Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Having a Hard Day? Read This and Make It Worse...

In Italy, the balance of power is held by a party whose leader is a stand-up comedian. In Britain, it is held by Nick Clegg for whom Mock the Week must surely be beckoning.

With his back against every wall in Britain over allegations of extra-Liberal behaviour by his former chief executive Lord Rennard, the Deputy Prime Minister is clearly a follower of that other renowned liberal thinker, Donald Rumsfeld, who memorably said:

"There are known knowns, there are known unknowns. There are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know."

Having faithfully followed this logic to explain his own part in l'affaire Rennard might go some way to explain the appearance of the confused wraith-like figure bearing an uncanny likeness to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Prime Ministers Questions.

Having been Daily Mailed to death over the past few days, he was clearly seeking a moment's respite and where better than PMQs which can always be counted on to avoid any mention of anything involving libidinous behaviour on the part of politicians?

And so it proved today as members managed to stagger through 30 minutes of insults and innuendo without even a sniff at the story dominating today's media.

But that did free them to concentrate on that other, cynics might say, connected story of the week, tomorrow's by-election in Eastleigh.

With less than 24 hours to go tomorrow's vote is already being described as make or break time for Nick and/or David Cameron depending on which newspaper you read last.

"Questions will be asked", to quote another famous libido Andy Gray, if Dave can't dislodge the Lib Dems from a seat where their incumbent is on his way to jail. It will be asked again if Nick's recent behaviour robs his party of a seat on which they thought the could hang.

With such vital matters in mind who else therefore should Dave chose to attack but Ed Miliband whose chances of winning Eastleigh are on a par with his hopes of the Mr Universe title.

Ed had been sitting quietly ready to launch his own assault following Friday's decision by the aptly named Moody's to cancel Britain's triple A status.

Reports of a possible late surge by Labour on the back of Tory and Lib Dem disarray led the Prime Minister to ask Ed to justify the selection of a Labour candidate who once said he would celebrate the death of Mrs Thatcher.

Dave, who normally takes a few minutes to be shovelled up to full steam by the Opposition had got a head up on his own apparently by this attack on Lady T and the usual suspects roared themselves back into life as they realised it was she who had been so insulted.

Ed whose candidate for Eastleigh, comedian John O'Farrell had been selected from Labour's "anyone-free-for-a-fortnight" list, seemed momentarily non-plussed by being dragged into the campaign one such a micro-matter as his candidate.
But, quickly recovering he returned to macro safe ground by reminding the PM that maintaining the triple A rating had been item one on his general election manifesto.

As Ed Balls turned up the volume on his patented wind-up-Dave machine, the PM faltered, blustered and stared anywhere but at his tormentors.

The Government front bench collectively grimaced as if suffering from a joint attack of wind and even Ken Clarke, who had found himself accidentally shuffled up the firing line seemed to have realised something was up.

Treasury officials, due for afternoon meetings with their boss, could only have blanched as Chancellor George bared his teeth at the charge the Government might be on the wrong tack.

Ed turned his attack on Education Secretary Michael Gove with a crack about disloyalty to the PM which seemed enough to provoke embarrassment in someone who must have mixed feelings about who he wants to win tomorrow. As he blushed like a boiled sweet with a smile Labour roared and Speaker Bercow's calls for calm were ignored as usual.

With victory now ensured Ed then proceeded to pry open the jaws of defeat.

Stuck with nothing else to say Dave pointed out attacks on Labour's economic alternatives in the New Statesman.

Ed rubbished the New Statesman.

Dave pointed out it was the only publication to back him for Labour leader.

Having observed that return from the dead, the Speaker cleverly decided to re-introduce Nadine Dorries to the chamber.

Miss Dorries has been without the Tory whip since she re-wrote the rules on MP's holidays and took a month off to head for the jungle with ITV.

With her tan now suitably faded she asked a question no-one listened to but got a warm enough reply from a PM who realised the Eastleigh by-election was half an hour closer and losing another MP might be seen as carelessness.

As lunch beckoned Nick let it be know he would be heading there later.

You have been warned.