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Dave the radical feminist gets a helping hand from Harriet

16 July 2014

It was the final PMQs before the sun-stroke season begins. Usually these are high-spirited Derby Day affairs and Ed Miliband came to the house knowing things could hardly be easier. A political grenade has just been lobbed into the prime minister’s bunker – by the prime minister himself.

He’s sacked two of his closest allies (and Ken Clarke). He’s fatally weakened himself in Europe by sending Lord Nobody to Brussels. And he’s surrendered to hypocritical calculation by stuffing his cabinet with skirt. Cameron the radical feminist? The silliest pose he’s ever adopted.

Miliband began by striking a note that he does particularly well: low-key, gloating irony. He congratulated the prime minister, along with ‘thousands of parents’, for junking Michael Gove. He quoted Cameron’s recent praise of Gove and asked, why sack him if he was such a success?

Cameron patted this aside and demanded to know why Miliband hadn’t mentioned today’s record employment figures. The folly of Miliband’s tactics was instantly revealed. Gove is a side-issue compared with Cameron’s sudden self-reinvention as a Suffragette. Equality between the sexes is one of the founding issues of the Labour movement. And Miliband had a golden opportunity today to extol his party’s record as the historic champions of liberty, and to present himself as the embodiment of an ideal that the sluggardly Tories are barely catching up with.

He fluffed it.

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Instead he grudgingly welcomed the fall in unemployment totals. And his features were shadowed with guilt and anxiety. Which is almost incredible. Four years into the job and Ed still doesn’t know how to suit his mood to the headlines in order to make himself look like a winner. Bad news should prompt sorrowful defiance. ‘Under me, this tragedy would never have happened.’ Good news should prompt cheerful inspiration. ‘Under me, this triumph would have been twice its present size.’ But he still has the moldering air of a cloistered smart-alec, prised from his wonkish cell, and dragged blinking and protesting into the light of day.

After his final question he delivered one of those neatly balanced and cleverly alliterative soundbites that Neil Kinnock used to love:

A recovery people can’t feel. A cost of living crisis people can’t deny. And a prime minister people can’t believe.’

Which looks fine on paper. But its polished sheen shines far too brightly. And it’s out of step with public perceptions. Cameron was far nimbler:

I’m pleased with my team. And looking at the shadow chancellor I’m pretty pleased with his.

Cameron was greatly assisted today by Harriet Harman. The Labour Party’s chief saboteuse last week called Gordon Brown a sexist pig for neglecting to make her Deputy PM. This week her destablisation programme continued on a radio phone-in. For no reason whatsoever she awarded herself a battlefield commission and began improvising new bits for the Labour manifesto.  ‘Yes I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes,’ said the deputy-prime-minister-in-waiting.

What taxes? Cameron shouted at Miliband. Paid by whom?

Labour’s backbenchers were notably reluctant to ask questions that reinforced their leader’s lines of attack today. Fiona O’Donnell had a bash. When will the PM publish his tax-returns?

Tax. That was enough. Cameron brought up batty Hattie’s policy improvisations again. (Memo to Ms O’Donnell — if previous answers suggest that the PM will use your point to destroy you, improvise a new one.)

The session ended with no rowdiness or euphoria. All was as quiet as the Dignitas clinic when Faure’s Requiem starts to play. Which may happen quite soon for weary old Ed.

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Show comments
  • The Blue Baron

    “Equality between the sexes is one of the founding issues of the Labour movement.”

    I think that’s something of a stretch.

  • jack

    I fear the feminisation of our political men is largely due to excessive amounts of oestrogens in our drinking water.

    Cameron has been drinking too much from the tap and Harman too much from the bottle.

    • Liz

      Something that apparently doesn’t afflict Spectator writers and readers, they must all just drink Gin and Tonic and Bolly.

      Unless they’ve been feminised but are self-loathing.

      • jack

        You need to drink more tap water.

