I have written parliamentary sketch for The Yorker. Here is its below:
“Gordon Brown’s premiership is like Bertrand Russell’s teapot: It could be there, right now, all-powerful – how would you know? Is it still there? Does it really exist?
Not that the Prime Minister has evaded the media spotlight, merely that the events of the last few weeks are so implausible they simply cannot have happened. No sitting Prime Minister could be so unpopular and weather so many resignations, so much criticism. And yet, when his party limps home in the European elections utterly humiliated he’ll probably stand up and say he’s ‘getting on with the job’. What is the job? I’m sure he doesn’t know.
Frank Field wrote in The Independent about the complete absence of any legislative agenda by the government – except of course, that dictated by Joanna Lumley and now by ‘Sralan’ Sugar. Perhaps Brown should bring in Les Dennis as Europe Minister – it’d be heart-warming to see his career resuscitated. Too late, Neil Kinnock’s Wife got the job because handily she’s resigned her MEP position to spend more time with her grandchildren.
Welcome to the cabinet Mrs K, just don’t resign and everything will be just fine. Oh, and don’t worry about David Milliband – he always smiles like that.
There are so many rebels in the cabinet now they are in competition with each other yet no-one will stand up to take the PM’s place. In the red corner are the has-beens: the old, ‘big beasts’ of Labour lore who cannot watch their party endure anymore. Typical characteristics are unsuitability for the top job and an appearance that, on first glance, makes you think you’re staring into a funfair hall of mirrors.
In the blue corner are the Thatcherites: people who probably should have joined the Tories. Step forwards James Purnell, who has outflanked the Tories on welfare reform by bringing about every policy they ever wanted. Not that they want them anymore – the Tories don’t care about money, honest. They care about … ok, that’s not entirely clear, but they definitely don’t care about all the things they used to when nobody liked them, and to suggest otherwise would be totally unfair.
Jostling the referee for a place in the ring and screaming about the benefits of affirmative action are the sisterhood – easily the most aggressive and gutsy of the three tribes. The magnificent Hazel Blears stormed out on the Prime Minister and should have by rights killed his premiership off (if it exists anymore). Then followed Caroline Flint, who hammered slaps and low blows into Brown’s ever-tightening cabal of loyal bruisers. Balls didn’t even get the Chancellorship and he did so want it. Press briefings abounded ever since an interview in the New Statesman but despite his pretence, Brown couldn’t deliver his most loyal chum a place at his side.
So could Brown really be Prime Minister still? Perhaps there’s another answer, a man who always seems to be the answer to a question no-one else asked. Step forwards Peter Mandelson. The master. The Labour leader in all but name. Mandelson insists the media have got it wrong – and he knows them well. But could he really be so brazen as to deny that there are any issues at all? It’s clear to me from his awe-inspiring performance on 5 Live the other day and then with Nick Robinson yesterday that there isn’t a need for a leadership challenge, not really.
Brown isn’t Prime Minster, Mandelson is. Labour, don’t pinch yourself, you’re not sleeping.”