Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#pmqsketch Ed the Impaler

In the debate about second jobs for MPs some have wondered what Ed Miliband’s first job was - but no longer.

Step forward Ed the Impaler, son of Vlad and spatchcocker-in-chief to the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

After months of practising his one-step-forward, two-steps back approach to politics, the Labour leader changed tack - and boots - to give Dave a good kicking.

The scene was set with the weekend revelations that former Foreign Sec’s Rifkind and Straw were available for extra-curricular currency. The Tories are aways in trouble when MPs and money are mentioned in the same sentence - actually - even in different sentences.

Labour were in the frame but with Jack Straw already due for the dole in May, the bulk of the smelly stuff fell on Sir Malcolm. Ever loyal, Central Office dumped him overnight but not before he said being an MP wasn’t a full-time job and £65k a year wasn’t even a minimum wage.

The perfect setting then for Prime Ministers Questions, the one half hour a week that most MPs consider full-time.

Ed, as befits someone about to occupy that thin sliver known in the Commons as ‘the high moral ground’, had come dressed as a Methodist preacher - to be fair that was more his face than his suit.

“Let us ban second jobs for MPs”, he bellowed, as pre-packed indignation poured out of the Government benches. Some of the more fretful Tory MPs seemed to have their fingers stuffed in their ears and were shouting loudly as if to drown the heresy being practiced in front of them.

Insulting Ed is as much a parliamentary tradition as long holidays, but it seemed to take on a deeper meaning at the thought of his hand in their wallets.

Dave, meanwhile, had spent the whole morning with his advisors trying to come up with an answer that would get him off the hook - and failing. ‘Trade unions,’ he shouted back... ‘trade unions’ echoed from the Tory benches. It is an immutable law of parliamentary politics that when in trouble, the last refuge of a Conservative Prime Minister is the trade unions. 

If honorary membership can be granted on the basis of number of mentions then David Cameron should henceforth be called brother. But, had not the Prime Minister supported such a ban when leader of the Opposition, said Ed, now happily astride his high horse.

As Tory eyes swivelled in shock towards the man who many already believe to be traitorous, Dave could only croak ‘trade unions’ in defence. By now even Labour’s benches - with its own silent sections of those on the take elsewhere - realised this was their Ed who was ahead.

As they back in wonderment, surrealism continued with the intervention of the Leader of the House Sir Peter Tapsell. Sir Peter is an amiable old buffer who has sat through 55 years of scandals as a Tory PM and retires voluntarily this May. MPs should have second jobs, he said, or only ‘obsessive crackpots’ or rich people would take the job.

Dave smiled the smile of someone who knew he at least wasn’t a crackpot.

Then he wished Ed Balls a happy birthday.

Finally it has to be reported that missing throughout was someone who already has a second job as leader of the Lib Dems and would be happy to have any job at all come May.