The Sketch: A brilliant cocktail of contempt for the public

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The Independent Online

"It is essential," the Prime Minister said in his Iraq statement, "that the forces of reaction and terror do not prevail." As we returned from the Easter recess, we saw one small victory for terrorists right there in the House of Commons: this rag-tag bunch of scruffy idiots and bed-sit fundamentalists has already succeeded in terrorising the overweight, overlooked, over-protected British Parliament.

"It is essential," the Prime Minister said in his Iraq statement, "that the forces of reaction and terror do not prevail." As we returned from the Easter recess, we saw one small victory for terrorists right there in the House of Commons: this rag-tag bunch of scruffy idiots and bed-sit fundamentalists has already succeeded in terrorising the overweight, overlooked, over-protected British Parliament.

It must be 50ft tall in the middle. They say it's bullet-proof. What a symbol of ignominy it is; what tasteless, vulgar gutlessness it projects. How powerfully it reminds us that Parliament's Snivelling Tendency is the largest cross-party group in the place.

At the other end of the chamber, you see, there are a number of tall timbers rising from the floor of the gallery to the ceiling, and they support a 50ft glass wall. It has been erected to ensure the safety of parliamentarians from terrorists, suicidal maniacs and voters with terrible halitosis.

These parliamentarians have a greater chance of being killed by a donkey falling from an airliner than by a terrorist attack. We have troops on the ground in Iraq, we have bomb-makers targeting shopping malls on the M25, the top cops in the country insist that outrages are inevitable. Brilliantly, the political class provides us with a new piquant ingredient in the cocktail of contempt they mix for us by the quart. They build an impenetrable barrier between themselves and those they represent.

The Speaker is as responsible as anyone for it. He'll say the security services recommended it. But so what? We never thought he'd be such a pansy, frankly.

I hope these observations reveal, rather than conceal, the obvious pleasure there was to be had as we returned from our holidays. What a delight to see Richard Bacon sitting next to Douglas Hogg. There would have been a joke in there if Neville Trotter had still been in the House. Ah, the familiar faces, and one or two familiar faeces. Everywhere, however, the same old rubbish; how it survives! What vitality and longevity it enjoys!

"We must put aside the rights and wrongs of the past few days and focus on the future," the Prime Minister told us. Who could disagree? "We have to break out of this vicious cycle of suicide bombings and retaliation." How very true. "Israel and Palestine living side by side peacefully." Yes, oh yes, lions and lambs.

And not just tough on terror, but tough on the causes of terror. These are: "poverty, conflict, religious and ethnic strife." Invading someone else's country, swiping their land and building a wall through the middle of their farms are items about which we have heard less than you might have thought.

A word on the constitution referendum. This has been such a volte-face that we haven't yet found out why or how it happened. Who in Cabinet is exulting, I asked, and heard the words: "Jack Straw was important." As you've never seen that sentence before it's worth repeating it. "Jack Straw was important." You'll never see it again.

simoncarr75@independent.co.uk

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