It’s not really the ‘Questions to the Prime Minister’ that are all that important, so much as the ‘Answers from the Prime Minister’. MPs on either benches can come up with any old rubbish. Only the PM’s fumbles, slips, or surprise admissions will make the bulletins. Or would have. This is Theresa May’s penultimate Wednesday session. The government she formed has a little over a week of life, and has stopped making news. It might be liberating for her instead. She could say anything she wants to her interrogators. An-y-thing. We are at the fin du regime. Power and patronage are slipping away from No. 10, even while there has been one trillion pounds of spending promises and a The Thick of It -style government department announced. But still Mrs May has her tabbed folder from which to refer.
It’s so unfair. She has to mug up all morning on current issues across Whitehall,, as well as memorise the hopefully witty and savage put-down for the final answer to the Leader of the Opposition. All Corbyn has to do is to be able to read out aloud what has been written for him. A grammar-school-educated 13-year-old could do that. Corbyn is not too interested in the actual responses. His over-long polemical questions will be chopped and shaped like a Bird’s Eye chicken burgers and fed to his supporters using the microchips of their internet devices. This multitude already believe JC walks on water. They do not witness Corbyn’s regular crucifixions at the Despatch Box.
There were mentions of England’s Cricket World Cup victory, plus also Lewis Hamilton’s record-breaking sixth successive victory at Silverstone. The reader might be forgiven for thinking that cricketing analogies might be exclusively appropriate for this session. After all, the PM is at the crease while the questions are bowled at her. Opposition MPs use ‘sledging’ tactic to disrupt her concentration.
Not so. John Gummer, or Lord Beefburger as older readers will know him, has described, in his capacity as one of the overnumerous High Priests of Global Warming, the government’s response to climate change as run ‘like a Dad’s Army’. And it was this quote that Jeremy Corbyn used as the basis for his questions. He could gone in like Hodges the Warden, or Yeatman the Verger. But no. He was Private Frazer. ???We’re doomed???, he was saying to the chamber, but not in a Scottish accent. It would be bad form to steal the SNP’s thunder in this way.
Mrs May refused to assume the role of Capt. Mainwaring. She also refused to make her answers just about the environment. In addition to batting off the question, she hit back with questions of her own. It wasn’t cricket after all. It had become tennis. Continue reading