The Sketch: People as tired as Gordon Brown are usually in hospital

Click to follow
The Independent Online

"I shall further have meetings today," the PM said and sat down on Jim Murphy.

"Further have meetings"? The sentence he was attempting is said before every PMQs. It's like grace before dinner. "For what we are about to receive may thankful the lord make us truly." How bad do things have to be for the Archbishop of Canterbury to make a mistake like that? People as tired as Gordon Brown are usually in hospital.

The Tories approached their victim in a spirit of wanton mockery. They made bruising, abusive statements with a question mark at the end. What do they think they are, sketch writers?

They wanted him to agree that he was a useless, spineless loser. In an equal and opposite way, he reproached them for not asking about his successes with the economy, mortgages and welfare reform.

"I'm ashamed no Tory has raised these issues," he said indignantly.

The first rule of politics is: "accuse your opponent of your own most obvious fault". It's not: "accuse yourself of the most obvious fault you want them to have". That's too clever by half.

His back bench roared approval anyway. It's a defective juke box. You don't even have to put money in – just kick it and it plays the tune you want.

David Cameron listed selected highlights from the recent horlicks and asked whether these were symptoms of a government "in terminal decline". The PM answered the only way he can: "He can't ask about the economic situation!" And later he delivered another of those bizarre sentences: "What we are taking on the recession is action!" He then mentioned "the September Schools Guarantee".

I'm with Hazel Blears on that. Brown may have substance, policy, action plans – but he has no way of spinning them into a story we want to hear. You write down what he says and it reads back as a terrible concrete poem: "4,000 skills for life achievements in the community scheme with funding support".

Another Tory asked about bullying in Whitehall and asked what could be done about a senior boss being accused of throwing mobile phones and printers around and swearing at switchboard operators. Among shouts of laughter, Gordon Brown (for he himself was the accused) searched for something to say. "Any complaints are dealt with in the usual manner," he said to Tory joy.

Edward Garnier gave the lemon another squeeze by asking whether Hazel Blears "had been dealt with in the usual manner". She certainly looked thoroughly dealt with. They all did, actually, poor things.

Andrew Rosindell mentioned the largest petition on the Downing Street website. "Twice as many people are calling for his resignation as voted for him at the last election." There was another petition on Gordon's site begging him not to resign. It had 234 signatures and today it's gone. The reason? All the names were things like Juan Kerr (it took me a moment as well).