Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Meanwhile back in Syria...


It is not known how many Syrian refugees have satellite television installed in their tents but those taking time out from surviving could have tuned in to Prime Ministers Questions this morning.

There, they would have seen the heavily-trailed sequel to last week's performance of "Oh What a Lovely War" staged in that most famous palace of varieties, the House of Commons.
Back by popular demand, was the full cast including the "copper-bottomed shit", played by Ed Miliband - and the erstwhile BFF of the President of the United States, played by David Cameron.

For those Syrians who missed the first night, the plot involved Dave lending Potus (work it out!) a few British bombs to add to his loads to drop on the remains of their country to persuade mad bad Assad to stop using chemical weapons. Ed originally thought it was a good idea, then didn't; made the worst speech of his career and accidentally got a majority of MPs to tell Potus he was on his own.

The Downing Street cat went into hiding and Dave went into orbit at the shame of it, delivered not just by Labour but a ragtag of rebels from his own side. So, the stage was set for the sequel as the two men met for the first time since the Prime Minister had to swallow his sun tan last week.

After three years in office, Dave had learned that his back-benchers are never more on his side than after they have shafted him and so he was roared to his feet. He began by lauding praise on a Prince George. The Chancellor smiled, but it was astonishingly another George. Then it was Ed's turn to get up and cheers, - one might suggest somewhat ironically from the Tory side, - resounded throughout the Chamber.

It is worth taking time out now to remind the regular reader that anticipation of what was to follow had been encouraged by Dave's pals. They had let it be known last week that they thought Ed was "copper-bottomed" in his lavatorial habits (perhaps an obscure public school insult) following his apparent change of mind over Syria.

If that insult was lost on the great unwashed they added the much more democratic  f****** c*** (my priest could be reading) to the list of Ed's attributes. With these insults in mind seats had been booked early for thirty minutes of not much light but plenty of heat. But, it was not to be.
Having reviewed his two fingers to the leader of the free world, not to mention accusations of giving the nod to Assad, Ed had obviously decided some serious rowing back needed to be done.

Having struggled into a statesman's suit, the Labour leader, traditionally pale after another holiday out of the sun, looked suitably severe as he said his side had no intention of "shirking their responsibilities" over Syria. Shirking of any sort is, of course, an arrestable offence on the Tory benches and so coupling it into a sentence involving Syria produced enough hoots of derision to cause passers-by to stare wildly about.

Ed's demeanour may not have been helped by the news on his way in that the GMB union plan to cut their contributions to Labour by £1m in answer to his plea to help modernise the party. Nor, indeed the decision by brother David, who left the country so as not to embarrass his brother, penning a helpful piece in the FT this morning saying he took the totally opposite view on Syria.

But, luckily for Ed, the Prime Minister, who appeared at stages to be held down by a couple of strongly fixed guy ropes, seemed off his game following last week's slapping. No mention of the unions and no mention of him across the water as he struggled to keep the steam pressure down with opponents happily before and behind him.

What was needed was more jaw and less war, said Ed, taking care to keep the Despatch Box firmly between him and the puce PM. Dave spoke of revulsion over chemical weapons and Ed made it clear he was doubly revulsed. Dave wanted talks and Ed wanted double talks. Dave got revulsed again and so did Ed.

And as soon as it began it was over. Ed sat down, Dave sat down and nobody was any the wiser.

With no blood spilled and his audience unsated after their latest seven week break, Speaker Bercow, tried his best to get things going by by calling Tory Jesse Norman to his feet. Mr Norman was a player in the subplot of last week's humiliation for the PM as one of the Government MP's who had the temerity to fail to vote.

Jesse, recently appointed a government adviser, discovered this morning that only the sack awaits those who put conscience before party. MPs sat forward in their seats as Jesse rose to speak only to be let down as one old Etonian politely talked to another, his PM, about pressing constituency business.

And suddenly it was lunchtime.

Meanwhile back in Syria.