My view of Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions
Of late Prime Minister’s Questions has become akin to a staged Saturday afternoon wrestling match on the economy. We know all the moves. But with less than 30 minutes rehearsal time yesterday it became what we luvvies call "a bit improvised" - that is to say they were making it up as they went along.
It should have been about the unemployment figures, now touching two million, but only one person’s job prospects were the centre of attention - Sir James Crosby’s, the deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority. Sir James announced his resignation at 11.30am so at midday there was a tingle of anticipation in the galleries.
Grapple fans leaned on the edge of their seats as David Cameron entered the ring and brought everyone up to speed on Sir James’s hasty departure from the Financial Services Authority. "Does the Prime Minister accept that it was a serious error of judgement to appoint him in the first place?" asked Mr Cameron as he tried to wrestle Mr Brown into a corner.
The old bruiser’s balance was off, his grammar was going a bit astray, and he couldn’t quite escape the half-Nelson of guilt by association. Scenting blood Cameron let rip with all his synthetic anger and launched into a flying grapple, one which true wrestling fans recognised as the Lou Thesz Press.
Despite his bulk, Brown sidestepped the attack. Sir James Crosby did two reports, said Brown. "He has completed these and he is no longer an economic adviser". Ah, sighed the Labour backbenchers, appreciating a Pumphandle Drop, the "nothing to do with us guv’" defence.
As he collected himself off the ropes Cameron exclaimed that even the bankers have apologised. "Sir James’s Crosby resigned. Won’t you just admit that it was a misjudgement to appoint him to all these roles?"
The referee intervened, which gave Brown time to adjust his costume. "The term used is not persmissable," said Speaker Martin. MPs are meant to offend their opponents through the chair and not say "you" but Mr Cameron always tries to get off with the personal wind-up.
He tried another old move, the Spingboard Clothesline, a three-part attack that raises a succession of cheers from the bankbenches. The first time he only got through two so he tried it again. "Who built the biggest budget deficit - "he did". Who created the most personally-indebted country - "he did". Then he stumbled on the canvas, enough for the Labour pack to roar him down. No mercy in this arena.
Now Brown was on the attack, with a simple Chop Drop he quoted Barack Obama. Cameron threw the disdain of the Dutch, the Germans and the French for the VAT cut back at him. Wait a minute, this is wrestling not Waterloo.
Get your facts right, said Mr Cameron as mauled the PM for having chopped his favourite banker. "The other day he told us he was like Titian aged 90, the fact is that Titian died aged 86."
The painter’s actual date of birth is unknown. Check for yourselves on Wikipedia but be aware that the entry on his age was edited at 12.34pm yesterday by someone at Conservative Central Office. Who said wrestling was the cheater’s game?