The Sketch: If you have to say you are honest, no one will believe it

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The Independent Online

Most other journalists had gone off to see glamorous Cameron deliver a speech about freedom, the future and heaven in a grain of sand. It was very good, friends say. They enjoyed it. But you see, I'm more considerate than that, more compassionate, less selfish I suppose, (people say they are my only three faults). I thought Gordon shouldn't be alone at a time like this. So leaving aside self interest, off I went to Labour Party HQ to watch him deliver the speech of his life to 100 activists and seat hunters.

Unfortunately, he'd left that speech at home and he gave the other one. The one with the values, and taking people through the recession and cleaning up politics. He did actually say that. "Next month we shall be cleaning up politics and taking people safely through the recession."

It had been the trouble with the European elections (which Labour had lost) – they hadn't had a chance to take people fairly through the recession and there had been too much noise to make their values heard.

But now, he told them, all was different. What a difference a month makes! He unveiled the new Labour pledge. To act not in self interest but in the public interest. To act with complete transparency. To be totally honest. There was only one master, the British people – the British people "knew how to run the banking system". That was a statement that sent all our cylinders of compassion firing.

The poor fellow is raving again.

If you have to say you are honest and transparent, no one will believe it. Because the only transparent thing about the statement is it's a lie. It's as fat a lie as some sketch writer claiming to be selfless and compassionate.

Leave that aside. One cause for concern among Gordon supporters is that the PM failed to elicit any applause during his speech. They hailed him for a full 60 seconds when he came in. But that was because he'd taken a wrong turn in the crowd and was shaking hands until he found his way out. There was applause at the end. But in the long half hour in between: nothing.

He did give us the best example of Unintended Consequences we've had for a long time. He'd given a medal to an old girl and he'd put it in the cupboard, and when she opened the door it fell out and hurt her face. "She ended up in hospital," he said and paused while incredulous laughter rippled round the room. I didn't hear the punchline as my ears had popped with the involuntary snort he'd forced out of me. I'm in hospital myself with a suspected burst eardrum. "I nearly put her eye out!" he might have crowed.

If he hasn't gone, he's certainly going. Surely?

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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