Simon Carr:

Simon Carr: Providing opposition, but not inspiring much in the way of confidence

Sketch: The good news is that he's better than he was. The bad news is he sucks

Share
Related Topics

The Leader of the Opposition started the parliamentary year with his first fuse-lighting, kick-starting, momentum-building press conference. The good news is that he's better than he was. The bad news is he sucks.

He had sent ahead his new press people to work the crowd and tell us what he was going to say. He had also brought Alan Johnson along to tell us the rate of national insurance. Alan had got this wrong on national television over the weekend, claiming it was 85 per cent or something. It is a low trick indeed when interviewers ask Trivial Pursuit questions, but for a shadow Chancellor not to know this tax rate – it's like a Home Secretary not knowing if Derby is north or south of Bristol.

"Alan clearly does know these things," his leader said, to laughter. Not that it sounded like laughter.

His burden was that Labour had only failed to regulate the banks properly and to build a broad enough industrial base. How much should bank bonuses be? Were interest rates too low? Was the 50p tax rate permanent? "Let me be completely clear," he didn't quite say, "I'm not going to tell you."

He's still so odd his manner overwhelms his matter. During his introduction he stared with such unblinking intensity above our heads that people kept turning to see what it was he was looking at (a man with an axe? An angel?). When listening to a question he took a drink and seemed to sneeze into the glass causing a blow-back into his face. It was an accident. It isn't an accident that happens to prime ministers.

He called the visually-impaired reporter "Gary". He was clearly the visually-impaired, because he had a seeing-eye dog. But it was Sean, the other visually-impaired reporter. He said: "I'm not going to stand here and sit in judgement." Asked about David Miliband's television career, he said: "My brother will succeed in everything he does."

He was told that the public had no idea who he was, other than the man who knifed the aforesaid brother and was invited to give us some self-definition. He said: "I'm someone who is passionate about this country," counting himself into a community in public life wide enough to include Prince Charles, Nick Griffin and Abu Hamza.

If you want people to think you are passionate you have to follow the "show don't tell" rule. Asked whether he was going to address a certain protest rally he said: "I've said the way I'll be judged is not by the number of protests I go on."

Time will tell on that one, old cock.



twitter.com/simonsketch

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP SD OTC Consultant | 12Months

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP SD OTC Consultant | 12 Months | 500/...

Business Systems Analyst - London - £40,000 plus benefits

£35000 - £40000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Business Syst...

Campaign Manager

£40000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Campaign Man...

JQuery Developer (JQuery, C#, front-end, JQuery, UI, Tomcat)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Labour Party are announcing that they would spend £5.5 billion to guarantee a job for every young person who has been out of work for a year and every adult unemployed for two years  

Growing up in an age of austerity has left its mark on today's young people

Simon Kelner
 

Here's how to turn the tables on tax avoiders

James Moore
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil