PMQs Sketch: Choices Edition

If politics was a sport with the aim of getting the lowest score possible, Jeremy Corbyn would be Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohammad Ali all rolled into one. Much as Ronaldo’s goal tally continues to increase irresistibly year after year, so Corbyn’s ability to unfailingly miss the target at PMQs relentlessly improves week after week. Meanwhile May has achieved a Messi-like mastery of repeating the same tricks so often that her opponents can’t even remember how to stop them and simply glaze over instead. Between the two of them, they have managed to achieve a feat surpassing even the level of Messi and Ronaldo. They have managed to make PMQs the least relevant event of the political week…

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PMQs: Brexit Knockout Special

Theresa May knew she was in for a tough bout when howls of laughter greeted her stock response to the opening question: “This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others…” She had survived the warm-up rounds with her ministers for now, but could she withstand a gruelling slugfest with the MPs? It must have been serious as Jeremy Corbyn had improbably decided to go in on the issue of the day…

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PMQs: Trick or Treat?

Theresa nervously twitched the curtains. Would it be trick or treat for her today? Kids these days were getting awfully greedy, although Phil had given her a large stash of sweets earlier this week. Hopefully that would be enough to keep them happy. There came a knock at the door. She cautiously opened it up. It was Mark from the Forest of Dean. Nice Mark just wanted to tell her how delicious Phil’s sweets were. She agreed, they certainly were! Hopefully everyone else will be just as polite, she thought…

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PMQs: Jeremy’s Book Club

Jeremy was in a bad mood. He hadn’t had enough sleep, and Seumas had forced him to spend all morning reading something about Derby Council. Worst of all, it was Theresa’s turn to choose the book this week. She had probably picked some boring self-help book about leadership. He really just wanted to read through the latest copy of Allotment Gardeners Monthly and yet he was forced to turn up and pretend to be interested in other people’s books every week.

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PMQs: Special Delivery

“Ding dong!” That was odd, thought Theresa. Who could it be at this time? She didn’t remember ordering anything. Bemused, she pottered over to the door and cautiously opened it up. A wispy old man dressed strangely like a delivery boy was shuffling from foot to foot on the doorstep. “What is it?” she asked. “Err, I’ve got a pizza for Theresa,” he mumbled, nervously reading from a piece of paper. “To share with Esther and Penny?” How very strange, Theresa puzzled. She had invited Esther and Penny over to play checkers, but both of them had turned her down, muttering something about “being dead”. They had been doing rather a lot of socialising this week, she supposed…

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When Will PMQs Be Over?

“When will austerity be over for the owl catchers? When will austerity be over for the sausage sellers? When will austerity be over for the dog food tasters?” Corbyn droned monotonously through his list of people who hadn’t got anything nice from mean old Theresa in a while. The only question on anyone else’s mind was “When will PMQs be over?” Half the Labour backbenchers didn’t stick around to find out. Vince Cable didn’t even bother turning up to witness a PMQs that made his own speeches look positively Churchillian. They made the right call…

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PMQs: Temporal Rift Edition

All across the House of Commons MPs looked around confused, almost concerned. What was that tremendous racket going on in the middle of the room? Had some devious backbenchers snuck up to the Despatch Box to play a noisy prank? Had the session been so soporific that they had fallen asleep and missed both parties deposing their leaders, holding leadership elections and installing charismatic replacements in their place? Had the combined wrath of the ERG and Momentum summoned up two demons from another dimension who were now engaged in a never-ending battle to the death, while opening up a temporal rift which had transported the entire building back in time to 2007? As the MPs were about to find out, sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction. May and Corbyn were actually having a decent battle at PMQs…

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Strictly PMQs

It’s a rare breed of masochist that looks forward to PMQs in the May-Corbyn era, after 45 minutes trapped in the purgatory of the BBC’s new Chuka Umunna Show Politics Live show, the prospect of Corbyn chuntering out pre-scripted lines on the NHS for social media clips interspersed by “Wales” from Theresa May suddenly started to look like a more appealing prospect. Would Jezza be leading us through the pearly gates or down into a fresh circle of PMQs hell?

