Weekly bunfight time in the House of Commons has arrived once again: Young Dave will reel off lots of figures, repeat lots of soundbites to use up time, tell everyone that the other lot did it, and bask in the grovelling softball from Tory MPs who have been woken up especially for the occasion. And Mil The Younger might ask something about, oh I dunno, how about Royal Mail being flogged off?
Yes, it’s Royal Mail. And Dave doesn’t want to answer the question, whatever it is. Today’s valuation is £1.4 billion more than they got for flogging it off? The other lot didn’t sell it in the first place. His own side not happy? It was losing money under the other lot. Gentleman’s agreement on not flogging shares broken? Out comes “weak, weak, weak”. And so it goes on.
It was, Cameron asserted, the Trade Unions wot stopped the other lot selling it off! There are now 140,000 shareholders working for the business! The other lot are fighting among themselves! Jolly good show! He won’t take lectures from those two muppets over there (this is presumably Miliband and “Auguste” Balls)! He isn’t “red as a postbox”!
Yes, Dave didn’t flog it off cheap to his pals in the City because employee share ownership. No, I didn’t want to look over there either. And nor did rather too many allegedly honourable Members, if the number of times Mr Speaker had to call the House to order is anything to go by. John Bercow was particularly severe on the Tories immediately to his right (as usual).
The jeering even continued when the inoffensive Siobhain McDonagh asked about what she saw as recruitment problems for the Metropolitan Police. Mr Speaker suggested someone on the Government benches ought to be ashamed of themselves. Whoever might that be? All answers gratefully received.
And otherwise it was a routine affair, cheered up at the end by Andrew Selous, trying to talk up the bakery industry. Dunstable, he assured the House, was the crumpet capital of the UK! Phwoarr! What did Dave think about that? Dave said he’d take his word for it.
If only Olly Reed were still alive, eh?