Donald Macintyre's Sketch: The cheek, the gall, the nerve: a sharp-tongued star is born
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Tuesday 10 December 2013
Don’t mess with this woman! A new, if not yet quite star, at least phenomenon, is born. Nicky Morgan, promoted to the Treasury in the last reshuffle, today tackled the Commons, or at least those on the Opposition benches, like a bossy schoolmistress bringing a delinquent class to heel.
Shadow Chief Secretary Chris Leslie had “a cheek” to talk about putting money in people’s pockets and had clearly “learned nothing”. She found it “unbelievable” that Tom Blenkinsop had “the gall” to point out that women’s wages had dropped £12 per week in his constituency. Had he not absorbed his Labour colleague Liam Byrne’s admission that those on median incomes had been “feeling the strain” since 2004? It was a “real nerve” to say, as Russell Brown had, that the lowest paid had been “written off” by Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, who would “never say such a thing”.
So Amazonian was Ms Morgan that it was almost a relief to return to the familiar barbs directed at Ed Balls by Alexander, standing in for George Osborne who was, Balls said: “In Brussels, where the Government are taking legal action to stop a cap on bank bonuses. How out of touch can you get?” Ducking his challenge on whether the Lib Dems were happy with this, Alexander accused Balls of having “appointed a new special adviser on hand gestures: Greg Dyke”. Expanding on this ultra-clunky reference to the FA chairman’s finger-across-the-throat response to England’s World Cup draw, he added: “That is the gesture the shadow Chancellor’s colleagues are making every time they hear him in this House of Commons.”
In fact Balls – who didn’t need to be there since Osborne wasn’t – had clearly decided on a rapid, Nicky Lauda-like return to the track after his Autumn Statement car crash, pointing out that Labour had been vindicated by the Institute of Fiscal Studies’ prediction that “real median household incomes will be substantially lower in 2015-16 than 2009-10”.
Meanwhile, dragged by Labour’s Rachel Reeves to the Commons to do penance yet again for the Universal Credit IT shambles, Iain Duncan Smith overdid the jargon, as he usually does under pressure, to the extent that he unwisely provoked Labour jeers by referring to those on benefits as “the stock”. “Well that is the term used,” he said defensively.
Tory David Ruffley gallantly assured him that he had “the wholehearted support of those on the government benches”.
This would have been a more powerful point had there been more than two dozen present at the time.
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...