Wednesday, March 16, 2016

John McDonnell stared straight ahead.


It was Jeremy’s best ever Prime Ministers Questions - and his worst ever budget statement.
To be fair, it was his first ever budget statement - but politics is never fair. 

If it was, Chancellor George would have entered the chamber in a neat sackcloth number garlanded with ashes.
As it was,he entered in a neat two piece on the arm of his best buddy, Downing Street Dave.

Wednesday’s are normally down to Dave as he provides the P in PMQs.
But on budget day, questions to the Prime Minister, provide just the starter to the main course.

Which is a great shame, it has to be reported, since today Jeremy seemed at last to have worked it out.

The first hint came when a smartly dressed stranger appeared in the seat normally occupied by the leader of the Labour Party.
If it had not been for the ominous presence of Diane Abbott confusion could’ve reigned.

But closer inspection proved it it be none other than a brand spanking new Jeremy, coiffed, suited and booted.
And it was the same Jeremy who then proceeded to lay waste to a goggle-eyed Prime Minister.

Dave, who had been expecting the day off, found himself on the backfoot as Jeremy mark two got a grip.
Mark two even cracked a joke and some of his backbenchers momentarily parked their disinterest.

Diane looked impressed, Dave lost his way and then his temper.
Next to him Chancellor George, apparently pally enough with Theresa May to sit on her knee, looked worried.

But it couldn’t last.

It’s a parliamentary tradition that the leader of the opposition replies to the budget speech.
Its another tradition that you are never told in advance what’s in it.

And from today, it’s a Labour Party tradition to choose someone for whom economics is a bit of a blind spot, to do the job.

The Chancellor, proud holder of the Commons ‘brass neck’ award, proceeded to run riot.

In an hour he turned base metal into gold, produced rabbits from every available orifice and saved the nation’s children.
Previous failures over seven successive budgets were ignored by him and everyone behind him; even Dave started to smirk again.

As Tories howled, Labour cringed. George even got away with praising Europe an cutting disabled benefits.
Jeremy could only criticise the budget he hadn’t heard and ignore the one he had.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, tipped as Jeremy’s successor should he fall, had slipped into Diane’s seat for the speech.

He looked straight ahead.