Wednesday, July 02, 2014

PMQs July 2nd - Edlines. It's only Wednesday.

If the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland could have licked himself he would, but there was no space left. It has all been pre-booked for a dinner tonight with the Very Very, Almost and Maybe - (but it’s none of your business) - Rich People who fund the Conservative Party.

But Dave did still looked as if he wanted to find a place for his tongue as he paused on his way to the do for Prime Ministers Questions.

There was a time in the not too distant past when he came to PMQs with his own para-medics, ready to revive him after a drubbing from Ed Miliband. But today, face buffed, hair groomed and tan polished, the ambulance was absent.

Instead it was Ed who had the oxygen on standby after a week in which his friends seemed to be fighting to see who could dump on him first.

A “profound dead hand” (Jon Cruddas) morphed into “sense of direction” (Lord Glasman) via a cock up over job figures (Lord Adonis).

Len McCluskey happily helped out by pledging Unite cash to Labour whilst describing Ed’s opposite to a EU referendum as an “electoral millstone”.

When Harold Wilson declared a week a long time in politics he could not have imagined a successor shortening it to a day.
So it was with a light step and the sycophantic support of his back and front benches - who all know a summer re-shuffle is coming - that Dave levitated into the Chamber at noon.

Indeed the Kop End of the Tory Party, refreshed by the World Cup, were on double decibels even before the PM spoke.
Back in full favour after being beastly to Johnny Foreigner last week, Dave had clearly spent the morning learning his Edlines.
But for once this week, so had Ed.

There is a lesson hard-learned but often forgotten in Ed circles - Dave Doesn’t Do Detail - and nowhere do the double-double D’s apply more than the National Health Service.

This was meant to be Labour’s business and jobs week but having shot themselves in the foot, the legs and the mouth, this was no longer an option.

Instead Ed majored on the Health Service on which Dave had unwisely given pledges whilst maintaining it was safe in his hands.

The Tory hordes and their leader were unnerved as Ed asked about waiting lists and stuck his scalpel where the PM had parked his temper.

The Labour leader had the pleasure of seeing Dave almost lose it but the massed choirs leapt to his defence bellowing down the opposition.

With only six questions to get through he adopted the usual practice of answering his own questions and ignoring everyone else’s.

And even though Ed won the skirmish it was Dave who won the battle, squeezing in a dodgy statistics charge and telling Labour’s troubled MP’s not to worry, “It’s only Wednesday.”
Dave’s crack was immediately elevated to one of the ”top ten jokes of my mate the Prime Minister” by MPs and Ministers on his side.

Observers could see why Jeremy Hunt remains in the Cabinet - despite being responsible for the NHS - by the way in which he appreciated Dave’s humour.
It was obviously the best joke ever told by his friend the PM since the last time he told the best joke ever. Chancellor George, who probably wrote the joke, laughed mirthlessly, Ken Clarke smiled benignly and Nick Clegg stared at the floor.

Meanwhile, on the opposition benches, Ed Miliband’s face brought the expression “slapped arse” to mind.

It was actually all - including the shouting -over by ten past twelve but democracy is scheduled for a full half hour every Wednesday. 

Ringmaster Bercow called on several of the usual subjects to show why they deserve a parliamentary place in Britain’s Got Talent.

Dianne Abbott reminded MP’s she would be standing for Mayor of London, Michael Ellis reminded MP’s his tongue was next in line for the PM and Sir Tony Baldry reminded everyone of a wardrobe with a posh accent.

But it was only as the performance was petering out that mobile phones were ignored as Dennis Skinner was called to his feet. The Beast of Bolsover, now 82, has lost not one ounce of his contempt for the Tory Party in his four decades in the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister displayed generations of discomfort as Dennis lacerated “the Bullingdon boy” over the NHS. Even Labour squirmed in their seats as Skinner’s uncompromising accent cut through the Commons.

“Get it done or get out”, he said. 

And everybody went to lunch.