  • J Wright

    Miliband could increase his popularity enormousely if he sacked Horrible Harriet immediately Did no one notice his reaction whilst she ranted on about taxes at PMQT today. Her pathological ambition to become leader is driving her mad .The outburst against Gordon Brown the other day shows she is losing control. MeMeMe is all she can think about. Just another manifestation of her hatred of all things men Due I suspect to Daddy, an upper middle class staunch tory Consultant Physician .,, rejecting her. Look closely at todays phoio ,-her hair is beginning to fall out.

  • HookesLaw

    I would like to see two new insurance schemes a National Health Insurance and a National Welfare Insurance. Employers would contribute too. The point is these insurances would be realistically related to spending and for instance may rise or fall as unemployment rises or falls. There would be a cap on contributions since it is an insurance scheme not a tax.
    The govt through taxation would cover those not insured, such as pensioners and children. I do not see that these insurances would be particularly cheap however.

    But set against that it would mean that PAYE could be significantly lowered and the public would appreciate that health care is not free.

    I notice the govt are proposing charging people from overseas 125% to 150% of any health costs they incur.

    • anothercontrarian

      The proposal to charge overseas visitors for using NHS resources is deeply suspect, as its prime innovation has been to disinvent money, or to hide it behind sufficient layers of camouflage as to maintain the illusion of a service which is ‘free’ so far as its users can divine.

      Selectively removing that careful camouflage cannot possibly be done cheaply.

  • HookesLaw

    So the reshuffle has claimed its first victim. Miliband.

    The rag tag and bobtail mob of srewball Daily Telegraph columnists massage the fevered imaginations of its nutjob comments fetishits, but to what effect.
    That other Barclay Bros organ – none other than the Speccy – gives its tame nutjobs further opportunity to foam at the mouth.
    The Commons today speaks its own story.

  • toco10

    Hattie Dromey is well past her sell-by date and Red Ed should be made to do job experience before his mother lets him talk with the grown-ups.

  • RavenRandom

    Labour tax and spend; your money in their hands. Then that plus a bit of our childrens money used to bribe their client state. Result… ultimately is bankruptcy.

    • telemachus

      “The Labour Party wants to cut taxes for middle and low earners. Harriet Harman was clearly talking about the tax system as it is now where people on lower incomes pay less tax. It is deeply dishonest of David Cameron to suggest otherwise”

      • Alexsandr

        not clear at all. sorry. she wants more of my money.

      • RavenRandom

        Just cutting and pasting now are you… Comical Tele.

      • Kitty MLB

        Labour’s very existence is based on dishonesty.

        • Shazza

          Just lies Kitty. Not only do they lie to us, they lie to themselves. The tragedy is that they believe their own lies – perfect example is Andy Burnham with his wet eyelashes framing sorrowful eyes. Didn’t Blair go to court to ensure that political parties could not be sued regarding broken manifesto pledges?

  • Alexsandr

    who cares about the charade in the commons
    the message everybody got loud and clear today was labour will put up your taxes.
    full stop.
    everything else is fluff.

    • telemachus

      “The Labour Party wants to cut taxes for middle and low earners. Harriet Harman was clearly talking about the tax system as it is now where people on lower incomes pay less tax. It is deeply dishonest of David Cameron to suggest otherwise”

      • RavenRandom

        Really? Sometimes you must appal yourself. Comical Tele.

      • Alexsandr

        whats a middle earner? what salary is middle earner and what is rich
        is 40K rich?

        • Kitty MLB

          Indeed not. Apologies but as said before these
          are the “squeezed middle” those who quietly
          get on with their lives.Not poor or rich.

        • Holly

          …And where will the 10p tax rate Labour plan to re-introduce start?

      • Lady Magdalene

        The Labour Party also wants the Lemonade Springs and singing Bluebirds to continue in the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Why did Gordon Brown scrap the 10p tax rate then?

  • MirthaTidville

    Why do the media give this upper class, self hating, interbred barmpot the oxygen of publicity. She`s a thick as a brick and constantly keeps opening her mouth to prove it. The day Hattie has anything to intelligent to say I`ll show my whatsit at the top of Big Ben

    • Kitty MLB

      ‘interbred barmpot’ excellent!
      The day that wretched women says anything of any
      relevance. I shall run naked whilst wearing a big hat through
      the HOC and sit on John Bercow’s seat ( I nearly said lap
      but felt billious)

      • telemachus

        You ladies should stick together
        Harriet has done a hundred times more for women that Esther’s flashing thigh

        • RavenRandom

          You’re getting a bit pervy Tele. And sexist. Well done, just like the glorious ex-Prime mentalist.

