Simon Carr: Laughing at one's self is not much fun for the rest of us

Sketch: Cameron joined in the joke and spoiled it for everyone. He's clever like that
Click to follow
The Independent Online

The horse is dead but they flogged it cruelly. It was horrible. The idea is that the Prime Minister rode a horse owned by Rebekah Brooks who got it from the Met. This shows a) he can't understand ordinary folk, b) Except those who ride horses.

So the statement on the EU Fiskalpakt made much play of riding two horses. Stalls. Courses. Nosebag. It was funny. Well, laughable. Cameron joined in the joke and spoiled it for everyone. He's clever like that.

But of course you want to hear about James Clappison's point about reverse qualified majority voting. You want to hear that Bill Cash approved the PM's veto which prevented the Fiscal Compact from being an EU Treaty. You want at least a comparison of the preliminary and final comminques to determine whether the PM is ignored and isolated – or firmly in the beating ventricles of Europe.

As important, the Leader of the Opposition sounded more like a leader of the Opposition.

To Ed's credit, he is calm at the despatch box. But when he sits down and laughs, the act falls apart. His teeth come out to play. Remember the alien in Alien – Ed's teeth have real star quality like that – you can't look at anything else.

Cameron made use of that device whereby he stands over his opposite number repeating, "Would you sign the Treaty or not? Come on, just a nod or a shake. Up and down or side to side. What would you do..."

This is surely out of order, both in the brutal directness of the question and in the persistent questioning of the Opposition. The Speaker allows it as he has developed a reputation for being improperly anti-Tory so he's redressing the balance by being improperly pro-Tory. When he's completed that act of impartiality, he'll go back to his random lashing – at inordinate length – of rightwing backbenchers.