Politics

The end is nigh and Labour MPs just want to have fun. At the Tories’ expense | John Crace

The end is nigh and Labour MPs just want to have fun. At the Tories’ expense | John Crace

The end can’t come too soon. Not just for the Tory backbenchers, but for cabinet ministers too. They sit in the Commons with resigned expressions, checking their phones for potentially lucrative job offers. No one can remember the last time Penny Mordaunt was seen with a smile on her face. Jeremy Hunt had his head down, letting his tenants know he was doubling their rent. Every penny counts.

Relax everyone. There will be plenty of sinecures to go round. But you can’t blame them for worrying. They know the game is up. Most are no longer even going through the motions of looking interested. Like a man on death row, they are just waiting for the date of their execution.

The Labour MPs are also impatient. Desperate to get their hands on power. To have a real job. Not just to be the permanent understudy. No more plaintive howls of “I coulda been a contender”. They’ve prepared their best lines, they know the election is more or less a done deal, but they have to bide their time. To accept the things they cannot change.

But a party is still going to party. The devil finds work for idle hands and all that. Labour backbenchers may not have much to do but they are going to have fun while doing it. The last few weeks have provided them with plenty of entertainment. How often do you get two defections in a fortnight? Even if one of them is the less than desirable Natalie Elphicke.

There had been high hopes of making it three in three. Who would it be this time? Would Theresa May finally admit her manifold sins and wickednesses and seek atonement by crossing the floor? Sadly not. She made her way up the central aisle and took her usual seat. Alone, again, naturally. She has no close friends.

So now the Labour MPs started playing a game. As every Tory MP entered the chamber prior to prime minister’s questions, they let out a loud “Ooooooh” of expectation. Followed by a mock-deflated “Aaaaaah” as the member in question took their usual seat. It was all good, mindless nonsense. But it wasted a few more minutes in the life of a cryogenically frozen parliament. Rishi Sunak being the only one who thinks he will make it out alive in 10,000 years’ time.

Even Keir Starmer looked as if he was a bit demob happy. Not so long ago he would meticulously prepare for PMQs for days in advance. His one big chance in the week to land a blow on Sunak. Now it’s all too easy for him. He doesn’t even have to try. Rish! is such a lost cause he doesn’t even realise he’s on self-destruct. Even if Starmer were not to turn up – or just said nothing – Sunak would find a way to lose. Spurs should sign him up.

Where to start, said the Labour leader. Spoiled for choice as ever. How about Sunak’s ridiculous seventh relaunch earlier in the week in which he declared the world was about to end but we should rejoice in the fact that Rish! alone could lead us to the apocalypse? Let’s think this one through. If the prime minister were really so concerned about global security, howe come he had never given it a moment’s thought before? Had it all just slipped his mind? Or did he not want to worry us? So thoughtful. He’s all heart.

But let’s not worry about that for now. Let’s think about stopping civil servants wearing lanyards of their own choice. Something to really strike fear in the minds of the Russians and the Chinese. Who better to be in charge of such an important national deterrent than a superannuated milk monitor? That one really stung Rish!. Didn’t Starmer know he had actually been head boy. Sunak had always been so proud of that. Always the first thing on his CV.

But let’s not worry about that for now, either. Such a shame. Keir was having so much fun. On another day he could have gone to town on both of these. Yet time was short so he needed to cut to the chase. So what did he have to say about letting prisoners out 70 days early? Did this include several dangerous Tory MPs? Was this what the government meant by cracking down on crime?

If Rish! were remotely self-aware, he would have at this point pleaded the fifth amendment. Say nothing in order not to incriminate oneself. It would have been an unorthodox approach to PMQs but desperate times call for desperate measures. Sadly, Sunak is the last person alive to believe in himself. His denial is absolute. His sense of entitlement must be protected at all costs. So he opened his mouth. Not to be thought a fool but to prove it. From Sunak to sunk.

“Er,” Rish! scrabbled for inspiration. B-b-but the Tories were going to spend more on defence. Possibly, but you were the ones who put an idiot like Grant Shapps in charge of the armed forces and Labour were the first to set a target of 2.5% of GDP on defence. B-b-but lanyards were a symbol of national decline.

skip past newsletter promotion

PMQs: Starmer grills Sunak over early release of prisoners – video

B-b-but no one was tougher on crime than he was. That’s why he was increasing sentences so that when prisoners were all released early because there was no room for them they would have served a bit longer than otherwise meant. It almost made sense if you were an idiot. And he certainly wouldn’t be letting any dangerous crims out early.

That was odd, said Keir. Because Lewes prison had admitted to releasing domestic abusers and sex offenders. Rish! had walked straight into that one. Yet again demonstrating that he doesn’t have a political bone in his body. A total ingenue. Out of his depth in a puddle. Game over.

The rest of PMQs passed off in a cloud of indifference. MPs openly shared syringes full of heroin. Anything to numb out the sense of hopelessness. Rish! can now only aspire to mediocrity. Theresa Villiers – who else? – tried to cheer him up by congratulating him on the number of new hospitals he was building. She could have sworn she had seen two more that morning that hadn’t been there the day before. Morphine dreams, Theresa, morphine dreams. But who are we to judge? These are tough times for Tories. Whatever gets you through.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button