Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Prime Minister's Questions sketch - Feb 26th. Ed and Dave... Another Stonker

There are certain words which, when uttered in the right place and at the right time, can sum up a political philosophy: "stonking" joins that list today.

It emerged, blinking into the sunlight, just after 12:15pm, halfway through an otherwise humdrum session of Prime Ministers Questions. Normally, it would have been washed away in the tide of indifference which marks Westminster's weekly foray into democracy.

But, now and again, a word catches a mood and this was one the bruised and battered veterans of the Tory back benches had been waiting for.

Times have not been easy for the foot soldiers of the right wing revolution who have swallowed continuing poll unpopularity despite economic advance.
Abandoned by their leaders to gay marriage, Europe and the floods, the mood among the faithful has been black. But, all that changed in an instant when "stonking" - describing the latest economic performance  - was introduced into the chamber. Delight spread itself across faces among the ruling party as their lips made their way around the new word. On the front bench ministers, many of them suddenly women, could be seen trying it out for size.

Chancellor George, whose last contribution to the political lexicon was onmishambles, hugged his knees in delight. Meanwhile the Prime Minister, unnerved by the outburst of happiness, glanced over his shoulder to see if someone else had come in.

Regular readers may feel that the word has all the look and sound of one first seen in a PG Wodehouse novel. Indeed, the world of Jeeves and Wooster never seems too far away from certain sections of the Conservative Party.

But, this column can reveal the verb stonk -  and its various derivations - emerged from the depths of the 1980's - right in the middle of the Thatcher dynasty.
Whether this final seal of approval was innately known to Tory loyalists at PMQs is not known but fond memories of the 'loadsamoney' time can only have helped.

With stonking now signed up, stand by for similar adjectives since the Tory Manifesto is being drawn up by five Old Etonians. 
Dave apparently believes only his mates can be trusted with the way ahead although Chancellor George (ex-St Paul's) has been allowed in, presumably to do the typing.
In times past such news would have gladdened the heart of the People's Party. Insults would have been block booked for PMQs and tribunes elected to hurl them across the chamber.

But, Labour's own inexorable slide into middle classness has blunted this attack and instead not-very-red-Ed decided that flooding still had life left in it.

Observers of PMQs were waiting to see if Speaker Bercow's recent charge of "yobbery and public school twittishness" at PMQs would have any effect.

It can be reported that the yobs and twits took it as a compliment and proceeded to shove it in the Speaker space where the sun don't shine.

Ed and Dave proceeded to prove their statesmanship by lowering the volume of their insults.
But, happily it was only seconds before the PM was branded a phoney by the Labour leader and braying could be resumed.
Dave returned to shouting, the massed ranks returned to the ceiling and the Speaker returned to indifference.

Slumped silently throughghout, the small sulk - aka the leader of the Lib Dems (not to be confused with the Great Sulk, Gordon Brown) - snubbed by both major party leaders this week.

One Tory wag suggested instead a grand alliance of Labour and Conservatives aping Germany whose leader Angela Merkel arrives tomorrow to check our bank balance. Both Dave and Ed looked momentarily stunned at the thought of such leger de main and suspicious MPs on both sides stared about them for signs of this new treason.

Final thoughts must go to Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers who could just be seen stuffed like a lettuce leaf between the PM and his secretarial assistance, Chancellor George.

Ever since the mystery of the missing ministers left Dave women-less on his front bench attendance at PMQs has been mandated.

Today it was Theresa's turn to play the sandwich filling before fleeing to freedom at 12:35pm. 

As PMQs go, it was a stonker.