Simon Carr: A Tory love-in leaves wallflower Ed without a dance partner

Sketch: The funereal Peter Bone declared himself the "happiest backbencher" even though hehadn't received a Christmas card from the PM.

Share
Related Topics

Here's a candidate for quote of the year. The British Prime Minister returned from a European summit to report his experience to the House of Commons. Kevin Brennan noted the new ease with which he was handling the European administrative language.

"There is," the PM said ruefully, "a lot of junk you've got to mug up on." A lot of what you have to do what with?

Imagine Gordon Brown saying that, in the awesome seriousness of high office. Imagine Ed Miliband saying it. He wouldn't dare for fear of being called lightweight. And what must they be thinking in those Euro-buildings? They must be reaching for their dictionaries wondering if Britain was hinting at an Anglo-Chinese naval agreement about tea (drunk from said mugs and shipped in heretoforementioned junks).

He was in a demotic mood; the sceptics had stayed away, and those who'd come were in a strikingly good mood, alas for the leader of the Opposition. Ed Miliband said that with all his broken promises it was no wonder Tory backbenchers were unhappy with their leader. Response: Not as unhappy as Ed's were with him. "A bit of seasonal advice – keep the receipt in case you want to swap your purchase later."

Tories went on to preface their questions with, "As a happy backbencher." The funereal Peter Bone declared himself the "happiest backbencher" even though he hadn't received a Christmas card from the PM. Labour backbenchers suddenly wanted a card as well. "Come and join the Love Train," Cameron offered, laughingly. The party was in full swing but Poor Ed was left by the wall with no one to dance with.

Ed also charged the Tory leader with grandstanding. Response: "Only last year they were saying we were completely isolated in Europe. Now we lead a coalition of the largest countries in Europe, we're grandstanding."

Nor did Ed make progress on the budget increase. Cameron had said that Europe usually split the difference. The Commission argued for 2.9 per cent rise, the EU Parliament wanted 6 per cent. Normal practice would have them settling on 4.5 per cent, but in this case they hadn't.

Ed made the clever case that Cameron wanted a zero per cent rise, the Parliament wanted a 6 per cent rise, and the end result had precisely split the difference.

Cameron gave the figures from last year showing how Labour had agreed to split the difference exactly and that Tony Blair had given away "Mrs Thatcher's rebate for nothing in return". Junk that Ed might have to mug up on.

twitter.com/simonsketch

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

Read Next
US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have a drink after agreeing a deal on carbon emissions  

Beijing must face down the perils of being big and powerful – or boom may turn to bust

Peter Popham
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook  

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot