Just to remind MPs of whom to curse for bringing them back to Westminster in the middle of their summer holiday – the Wise Man of the backbenches, Chris Mullin’s name will live in infamy. He made a career in the later 2000s as a ‘parliamentarian’ (one up from being ‘a good constituency MP’) by recommending September sittings in a report, and promptly resigning. Mullins Day looms large over August for every salaried Commons worker. His enormous head is shaped, by happy chance, like a dartboard. At least we have that.
MPs were brave about their dislocated vacations. Keir Starmer got a louder than usual cheer from his reshuffled party – what with the defenestrated, demoted and disappointed absenting themselves. The PM got a louder welcome again, with MPs even below the gangway rattling their order papers. They must be relieved there can’t be much more than six months more of this.
LOTO turned in his seat to shake the hand of the young man sitting behind him. He later explained that Keir Mather had won his seat by overturning the largest majority ever. It was shocking – very shocking for us reactionaries. Shaking hands in Westminster is completely out of order. It is simply not done. No one knows why it is like this, which adds to the potency of the rule. If it is a portent of an incoming Labour administration, we are all in very serious trouble.
Of course, we’re in very serious trouble already. It’s the greatest achievement of the last 13 years of Tory government, conditioning us to be used to it, when the apocalypse arrives.
Keir Starmer takes an irredeemably negative view of their success. He complained today about hospital roofs falling in on patients (it’s the single biggest cause of reduction in cancer deaths). He said children are “cowering” under steel joists in schools (we never had steel joists to cower under). He had harsh words for ‘cowboy builders’ saying that “the cowboys are running the country”. What about the speed at which cowboys work? Their ability to run five jobs at once? Their demands for payments that even lawyers envy? Without cowboy builders nothing in Britain would be built.
Keir concluded by saying that the Prime Minister’s tax rises were “for other families to pay” and “his school cuts are for other families to endure.”
He’s absolutely right. The PM literally only thinks of others.
Rishi’s responses were an object lesson in rapid response. Those who were expecting him to apologise for taking decisive action must have been disappointed by his reply. He said, quite baldly, “We make no apology for acting decisively.” He spoke most decisively, but mainly at great speed.
Two thirds of everything was fine and the 1% that wasn’t actually would be. Because professional advice had evolved over time, Labour had done nothing, and the Tories’ 20% increase in maintenance was the highest in a decade, so Labour should get their facts right instead of being needlessly expensive and excluding 80% of schools solely on the basis of ideology because we had the best readers in the western world, tripling the per pupil spend and that’s why inflation and the cost of living and the arrival of small boats was DOWN!
This was met with joyful incredulity from the benches opposite.
So, we had Sir Keir speaking for the children, a Tory speaking for pregnant dogs illegally shipped with piteously cropped ears, but who will speak for Andrew Bridgen? The squat little scrum-half of an MP has jinked his way across the House and now sits high on the wrong backbenches, having transferred his affections to the For God’s Sake Enough Is Enough wing of the Reclaim, Renew, Rebuild and Reinvent party.
The Speaker uttered the words, that the wee man most loves to hear: “Andrew Bridgen!” he cried.
The smallest party leader asked whether the PM was proud of his achievements. Rishi said he was, rather.
And that was the end of that.