The Sketch: This little piggie is just a copycat

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If you remember, Squealer strolled across the farmyard upright. And the farmyard marvelled, down there on Animal Farm. In the end, they looked from pig to human and human to pig, and no one could tell which was which. The cry of "Four legs good, two legs bad!" had been replaced by "Four legs good, two legs better!"

My colleague in the gallery pointed out that the Leader of the Opposition was dressed identically to the Prime Minister. Same suit. Same tie. Same manner. Same ideas, to all intents and purposes. Same views on all the questions of the day. Same trotters knocking on the dispatch box.

The Tories want to do to New Labour what New Labour did to them, so they have started to say they are "the party of the NHS". Not "two legs bad!" any more but "two legs better!"

This allows them to lament any changes in their area, and put themselves up as the Big Bacon that will defend the public service against cuts. It's the most awful rubbish and will return to haunt them sooner rather than later. They won't need to win an election to have their squealing cries of "Cuts! Cuts! Cuts!" exposed. The Prime Minister is already working up his retaliation: "Having opposed the investment in the NHS they are now opposing the reforms." He is about to turn the Tory taunt of "roadblock to reform" back against them.

Mind you, when he derided the Tory policy of "directing funds to where the disease burden is highest" he made it sound so like Labour policy you really couldn't tell which was the unterschwein and which the uberschwein.

Cameron was just back from a global warming trip to the Sudan (unless it was Aids? Or was he recruiting nurses for the NHS?). He looked pretty shocked by the experience (have you tasted the champagne in Club Class these days?). He showed how deeply moved he was by the misery down there that he devoted all five of his questions to it. The Sudanese government must be made to do something, he said. The Prime Minister agreed. The Tories haven't found a use for Sudan since the Battle of Kharthoum, so it must be nice to restore old ties.

Labour's Mike Clapham pointed out 66 teenagers had been killed by accidents at work, and therefore he wanted compulsory Health and Safety lessons at school from Year 10 on. This is despite the fact that Health and Safety statistics show the workplace is very much safer than life at home.

In the same vein, a Labour woman asked for help for mothers whose toddlers had tantrums. Asking the state to help at this level seems to me very rash. If it were any rasher we'd be thinking "bacon". But then some of us already are. Arf, arf.

simoncarr@sketch.co.uk

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