Wednesday, April 30, 2014

PMQs April 30th - Ed and Dave. The End of the Beginning.

Imagine, if you can, David Cameron climbing to his feet in the House of Commons and put the word "sleekit" next to his image.

You have now transported yourself to the first Prime Ministers Questions of the last
12 months of his government.

It may have been an over-abundance of dorada and chips in Lanzarote but Dave did have the look of someone who had been specially buffed up for the occasion. And, he was not the only one who had taken advantage of the latest time off.

Chancellor George, sporting an Olly Cromwell haircut, looked as if he had been on the 5+2 diet - five days in the coffin, two days above ground. But, his ghostly pallor was as nothing compared to that of Ed Miliband who is clearly not even on nodding terms with the sun or any of its bottled alternatives. But, what is that to do with politics? You might ask.
Well nothing, but neither was PMQs.

It is a measure of the disconnect between the people and politics that the only story doing the rounds today was the latest antics of not-so nutty Nigel.

Offered the opportunity last night to hang himself in Newark, Mr Farage instead chose to live on as the biggest threat to the major political parties in a generation. That on its own was obviously enough to rule it out of order for the Wednesday democratic debate that is PMQs

And so it proved as the nation's representatives, all nervous about what Nigel's nutters might mean to them, talked about anything else.

Which is not to say the threat of a severe Farageing had no effect since what else could explain Dave's return to temper after his three week lie-down.

Ed hardly had time to draw his index fingers from their holsters before he had the PM snapping and snarling over the Post Office sell-off scandal.

With Labour also adopting the let's-not-talk-about-them-and-they'll-go-away policy over Ukip (11% ahead of Labour in the latest euro-polls and 20% ahead of the Tories) Ed had to talk about something.

As it was, he did have Dave over a bit of a barrel since members of his own party think we were ripped off during the sale. But, the PM wasn't going to let that little matter get in the way of his fulsome defence that the present price values the Post Office at at least £1bn more than the Government got.

Speaker Bercow was on early manoeuvres as the massed choirs of Tory back-benchers made it clear they too were not going to be diverted by the facts.

With the Government front bench jammed by those who know their time might soon be up, the Chancellor seemed squeezed out of his seat, or at least averse to making more contact with Home Secretary Theresa May than necessary.
This only served to make him even more threatening than usual when Ed named his best man (the Chancellor's that is) as a recipient of the vast profits made by hedge funds during the sale.

With Dave now in full flow, the Speaker loathed as regular readers know by all right-thinking Tory MPs, interrupted to call time on the PM.

"I haven't finished", said Dave. 

"Oh yes you have" said his nemesis.

With pleasantries now parked the Father of the House, an amiable old duffer called Sir Peter Tapsell, rambled for a few minutes giving members on all sides time to catch up on their emails.

As insults of varying degrees of intensity continued to be swapped, the Speaker then called extra time adding late lunches to his list of crimes.
It was 12.37 before MPs were allowed to stagger into daylight - the longest PMQs said the experts since the last longest PMQs.

With the local election, Euro elections, Scottish elections and a general election on the way this may not yet be the beginning of the end. But, hopefully, as Winston once said, the end of the beginning.
Ps: Nick Clegg was also there.