Dowden Dances Past Labour’s Deputy On Dainty Feet mdi-fullscreen

The joke about the PM suffering “electoral dysfunction” and being airlifted to a pharmacy failed for me, on grounds of realism. Of course prime ministers need flying around on private jets. They’re busy, they’ve got important people to meet: they can’t be waiting on platforms for trains that are delayed “because of delays”. They go private. Angela Rayner understands this. Waiting in a queue for an operation to enhance her political assets is not a good use of her time. Paying for prompt treatment is the right thing to do, for people in her position – the moral thing. And are we not all beneficiaries of her enhancements? 

One small quibble: when she said she was in favour of “NHS minimum service standards during strikes” we did all think that was a little unambitious. Those of us in the “little people” community are hoping for minimum service as a normal business practice. Instead of having to get up at dawn to join a queue at the GP surgery in the hope of getting seen that day – like East German housewives queuing for cabbage stalks. 

This was dueling deputies – Keir’s deputy Angela Rayner up against Rishi’s deputy – someone called Oliver Dowden. Sorry to say, Dowden wasn’t as bad as we all had hoped. He started off promisingly with a lumbering entrance and a vocal manner that would have done well in the Conservative party in 1956. But he opened daringly. He said that he’d been looking forward to questioning from the deputy Keir Starmer really wanted – the leader of the Liberal Democrats (some sort of post-election coalition joke, it was explained by an old gallery hand). After examining the humour on the VAR for some minutes it was decided that it was just about allowable on comic grounds as it presupposed a Labour victory. 

Angela is a great pleasure to listen to, wondering as we do where her doorstep eloquence will take her. She outperforms her leader, innovating in the despatch box art of making a speech in search of a question mark. The Speaker had to intervene on Tory protests saying – without irony – that he would “hear the question, however long it takes.”

She did ask how many people were on waiting lists, and there’s probably an answer to that because Dowden wouldn’t say what it was. She also asked how many children were living in poverty and there’s clearly no answer to that at all as Dowden had any amount of statistics to demonstrate there were practically none. 

Mhairi Black, the SNP deputy, made an excellent cross party point – one that is so cross party it’s acquired the status of a universal truth. “Brexit has failed,” she said, in words so many of us have been trying not to say. And then, she pressed the point by quoting from the movement’s spiritual leader. “Even Nigel Farage has said so.” 

Brexit has failed. Even Kemi can’t get their laws off our books.  A government no longer interested in governing has been thrown into relief by a passionate, culturally cohesive class of clerks – the British civil service now reborn as the EU-in-Exile – whose mission it is to subvert and suborn those elected by the little millions. Labour, if they get any kind of majority, won’t know what has hit them. 

mdi-tag-outline PMQs PMQs Sketch
mdi-account-multiple-outline Angela Rayner Oliver Dowden
mdi-timer May 17 2023 @ 15:11 mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer
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