On the Tory back benches, one of them in throbbing purple sat next to another one in thumping orange – the colour clash was almost audible, you needed special glasses to look at them. The orange one stood up and said: "Can I praise the Prime Minister for..." Whatever she was going for got lost in the parliamentary ribaldry. The Speaker remonstrated: "It is not against the rules of the House for a backbencher to support the Government." And Cameron said, with a hint of sardonic laughter, "Yes, we remember you doing that very well, Mr Speaker."
There was a certain amount of acid in that, but citric rather than sulphuric. Tart, not flesh-eating. There wasn't anyone not laughing, all over the House. It's been a few weeks since the election but he's still the bridegroom who cometh.
What can we tell about him from his Commons appearances?
Is he passing laws "to send a message" to the electorate? Is he doing things in order to get the opposition "on the wrong side of the argument?" Will he do one authoritarian thing and then one liberal thing in order to please far-flung parts of the electorate? Would he take £1m donation to party funds to change a health policy?
His performances at PMQs gives a sketchy sort of impression that he's not the heir to Blair on any of these matters. He's like a sort of... I'm reaching for something out of my grasp here.... A sort of public-spirited sort of noblesse oblige sort of character who's in it in order to try (I really am struggling now) "to do the right thing" (c Gordon Brown).
But does he protect his backbenchers from making asses of themselves by asking questions so saccharine as to cause an insulin episode? Ah, now, if we're looking for something to criticise he does fail in that duty of care. He allows new members to fawn (see above).
The babes say – and the gender balance in this fatuous game is very equal – can he give some idea of the debt levels that have made an international example of us? Has he had from the party opposite any suggestion of apology for leaving the country's finances in such a state? Where does my Right hon Friend get his honourable shirts from and is he aware that his children are physically more attractive than mine? Would the Prime Minister like one of my organs, I've got a kidney?
Things are moving his way perfectly well enough without this pacification of PMQs. I heard it said the other day, "I've started to think George Osborne isn't so bad. Am I going to be all right?"
What is Labour doing? It doesn't matter much for the moment. They've yet to have their Hague phase let alone their Iain Duncan Smith years. Meanwhile, their leadership election is, Cameron said, "looking like a Star Trek convention." Geeks, freaks and people making signs with their fingers. The phrase had more sulphuric than citric in it.Reuse content