It’s a testament to the wit and originality of Boris Johnson that his quip that he is both pro having and pro eating cake is still being referenced sullenly seven years after he first coined it. Why? Well that’s because there are essentially two types of people in this world: those terribly fond of saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it”, and those not at all fond of hearing it. Naturally the morally superior, the intellectually pompous and amassed ranks of the miserly fall into the first category. As do most MPs.
Of this group there is no finer an exhibit than Caroline Lucas, who in full-outrage mode begun today’s PMQs soberly informing the PM that “having your cake and eating it isn’t a serious strategy for Brexit”. Unfortunately for Caroline the second, and far larger, group of people upon hearing such a miserabilist, anti-cake dictum, think to themselves: “Sod that! I want my cake! I want to eat my cake! In fact I might even have another cake to wind up this snotty nosed anti-cake harridan”. And thus Mrs. Lucas, Mrs. Antoinette and Mrs. Thompson will always be – in a phrase the left are so fond of – on the wrong side of history. We are no longer in the era of technocratic fudges and bureaucratic pick ‘n’ mix, this is a time of big cake and big eating of cake.
Suella Fernandes gets this. “Once the will of the British people is delivered to break free from the SHACKLES of the European Union”, she thundered today (with special southern baptist preacher style emphasis on “shackles”), “Britain stands to benefit from the fantastic opportunity to forge new trade deals with countries like India and the USA”. Going on she inquired if the PM would meet with the Legatum Institute who post-Brexit have “projected a 50% increase in global world product in fifteen years”. “Well, I’m, I’m”, spluttered the PM while Hammond looked down shame-faced at his OBR briefing, “I’m interested in the results of the Legatum Institute’s Commission on this particular issue. I believe absolutely that free trade is the right way to go”. So “absolutely”, in fact, that Hammond and May’s Autumn Statement was based on predictions of poor British trade deals. Although I’m not sure getting Jeremy involved would help matters in this instance.
Certainly not the Jeremy seated across the House at least. On his side of the chamber Corbyn’s Labour were all bedecked in their red ribbons for World AIDS Day. It starts off with an-ill advised flirtation and then before you know it you’re wasting away to nothing and people don’t even recognise you anymore. Some of your closest supporters ditch you you and everyone slags you off behind your back. What’s worse – there’s no cure so you just go into a state of managed decline. AIDS is pretty bad too.
Credit where credit is due: Angus Robertson did manage to pull off a remarkable feat today. Namely wearing a suit and tie composed entirely of carpet. Specifically the type of carpet that one sees in used car salesrooms and hastily erected porta-cabins. You know the one, it’s the kind of speckled industrial matting that so closely resembles a mixture of gravel, dirt and white paint stains as to make it effectively unspoilable (or pre-spoiled, depending on perspective). Not so much charcoal in colour as asphalt. More power to your arm Angus. Next week why not come draped in a pub carpet? Or – if short on time – a bin liner?
Of course Angus used his first question to intone gravely on Syria. When he didn’t get the response he wanted (that response being: “Yes Angus you are a visionary and a scholar and we shall launch the missiles towards Petrograd in time for tea to salve your refined conscience”), he decided to repeat the question again but only slower, sadder and more earnestly. All the while the firm of SNP ultras (spearheaded by, Mahri Black, Tasmin Ahmed-Sheikh and Chris Law) shot daggers at across the house and grimaced menacingly. I cannot be certain dear reader but I believe at one point Ms. Black was mere moments away from rushing across the Chamber to “put the nut on” one of the Tory scum opposite. Pretentious claims to the moral high ground backed by such thuggery naturally struck your sketch writer as absurd. A lesser man may well say the SNP want to both have their cake and eat it.