Proceedings began with a lengthy discussion on the Member for Lichfield’s (now removed) prostate. The new, lighter, more streamlined Fabbers spoke of the treatment he received on the NHS, only to have the Labour leader somewhat rain on his parade in his opening remarks. “I obviously hope”, inquired a re-elected, reinvigorated Jeremy Corbyn, “that the treatment he got was the same as the treatment everybody else got?”
The implication here being that the NHS pay particular attention to the health of the glands should they be nestled inside a Tory MP, whereas for the rest of us serfs they just rip them out with some rusty pliers and then kick them up the corridors in a game of hacky sack. The House was not amused, forcing the Labour leader to plead “it’s not controversial, I’m just wishing him well, is that okay?”, before going on to smirk “sorry to start on such a controversial note Mr. Speaker, I do apologise”. It’s come to something when he can’t even successfully congratulate someone for beating cancer.
Of course seasoned connoisseurs of PMQs know that such a response was only in keeping with Corbyn’s Law. That is namely the rule that one must never acknowledge anything in the particular without then immediately extrapolating to the general or universal. This diktat was learnt most harshly, one imagines, by Jeremy’s own children: “Happy birthday papa!” they would cry, running into his room one May morning, only to have him sternly reprove them: “Now comrades, aren’t you forgetting something?”. “Sorry papa”, they would respond downcast, “we mean, happy birthday to you and all men/women/homeo sapiens affixed at some indeterminate point anywhere on the gender spectrum both in this country and abroad, today and at every previous date in earth’s history”. “And?” Corbyn would inquire, half smiling, raising one eyebrow. “And especially those who are not as lucky as us to feast on this delicious muesli and cucumber cake which your five year agrarian plan has so gratefully provided papa”. “Good boys, now go and read your Engels”.
Vernon Coaker piped up, as always delivering something of a shock when he didn’t begin his sentence with “IDs please lads” or “sorry fellas you’re not coming in, you’ve had one too many”, while chewing gum and looking nonchalantly across the Commons with more than a hint of menace. A Plaid MP then rose to ask a question in some strange language (possibly dwarf or elvish?) of which little could be discerned. Then Ben Bradshaw called for us to shoot down Russian planes and trigger WWIII in a remarkably breezy manner, still bedecked in the sort of skinny tie so favoured by X Factor presenters and school prom attendees circa 2010.
This was all far from the mind of Tom Watson, who seated as ever faithfully to his leader’s left, appeared today to have fallen into a deep and perhaps irredeemable state of existential despair. One knows this from looking at his hands: you see for some reason the Labour deputy is in the habit of clasping his mitts together and holding them tight to his chest while stroking his thumbs as if there was a small rodent inside that he was petting (perhaps there is). Anyhow, as his disaffection with the party has grown, so has the position of Mr. Watson’s hands got higher, to the point now where midway through today’s PMQs he resembled nothing so much as a medieval supplicant begging God for delivery from leprosy or some other affliction. (Perhaps he was.)