I missed Wednesdays PMs question time due to being on one of several trains coming home from a meeting that may lead to a new project and some reasonably paying work.
There I was sitting in trains watching the countryside and the other passengers, sitting hunched in their seats, faces close to their phone screens, oblivious to everything except their addiction to the net, oh and shooting worried looks my way from time to time which puzzled me at first. But then I realised I was the only person actually looking around and not fixated on a little glowing screen so maybe I worried them. I wasn’t one of the crowd, I was standing out by not conforming, I wasn’t a ZOMBIE !
So anyway it wasn’t until Friday that I saw ‘Call Me Dave’ and his team in the house doing what passes for the normal these days.
The incident in question was Corbyn asking question after question about the junior doctors and receiving the usual non answers from the prime minister. But then aside from the blank looks and the exchanged smirks with Osborne we had a little gem that popped out of nowhere.
Corbyn had asked would the prime minister in his guise as a concerned local be writing to his local council again to express concern about cuts. One of the Labour backbenchers made a comment to the PM about asking his mother, a woman who has publicly spoken about cuts and how they are affecting people.
Our Dave’s response was rapid and appeared unplanned and it was directed not at the back bencher, but instead directly at Corbyn, the reference to the storm in a tea cup nation anthem makes it clear who the PM was referring to.
Cameron’s words in response to the shout ask your mother were “Put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem.”
To quote a historic figure who is held in high regard by most of the Tories including the current lot:
“I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”
Words of wisdom and as relevant to politics and politicians today as they were when spoken many years ago. For those who don’t recognize the quote, it was Margaret Thatcher, not someone I normally quote but in this case very appropriate.
But apart from that we now have the media full of our Dear Leaders words and the insult while absolutely no-one is looking at the fact that ‘Dave’ completely refused to answer a single question. AGAIN!
The NHS, junior doctors and the man whose name has become rhyming slang for a rude word describing part of a woman’s body. Children could read this but you know what I’m talking about if I call someone a complete Jeremy Hunt.
Hunt has been making much of his 24/7 NHS and his oft quoted figure of 6,000 weekend deaths has drawn scorn and many factually demonstrations of how it is wrong or deliberately false. Doctors and the NHS itself has demonstrated time and again that the figures were taken from reports covering the death rate from 00:01 Friday through to 23:59 Monday. Four entire days, NOT a weekend, though with our politicians they may well consider the working week to be Tuesday to Thursday and the rest as the weekend. Even the people who WROTE the report have gone on record as saying the numbers don’t mean what Jeremy is claiming they do.
So Hunt is being a right Jeremy Hunt, nothing new there. But what does our Dear Leader do when the matter is bought up in PMQs. He yet again distracts people from the policies and the scum, sorry ministers pushing those policies, he completely ignores the critics and instead throws another figure out into the room, he claims that Hunt was in fact underestimating the number and the real figure is 11,000. Highly contentious and attention grabbing.
Every single look at the quoted figures has shown them to be lies and manipulations, the people who wrote those reports has said the numbers are being used in misleading ways.
But Dave managed to completely derail the entire attempt to challenge the way Hunt and the Tories have behaved; yet again the debate and the questions died a death because he blatantly refused to answer and instead went off on a tangent, drawing the focus onto himself and leaving Hunt to get off yet again.
Our Dear Leader has completely refused to give a straight answer to any serious questions for a long time now, he throws insults, he distracts attention away from the questions.
About the only thing he has been definite on is saying that he intends fully devote himself to the EU referendum and the stay in campaign. Which is fine, it’s still a free country, he is allowed to support either side.
After all he has repeatedly said that the Tory MPs and Ministers are free to support IN or Out as they wish. Of course since then he has been throwing the odd barbed comments at those who are supporting the out campaign. Well maybe more than just the odd comment, perhaps a few actual insults and attacks.
The media have fallen for it yet again, everyone is talking about Dave being a dead duck PM, the talk is leadership challenges (erm guys and girls of the Tory party, he’s leaving anyway, all you will achieve is throw him out a bit early) and Dave, Dave, Dave. The actual stay and leave campaigns have, yet again vanished and been replaced with threats, fear mongering and insults.
Boris joins the leave campaign and for a brief time everyone is looking that way, then along comes Dave and suddenly all eyes are on him again.
This is something he is very good at, the verbal sleight of hand, diverting attention away from some serious subject he can’t or won’t talk about and onto something contentious and headline grabbing.
The dead cat in the title is a very old negotiating tactic, when you can’t or won’t go any further or answer questions, throw a dead cat onto the table. Everyone is so busy asking why you did it and talking about the dead cat they forget what they were trying to get you to talk about.
Dave is on the way out, coasting toward his retirement as PM and his new life of ease with a big handful of directorships and consultancy jobs, the biography, the international speaking tours and all the rest of the stuff that will leave him very comfortable thank you very much.
But while he is a ‘Lame Duck PM’ he's still doing a lot of damage to British politics and to British Democracy (or what little remains of it) with his constant ‘Dead Cat’ antics. He and the Tories have reduced actual political debate to nothing more than distraction, insults and lies, more lies and dammed statistics.
PMs question time is the worst example but certainly not the only example of this and you see this behaviour from most of our political class these days, it has become rare and remarkable to have a politician who is consistently on point and apparently honest.
Everywhere you look it’s either false statistics or insults, distractions and dead cats, no real debate, no honest facts. The legacy of Dave and the Tory party on British politics is going to remain as a taint on our democracy for many years to come.
So Long Dave, thanks for all the dead cats.