After watching PMQs today I felt I needed a bit of culture, so I decided to listen to the first 32-seconds of the song Maria by Blondie: “She moves like she don’t care, smooth as silk, cool as air, ooh it makes you wanna cry.”
David Cameron might have listened to those lyrics. After all, he and his former Culture Secretary Maria Miller moved “like she don’t care”. Ed Miliband called Miller’s apology a “brief and perfunctory”, 32-second statement.
Red Ed asked about “public concern and anger” and “what lessons had been learned” by Cameron after the resignation. The Prime Minister responded by saying that he was right to give her a chance to apologise and get on with the job. “Smooth as silk, cool as air!”
The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that what was at stake here was not the actions of Maria, but the PM’s handling of it. Cameron responded by saying that Maria had been cleared of the substantial charges against her, of housing her parents at the taxpayers’ expense. She also documented her crocodile tears in her local paper: “Ooh it makes you wanna cry!”
But Ed continued to push, if Cameron thought she’d done nothing wrong, why did he let her resign? The Prime Minister then pointed out that Ed, who is no stranger to bandwagon jumping, had remained silent throughout the affair and was only intervening after it was all over. To which Ed pointed out that “this is a new one, its now my job to sack his cabinet” – an unusually good response.
Ed finally suggested that Maria hadn’t gone due to “bad conduct, but bad press”. Perhaps that’s fitting for a Department entitled “Culture, Media and Sport”.
Backbench input came from Tim Farron (LD, Westmorland and Lonsdale) who was interrupted by an audible groan from other members. Speaker Bercow intervened only to enable him to ask a dull question about rural health care.
Government whips will have been pleased with the number of Tory Backbenchers asking same-y questions about the government’s “Long Term Economic Plan”. They were James Morris (Con, Halesowen and Rowley Regis), Jake Berry (Con, Rossendale and Darwen) and John Glenn (Con, Salisbury in Wiltshire). However David Nutall (Con, Bury North) heroically asked if ‘Brexit‘ would form part of the plan, sadly the Prime Minister was not keen.
Also lots of questions about Northern Ireland, one of which led to Martin McGuinness’ attendance at the Irish State Banquet being hailed as a good thing. Apparently the former second in command of the Irish Republican Army even toasted the Queen!
Overall: Had Cameron only remembered the names of the tracks written By Debbie Harry in the 1976 album he may have been okay: Little Girl Lies, Rip Her to Shreds and Man Overboard.
We all love a bit of Culture, but sometimes life can imitate art too much!