Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#pmqs Ed and Dave...barking mad...

In the last minute of the last Prime Ministers Questions before the General Election, Conservative MPs chanted “woof, woof”. It was obviously a fitting conclusion for some to five years of parliamentary democracy.

Earlier, others had made it clear they would have been content just to lie on their backs with arms and legs waving in the air. For the rest, making the sort of noise that would get their constituents arrested, was the order of the day.

And then there was the Labour Party - of which sadly, more later.

It was always going to be an odd PMQs even before it was enhanced by the PM’s announcement of a remake of The Long Goodbye.

Handing in his notice, albeit for May 2020, brought an added piquancy to proceedings whose sense has long been lost on observers. Naming his successors meant extra attention for Chancellor George and Theresa May.

Theresa had her normal seat centre stage but George seemed to find himself perched on her knee as the front bench groaned and buckled under coalition bums.

Meanwhile other hopefuls, unmentioned in the Cameron kitchen confessions, sat sour-faced - although some say that is the usual condition of Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond.

After five years, it’s fair to say that no-one - including the participants - has any idea how PMQs is going to end up, but at least they practice how it is going to begin.

Yesterday Chancellor George refused again and again to rule out repeating what he did after the last election and raising VAT.

Today Ed M and his advisers knew just how to knobble Dave:
The Prime Minister had announced his retirement plans because he believed in straight answers to straight questions, said Ed with a smile.
So answer this one: 
“Will he rule out a rise in VAT?”
“Yes”, said Dave.

There was at this stage one of those mini-silences which many will remember later in life exactly what they were doing at the time.

Labour stared at Tory, Tory stared at Labour and the Lib Dems stared at everybody else. 

Then the dam broke.

Hysteria on the Government benches as MPs realised one big lie they would no longer have to tell on the doorstep.

Despair on the Labour benches as they realised they wouldn’t be able to tell it either.

Consternation on Ed M’s face matched only by that on Ed B’s.
The Labour leader stumbled on with the rest of his performance but Dave had done for him today.

By now Tory MPs were trying to find space to lie down in pleasure and there was plenty about to be created on the Labour side.

This was the last head to head on TV between Ed and Dave before the general election. 

The only way Ed would be back, said Dave, would be as the lap dog of the SNP.

“Woof, woof ”, said the Tories.

But wouldn’t that make Ed the new Prime Minister?

“Woof, woof.”