Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#pmqs & #budget2015 - Dapper Dave and the quad gang.

Scotland Yard had only named their ten Most Wanted on Tuesday but here were four of them in one place just one day later.

They were there under aliases, Beau Brummell’s brother, Dapper Dave, Shadowy Nick, the Boy Danny and The Pickpocket, also known to the police as The Chancellor.

But, there was no disguising the gang of four, forever known as the quad, as they gathered in the Commons for their last ever caper, the budget of 2015.

Earlier the Chancellor had been spotted hanging around outside 11 Downing Street clutching a red briefcase on which the word ‘swag’ could hardly be made out. The Boy had been with him but both had slipped out of their masks and stripey jumpers into suits by the time they made it to the chamber. 

Dave, on first as the warm-up act, was already in place and Nick, ethereal as ever, appeared to have materialised out of the floorboards.

Suddenly all four were there in place, to the delight of the opposition and the continued confusion of the Government benches even in the dog days of the coalition.

The Prime Minister had attracted ritual grunting on his arrival with the better quality back bench braying reserved for the Chancellor.

George’s miracle cures for the country, not to mention the general election - and, like the war, no-one did - were on hold until 12.30.

To fill the space Dave had to slip and slide through almost his last Prime Ministers Questions in front of an audience even less interested in his non-answers than usual. A third of MPs are on their way out voluntarily, and another third a lot less voluntarily, but they had gallantly all turned out for the last bun-fight of the fixed-term parliament.

With George pale-faced and rictus-grinned stuck next to him, Dave was at his most relaxed believing any spare odure would be heading in the Chancellor’s direction.

But,that was before Ed Miliband decided he’d better warm up too in advance of having to take on George later - convention dictates the leader of the opposition replies to the budget, not the shadow chancellor.

When in doubt, as Ed knows, drop the NHS on the Prime Minister since there is always at least a half a dozen things going wrong that he won’t know about.

And so it proved as Dave, determined not to be spooked, proceeded to be spooked.
This offered some consolation to the otherwise ignored shadow chancellor whose full-time hobby seems to be scaling up the patrician snout of the PM as far as possible. Not that Ed Balls had it all his own way since bringing the PM to the point of boiling only encouraged Dave’s bully boys to louder insults against the other Ed.

But, with both sides now fully warmed up, it was time for the main event and even Huw Edwards suddenly appeared, to make it a proper state occasion.

George came out of his seat like a bullet out of a gun. You could tell that he knew if he faltered or, God forgive him, stopped in mid-flow, it would all be over.

Previous Chancellors have taken to strong drink to help them through the ordeal but the new slime-line George with the Cromwellian haircut is a water-only convert.

Perhaps the memory of his nadir, pastygate, is forever in his mind, but it was with increasing confidence that he reeled off the statistics of success.

Something for savers, something for spenders, a bit for pensioners, a tank full for drivers and suddenly the smiles spread from end to end of the Government benches.

Dave beamed brightly but, off to the Chancellor’s right, Nick and the Boy, the Lib Dem part of the Quad didn’t know whether to twist or bust.

With the general election just 50 days away, they smiled and frowned in equal measure as one side cheered and the other jeered.

Britain is ‘walking tall again’ said George, ‘the sun is starting to shine’ and the roof is being fixed. We are “the come back country” said the “come back kid” and, having written enough headlines for the Sun, proceeded to sit down.

Ed meanwhile pointed out there had been nothing on the NHS.

Seven weeks tomorrow.