Particularly after David Davis’ waffle from the dispatch box on what Brexit might mean earlier this week, Corbyn was presented with a golden opportunity to expose Theresa May and the Tories’ weak spot yesterday at PMQs. As usual, he declined the invitation.
The Corbynistas like to talk about how the Guardian is a Blairite mouthpiece all the time, but given Andrew Sparrow called yesterday’s PMQs a draw, I think they should be kinder to the publication in future. This is because it was an outright, embarrassing hammering by the prime minister on Corbyn yesterday; yet another chance to solidify the leader of the opposition’s position as a laughing stock.
Corbyn asked five questions on housing and one on women’s refuges. It’s not that these aren’t important issues – housing is one of the key policy dilemmas of our age – but the point of PMQs is to hold the government of the day to account. Now, the frontbenches of the Conservative Party have had all summer to come up with at least something preliminary regarding what the plan for Brexit is going to be. And they have come up with nothing. This is why Brexit is exactly what May doesn’t want to talk about in the chamber.
We caught a glimpse of this, thankfully, when Angus Robertson asked his two questions of the day about exactly that (the SNP really have become the de facto official opposition now). May went from comfortably, casually making fun of Jeremy Corbyn to sounding frazzled and dare I say it, a little bit scared. She had to use circumlocution to get round answering Robertson’s yes or no question (will we remain in the single market or not), and resort to Three Brexiteers style rubbish: we will get a special deal with the EU that allows to have everything we want, fantasy land blah blah blah.
Imagine if she’d had to face four or five or even six questions on this topic – I’m not sure Theresa May would have been able to hack it. Now we’ll never know.
The Tories are facing an almost impossible situation in Brexit and yet only the SNP have the numbers and the will to offer anything like decent opposition in the face of it. I would despair less if only Corbyn didn’t go on about how he’s providing the most effective opposition in British history. He’s not even attempting to provide any opposition at all – if he’s so honest, at least he could come clean on that front.