Things you thought you’d never see. Look even. There are some possible cartoon people who could take Rishi Sunak. Lord Snooty, perhaps. Although Jacob Rees-Mogg may already be in the bag with that one. Definitely the head boy swot. The archetypal spinning. Cuthbert Cringeworthy. But he would never be in your wildest dreams as the anti-establishment Dennis the Menace. But that’s exactly what Rish is! it seems to mold itself now.
In early exchanges with the Labor leader at prime minister’s questions, Sunak described Keir Starmer as Sir Softy. Clearly modeled on Walter the Softy, Dennis’ arch nemesis. Bottom of all boys. That would probably be Suella Braverman or Dominic Raab Gnasher the Dog. Although Gnasher was much nicer than either of them. But really?
Sunak was clearly very pleased with himself. It went viral as if he had said something very funny and very clever. Several of his staff were up all night thinking about “Sir Softy”. And Rish! he gasped when he first heard it.
What is meant by intelligent reflection in No. 10 these days. That was sticking to the Man. Sunak the multi-millionaire, the uber-privileged man of the people telling the instrument maker’s son where to get off. One day Sunak might realize that Starmer deserved his dough.
Within a minute. Sunak repeated the jibe. Sir Softy, Sir Softy. He liked Tory benches. So much so that they immediately started tweeting it as if it were the wisdom of the ages. Starmer was not entirely blameless in all this. He also decided that PMQs could be better treated as a school playground by being personal as well.
But it was very unifying. depressed If this is democracy in action, we may need a rethink. A far cry from Sunak’s promise of “professionalism, accountability and integrity”.
But maybe we are all just fools in what we say as far as the Prime Minister is concerned. Or maybe he has just given up and given himself over to the dark side. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Better to fight dirty and stay in the game. Much more of this and voters could run for the hills. If they haven’t already.
Starmer started well. By keeping it short and its lines of attack sharp. The Tory party chairman had recently said that public services were in good shape. How did Sunak think they were going?
Rish! immediately he looked shifty, rummaging through the red folder for a killer answer. But he couldn’t find anything. Nada. So he said everything was great. Anyone who said anything different was a liar.
Both seem to imagine that the only way to win the local elections is to get mares on the playground
That was a bit of a twist, the Labor leader replied, raising an eyebrow. How hospital waiting lists were worse than ever, the NHS was in crisis, rapists were going unpunished, phone calls to the police were not answered and the government was unable to stop refugees arriving in small boats.
It could also be mentioned that inflation was consistently over 10%. It’s not that the government will be doing half of it but the sensational moment that Sunak imagines. It’s not as if prices will start falling down. They won’t go up as much. A tub of Lurpak will still not be affordable for many people. Food banks are not going out of business anytime soon.
This was the moment Sunak chose to go low. “Sir Softy” he sneered. A “lawyer on the left” quickly followed. The prime minister has not yet realized that the law is just the law. It is neither left nor right. What a lawyer wants to do is interpret it.
What followed was nothing short of shambles. The speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, showed that he is unable to maintain order. An ineffective principal who lost control of his school. Constantly making threats that he doesn’t deliver. And everyone knows he won’t, so they ignore him. Shouting and laughing.
Starmer went in person. Sunak was first called out for being cold-blooded when it came to law and order, then Raab became more interested in saving his job than doing it. Psycho looked almost teary. As he knows, the damning facts will be dropped in the report about the alleged bullying of the staff due any day now.
That he is asking many of the prime ministers to conclude that 24 people were making things up. I may need some quiet time. It’s just him and his punch bag. With the bodies bobbing gently in the Thames outside his office window.
The final exchanges were just miserable. Sir Softy – only a few weeks ago it was Dick Dastardly – and Cuthbert Cringeworthy. Two damp, fistful sponges that dish out third-rate insults and attacks. No one was the wiser as they fought over who sent more people to jail. Who could be locked up for crimes the longest.
As if the only thing wrong with the justice system was that people weren’t taking their lives for being drunk and disorderly. It is not that criminals were not being arrested or that the courts and prisons were at breaking point.
You’d expect both Starmer and Sunak to be better known. But both seem to imagine that the only way to win the local elections is to get centrists on the playground.
It was a blessing in disguise when Hoyle brought proceedings to an end. Although not for Chris Philp, the necessary MP in Westminster. The only person who took Matt Hancock as a role model. His desperation makes the skin crawl. It makes Tom in Succession look positive. Philp was lucky enough to answer an urgent question on Chinese police stations in the UK. Something he obviously knew nothing about.
“Um, I’ll have to ask the security minister about this,” he repeated, looking across his staff for inspiration. “He should really answer this UQ but he’s in Northern Ireland.” Of course it was. Tom Tugendhat has never been so proud of being lonely.
The know-nothing shtick quickly grew thin. He could not imagine how a Tory donor could set up his own illegal police station for the Chinese state. One of the disadvantages of having no imagination.
Philp soldier on. He would consult with the “law enforcement community”. He said that twice. Almost as if he was talking about some security-weird person. It was a disaster. It goes without saying. But it was much more fun than Sunak and Starmer 45 minutes earlier.