Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Diane Abbot - Dave's Nightmare

It was when Diane Abbott rose to pay him a compliment that David Cameron must have realised that the game could finally be up on his time as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.

As it was, he had received a bit of a clue as he made his way into the Commons chamber with all the welcome from his side of a leper who had left his bell at home.

Could this be the same Prime Minister who, just two weeks ago, was cheered into the self-same chamber by the self-same MPs, having promised the slay the european dragon? Clearly not, as this PM made his way in virtual silence to his seat passing the pale faces of those Cabinet colleagues who had backed gay marriage last night and spent the morning reading insulting messages from their constituents.
They slumped down in their seats as if to make a smaller target for those behind them who see last night's vote as another step on the road to the dole.

Which all set the scene perfectly for Ed Miliband, who had happily lent his support to the PM in last night's division knowing it could only turn the screw that bit tighter. He had almost to be held down as Prime Ministers Questions got underway and bounced to his feet even before Speaker Bercow finished his own Zebedee impersonation.

Ed has finally learned that Dave flounders if questioned about the detail of any Government policy and Tory MPs groaned at what was to come when Ed introduced the ubiquitous Alison into the proceedings.

In this case Alison is a Middlesbrough mum with two boys in the army who faces being penalised by the Government "bedroom tax" and won't have any room for her boys to come back to.

Having pressed the "our boys" button and introduced a Northern town into the debate Ed happily sat back as Dave dutifully embarrassed his way through one of his usual non-answers.

Not content with Alison, Ed then revealed he had been in correspondence with a certain Diane who lives in a one-bedroom flat and is equally threatened by the Government.

As Gillian Duffy so aptly proved to Gordon Brown, contact with ordinary voters can be a very dangerous move and Dave made clear his outrage at such underhand tactics.

Chancellor George Osborn, slumped slightly to the PM's left, seemed so concerned with events that he appeared to be mouthing Dave's answers- or at least his replies to questions not yet asked.

In recent times past the massed ranks of Tory boot boys would have turned up the volume control to ease their leader's passage through the half hour of humiliation but today some just stared balefully on as his temper, and temperature, rose.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt squashed in next to the Chancellor wearing his usual "what the hell am I doing here" look and Foreign Secretary William Hague sat as if waiting for the No 49 bus to whisk him off to more exotic parts.

As Dave got up enough steam to take him to Middlesbrough to take tea with the afore-mentioned Alison, looking on happily from the wings was former chief whip Andrew Mitchell, with his own scores yet to settle at No 10.

As Ed issued his weekly call for Dave to calm down he politely pointed out the PM had "nearly half" his parliamentary party behind him. And if that was not bad enough with PMQs almost out of the way who should pop up with words about last night's vote but the Labour member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott.

Having spent much of her 26 years in parliament avoiding any expressions of pleasure at the behaviour of her own leaders, it was perhaps fitting that she should give the PM the change to add to his sins in the eyes of at least half his own.

They sat silent as the PM talked of a "stronger and fairer society". They sat silent as he said he was proud "this government"- their government - had seen it through.

Now for the committee stages, then the House of Lords, then the election.

Like europe, this one will run, and run, and run, and run………