Andy McSmith's Diary: Streetwise Cameron manages – at last – to get down with the kids

The Prime Minister's record on deploying street slang is not a happy one

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Indy Politics

David Cameron decided to try to look like he was down with the kids at Prime Minister’s Questions, and this time nothing went wrong.

His record on deploying street slang is not a happy one. There was that occasion when Cameron explained in an interview that he did not use Twitter because “too many tweets make a twat”. His press secretary, Gabby Bertin, had to explain to him what he had just said.

Then there was his use of “lol” in a text to the former News of the World editor, Rebecca Brooks. He thought it stood for “lots of love”.

In a stylish put-down of the SNP, which demand control over Scotland’s tax system but will not say what they would do if it had it, the Prime Minister said: “The truth is that full-fiscal autonomy has become FFS: full-fiscal shambles.”

For once, he gave the impression that he might actually know what FFS stands for. If you don’t, ask a young person.

Bolly bad show

Charlotte Church has had a lot of flak for taking part in an anti-austerity march at the weekend.

Her critics included Louise Mensch, the former Tory MP who abandoned her Corby constituency  mid-parliament to move to Manhattan.

In one of many tweets attacking the singer, she suggested: “It’s almost as if Charlotte Church was an overpaid bolinger [sic] bolshevik who didn’t have a fucking clue… moron.” (Being a graduate of Oxford University and also a professional author has not taught Mensch how to spell the word “Bollinger”).

On her blog Church listed some of the language by other attack dogs, much of which was worse than Mensch’s. She added: “Actually there’s some comfort to find in being the target of so much toothless abuse. It means I’m NOT useless. It means I have a purpose. I am a litmus test for bigotry.”

Since she was accused of being a Labour fan, she replied that she voted Labour this year only because she lives in a Tory marginal. Her heart is left of the Labour Party, in Green or Plaid Cymru territory, though “I might consider supporting Labour in the future, maybe if they vote Jeremy Corbyn leader”. 

Me, leader? That’s Caracas

On the subject of Corbyn as a leadership contender, at least one left-wing Labour MP thinks the idea is hilarious. He told me: “If Jeremy thought there was any chance that he was going to win, he’d be on the first plane to Caracas. He has spent his life avoiding responsibility. He reminds us of when we were young.”

A little respect needed

The House of Lords is a sedate place, usually – life after death institutionalised. But this week, it has been the scene of two shocking outbursts of rowdiness.

Both arise from the fact that though the Liberal Democrats have come very close to extinction in the House of Commons, they still have a large contingent of peers, who are determined that their presence shall continue to be recognised.

On Monday, Sarah Ludford, a Lib Dem baroness, was loudly barracked, mainly by Tory peers, when she tried to ask a minister a question at the same time that Malcolm Pearson, of Ukip, was trying to get in. The Tories shouted for Lord Pearson to be heard.

On Wednesday, it was the turn of Jeremy Purvis, one of the more active Lib Dem peers, who was barracked and jeered by Labour peers because he was demanding to be heard when Ivor Richard, a former Labour Cabinet minister, also wanted to speak.

Baroness Tina Stowell, leader of the Lords, intervened both times to plead for an amicable agreement. “We really need to get much better at this,” she exclaimed. But Baroness Stowell’s authority was undermined from the start of her appointment in July 2014, when David Cameron did not give her a seat in the Cabinet. It was the first time in British political history that no member of the House of Lords had Cabinet status. She was belatedly raised to Cabinet status last month – but some stroppy lordships still take the attitude that if the Prime Minister does not respect her authority, why should they?