Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#pmqs "enveloped by enemies"

If anyone is short of an abyss to stare into this Christmas, they could always borrow the one that is carried around by Nick Clegg. He has had it ever since support for the Lib Dems fell below the plimsoll line of British politics - which seemed to coincide with his promotion to Deputy Prime Minister. And it was certainly about his person yesterday as he was sacrificed to the House of Commons in a rare edition of Deputy PMQs.

Dave should have been there but opted for a late curry in Istanbul after a day trip talking turkey to the etc, etc. That meant an extra morning on his allotment for Ed M and an outing for Harriet Harmon in his place.

Normally this clash of the titans would clear the Commons faster than the flu. But there is something about humiliating Nick which breaks down all barriers, uniting left wing Labour with right wing Tory, not to mention more than a handful of Lib Dems.

With the election just 5 months away and the coalition being unofficially ended every day just how would he play his cards?Well, badly, seemed the general verdict as he bashed and clashed with Harriet and anyone else who got in his eyeline.

Labour’s plan was to embarrass him with his record on Lib Dem women in the coalition cabinet. But after four and a half years in the firing line, one insult sounds like another and his answers could have matched a hundred different questions.

With Labour hoping to ride to power on the back of former Lib Dem voters Nick could only repeat the charge that everything was their fault. Dave’s absence meant that he could borrow the Prime Ministerial specs for poking purposes.

And even though he had gone awol during the last three he remembered enough history to ignore the questions.

With Chancellor George one side of him, rictus grin in place, and Michael Gove on the other, equally self-satisfied, Nick decided to defend the Government.

Down the bench Vince Cable and Danny Alexander, fresh from rubbishing the same coalition just hours earlier, could only stare into space.

As Nick tough-talked his party into even less support, Tories cheered, Labour jeered and Harriet purred.

You could see the candy crush players look up in surprise from their tablets as he lashed Labour and spoke glowingly of the Government.

Surrounded by his enemies, had he finally given up the ghost or just lost the plot?

As the session ended MPs clamoured to complain to the Speaker that Nick had not answered their questions.

But he was gone—and so was his abyss.