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F*ck PMQs

F*ck business? Well, no. F*ck PMQs? Absolutely yes. Today’s hell-fest turned horrific as Speaker Bercow intoned: “there’s unlimited time as far as I’m concerned”. Strap in

Jezza did open – as expected – with the ‘rats in a sack’ ploy: swiftly pointing out the evident disagreement within Theresa May’s cabinet on, well, just about everything nowadays (rather like every cabinet in British political history, by the way). He picked up on Boris Johnson’s reported four-letter commentary. The key weakness here is as follows: being lectured on party unity – especially regarding Brexit – by Jeremy Corbyn is like taking advice on harmony and non-violence from Tom and Jerry. Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet is not only divided on leaving the EU, but on spending plans, on the manifesto, on his leadership, on the future direction of his party and on the very definition of what the Labour Party, in its very essence, should be. The leader’s office is locked in a perpetual war with its own spokespeople. The Shadow Cabinet meeting room might as well be fitted with a revolving door: more than 100 resignations since Corbyn became leader (not to mention the sackings). Sadly, the irony of Corbyn’s critique was not conveyed. F*ck PMQs…

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NHS Tax Rises: Would You Prefer to Be Pickpocketed or Mugged?

Which one arrives quicker? An A&E doctor or Jeremy Corbyn’s first question at PMQs? At least the former is subject to a target and to monitoring, and – more often than not – when doctors arrive, they come baring sympathy and hard drugs. When Jezza’s opener finally landed, it was more of the ‘men in white coats’ flavour, in that it only served to confirm the reinforced, double-glazed looking glass through which we have all passed. Jezza quizzed May on tax, accusing her at various points in the exchange of introducing “phantom” and “mystery” taxes in order to pay for the NHS funding increase (which he himself has been demanding since homo sapiens evolved from homo erectus). It’s more than a brass neck when a socialist lectures on tax, Jezza’s must be made from reinforced kevlar… Continue reading

Jezza an Eagle, May a Pigeon

The Brexit doomsday clock is at one minute to midnight. The government is split, the backbenches volatile, the whips under pressure. Is the white paper a blank? Across the north of England, tens of thousands of people cannot get to work, school or hospital because the train network simply collapsed overnight. It emerges the Heathrow Airport expansion could be voted down. People in cities feel like they are living through a new epidemic of violent crime. The ‘hostile environment’ saw an orphan deported. Of all the topics raised at PMQs this lunchtime, Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a confident, certain – strong and stable – answer to one and one alone. She would sponsor a pigeon in a pigeon race… 

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Corbyn’s NHS Attack Glossary

Today’s déjà vu PMQs was little more than a throwback to the worst recurring terror in the panoply of British political nightmares: Theresa May vs Jeremy Corbyn on ‘Our National Health Service’. Across the despatch boxes the topic is life-sucking, it has the signal-jamming effect of blocking all thought, locking onto any form of intelligent argument and blowing it up as would an interceptor missile. To watch May and Corbyn on the NHS engenders a particularly strong sensation of their detachment from reality; we too are trapped in their eternal feedback loop of massaged statistics, meaningless platitudes and over-hyped, baseless accusations, always – wave to the sheep – diverted via Wales, fated only to end up where we began. These exchanges are as incisive as a blunt scalpel and enjoyable as a bout of haemorrhoids…

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Jezza’s New Definition of Madness

Albert Einstein defined madness as “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Jeremy Corbyn today topped-off a staggeringly poor PMQs performance – naturally, in blindingly severe contrast to last week’s outing – by calling on the Prime Minister to resign. He screeched:

“If the prime minister cannot negotiate a good deal for Britain why doesn’t she step aside and let Labour negotiate… Step aside and make way for those who will.”

