Simon Carr: So how loudly does one have to talk to be heard in the House?

Sketch: There is a growing body of private ill-will towards the Speaker (not just wishful thinking on my part)

Related Topics

Questions from the back benches ranged from Steve McCabe's clever one: "How does he feel about prisoners voting for police commissioners?" To Ronnie (Red Ronnie, as his cardiologist calls him) Campbell's angry attack on Cameron for "picking on hard-working families". There was a big, full-spinnaker question too, from a new Labour woman about tuition fees. All had their merits.

On the other hand, the front bench questions were pretty dire again, I fear. EDM started off with a bit of consensual sincerity in order to suggest, "I am homme serieux, I am above politics." Yes, we've always fallen for that one since Michael Howard started doing it seven years ago.

Then he went on to the newspaper story of Cameron appointing a "personal" photographer at public expense. Not serieux, that. And not particularly comique either as it happened.

William Hague would have made it work, as much as it might be made to work but Eddy "The Izzard" Miliband's comic contribution was a reference to airbrushing and to imagine the camera chat in cabinet: "A bit more to the right, Nick."

You think you had to be there to appreciate it fully? You're probably right. The idea, perhaps, is to chip away at Cameron's trust rating – citing vanity and broken promises – and also perhaps to draw him down from his prime ministerial pedestal into an equal-terms conversation with his opposition. Good luck with that. So, what could he do? He might drop the parliamentary artifice (in itself a brilliant piece of artifice). He could use his interesting voice to say interesting things – as long as they were genuine, and came from one of his irreducible cores (© Tony Blair).

That would be a start if it weren't for one difficulty. If he presents himself as Prime Minister it looks like a comic fabrication because he isn't prime ministerial. So they both fall back on familiar ways. The exchanges are all five to 10 years old (answer the question, ask something serious, what are YOUR proposals? I ask the questions, etc., etc). It's make do and mend, a sign of the times. But we did see one shaft of originality. "The House is being unfair to the Hon Lady," the PM said, as Hazel Blears got drowned out. Unfair to Hazel Blears! Is your imagination big enough to visualise that? The Speaker had been unable to defend her against the noise.

That's interesting. There is a growing body of private ill-will towards the Speaker (not just wishful thinking on my part); we got a glimpse of it yesterday.

This column has predicted that losing control of the House will show how little natural authority the Speaker enjoys. He turned his microphone up yesterday and made everyone jump when he yelped for order. Later he yelped again: "Order!" and the back right-hand side of the chamber yelled back, "Order! Order!" It's an excellent form of insolence as you can't be identified. If you are your defence is: "I was just helping you, sir!" But do they have the schoolboy courage to persist in it? We'll see before Christmas.

React Now

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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam