The Sketch: PM's image is falling to pieces before our eyes

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The Independent Online

The first image that came to mind was of old Bruin, the big brown bear tied to a stake for dogs to snap at. The Prime Minister's bloody week is starting to haemorrhage.

First up at PMQs was Bob Neill. Congratulate with me, he began, the Tory council in Bromley (what a deadly combination of words). The recycling partnership. The household waste strategy. The 38 per cent of some wretched piece of refuse or other. And just as he was sitting down: "He might care to visit the bottle bank."

The Prime Minister's answer began with the words "public expenditure settlement". (Substance, you see. Dull, but reliable.)

Cameron: the PM had said he wouldn't have called the election even if the polls had promised a 100-seat majority for the Government. "Does he expect anyone to believe that?" It produced the most furious stream of rubbish, beginning: "I'll take no lectures!"

Then grammar schools (what?), then – I forget what but the NHS would have been in there. And possibly Jeffrey Archer. Then Cameron again, laughing: "He's the first prime minister to flunk an election because he thought he might win it!"

The Tories were lathering up nicely. The Prime Minister threw them one he'd prepared earlier. It was a disaster. "There's a petition on the Downing Street website calling for an election signed by 26 people!" The Tories hurled themselves forward, pointing at Ed Balls (one of the main election snapsters). Poor Ed, he didn't see the funny side.

Gordon's carefully crafted image has fallen to pieces in front of us.

First: The non-partisan, non-political, big tent consensualist who wants to govern Great Britain inclusively? It's now clear to a wider audience that he wants to destroy the Tory party (representing 40 per cent of the country, and an English majority on a good day).

Second: Courage. That part of the brand has been badly contaminated by the election.

Third: Honesty. Hand on heart? A hundred-seat majority doesn't persuade him to call an election? And then, that trip to Iraq.

Fourth: Vision. He certainly has a vision, but he daren't come clean on it (because Rupert Murdoch doesn't share it).

Fifth: Straightforwardness. No, that was never going to fly.

Five big bites out of Bruin. The trouble with packdogs is that they – I mean we – aren't deterred by the taste of blood. Rather the reverse, I fear.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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