The Sketch: Whiter than white does not apply to underwear

Click to follow
The Independent Online

How will Prescott maintain his standing now that his pinky isn't so perky? He has "become the story". Doesn't the New Labour constitution say he has to resign?

He says "planning" you think "family planning". He says "fair", you think "blonde". He says "cheerleaders", you think "tight sweaters, pom-poms, bending over". He says "longstanding involvement" and "central role" and "frontline administration" and "domestic responsibilities" and you think: "Would someone with a real sense of domestic responsibility have had such a longstanding involvement with a female employee's central role?" Accused of some of this, that staff should be able to work under him (sic) without being bullied or harassed, he stood there like Les Dawson doing that "dumb sucker" face. The Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain. Our prime minister, bar one heartbeat.

He finally brought the House down by saying without irony that the PM had made him responsible for "domestic affairs". Even his official in the press gallery found himself smiling. No, when your penis is likened to a cocktail sausage by an illicit ex, and it's splashed in The Sun, it's surely time to go.

But the Government has come to a new point in its journey, its trajectory, its narrative. Shagging your secretary with civil servants in the next room and leaving the door open is no longer infringing the Ministerial Code. Indeed, he defended himself, saying: "I'm doing more than Lord Heseltine did!" It's not a defence that bears much inspection, is it?

How does Tony Blair explain all this to himself? Our moral, decent, Christian Prime Minister? He never meant "whiter than white" to apply to underwear? I fear he will be dragged down to his deputy's level. He talks about asylum-seekers and cries, "The number is down!" And hecklers think: "Like knickers!"

The Human Canapé replied to questions about his official duties by saying he's going to be liaising and chairing and brokering. This will be the next test of the Ministerial Code. Can you chair a cabinet committee on pension reform with your head up somebody's dress? As Mrs Thatcher said of Lord Whitelaw: "Every prime minister needs a Willy." Tony Blair is such a titan he only needs a little one. Arf arf.

Andrew Robathan (old enemy) must have savoured his question. Prescott is off to meet heads of state in South America. Would they treat him "with the same degree of ridicule as this House?" (Answer: No!) And so, into the final days. The PM gives long and slightly mad answers now. Both he and his deputy have taken to quoting prehistoric Tories to justify their behaviour. Thatcher. Michael Howard. Lord Heseltine. "Look!" they say, trumping all arguments, "We're as bad as you were!" They may be right. The polls agree.