from the Labour leader.
Having done with Corbyn Cameron now faced the rather trickier task of his own MPs. “Will he stop denigrating our great country because it is a sign, if any were needed, that he is losing the argument?” asked Richard Drax in a foolhardy appeal to the PM’s non-existent better nature. Cameron condescended in return: “I know that my honorable Friend has very strong views on this issue”, he drawled in response. “Strong views” is of course Cameronese for “do be quiet you intransigent swine”. Feeling increasingly embattled when pushed on contributions to EU finances by Karl McCartney, Cameron reverted to type. Having lied that we wouldn’t ever have to contribute to more bailouts of the EU, he boomed that “there is no expert saying that we would make a saving from leaving the EU”. When in doubt, Cameron without fail will fall back on the external authorities he coerced into supporting his position.
At this point I was rather distracted by a presence in the public gallery. A portly man dressed in a chalk three piece suit and a dandyish pink spotted necktie, who appeared to be on rather good terms with a great many of the Tory MPs sitting below. Every two minutes he would nod and wink at a different backbencher, who would smile back up at him conspiratorially. It was none other than eighties comedian and former Big Brother denizen Jim Davidson. There he sat, like a Roman Caesar at the very nexus of a group of Tory MPs braying for the PM’s blood.
Clearly this hadn’t gone unnoticed by SNP MP Stephen Gethin. “As he reaches the end of his time in office”, he said pausing for laughs, “President Obama has reflected that his worst mistake was the catastrophe in Libya. What is the Prime Minister’s worst mistake in his time in office?”. Cameron dodged the question, responding that “the time to reflect on your mistakes is clearly when you are close to the end of your time in office, so that does not apply to me”. Of course we know that to be false, and so, it’s only natural to speculate as to who could be next. From watching today it appears to me there are two possible contenders. One’s a bombastic blonde entertainer known for his outrageous statements and somewhat dubious comments about ethnic minorities. The other’s Jim Davidson.