In October last year Jezza stood in exactly the same spot and wailed across the despatch box:

“Isn’t it the case that if the PM can’t lead, she should leave?”

Just three days before last year’s general election, when asked whether he would call on May to resign over police numbers, Corbyn replied:

“Indeed I would.”

The same month he said May must:

“Go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country.”

Then in September he demanded of her:

 “For Britain’s sake pull yourself together or make way.”

Every few weeks, at an increasing frequency, perhaps altered by imperceptible changes in the earth’s magnetic field (observable only to Piers Corbyn) – or due to signal fluctuations received from the short wave radio housed in the attic of the Russian Embassy – Jezza’s behaviour suddenly enters an almost lycanthropic mode. In the dead of night he morphs into the ‘resign now’ monster, a humiliating Hyde to his bumbling Jekyll, an embarrassing form of political lunacy. At PMQs the mask slips and we see a lone oddball, repeatedly bashing his head against the proverbial brick wall, endlessly howling at the moon… 

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Rarest of PMQs: Corbyn Wins, Speaker Cheered

A white peacock, Shakespeare’s signature in manuscript, the transition of Venus, pure platinum, the albino humpback whale, a Wagyu steak Big Mac, the first-contact of a lost tribe, a blue moon, the philosopher’s stone, blood type AB minus, the St. Francis Satyr butterfly, a complete copy of The Gutenberg Bible, the element astatine, a jeroboam of Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945, a twin tornado ripping across a golden plain of orchids illuminated by a double rainbow: all of them among the rarest occurrences or items found on this mad, spinning, Tory-run sphere we call home. Yet one phenomenon is rarer still…

It has been valued by Christie’s experts as beyond the sum of all currency currently in circulation – globally. It has been verified by the most expert lapidarists as less common than the rarest known gem. NASA scientists have placed it beyond technological understanding. A panel of the top surgeons concurred it lies beyond medical explanation. Philosophers and mystics place it beyond the reckoning of all human comprehension, beyond knowledge obtainable by the essence of the soul itself. What ever can it be? Jeremy Bernard Corbyn winning six nil at Prime Minister’s Questions, of course…

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Critiquing the Corbyn Clip Crap

Regular observers will have grown used to Jeremy Corbyn losing his marbles at Prime Minister’s Question Time – but never before have those marbles scattered so wildly across the chamber as they did today. Like a deranged late-career performance artist, Jezza wildly changed-up his style: no more the cunning ‘forget to ask the question entirely’ ploy, or that genius googly where he sits down mid-sentence. Today was altogether more cavemanlike, frankly more berserk – and more raw, more terrifying. Jezza used the good ol’ ‘flick and stick’: throw enough paint at the wall and some of it will cling…

‘But he’s doing it for the clips, it’s all for social media!’ says you, an in-the-know political insider. Save that fool-talk for your pathetic and ill-informed dinner parties. It’s quite straightforward: if you took an enormous sh*t-filled fire hose and sprayed its contents all over a blank canvas, you wouldn’t suddenly have the Mona Lisa just by videoing the mess and sticking it on YouTube, would you? Jezza’s Jackson Pollock approach to the art of PMQs meant we were lectured on Windrush, the NHS, schools funding, police funding, Amber Rudd, child poverty, and the macroeconomic situation – all within minutes. Dizzying, ineffective and risible. One feared Jezza was on the cusp of attacking Theresa May over Gulf I, allotments and the lack of publicly-funded raspberry jam… Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn and the Theory of Human Sexual Response

In the 1960s Masters and Johnson formulated their theory of human sexual response: they defined that divine crescendo as moving from excitement, through plateau, and on finally to the bliss of climax. This model is curiously applicable to parliamentary performance, in particular, to PMQs…

