By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
Since the last PMQs the economy has leapt back into life, Miliband totally forgot the economy, and two MPs defected to UKIP. Regardless of that hiccup/convulsion (delete as appropriate) you felt the PM would survive today’s onslaught. Unfortunately for the PM it appears that one of his prominent members doesn’t mind paying disabled gardeners £2 an hour.
Miliband had ambushed the PM, and challenged Cameron that Lord Freud had said this to a party member. The PM seemed furious and evoked the memory of his late disabled son, Ivan, saying: “I don’t need lectures from anyone on looking after disabled people.” Miliband couldn’t really continue the attack after that, and waddled back into the jungle.
But the elephant in the room had not been challenged yet, ok there were a few Tories who stated that the “only party to get an EU referendum is ours,” that aside it seemed better to ignore the MP for Clacton.
In footballing terms (stay with me) if the UKIPs MP defection had been a transfer between the two big clubs, for example Manchester City to Manchester United then Carswell would be held in esteem by one side and hated by the other. However, Carswell has moved to the renegade non-league outfit (maybe FC United) with loud supporters – disillusioned with the dominant powers, wearing even louder party coloured tops and run by a people’s “barmy army”.
You didn’t feel Carswell had many friends in the chamber today (well, except from the 20 or so right wing Tory backbenchers who will be defecting soon) apart from Farage watching from the public gallery, with a tear in his eye, or maybe it was cigarette smoke. He smokes and drinks you know?
When the UKIP MP stood up to ask a question, there was a murmur rather than a boo. Is he A traitor? A turncoat? A trailblazer? It was also a strange sight to see Dianne Abbott sitting directly behind Carswell, surely two of the most divisive figures in Parliament. It was akin to putting a lion and a crocodile in a cage. Maybe they will fight to death, or perhaps they will just eye each other with suspicion and go to sleep for the afternoon.
The aroma UKIP lingered in every question – Mark Hunter, Lib, wanted the PMs opinion on nuisance phone calls. The PM seemed very agitated, “The Government must take stronger action against the perpetrators and they can be barred from calling victims again.” I wonder if he was talking about Farage calling his wavering MPs?
Leaving UKIP for a moment, the Labour benches went NHS crazy today, each question attacking the coalition’s healthcare reforms; but nobody bothered mentioning the recent four hour strike. Strange that even when declaring all-out war on the Tories health service record, they still couldn’t find the bottle to mention union backed strikes. Or are Miliband’s memory problems catching? Hard to say what is worse.
But there was talk of a new union…from the Tories. Robert Halfron, Con, said the Conservatives are the “true workers party, a modern Trade Union for hard working people”. If Maggie did come back, I’m pretty sure Cameron would be her new Scargill.
Meg Hillier, Lab, did manage to ask how the Government plans to stop the IS massacre. The PM said they are training the Syrian opposition, let’s hope they don’t collapse in the same way the “trained” Iraqi army did.
Returning to UKIP one final time (rest assured the BBC will return a lot more than me) the main parties should pay attention to this cautionary tale. Once upon a time there was a little unfancied non-league club called Wimbledon, who made it all the way to the top flight and won the FA Cup, and their nickname?
“The crazy gang”.
Sycophantic question of the day
Nigel Adams, Con who wanted a smiley face from the PM for completing his 4th Jobs fair.
A nil-nil draw between the two giants, but everyone was glued to their TV watching FC United.