Simon Carr:

The Sketch: The 'Nowhere Man' returns – with nothing memorable to say

Related Topics

Tory vignettes from PMQs. Iain Duncan Smith stood at the bar masticating wildly. I hope he was masticating, as the whole lower part of the face was rotating in two different planes and his eyes were shining with some secret knowledge. If I said there was a touch of the Desmond Swayne about him I hope you won't think I'm being rude about Desmond Swayne.

Nick Clegg, honorary Tory – or possibly dishonorary Tory – had an absent look about him. The stunned mullet. He doesn't look as though he's joining in any more. They do need to give him a little victory soon.

And the top Tory, Cameron himself, played his man a little too hard. When he came back from his multi-lateral, supranational shindig the other day he did look suspiciously flushed. A little over-excited and not in a healthy way. Is it possible he is starting his ascension a little early?

He certainly treated Ed Miliband as an insect-level irritant. He told him he'd been elected by and paid for by a Militant Tendency union leader on 17 per cent of the vote, that he knew "nothing about anything" and was "the Nowhere Man of British politics". That was a bit rude, wasn't it? A bit de haut en bas? A bit "Tiny fools!" He's not chewing the same stuff as Iain Duncan Smith is he?

Those with a fine eye for these things said EDM did better than before. I couldn't see the difference. The forearm pumping up and down, the thumb on top of a girlishly closed fist. Up and down, up and down. Whoever's pulling his strings is going to get RSI. Without reading notes taken at the time it's not easy to remember anything he said. That thing about the evil penguin going to the moon – that was a little dream from a micro-snooze snatched in the middle of one of his longer questions.

Suffice it to say there were cutbacks in sporting projects funded by the taxpayer and he was against them. Cameron didn't exactly justify the cuts but was able to suggest that for all the money spent in the last decade, a remarkably low number of pupils were playing sport in and between schools.

EDM, the notes say, then described the Education Secretary as "high handed, incompetent and unfair". This got a cheer from Labour (they seem to think they're on the way now). They may well be. But where?

In the statement on education, Barry Sheerman, the sometime Labour chair of the Education Select Committee, threw a damp blanket over the fierce rhetoric by saying: "It profits no one to believe there's a great political divide" in education. That's not just true, it's useful.

Michael Gove can rest his whole case for reform on one big fact, one that he repeats. Of 80,000 pupils on free school dinners, only 40 got into Oxbridge last year (down from 45 the year before).

And the opposition worry that these free schools will create a two-tier education system!

Andy Burnham, however, made his points with aplomb, confidence and quite a bit of noise. Like Hilary Benn, he has blossomed in opposition. How nice to be able to end without moaning.

React Now

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

Geography Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an enthusias...

Maths Teacher

£120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an enthusiastic Maths Tea...

English Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a dynamic En...

SAP Data Migration Lead

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Experienced Lead SAP Data Manager Requir...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise  

The UK economy may be back on track, but ordinary people are still being left behind

James Moore
The Independent journalist James Moore pictured outside Mile End underground station in east London  

The true cost of being disabled goes far beyond just the physical

James Moore
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform