It was all about the laughing out loud gags and, perhaps in an indication of how low the quality of debate at Westminster has become, very little else cut through from PMQs this week writes our UK Political Editor Harry Cole
For no other reason than my own diary malfunction I found myself listening to this week’s PMQ’s on t’wireless. On pure presentational terms it made the whole thing far more of a duel of wit and reason, rather than the hand-waving, paper hurling, madhouse that the cameras pick up.
Most people were hoping today was going to be about the “LOLs” and they didn’t have to wait long for the gag. After Rebekah Brooks used the ultimate headline distraction tool at the Leveson Inquiry last week by revealing that David Cameron used to sign of his texts to her with a “LOL” for lots of love, only to be corrected when she told him it was actually Laughing out Loud, Westminster has been a hive of mockery and laughter.
Ed was going into this battle armed to the teeth, but given that most people outside of Westminster do not really care about Leveson and his inquiry, he would have been a fool to actually spend whole questions on Cameron’s text speak. He did not fall into that trap - however tempting it was.
The line everyone was waiting for was not far off though - after gloating that he had met the new French President Hollande, Miliband helpfully suggested the PM should text him with a LOL. Quite why Ed is so determined that his two hour sit down with Holland a few months ago somehow makes him the king of foresight and wisdom beggars belief.
In reality there is nothing more two socialists out of power enjoy more than a good natter about dreams and visions. With Hollande winning in France, it seems the thirst for power on Ed’s side is clouding his judgement. Frankly most people won’t give a monkeys that Cameron shunned the dripping wet Frenchy.
However Cameron wasn’t going to go down without a fight. He quipped back that at least he can use a phone rather than simply throwing them at the walls of No. 10 like Gordon Brown. On the radio it was just the Tory laughs heard, but watching back on the news bulletins, you can see Ed’s face light up with a chuckle. It wasn’t fake either - Ed more than anyone knows what Brown was like and though his colleagues were stony faced and pious at a genuinely good line from a PM who is cornered in a cage of mockery, it certainly tickled him.
Perhaps he was recalling the time he had to delete his own mobile number out of his old bosses phone to stop him ringing at all hours of the night to bark mad requests. Or so the story goes...
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