The prime Minister came into the Commons "deeply saddened". He was being brave so we could only guess at his private sorrows. No wonder he wrote a book called Courage. It was the death of Jade Goody, you see. He'd been "deeply saddened" by it.
The news wires carried the news of this burden he was carrying. But that's not the half of it. As he said at PMQs last week, every single job loss is a personal tragedy he shares (that's two million continuous tragedies he has). And then don't forget there's all those soldiers dying in his various wars. They are forever remembered by the PM, whatever their names.
So, he's on terrific form, considering. He laughs, chuckles, points at the Tories, makes faces, "roars with laughter" in that way that needs inverted commas. I suppose he has everything he's ever wanted – including a crisis which can't fail for him.
If his present actions lead to 25 per cent interest rates in two years' time – he'll be able to blame the Tories.
He was in the House ostensibly to report on his European summit, but he spent so much time attacking the Opposition that I wondered whether he was leading up to an election. On and on he went about their inadequacies and delinquencies, completely remote from the subject at hand. And then Jack Straw stood up to make a statement on his Bill of Rights and he attacked the Tory tax plan as well. Who knows what they're up to? Jack is putting out the most awful load of parliamentary cobblers as something that is dealing with the most fundamental questions about society, the particle physics of politics, "yes, the very secret of life itself!"
He has been working on Gordon's constitutional project, to put the "rights and responsibilities" of citizens into one document. We are to be given rights to health care and education. But why can't they just give us health care and education?
Our new rights are probably going to be declaratory. That is, not justiciable. Or in its technical form, "hot air".
Dominic Grieve called the proposals "pap". But pap that could only make matters worse as it would undermine the clarity of the law. That's not as easy as it sounds.
David Howarth reckoned it was a mistake to "constitutionalise" political decisions, and that judges would be left to make decisions about health spending. That couldn't be right.
If these rights had any legal significance, cancer patients could sue for very expensive drugs, and take basic care away from babies.
But then Jack Straw, our most sinister minister (I say that with all due admiration) said there'd be no decision made before the election (or as I describe it, before the end of May). So, pay no attention to it, there's nothing to talk about.Reuse content