Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Is there anybody there? Just Harriet piloting a ghost ship

Share
Related Topics

It was quiet. Too quiet. After the week's excitements we got a post-coital torpor moving on to a pre-storm calm to create a perfect depression. By the time you read this the heavens will be rent with lightning and the Furies will be flying across the sky to carry away the PM in their talons.

But yesterday Westminster, becalmed, just rolled exhausted on an oily sea.

Government MPs are depressed, despairing, bewildered, stunned, stalled awaiting slaughter. Every way they turn they are faced with some damnation or other. Public fury at their expenses, MPs paying money back, sackings, resignations, the poll slump, the plots, a leadership vacuum, email slurs, smears, plots.

They've all gone. Hazel took off with her Rock the Boat brooch and left behind the Commons a ghost ship.

For Environment questions there were two Labour backbenchers in. Two. Then there was one. Undead ministerials stood up at the despatch box – carbon markets, smart grids, tidal barrages. No one was interested. Julian Lewis's weird voice floated around in the nearly empty chamber. When he spoke I seemed to hear a voice crying, "Please don't hurt me!" I must have been dreaming. What could the public be thinking of it all, up there in their glass cage?

Who did we have? That pale grey fellow whose career high consisted of telling the truth and dislodging Mandelson from the Cabinet for the second time. He didn't say anything. The other was a woman with a Listen With Mother voice. She didn't say anything either. They spent an age not saying it.

Whatever the House of Commons is for these days – and it's looking for a role with increasing urgency – this ain't it.

Into our Council of Despair, Harriet Harman bounced like a bubbling ball of charm. She was a human Alka-Seltzer. Her fizz was the perfect form of disloyalty – you can't be convicted of cheerfulness. But there is only one reason to be cheerful. She has been conspicuously loyal to her leader. But why? Loyalty didn't get Hazel anywhere and she had been the PM's only defender in his first great unpopularity. But loyalty, Harriet hopes, is a two-edged sword.

Now the airwaves are filled with rumours. Who, what, where? The latest is that almost nothing will change. John Denham replaces the Home Secretary who resigned. Is that the great refreshment of the Government?

What about this for Chancellor. Into the Treasury the master of every economic detail in the book: reshuffled to the Treasury "to take the country through the recession"... Gordon Brown!

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior C++ Developer

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Senior C++ Developer – L...

SEN English Teacher

upto £110 a day approx: Randstad Education Cheshire: English EBD Teacher requi...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Client Services Associate (MS Office, Analysis, Graduate)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client Services Associate (Microsoft Office, Ana...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz