Yesterday’s Treasury Questions were interesting – I mean, for people who could ever find Treasury Questions sessions interesting, obviously. Osborne found them tough going this week, which is rare these days. But it wasn’t because Jon McDonnell had a good week. In fact, even by McDonnell’s incredibly low standards this week’s edition was stunningly poor. When it came time for the shadow chancellor to ask a question….he didn’t ask one. Instead he ranted about – I am giggling as I type this – the bleeding fiscal charter. Yes, that thing that McDonnell said we should sign up to, then changed his mind about. His worst moment, some of you may remember. It is impressive in a sort of Ed Wood Jnr kind of a way to focus on one of your weakest moments in politics while supposedly going on the offensive, all the while not even managing to meet the minimum conventional requirement of the event at which you are speaking.
Having nothing he had to actually respond to gave Osborne a free shot – which he duly took with aplomb. Dig this:
‘What people need above all as homeowners is economic security. The fact that the Labour party is now getting it’s advice from Yanis Varaifoukas and the revolutionary Marxist broadcaster Paul Mason does not suggest to me that they’ve got an answer to economic security. Presumably they chose those two because Chairman Mao was dead and Mickey Mouse was busy.”
Baa-dum. So why did the chancellor find the session tricky then, if the shadow chancellor was his usual, lame self? Because of his own backbenchers, drilling him about Brexit. Tyrie, Baker, Rees-Mogg: they all turned out to take their best shot at the second in command of their own political party. While their questions weren’t actually very sensible (Tyrie’s was particularly daft, basically questioning why we would have to trigger Article 50 immediately if we voted out, insisting that instead we should wait for a while to establish “good faith” with the EU countries still remaining in. Seriously, what is it with the Brexiteers and their desire to slow down Brexit should we vote for it? They want out so badly, supposedly, and then they question why we’d actually have to leave so quickly), it was still hard to weather, as tough issues that divide a party always are for those at the top.
Is George in for 16 more weeks of this crap? Probably. Next week it will be Peter Bone asking why we’d have to leave the EU if we voted to leave EU, instead of spending some time in a sort of EU purgatory to “wake the Frenchies up”. The week after that, Philip Davies will ask Osborne why if we vote to leave we shouldn’t have not just a second referendum but a third referendum in order to ratify our new fangled relationship with the continentals.