The Sketch: Just when it can't get worse for Gordon... it does

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The Independent Online

It must be worse than we know. And it is probably worse than the PM knows. But what he knows must be enough to do any normal head in. He must have seen risk assessments of unemployment at four million. And GDP shrinking by 15 per cent. He must have walked into the chamber yesterday with projections from his COBRA staff of runaway inflation, food rationing, armed IMF officials marching into the Treasury...

And then to have Cameron on such form, with such an array of arms and ammunition. Everything that's gone wrong for Brown has gone right for the Tories. But he's old timber, our Prime Minister. He looked terrible, sounded awful, his hair was flecked with Tippex, he fumbled this and fluffed that, but he was still standing. He talked about "rejulation" and KPMG came out as "Key Pay MG", his jibes fell flat, his arguments limped and his answer to Angela Watkinson's short, unsettling question was the closest he's ever come to saying, "I give up."

She asked: "Why has a former trustee of a secretive overseas bank that specialises in tax evasion been appointed to manage the taxpayers' stake in our banking industry?"

Gordon consulted, he referred back, he took an age to stand up because he had nothing to say. But he had to say something. "He is acting chairman," he said, and his backbenchers must have given a great, internal groan, "he is not full chairman." It can't be long now, they must be thinking.

He was in such poor shape he even answered one of Cameron's questions. Was James Crosby (who fired a whistleblower warning of excessive risk in his bank) still a Government adviser?

Gordon said he wasn't. ("Ahhhh!") He also said he'd never been much of an adviser anyway. He'd only done two reports. And the question was to trivialise great economic problems we faced. "There is nothing trivial asking about the man appointed to regulate the banks!" Cameron fired back.

Yes, the man Gordon was dumping had been appointed to run the industry he had helped to ruin. Could it get any better for David Cameron? Not until an illegal migrant worker is made Home Secretary. Not until one of the Treasury ministers is exposed as a moonlightng porn star. Not until Gordon Brown passes a law allowing state officials to kill citizens without a public inquest. Or until he lets all Britain's databases talk to one another so that our personal details can be sold off to private companies... It probably can.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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