Today I had taken the precaution of coming to the BBC2’s Politics Show hosted by Andrew Neil (Prime Minister’s Questions ‘live’ from the House of Commons) armed with a cool beer and half a baguette sliced horizontally into two pieces laden with Philadelphia cream cheese, one topped with tomato and the other with cucumber, both duly seasoned with liberal pinches of salt and ground black pepper.
With hindsight, this may have been a mistake, as it prompted a sense of post-prandial weariness.
Sadly, this was one of those occasionally unrewarding PMQs – devoid of witty repartee, controversy or fireworks. Lame and low-key.
Frankly, it was boring.
By 12.25pm, with fully ten minutes to go before Speaker Bercow was going to move on to new business with a curt “Order”’, I felt my eyelids drooping for the fourth or fifth time, jolted slowly upright … and decided to go for my daily afternoon nap half an hour earlier than normal.
I therefore extend my apologies to my regular readers – and indeed, to those who come to my pieces for lively, on-the-spot reports of what is happening at Westminster.
However, believe me, you wouldn’t want to have been there – you should be glad that I was, on your behalf …
Naturally, as you would expect, both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition had been prepared comprehensively for the contest by their advisers, not least with a well-rehearsed quip or two – the better for their man to beat his opponent over the head, hopefully to wild acclaim, not only within the Commons bear pit, but also in millions of homes all over the UK.
The poor quality of PMQs today can be summed up by the quip David Cameron had dreamed up for him today and which he delivered in response to Ed Miliband’s second question of six:
“ … I was interested to listen to his recent appearance on Desert Island Discs. He used to love Marx [as in Karl], now he seems to love Engels instead!”
[this last phrase was a laboured reference to Miliband’s choice of Robin Williams’ hit ditty Angels, co-written with Ray Heffernan and Guy Chambers].
I fear I need say no more.