Coffee House

PMQs sketch: Was Carswell right all along?

3 September 2014

5:34 PM

3 September 2014

5:34 PM

Calamities crowd in every side. Nuclear-armed Russia is already waging war with Europe, according to our NATO ally, Lithuania. At home, Douglas Carswell’s defection threatens to rob the Tories of power. Yet these crises were barely mentioned at PMQs.

One source of international conflict has been resolved, at last.

Is the name Islamic State? Or is it ISIS? Or is it IS? Or is it Isil?

Isil it is. Both leaders used that term today as they condemned the latest savageries. Cameron made a vague attempt at karaoke Churchill. And no one particularly minded that it wasn’t up to much.

‘A country like ours will not be cowed by these barbaric killers … Our opposition to Isil will continue, at home and abroad. … We will not waver in our aim of defeating terrorism.’

Miliband played the part of Attlee, offering his full support, and no doubt hoping that his impersonation will reach its historic destiny at the general election.

Asked a soft backbench question on EU membership, Cameron made an egregious blunder. But his knee-jerk correction may have got him out of trouble.

Cameron: ‘It’s vital we include the British people. And under my plans they will have the decisive stay – the decisive say – before the end of 2017.’


Was Carswell right all along?

Rotherham spurred Diane Abbott into action. She got to her feet wearing a perilous, many-fronded hairpiece that looked as if it might leap down and give someone a nasty bite on the leg. She’s worried that the social services directors who failed Rotherham are now bringing their genius, and their standards, to other public bodies. She demanded that local authorities offer much tougher contracts to senior staff. (But why would they, when they recruit from within their own clan of municipal groupies?)

James Gray was on characteristic form. If this sonorous shiresman hasn’t yet been made a baronet then it’s high bloody time he was. With his kindly, stooping gait and his air of fatigued authority he recalls a Palmerstonian age when the Commons was the world’s parish council. Glancing down at a piece of parchment, he read through a checklist of international troubles, from Libya to Donetsk, and he asked that a ‘two-day debate’ be convened so as to give him to a chance to bring peace to the unfortunate races born across the English Channel.

Cameron said he’d do his best.

The revolt in Scotland prodded a few old wasps into life. Angus Robertson called the prime minister a chicken. In April, the PM had agreed to a TV debate with wavering Scots voters.

Robertson: ‘He’s running away.’

Cameron: ‘I offered them a date and a format. But the TV companies seem to have run away.’

‘Ooh!!’ mouthed Robertson, like a scandalised spinster.

Old Labour diehard Lindsay Roy, (in a weird truce with Cameron), expressed alarm at Alex Salmond’s threat to renege on Scotland’s debts. Cameron shared his anxiety with a single word.


For once he didn’t mean watching House of Cards while Merloted to the gills. And he reminded us that the EU intends to blackball Scotland unless it achieves a currency union with sterling.

Which has been ruled out. So Free Scotland’s first act may be to render all its citizens stateless.

Well, now we know where to send the returning jihadis.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Bill Brinsmead

    James Gray … this sonorous shiresman…. Rather he is another Scot with a safe seat in the shires. The sort who swoons the old dears on selection committees.

    • Wessex Man

      He doesn’t even do that, his consitutuency is square milage is one of the biggest in the Land, he is despised in the towns and larger villages and is only kept in office by his Hunt friends!

  • swatnan

    Its impossible for anyone to be rendered Stateless unless they are dead.
    Britain will still be responsible for these manic preachers of hate.
    And we should not be legitising ISIS by calling it Islamic State; all it is is a bunch of insurgents; they will be beaten anfd probably stned to death intne end.

  • pobinr

    Are people finding the Mods are deleting posts that are acceptable?
    Many of mine are marked as spam

    • Fred Smith

      Occasionally I have a post with a message which comes up immediately saying it’s held up for moderation but they never appear. As far as I can see, there hasn’t been anything objectionable in them, swear words and such. It seems to be more or less random.

      I surmise that it’s done by a keyword check and a lot of English words like the three letter slang word for a cigarette aren’t acceptable in polite American English.

      Moderation doesn’t really exist in that the posts are never reviewed and go straight to /dev/null.

  • Jabez Foodbotham

    “while Merloted to the gills”

    Nice one!

  • global city

    Of course he is. We know that Cameron and the British elite are more than happy with THEIR position in the new European stitch up (their positions gained at the expense of our liberties). We know that they are planning precisely the same trick that Wilson played in 75. we know that the MSM have been incredibly ignorant and remiss when it comes to analysing everything EU related for 40 years. many idiot journalists still report on the EU as if it were some sort of intergovernmental business club.

    • Tony_E

      Are they? Maybe, maybe not. The real issue is that they fear the process of leaving the EU, and the economic adjustment it will bring. We all know we will be better off in the long run but the short term could be a terrible mess.

      UKIP want to make us think it will be simple – just invoke article 50 and off we go. But so many of our functions of regulation are mixed up in the EU project that it will take years to unravel completely. And then there’s the trade agreements that will have to be recast. It’s not going to be straight forward, it has never been done before on this scale.

      Politicians are very afraid of situations that they cannot control, because it can mar their entire term of office and mire it in controversy and unintended consequences.

      • fubarroso

        Have you read Dr Richard Norths FleXcit Plan? He makes the point strongly that leaving the EU will not be an event, but a long drawn out process. However he does propose a way it can be done with the minimum of distruption.

  • Magnolia

    As usual Jacob Rees-Mogg asked the best question and he skewered the PM over the EU arrest warrant.
    Mr Cameron liked to use it to catch terrorists and keep Britain safe and never mind the fact that even the Southampton police can’t use it properly and more never mind that some of the other EU countries police forces will be less up to scratch than the S’hamton force.
    I particularly liked Andrew Neil’s savaging of Emily Thornberry on the issue of the removal or otherwise of British citizenship for returning jihadis, just following PMQs on the Daily Politics.
    If this is the refreshed, ‘holiday’d’, well rested AN then we want to see and hear more like it.
    Labour have got away with pasting over the cracks in their horrible, utopian, niceness vision of the world for too long.
    I was cheering…

    • Holly

      She did indeed anger Mr Neil with her defeatist attitude on nutjobs.
      She used Labour’s favourite trick…the polar opposite, only this time on the Labour leader who was trying to sound ‘tough on terrorists’ in the HoC.
      Cameron would be VERY unwise to put any trust in Miliband, as he is known to be extremely untrustworthy.
      Cameron being Cameron will of course trust him on such an important issue, only to be dumped on by Miliband, because of his inability to stop trying to ‘get one up’ on the Tories.

      The Rotherham Labour bod is making all the right noises about her dismay/
      disgust, and determination to fix it, yet she will never be allowed to question the Labour movement on anything, especially in public.

      Labour are a disgrace to this country,and more and more Labour supporters have figuring that out.
      The people of Rotherham deserve, and now demand, better, and at the council meeting yesterday, they realise they will never get it from Labour.

      • Magnolia

        She said “the law is the law” and “the law is more important than anything else” as she argued that British citizens should not be made stateless and she said the law “can protect us and we must not be undermining it”.
        She is defending the status quo.
        I expect that is Labour’s position.
        I believe that she is not defending the law but is defending not changing the law or not interpreting it in such a way that British citizens can be rendered stateless in certain circumstances.
        There is a difference between blanket refusal to change any previous law and a recognition that the law must be changed as the times change.
        We have too many lawyers in parliament and it shows.

        • Colonel Mustard

          “…we must not be undermining it”

          Thornberry, who is truly odious, represents a party that has been instrumental in undermining the rule of law and politicising those charged with its enforcement. As well as inventing new and far from practical laws that have brought unwanted consequences for the public and foolish distractions for the police. Not bothered about burglaries now but zero tolerance for Twitter “outrages”.

          Labour politicised the law, the CPS and the police and the Tories let them.

          • Magnolia

            I agree with you wholeheartedly.
            That is probably why she does not want it changing now.
            That is my point.
            She is looking bad now and out of touch because she is clinging to the past, her past, Labour’s past which is now out of date.
            Our institutions are all undermined by left wing dogma that has been burnt in to their fabric by New Labour’s laws and their soft speak terror.
            I feel pity and disgust for my own profession, Medicine, whose practitioners are now indoctrinated with left wing bias and a left wing educational footprint, so large that it smothers basic decency in patient care.

