There Must Be Better Ways of Showing They’re Not Robots

The two most thrilling reactions for MPs – as I understand it – are 1) a dense, party-wide Hear, Hear! which carries the speaker on the crest of approval. And 2) a sudden, still, congregational silence in the great chamber. In this version, the packed Commons holds its breath. Every listener is caught by the throat.

1) is hard, and rarer as the years have passed, but 2) is relatively easy. It is prompted by some “horrific incident” or “terrible tragedy” and strikes every person present into pious silence.

The Commons has got wise to it now, and the body count is rising with every passing PMQs. The signal that the trick is being played again is usually a name, a Christian name (Sh! Sh! the monitors go), then the fact of a child, a victim, a death.

Today, with names and details, we had a stillbirth, a death by dogs, three suicides and an air pollution fatality. Thirty-one deaths a day by breast cancer were referenced, though not by name (that’ll be next: “We shall never forget them.”).

The temptation, which the Tory Member didn’t successfully resist, is to dally in the spotlight. It’s a very fine line. One extra sentence and you look like you’re making a meal of it, fine dining in the sacred silence.

Better would be not to do it all; to find another way to demonstrate that politicians are human, that they share our concerns.

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mdi-timer 1 February 2023 @ 15:13 1 Feb 2023 @ 15:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Kim Johnson Apologises for Anti-Israel Language

Kim Johnson has apologised to the Commons via a Point of Order after being bollocked by Labour’s Chief Whip. It really sounds like she meant it…

mdi-timer 1 February 2023 @ 14:43 1 Feb 2023 @ 14:43 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Keir Calls Kim Johnson in to Apologise for Decrying “Fascist Israeli Government”

Kier Starmer is taking action against a Labour MP’s use of disturbing languageagainst Israel. At PMQs today, Kim Johnson called Israel’s government “fascist”, before adding it was an “apartheid” state. Tom Harwood is now reporting that Kim has been called in to the Labour Whip’s office, where she is likely to be suspended if she can’t apologise fulsomely. This isn’t even the first time Kim has caused controversy, the far-left Corbynite previously denied her predecessor was hounded out of politics by antisemitism. At least Labour is now taking these issues seriously.

mdi-timer 1 February 2023 @ 13:57 1 Feb 2023 @ 13:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rishi Accuses Starmer of Letting Spin Doctor Undermine Rosie Duffield

Rishi obviously had his four Weetabix this morning, hammering Sir Keir over his own record of propriety end ethics; accusing him of letting down women in his party, as well as school children thanks to the strikes. Referencing Guido’s story about Matthew Doyle’s briefing against Rosie Duffield last week, he accused Starmer of letting his right-hand man undermine his own female MPs. Tory backbenchers loved it…

mdi-timer 1 February 2023 @ 12:20 1 Feb 2023 @ 12:20 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?
  1. Kirsty Blackman (SNP)
  2. Anne McLaughlin (SNP)
  3. Robert Neill (Con)
  4. Heather Wheeler (Con)
  5. David Johnston (Con)
  6. Andrew Gwynne (Lab)
  7. Liam Fox (Con)
  8. Rachel Maclean (Con)
  9. Catherine West (Lab)
  10. John Penrose (Con)
  11. Mary Kelly Foy (Lab)
  12. Jerome Mayhew (Con)
  13. Ian Blackford (SNP)
  14. Neil Hudson (Con)
mdi-timer 1 February 2023 @ 11:55 1 Feb 2023 @ 11:55 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
But Surely Keir Will Be As Impotent As Any Other PM…

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.

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mdi-timer 25 January 2023 @ 15:21 25 Jan 2023 @ 15:21 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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