Jezza began promisingly, quickening the pulse of the House by leading on Windrush. We have come to expect Corbyn – labouring under a misbegotten impression of his own political creativity and genius – to question the government on the least (rather than most) pressing issue of the day. Were, for example, the nation to be overwhelmed by a robotic Tory killer army, literally stringing up the homeless from lamposts and throwing benefits claimants off buildings, Corbyn would use that week’s PMQs to lead on the abstruse calculus of the schools funding formula. As such, Corbyn usually fails to reach even the excitement stage. Diane, is that you sighing knowingly? Continue reading

Mission Accomplished: Targeted Strike on Corbyn

We may draw the following conclusions from today’s Prime Minister’s Question time: under a Corbyn government, Napoleon would have won at Waterloo, Roger Bannister would have tripped in the third minute of his four minute mile and Germany would have stuck away three goals in extra time of the 1966 World Cup final. If Jeremy Corbyn ever runs this country, at the very moment he takes office, the fabric of the universe will mysteriously and instantly reverse itself at the molecular level. Time will begin to run backwards. Fate will become only the constant advent of ever more impossible outcomes. To Orwell’s dreadful triad (‘War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength’) Corbyn will add the final term. Victory is defeat…

Imagine the Windrush scandal as a killer robot manufactured in the secret basement of Momentum HQ to destroy the Home Secretary and directly implicate Theresa May in arguably racist deportations. This monolith to the government’s incompetence, insensitivity and – yes – bigotry, loomed on a collision orbit over Downing Street last night, a political Death Star of unique power. Moreover, Windrush isn’t just an attack line: for the opposition it has the additional benefit of being a real-life scandal, rather than the usual confected fare. Wielded by Jeremy Corbyn, this philosopher’s stone of rare power was instantly denuded so as to become as effective as a marzipan machine gun. Was there ever a man in British political history who could be more relied upon to fire a blank than he? Continue reading

Jezza’s False Flag PMQs

The new and universal virtue signal in British politics is mental health. Our parliamentarians, ever creative only in their unparalleled cynicism and opportunism, have come to a ‘consensus’ on the issue, falling over each other daily to lay offerings at this now sacred altar. Mental health is the go-to, right-on, reverse gaslight: our politicians are increasingly using it to confuse us into crediting them with moral superiority, and most of all, to flaunt the limitless compassion for which they are renowned. It must be a coincidence that the policy area of mental health also boasts extraordinary and elastic utility as the political equivalent of Monopoly’s get-out-of-jail-free-card. Jeremy Corbyn deployed the issue today, allowing him to operate unfettered in full deflection mode – unchallenged on Russia, unchallenged on the anti-Semitism scandal, all despite the Prime Minister’s best fortnight in living memory – while simultaneously being protected from any accusation of cynicism. A quite Kremlin-esque false flag from Agent COB…

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Putin Cackles as Watching Kremlin Activates Agent COB

At the Kremlin Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin settles into his golden throne to watch Prime Minister’s Questions and the accompanying statement. As a jack-booted servant flicks over from Russia Today, Vlad wonders aloud: “Who’s the thin old beardy bloke in the red tie?”

“That’s Jeremy Corbyn”, replies the trembling aide. “Who?” demands Putin, never more than a moment from a nuclear-level rage, or worse, offering to make an adviser’s tea. “You know, Mr President. Codename COB…”

The almond-eyed tyrant purses his lips then raises a smile. An FSB man never forgets a codename.

“Ah, da, da,” he whispers. “Activate Agent COB…”

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A Bloody Difficult Woman Hung The Absolute Boy Out To Dry

A bloody difficult woman just rinsed the absolute boy. Completely, stunningly, beautifully hung him out to dry. And there was no doubt in the Chamber of the House of Commons this was a girl’s job well done.

The true strength of Theresa May’s killer line – that Corbyn had “mansplained” to her about International Women’s Day – wasn’t just in the delivery (though to the Prime Minister’s credit she nailed it; the House loved the funniest, best-targeted and pithiest one-liner she has ever used at PMQs – and perhaps her single most memorable).[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”

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