  • Conway

    Cameron: ‘It’s vital we include the British people. And under my plans they will have the decisive stay – the decisive say – before the end of 2017.’ Was Carswell right all along?” It may have been a Freudian slip, but Carswell no doubt has convincing proof of Dave’s intentions. Otherwise he would never have jumped ship.

    • P_S_W

      Really? The only thing I have heard Carswell say on this is that he got the impression from advisers that they would do the minimum.

  • Conway

    And he reminded us that the EU intends to blackball Scotland unless it achieves a currency union with sterling.” Are you sure? I thought iScotland had been told it would be blackballed unless it had its own currency. In other words, it would be blackballed if it did achieve a currency union with sterling.

    • Denis_Cooper

      That is also my understanding, that the SNP’s Plan A has been knocked on the head as well as their Plan B.

      In his letter, which is reproduced here:

      Rehn said that Scotland could not become an EU member state unless
      it had “a competent monetary authority in the form of an independent central bank”.

      The reason being that Scotland would be expected to manage its economic and monetary affairs with the objective of joining the euro.

  • Maverick Ways
  • Maverick Ways

    Do you pronounce the “t” in Merloted?

    • Alexandrovich

      Only when rhyming with ‘carotid’.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “And he reminded us that the EU intends to blackball Scotland unless it achieves a currency union with sterling.”

    Nope, that is neither what Cameron said nor what Rehn had said.

    Checking Hansard this is what Cameron actually said:

    “Their most recent effort to say that somehow Scotland would go on using sterling but not be part of a monetary union got a rebuff yesterday from the European Commissioner, who said that on that basis they would not be able to be members of the European Union.”

    That is NOT the same as saying that Scotland would escape being blackballed if it did achieve a continuing currency union with the rest of the UK, because Rehn made it clear that any country which wishes to become an EU member state must have its own national central bank, whereas the SNP have this weird idea that an independent Scotland could continue to share a central bank with another EU member state, the continuing UK.

    Therefore, missed by the Spectator as well as by the Telegraph, Rehn has not only directly ruled out the SNP’s Plan B he has implicitly ruled out its Plan A as well; only a plan which included the creation of a Scottish central bank would allow Scotland to join the EU, and then later join the euro as it would be required to do.

    • HookesLaw

      He’s a sketch writer for gawd’s sake. Usually a boorish one I admit. And todays is hardly a brilliant effort.

      • Denis_Cooper


    • goatmince

      We are finally getting somewhere – design by deduction.
      Discount all the impossibilities (which have been evident for some time now) to arrive at the only logical conclusion at any given time. The ‘procedere’ Frankfurt requires is the procedure an independent nation will either take or leave. One has got to be serious about independence and *be* independent first to then sacrifice some of that independence for reasons only valid to oneself.
      Ask an high-ranking official from Poland – they know exactly what I am on about.

    • Tony Wyse

      David Cameron is growing more pro-EU by the day!

  • The Masked Marvel

    No vote until 2017? Cameron couldn’t even get that right. Forget the ‘Vote UKIP, Get Labour’ noise. The new slogan should be ‘No Leadership Change, Get Labour’.

    • Brimstone52

      A modification if you don’t mind; ‘No Leadership Change, Get Labour, For No Leadership Change’.

    • Wessex Man

      Check out the new kids (recycled) old gits new organisation to topple UKip.

      It’s imaginatively called Stand UP To UKIP and some of it’s founding members are the democrats known as Diane Abbot MP, Len McCluskey, Ken Livngstone Owen Jones, Sally Hunt and Lynsey German who was considered to extreme and forced to resign from the SWP!

      Why, since hearing this breaking news, I’m all of a tremble- I gotta stop laughing!

      • Holly

        They can smell their demise.

        Personally, I would wager that some of the Rotherham victims were shipped to West Yorkshire and that is why Sheerman was ‘doing the rounds’ the other day.
        Only the sickest, and morally lacking of people will vote Labour next year, and those who vote Labour because their parents did, are betraying their own.
        I hope all those disgusted by the number of cover-up’s, the threatening behaviour towards those who tried to bring stuff to the public’s attention, and those who tried to bring stuff to the authorities attention by Labour, refuse to vote for the very party at the core of it all,.
        This will simply enable the Labour party, it’s supporters and the Labour movement to close ranks, and once again sweep it under the carpet.
        If we really want justice for these victims, us Brits must join together to ensure they at least have a chance of getting it, because IF Labour win next year, it will simply continue….Only this time it will NEVER get into the public domain.

