The topics list for the latest instalment of the clash between Young Dave and Mil The Younger does not look so obvious today: events on the fringe of the EU – in Ukraine and also applicant state Turkey, where the judiciary has been put under Government control – may feature. There could also be energy company stuff, hangover from the flooding, and maybe the NHS. As ever, look in and check it out.
Distractions and selfless acts of plain stupidity – that’s the quick and easy way to pass the half hour employed during today’s PMQs. While MPs from Northern Ireland were scathing about the Downey case – Nigel Dodds was positively fuming – there just had to be pointless trivia. And what could be more uplifting and trivial than telling the House how jolly wonderful Team GB had been in Sochi?
Miliband was not wasting too much time on that: he was dredging. Not river channels, you understand, but past figures for what Governments spent on flood defences. What about that? Cameron stuck to his guns: the Coalition had spent more, and the other lot left us with a jolly difficult job. The Labour leader was having none of that. He had figures from the UK Statistics Authority. So there!
No, said Dave, our spending was jolly well better than rotten lefty Labour spending. Miliband segued into the more general area of Climate Change. Were Dave and his pals taking it seriously? Cameron said they were. Government carbon emissions were down 14%. Michael Gove was shouting less. I mean, a Prime Minister can’t say fairer than that, can he? Ed pulled out the D-word.
There were Climate Change deniers in Government! The Environment Secretary! The Energy Minister! You don’t have to take Climate Change seriously to be in Government! Dave made a smoke of figures to confuse the enemy. His team was doing HS2. They were doing nuclear power. The other lot had done none of these when they had the chance (Andrew Adonis might have something to say there).
But this is all a bit routine. Come on folks, where’s the comedy turn? Here he comes, Julian Smith, the terminally stupid member for Skipton and Ripon: business investment had increased so much that it was stonking! Phwoarrr! Just look at the size of that magnificent, er, investment! What did his Right Honourable friend think of that, then? Dave conceded that it was indeed stonking. Perhaps.
And there was also time for a slice of victimhood playing from (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, who wanted to talk about all those women being stalked. It is a serious problem, but having a self-proclaimed spokesperson who translates “persistent critic” as “stalker”, and included her Lib Dem opponent at the last General Election in the category, is going to help not at all.
But it just about summed up today’s PMQs: generally pointless and not much fun.