Wednesday, February 11, 2015

#pmqsketch It's a fair cop Dave.

Aficionados of shows involving members of the constabulary will be aware of the charge of ‘going equipped’. This is a catch-all device to cover the behaviour of those who are on their way to the till but have yet to be caught with their hands in it.

The phrase came to mind this morning as contestants gathered for the weekly episode of “I’m a Prime Minister, get me out of here,” aka Prime Ministers Questions.

It is not that the car boots of Dave’s millionaire ministers, if searched, would produce the occasional crowbar and selected balaclavas. It is just that when subjects like today’s - tax-dodging by millionaires using foreign countries - that eye-contact can be sometimes difficult to maintain.

You could tell the party of the non-proletariat were in trouble by the air of hysteria which accompanies its normally raucous behaviour in less fraught times.

Dave was in the frame to explain why he made a man called Green a Minister after he had spent the previous decade running mega British bank HSBC.

According to the usual suspects - the Guardian and the BBC - the aforementioned had in his portfolio a Swiss operation offering dodgy tax advice.

Apparently thousands of rich and powerful Brits were told how to become even more so. Mr Green - now Lord of the same - luckily knew nothing of these going’s-on during his time as the multi-million pound chief executive of HSBC.

He knew even less, it is assumed, whilst multi-million pound chairman of HSBC and nothing at all when he came a trade minister.

And then there came this week’s revelations.

Now there is nothing more likely to unnerve the natural party of Government than stories involving the movement of money in places where you only put it to hide it. After all, what is the point of Switzerland.

So, it was with particular pleasure that Ed Miliband rose to the even more than usual barracking of Tory MPs to inquire into the contents of the Conservative Party.

Was the leader of the Tory Party not “dodgy” said Ed, surrounded by “dodgy donors"?

Chancellor George had been drafted in to help keep Dave keep his nerve as Ed got over-excited with the insults.

Andy Coulson was resurrected, the “revolving door between the Conservative Party and tax avoidance” was re-opened and Ed was on a roll.

By now the “bright pink and looking silly” insult applied to Labour’s battle bus for women looked more accurate tied around Dave’s neck.

At one stage matters appeared to be getting seriously out of hand as the Prime Ministerial comb-over slipped and the Bald Spot had a quick look around.

As ever, in moments of Dave disaster, the Tory back benches rolled and swayed as he stared about him. 

George, with his own figures to worry about, kept his head down as did Home Secretary Theresa May, (slightly less inscrutable since raffling herself off for a shoe-shopping trip to raise Tory funds).

Nick Clegg, present in body alone, seems finally to have cracked Zumba sitting down as he shared the seat of total indifference with William Hague.

Down the front bench Michael Fallon was doing his life after death impersonation and Jeremy Hunt was doing the opposite. Speaker Bercow, always happy to see the PM in trouble, bounced up occasionally to yellow card the worst offenders and add to his own list of enemies.

Dave meanwhile, appeared to have been tipped off about the hair malfunction and all was back in place.

The PM seemed finally to calm down realising it was just another of those Tories-take-money-from-rich-people shock stories, not the first and definitely not ever the last.

Ed meanwhile had gone off on a historical tour of insult sites of his own and finally returned with “something rotten in the Tory Party”.

Some opposite seemed to take that as a compliment.