Wednesday, 19 April 2017
PMQs Review: 19th April 2017 - The Elections and Saboteurs Edition
We're back. World War III has not yet started and so Parliament reassembles. For Labour WWIII would come as a blessing. According to the latest polls they are 21 points behind the Tories. But never mind, according to Diane Abbott they would be in single figures were it not for the dynamic leadership of Chauncey. He is worth 18-20 points for the party according to Abbott, who added that the public were especially inspired by his fondness for African dates and manhole covers. Not to mention his tendency to appoint brilliant intellects like herself to key positions in his Shadow Cabinet.
Quite where she gets this figure from is a mystery when another survey revealed that less than half of Labour voters, Labour voters think that Chauncey would make a better prime minister than Theresa May. Possibly the same place as Labour gets its policies. Over the recess Labour took the opportunity to announce a number of new policies including the brilliant promise to pay everyone at least £10 an hour if they are elected, to raise taxes for the rich back up to 50%, clamp down on corporation tax and then wonder why the NHS has no money to spend on pesky patients. Labour are especially brilliant at spending other people's money. They cannot fathom why people don't like having half of their income confiscated by politicians and tend to bugger off thus buggering up the economy and throwing people out of work. But then the imagine that Chauncey is ultra popular and so this is only to be expected. When Labour lose seats in a couple of weeks time and are wiped out in Scotland it will be thanks to Chauncey's cunning uselessness strategy. He is lulling the Tories into complacency. He has them just where he wants them.
And as for his MPs? Well they had best be on their best behaviour too. Neil Coyle was reported to the party this week for being beastly about Chauncey. Coyle had asked questions about the party's communications strategy, why it takes so long to react to news stories and indeed whether or not it has a communications strategy at all. The leader's office replied saying that they were reporting him for this terrible disloyalty. Doesn't he realise that Chauncey is heroically lifting the party from singly figures to the heady heights of the mid twenties in the polls? Just 21 points behind the Tories. Poised and ready to strike they are. Yet still they carp and complain.
And yesterday of course the PM called an election, clearly because she is intimidated by the electoral asset that is Chauncey. As she stood at that lectern she gravely intoned that she seeks a mandate, but fully expects a hard fight against the bearded wonder who will probably continue his practice during the campaign of taking Mondays off to spend more time with his jam making equipment.
The PM went on a walking tour over the recess in addition to a tour to drum up trade. It clearly revivified her to such an extent that she changed her mind about an election and came up with a cunning reason for doing so. The other parties made her do it. They are playing games. Theresa is going to take them on at the ballot box. She decided 'with reluctance' to call an election whilst Labour still have a liability instead of a leader and she is 21 points ahead in the polls.
The other parties have of course welcomed the opportunity of an election whilst being scared shitless behind the scenes. Chauncey said he welcome the opportunity to take his policies to the country and then asked if anyone had seen them. Nicola Sturgeon said that the PM had made a huge miscalculation, which is code for 'oh bugger, she's just called our bluff. Again.' The Lib Dems said something. Probably. I lost interest. Apparently their leader is called Tim something. Only the Lib Dems could have a Tim as their leader. The Greens said all of the hot air was killing polar bears. Ukip said that their leader would have a comment for us soon, but did we know that he has said every wise quote ever known and also delivered the Gettysberg Address? Oh and he's a doctor, used to be a footballer and a cricketer and is married to a beauty queen.
All of which means that we only have another two of these sessions before parliament is dissolved, MPs cease to be MPs and Chauncey has to brush off his megaphone. As is now traditional during general election campaigns there are calls for debates. This would be a disaster. Last time we had to have debates involving a dozen people, the leader of all of the parties plus whoever claims to be leading Ukip this week. The PM has already let it be known that she sees no reason to share a stage with any of them. Anyway, if she did they would just look at her legs again.
The first question of the day was from Alberto Costa who shouted something about strong leadership and asked whether the PM agreed that she is wonderful, well words to that effect. The PM agreed that she is indeed a strong leader. She's certainly good at bluffing and keeping her cards close to her chest. Bodes well for the EU negotiations.
Chauncey wanted to talk about debates. Chauncey would be hopeless in a TV debate. You can't stick limpet-like to a script in a debate. Still, it is a tradition now that the opposition always call for a debate. Labour are already in meltdown. Imagine what they would suffer if the country were to see the kindly but confused old gentleman on prime time television.
But to be fair Chauncey was about as good and effective as he has ever been in these sessions. He read his questions quite well with only the occasional fluff. He even managed to extemporise on a couple of occasions, although only about the need for a debate he doesn't really want. Labour, it was reported yesterday, does not yet have any list of target seats, does not even have a slogan for the election and is in chaos. Chauncey wandered around aimlessly with his questions, but at least he shouted a lot.
Still Chauncey insisted he welcomes the opportunity of an election. His MPs probably don't agree with him about that, except in the sense that his losing might well rid them of him at last. Probably. He hasn't actually confirmed that he would go if he lost.
The PM was on top form today and so a better Chauncey did not score the win he might have otherwise done. She was also prepared with plenty of answers to Labour MPs asking them if they supported their leader. That is the problem Labour face. How can they go back to their constituencies and advocate for a Labour government when they know that Prime Minister Chauncey would be an unmitigated disaster. He is at odds with his own party about Trident and so they would buy the subs and the missiles but he would not be prepared to use them rendering them a very expensive jobs creation scheme and about as effective as a bow and arrow. This is clearly going to be a major Tory attack line against Labour. There is so much material on Chauncey and John McDonnell they should probably have had a lengthened election campaign.
Today the Daily Mail front page called the likes of the SNP and Lib Dems saboteurs. The SNP's Angus Robertson asked her to condemn this. She did not. Whatever you think of the Daily Mail it has every right to say whatever it likes, especially as an election approaches. Anyway the SNP are practically the definition of saboteurs and quislings. They will do and say anything they think will win them independence they demand despite its disastrous consequences. The PM told them to concentrate less on this and more on their day job of running their country, a job they are not doing too well.
Oh and we also heard from Tim Farron who leads the rump party so recently in government. Farron is a committed Christian and thinks being gay is a sin and has refused to say otherwise. He also wanted a debate though. Probably quite pleased that the PM has ruled one out.
Once Parliament is dissolved in a couple of weeks time it will be saying goodbye to a number of MPs who will not be returning. Some, like Ken Clarke are simply retiring at the end of glittering careers. Others, like Alan Johnson and a list of other Labour MPs who can see the writing on the wall, are leaving because of the hopelessness of their leader and the consequences for their electoral prospects. Oh and yet another is leaving 'for now' to spend more time with his jobs portfolio. Yes George Osborne will not be standing for re-election. Whatever will we do without him?
There is only going to be one more of these sessions, we think, before the election. Mrs May is moving the measure consistent with the hated Fixed Terms Parliament Act to call an election. The damned thing should be repealed early in the new Parliament. Oh and by the way, we have always had fixed terms. They were a maximum of five years. But there was the flexibility to call elections between that at the behest of the PM. It wasn't broke and didn't need fixing. It was only changed because of the Lib Dems.