THE SKETCH: Dunwoody extends welcome - with a blow to the gullet
The Independent's parliamentary sketch writer and columnist since 2000, Simon Carr was described by Tony Blair as "the most vicious sketch writer working in Britain today". "Poison," said Charles Clarke. In the 1980s he helped launch The Independent, and was a speech writer for the prime minister of New Zealand from 1992 to 1994. His working principle is "Indignation keeps us young."
Wednesday 02 February 2005
Actually, it may be the wail industry she runs. She said there was a wail wegulator and even I concede we need one of them, if only to keep the volume of wailing down.
She started very promisingly. "The government pwefers the date of 2020 to the stated date of 2017 but that doesn't mean we won't pwogwess as we pwoceed," she said.
It's not easy talking like that. I'm putting her up for this year's anthology of political quotations.
Gwyneth Dunwoody, the chairman of the Transport committee welcomed her to her new place on the front bench with a straight-fingered blow to the gullet.
We'd heard how twain opewators had been weporting the weasonable steps they'd taken to pwovide disabled twavellers with step-fwee access to twains. Mrs Dunwoody pointed out that train operators' priorities lay elsewhere, that there were fewer platform staff than under British Rail, and that very often there were no lifts, no help and no way of getting from one side of the platform to the other.
"Over half of the stations are step-fwee," the under-minister insisted stupidly, and then, "what we are doing is mapping the stations to assure disabled people their needs will be met."
No they're not! What they're doing is telling them where their needs will not be met! Brilliant! She'll go far. Mind you, she's already come further than she should.
Tam Dalyell asked a technical question in his fiercest and most impressive manner. It was answered absent-mindedly by Alistair Darling in his somnambulist's monotone.
Mr Dalyell's bite is only as good as his bark when he remembers to put his teeth in. Luckily, he had another go during the Duchy of Lancaster's questions and he made everyone laugh. "On what topic did Lord Birt make his most useful contribution?"
In the face of much parliamentary laughter, Alan Milburn (looking a lot less cocky than usual, I am afraid I have to report) gave an answer that was so drained of enthusiasm as to sound quite contemptuous. Lord Birt "makes a range of useful policy suggestions" apparently, "and we take an interest in the advice he gives".
Mr Milburn refused to concede "in any way, shape or form," the anti-Semitic flavour of his Fagin billboards. He said they weren't anti-Semitic they were anti-Tory. Ah, my dears! You got to pick a pocket or two.
In the Press Association e-mail inbox yesterday morning there were, I was reliably informed, a dozen advertisements for Viagra followed by a press release saying: "Members not standing at the next election: Tam Dalyell".
We shall miss him. Won't we? Let's not argue about it now.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Paralympian sick again after photographs of Reeva Steenkamp's body are shown in court
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: US pushes search towards vast expanse of the Indian Ocean
Seth Rogen compiles list of all the celebrities he’s got high with
Oscar Pistorius trial: Photographs of Paralympian splattered in blood shown in court
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Focus shifts west as Indian Ocean becomes latest search area for the aircraft and its passengers
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Tony Benn meets Ali G: Watch Labour veteran burn Sacha Baron Cohen
- 2 Women do experience two different types of orgasm, study reveals
- 3 Tony Benn dead: Veteran Labour politician passes away at 88
- 4 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 5 Gauthier Soho has ranted against 'food blaggers' - so can we really trust online reviews?
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...