Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Towering Inferno




If looks could really kill, then Sally Bercow would have been down the Co-Op this afternoon booking an obviously-not-too-long box for her erstwhile partner. For Speaker John would surely have been skewered to his seat for his part in the drama to be known, from now on, as The Defenestration of Dave. Having said that, the aforementioned vertically-challenged Speaker would not have been on his own if the Prime Minister had managed to get his death ray machine working properly.

First on the slab would have been Ed Miliband for a performance at least as exciting as last night's final of the Great British Bake Off. No cakes here, but if you ever wondered how a turkey feels when it's being stuffed you should write urgently to No.10 Downing Street. There, you will find the remains of what was once David Cameron, wrapped up and shipped back- probably by ambulance. 

Prime Ministers Questions has never been Dave's favourite booking, even less so since Ed discovered energy prices during Labour's annual conference. Having failed to find an answer to his 20 month freeze, the PM had come up with a cunning plan to turn the tables by concentrating on the improving economy.

Indeed a media strategy was drawn up for the week culminating in impressive growth figures due out on Friday. But, then onto the stage stepped figure of whom people said "who?" even when he was famous - none other (although surely that in itself is nonsense) than Sir John Major.

Sir John, who has maintained the anonymity he demonstrated whilst Prime Minister 20 years ago, popped out of the mist to lunch with Fleet Street's finest. There, he spoilt a free lunch with the revelation that he understood where Ed was coming from on energy prices and demanded a windfall tax.

As the sound of jaws thudding on pavements deafened Whitehall, the former Tory leader said the "silent have-nots" must be protected. A panicked Daily Telegraph, speaking on behalf of the "silent haves," said Sir J. must have cleared it with Dave. But, come PMQs it was clear that the present PM must have forgotten to take the phone call.

Dave had turned up 10 minutes early to practice his lines but it all fell away as Ed asked how he felt about Sir John joining "the red peril"? Walkers in Woolwich must have seen the Thames Barrier shoot up as the PM's fabled crimson tide spilled out of his collar, over his neck and up his face. As Ed hammered in a few more nails, Labour MPs cheered and jeered and Tory MPs looked for new places to hide.

The Labour leader was a "con man" spluttered Dave and said it again before Speaker Bercow decided to join in the fun. The word was "unparliamentary" said the Speaker, obviously ignoring the even more unparliamentary words being muttered about him from the Tory benches.

It was "a bit below the level", intoned Mr Bercow, as Dave and his mates mentally measured him for a shroud. By now, the PM was so wound up that he was out of his seat even before Ed had finished his latest insult.

He did have a plan, said the now ruddy red Dave, to cut the amount of money in energy bills devoted to green measures. This statement produced the rare sight of movement in his deputy Nick Clegg who normally spends PMQs catching up on his sleep.

But hearts had to go out to Dave's reluctant International Development Secretary Justine Greening, stuck right next to the towering inferno. She had  been unable to move out of the way after questions to her department just before PMQs.

Having been fired from Transport by Dave for not being high speed enough about HS2, she normally sits quietly down the front bench enjoying any brick bats heading his way. But being right next to his temper had her rigid with fear although providing a handy buffer for Foreign Sec William Hague and Chancellor George both happy to be out of arms reach. Indeed it was like a Mexican wave on the Tory back benches every time their leader turned his unrequited temper in their direction.

Ed Balls was so beside himself he almost sat on Ed M's knee; meanwhile the Labour leader was so happy he would have knighted Sir John again given half a chance.