Peter Dowd got PMQs kicking today when he suggested pencilling “FO” next to our glorious Foreign Secretary’s name “should have been an instruction not a job offer”. Having not really bothered with popular culture since some time in 1979 (when leather trousers were “in”), Theresa May was stony faced as the House erupted with sedentary chortling. At this point Rudd should have leaned over and explained the joke so the PM could attempt a reasonable simulation of the human emotion of mirth.
No such help was forthcoming so Theresa was stranded. If you looked closely enough you could actually see the lightning-quick processor in her brain whirring as she tried to work it out. What could it mean? Feckless orator? Frizzled oaf? Franchised obscurant?
Still none the wiser, the PM clearly decided that if you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em, countering that Boris “is in short an FFS: a fine Foreign Secretary”. Completely oblivious she then sat down smirking. “Nailed it”, or more likely “jolly good show old bean!” she must have thought.
Mrs. May also wished everyone a happy Christmas, going on to remark: “I will of course have an opportunity to do that again on Monday, when I am sure the House will be as full for the statement on the European Council meeting”. We can just be thankful it was a Monday debate or no doubt she would have cheerily told the House that she would “see you next Tuesday!”
Not satisfied that she had sufficiently displayed her complete ignorance of pop culture the PM then went on to implore the House and the nation to “download the single” commemorating the death of Jo Cox. At this point everyone was wondering if it was possible for Theresa May to get any more uncool.
But then again, maybe Theresa May is cool? She doesn’t know what FFS means, still doesn’t really understand what a download is, and has probably only just stopped referring to iPods as “walkmans”. Not only that but she wears £1,000 gold leather trousers and then demotes anyone who criticises them.
On the coolness scale naturally you have your F1 drivers and Keith Richards at one end, and your William Hagues and Piers Morgans at the other. But then there’s also a certain sub-set that are so consciously uncool they become cool: “The Clarksons”. The PM just may be one of them.
In other news Angus Robertson got up to moan as is his wont. But unusually for once this came as a source of comfort, making my post-Guido christmas PFL hangover really not so bad after all. I mean, it could be worse couldn’t it? I could be Angus Robertson, a walking bag of human misery.
Heidi Allen then rose to have a little cry about modern slavery: literally she cried. Obviously slavery’s bad and everything, but does every Commons debate have to be a sob-fest now? When did we become such a nation of wimps? Did Lloyd-George ever break down in the commons about how his impoverished Welsh upbringing? Did Joe Chamberlain weep when he sat in the Commons barely able to speak after having a massive stroke? Did Churchill break down when he addressed the House in a bombed out Parliament in 1940?
But there is one man in the House who understands this. And being Christmas time he deserves a special end of the year congratulations.That man is Tom Watson and he is a stoic. He sits through week after week of Labour getting BTFO in PMQs and doesn’t flinch: simply sucks it up and takes his punishment like a man. BTFO? Google it you uncool loser.
You can see it in his face. “God just see this one out and we’re done Tom. You can do it mate” he’s thinking. “Keep going Tom. Don’t crack. Don’t let them see you cry. Thirty minutes and you’ll be in Strangers double parked with a Peroni in each hand”. It’s hard not to like someone who perseveres like Tom does. Merry Christmas Mr. Watson.