        • The Masked Marvel

          One would be more optimistic if Cameron hadn’t displayed the utmost wetness at yesterday’s PMQs and missed many opportunities to attack Labour over this. All he could do was agree with the right honorable whatsits and repeat promises for half measures. He couldn’t – or wouldn’t – attack Labour over their policies when they asked him what he was going to do about it. That was the end of any hope for the Tories winning the next election.

      • The Masked Marvel

        Unfortunately, the BBC will be very supportive as well. They will leap to give air time to this new voice. That’s the power and danger of the BBC: even if these people talk nonsense, the fact that they will be on a dozen different programmes in a single week will make it seem like everyone is talking about them. Repeat a lie often enough, etc.

  • alabenn

    PMQs sketch: Was Carswell right all along.
    Yes he was, Cameron could barely muster the will to think through his reply.

    • telemachus

      Carswell looks like Basil Fawlty on a bad day
      Cameron for all his weakness is worth a gross of Carswells

      • The Masked Marvel

        You have just proven why Cameron should go.

        • telemachus

          He will
          By universal ballot next May

          • FootLong
            • telemachus

              A black shirted racist
              I have flagged it for removal by youtube

              • gerontius

                Pity you didn’t flag the gang rapes in Rotherham eh telemachus?

              • Colonel Mustard

                Censorship and proscription of the truth eh? You, telemachus, are part of the problem not the solution.

                It is you who should be flagged for removal.

          • gerontius

            1400 in Rotherham.
            What’s the score in your other Rotten Boroughs telemachus?

            Still waiting for an answer, working class hero

          • The Masked Marvel

            Wrong. You have proven why he should be removed as PM and replaced by a proper conservative. If you like him more than Carswell, it’s QED for the rest of us.

            • andagain

              If he is replaced as PM it will be by Ed Milliband. This will, apparently, be a matter of delight to True Conservatives everywhere.

              • The Masked Marvel

                If he’s not replaced sooner, that is a likely outcome. Which is why he must be replaced now.

          • anyfool

            Labour the party of Perverts and Paedophiles will lose seats in next years election around areas with high Muslim concentrations.
            They will lose seats in Wales, but the shock of all for you lot, will be the seats you lose in Scotland.
            Now crawl back under your stone and contemplate the reasons why a party that panders to perverts ends up with only their votes.
            They wont vote for Cameron, they will stay at home or vote UKIP, your only hope will be fraudulent postal ballots, that’s Balls only hope.

            • telemachus

              Politics is about making a difference
              Making our lives better
              There is more caring about our future in Ed Balls little toe than a ton of Carswells (and his traitorous ilk)

              • Kitty MLB

                ‘Politics is about making a difference making our
                lives easier’ Did you actually just say that?
                maybe I’m in cloud cockoo land and imagining things now.Even you after Labours apocalyptic
                country wrecking rampage wouldn’t have the
                bare-faced audacity to say that…would you

              • gerontius

                “Politics is about making a difference”

                So let’s start now shall we? Stop running from one thread to the next and answer the question:
                1400 raped children in Rotherham.
                What’s the score in your other Rotten Boroughs telemachus?

              • Colonel Mustard

                Ed Balls is a liar, like you. He cares about lying.

                Balls 2011:-

                “I don’t think we had a structural deficit at all” (in run up to financial crisis)

                (Andrew Marr Show, January 2011)

                More Balls 2012:-

                “Of course there was. I’ve never denied that”

                (Daily Politics October 2012)

          • Colonel Mustard

            Even you with your great big boastful head full of hubris cannot predict the future.

        • Wessex Man

          The fool above you thinks Carswell looks like Basil Fawlty on a bad day, I wonder if he ever saw Miliperson trying to master a Bacon Buttie?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Common Purpose in Rotherham.

        When are the Spectator going to shine a light on this evil cult?

        • Marmalade Sandwich

          Good link, Colonel. Pat Condell summed up so much wrong with public life in the UK. Everyone should watch this, especially Telespacus

  • chouenlai