The Sketch: Ed Miliband has improved so much, he has gone from hopeless to ridiculous


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The Independent Online

"Isn't it stupid that," the Tory lady began – and then stopped. What a world of possibilities opened up for us. What is stupid is the Government hasn't offered free puppies to all children under five. No wonder their reputation for competence is shot.

The noise level at PMQs was gratifyingly high – the Speaker is in mortal fear of losing control of the party he has baited, bullied and abused for so long. More signatures have gone on EDM 198. This adds to his paranoia. His pet Chris Bryant got a groan when called.

Ed Miliband used the word "irritating" in connection with Ed Balls. Also "cowardly" in connection with George Osborne (is that parliamentary language now?) His comparison with "comedians on the stage" and "comedians in the Cabinet" got a roar from Labour (relief, mainly) and cries of "More!" He has gone from unimprovable to ridiculous in a year. In three more years he'll be electable.

Mrs Helen Grant wanted to say how stupid it was that those who wanted to support Lords reform were going to vote against the Programme Motion. This really got them going in the House (you may not feel the same excitement). Without this little vote that allows debate on clauses to be limited they'll have to debate everything in the Bill. What, everything? Are they mad? It's a constitutional outrage!

It'll take months to look at properly. It'll block up the Government's programme – and think of the legislative sewage that'll back up behind it! Oh, it'll be a terrible stink. Then again, it would show the force, or muscle of the new-intake 301 group (they swept all before them in the 1922 elections recently). One more victory would turn their influence into power.

Out of this mare's nest can anything good come?

I refer you to – and not for the first time, I admit – to Lord Salisbury's dictum. "What do we want change for – aren't things bad enough as they are?"