        • Alexsandr

          you think her positive discrimination has helped women? dream on. Its an insult to the gifted ones who have done well through their own efforts. Unlike quotas, which just promotes mediocrity. like blairs babes. and harman herself.

        • Holly

          Plod on lad…Plod on.

        • Moriarty

          Yes, and her husband was so supportive of the all-women shortlists that he decided to appear on one.

          • Shazza

            Married to Hattie I would imagine that he does wear the skirt in that household!

        • MrsDBliss

          No, Harriet has not done more for career women. She’s not helped women who look after children professionally – usually poor – by supporting cries that childcare should be cheap; return of badly paid servants anyone?
          She hasn’t helped poor women by increasing taxes and the national debt in a time of affluence ensuring that those poor women – rather than raising their children – have to work to survive.
          She hasn’t helped poor women by insisting that women, when it is necessary they work, can allow friends to look after their children and have to actually pay for care which means their children have a 1:10 ratio, whilst Harman’s pals can afford nannies and therefore a better start in life.
          The trouble is with people like you is that it is not women’s voices you want to hear, but women’s voices of one political persuasion.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          She had contributed mightily to the cause of socialist nuttery lad.

        • Andrew Smith

          What exactly has this woman ever achieved apart from securing a promotion above her abilities? I could list a whole row of intellegent, effective female politicians on which HH would not feature.

        • Shazza

          Tell that to the moslem women who have undergone FGM (in this country), forced marriage, honour killing, marital violence, forced to wear a bin bag…..Hattie Harpicperson thinks that we should respect their ‘culture’ – so doesn’t matter what these wimmin suffer, she is oh so tolerant of other cultures.
          Hypocrite. Toss in PIE as well.
          Some feminist. She really, really cares about the sisterhood. Yeah right.

        • kyalami

          You omitted a couple of words but since I can’t edit your post, here we go …

          “Harriet has done a hundred times more damage to women’s causes …”

          Please pay more attention to what you have written to avoid causing confusion.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Bilge. She is a ghastly woman whose contributions to British life have been entirely negative.

      • MirthaTidville

        I would look forward to it Kitty, but we both know it will never happen don`t we..

  • telemachus

    “a sexist pig for neglecting to make her Deputy PM”
    The sexist pig I detect is the man who hyped up the prospects of Our Dear Scouse Esther and even brought her in in he figure hugging grey haute couture to drape on the steps of Downing Street
    And then said there there love we have got our photograph and in thanks you can sit on one of the back chairs while the real politicians, the chaps, decide what is best for the Country

    • MirthaTidville

      At least Esther is very attractive and worth appreciating. She also has a sense of humour..What`s your lot got, mad Hattie and the Eagle Brothers..nuff said

      • telemachus

        Look around the Shadow Cabinet, not just the delightful Harriet, Maria and Angie

        But the very delicious Rachel Reeves, Caroline Flint, Mary Creagh, Margaret Curran, Yvette Cooper, Rosie Winterton, Gloria De Piero, Liz Kendall, Emma Reynolds, and Emily Thornberry, not forgetting Lady Janet Royall.
        We could run an effective Government without recourse to men at all

        • Colonel Mustard

          A coven of red witches. Also something very unhealthy about two sisters and a husband and wife in the same cabinet.

        • Airey Belvoir

          I see that not even you could bring himself to include the Eagle sisters under the (slightly sexist) description of ‘very delicious’.

        • Moriarty

          The “delicious” Yvette Cooper?
          Rachel Reeves sounds like a pre-elocution Janet Street Porter.
          Still, whatever flaaaaaaats your boaaaaaattttt

    • Moriarty

      I mean this as a serious question my friend…are you mentally ill?

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