Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Doctors could get you sectioned for talking like this...

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Outgoing deputy Leader of the House Chris Bryant has taken the next step on his journey to Home Secretary via the Foreign Office. There he'll be taking western values to the gangsters, murderers, street swine, smugglers and putsch-makers of Latin America. It's a promotion. Yes, and valuable experience for getting through to the next level towards the Cabinet.

Chris Bryant is of the "my generation" that David Miliband talked about earlier this week. But then Greg Knight (born 1872) talked about the contents of "healthy" sandwiches yesterday. "Shouldn't our law require salty, fatty rubbish be labelled as such?" he asked. Salty, fatty rubbish. We don't hear that sort of thing nearly enough in the House. So, "my generation" language transcends the generations.

The talk is more important than anything these days. And much more important than the professionals think. They want us to vote and join in and be included in the decisions they like to take but the world they hold up for our admiration is extremely excluding.

It's the way they talk about it. "Regulatory Reform" repels all decent people. "Innovation and Skills" are passwords to a forbidden city.

David Heath quoted the promo for a new department a couple of years ago. It was to "provide a strong, integrated and permanent voice across government for effective investment in research, science and skills at all levels". I know doctors who could get you sectioned if you talked like this in public.

They have been telling us how "trust in politics" has been damaged, how "faith" has to be "restored". How? By clarity and transparency. But when we listen to the interrogations and admissions and denials clarity, integrity, honesty is the last thing we hear happening.

"Did you sleep with that woman?" "No, I can swear I didn't!" "Go on, then swear it!" "I swear I didn't sleep with that woman!" "Then... did you have sex with her?" "I'm not going to dignify that with a reply." "Swear you didn't!" "I swear I didn't have sex with her!" "All right then. As you swear. But hang on, did she have sex with you?" "What do you mean by 'did'?"

That wasn't the complete transcript of PMQs and Business Questions, but it's a flavour of it. Who is going to cut what when from public spending? We won't know until it's happened.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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