Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Our leaders aren't in touch with their MPs, let alone the nation

Ed told us people were worried about travel costs and water bills. He gets it all right...

Share
Related Topics

"And when we've beaten the rabble opposite..." the Prime Minister struck a note of confidence some might find premature. Towards the end of his Queen's Speech, he offered to take us through to 2020 with eight more years of Tory ballot box triumphs. After the local election results, it's probably a sign of not getting it.

Ed Miliband must have got it; "getting it" is core Labour Party policy. It may even be in their new constitution. Ed told us that people were concerned about the cost of travelling to work and water bills. That is getting it, all right. Is that why he's so far ahead in the polls suddenly? Almost certainly not. He hasn't gone up in the polls because he's suddenly got better – it's the other way round.

Who can we turn to, their backbenchers – do they get it? The leaders have difficulty keeping in touch with the nation – and they are now having that difficulty with their own parties. At one point during the big speeches, nine consecutive MPs on the Labour second bench were operating their smartphones – texting, Facebooking, surfing for skiing holidays, who knows?

The flame has guttered. There's smoke, but in defiance of conventional wisdom, no fire. Everyone looks fed up, here at the start of a new session of Parliament. When certain MPs stand up, they are greeted with a communal groan, like a short, noisy yawn. It's awful to hear. And for rhetoric, for argument – it's all the old wallop. The PM told us about his rolled-up sleeves, and being on the side of "doers, strivers and people who play by the rules" (who ARE these people?). He's going to "unleash the private sector" (I'll give you a quid if he does).

In return, Ed quoted Nadine Dorries saying the Tory leaders were "two arrogant posh boys with no passion to understand the lives of others". Is that Ed's passion? Really? The political class wants to understand our lives only to get us to vote for them. It's why we shy away from them.

New-intake Nadhim Zahawi kicked off for the Tories. He's the Iraq-born MP from Stratford-on-Avon. Came here, founded YouGov, became an MP. He gave a very nice speech, finishing amiably with the thought "Shakespeare was a natural Tory". He got some pretty compliments from his leader and Ed Miliband too. When they're polite to each other they're pleasant, attractive, likeable even. There is surely a moral in there.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The final instalment of our WW1 series

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Simon Usborne: The more you watch pro cycling, the more you understand its social complexity

Simon Usborne
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice