Simon Carr:

The Sketch: What does a mutation of rats produce? A bad joke of nodding dogs

Share
Related Topics

Messrs Prescott, Brown and Straw formed a de facto conspiracy last week by being conspicuously absent when the Prime Minister was present. Yesterday they elaborated their conspiracy by being conspicuously present in the Prime Minister's absence.

Messrs Prescott, Brown and Straw formed a de facto conspiracy last week by being conspicuously absent when the Prime Minister was present. Yesterday they elaborated their conspiracy by being conspicuously present in the Prime Minister's absence.

Again, they all sat next to each other and chatted animatedly. Mr Brown gave Mr Straw a document to read. Mr Brown prompted Mr Prescott audibly as he rose to answer questions. They were a team. Or at least they were giving the impression of being a team. With one's political ability, the other's manner and the third one's guts they add up to a handy, portable Blair that could sit on our car dashboards (assuming, that is, they get the right part from each to make the best mutant they can).

Actually, I'd thought the leadership questions had all dried up, but the Deputy Prime Minister made two peculiar references to Mr Blair's sensitive situation. He praised Ronald Reagan for reducing the world's WMD. (There are ways of praising American presidents without linking them to Mr Blair's greatest current vulnerability.)

And then he made a scripted joke alluding to the long conversation he'd had with Gordon Brown recently. The Tory position on Europe was like asking for lobster thermidor in Macdonald's. It would be very nice but it's not on the menu. "I don't know what it is about seafood and politics," Mr Prescott said, "but I couldn't have put it better myself."

What does he mean? Taken in totality, the safe bet would be nothing at all. The cat is away. Even rats can safely play.

Gordon Prentice asked one of his succinct and uncomfortable questions, more uncomfortable and more succinct than poor Michael Ancram could manage. "Do we need more single-sex Muslim schools?" Try answering that in the privacy of your own bathroom and then try saying the same things in public and you will realise Mr Prescott's problem. What did he end up saying? My notebook is blank. That doesn't mean he said nothing.

Extrapolating from answers to other members, he probably said: "You think you're clever, don't you, well you're from Pendle! You're too thin. You need more sunshine. You could do with a square meal, mush. What are you asking me for? I'm the one who's responsible for it so why do you think I'd tell you? Go and join the lot opposite who want to abolish the NHS in five years, then I'll show you some WMD, as long as you promise to sit on them."

Hillary Benn made a statement about Darfur. He told us it's the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today. A million homeless. War, famine, pestilence. It's in the Sudan, incidentally. Remembering the Prime Minister's pan-global pieties, it is becoming ever more apparent that politics is not concerned with what you care about, but what you choose to care about.

React Now

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

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup