Keir has a new gimmick. He drops his voice and asks some light, innocent-sounding question in a meaningful, insinuating way, as if to tell us he’s leading his opponent into a cunning trap. He quotes from a report into a criminal atrocity and then wheedles, “Does the prime minister accept that?”
When Rishi agrees, Keir reads out another quote, more critical of the Government and wheedles a little more. “Does the prime minister accept that as well?”
Whoever advised him to do that should be sacked. As a gimmick it lacks many things but principally – impact, originality, appeal, dynamism, surprise, engagement with a modern audience. The man really needs some quality advice so here I am. I’m going for it, I’m pitching to be his PMQs adviser from now on.
One. No more voicing things, Keir. People don’t like it when you say things, so let’s just cut that right out. The speaking thing just doesn’t do it for you.
How to inspire people, then? How to take them with you? How to lift the spirit of the nation? Listen to me. Blair got rid of sentences – I want you to do without words. The modern era communicates in images. So, be visual. Pictures, visions, images – they are the universal language.
And how do we do PMQs like that? You’re going to say Erskine May forbids visual aids. Relax. What I’m going to tell you to do will drive social media crazy. You’ll change politics forever. I’m just going to say it.
It’s four words.
Puppetry of the Penis.
Hear me out.
No one’s ever tried that in the Commons. Even though it’s called “the cockpit of democracy”.
The best part? It’s not ruled out by Erskine May. And under the penal code it’s practically compulsory. In your hands, it’s going to be one of the world’s most effective communication tools.
No, but seriously, Keir. You’ve got to show you’re ready to govern. You criticise the Government for not being able to make the civil service do the jobs they’re paid to do. You have to show us that you will be able to do that. You need to show you are a man of power. That you will be obeyed. You won’t do that by saying things.
Take the probation service. Are you going to change the way they work by talking to them?
You’re saying to the prime minister that he’s run down the probation service so badly that they let a violent racist go on the rampage and kill some young woman and you do the wheedling, insinuating thing and say the dead woman’s family told you that the prime minister, has “blood on his hands”?
You won’t get away with that. You can’t say things like a grieving family told you the PM has blood on his hands. Not with that voice. Not with that wheedling.
And don’t get me started on the Holocaust.
Puppetry of the Penis.
Think about it.
Anything’s better than what you’re doing now.