As a seasoned debater, Dave has learned the most important trick of all: steer clear of any serious discussion of policies whenever possible – and always when TV cameras are rolling.
One tosses a stone at one’s opponent’s policies and suddenly the projectile comes back with interest. One can easily be found out, what?
Let’s say one accuses a Labour frontbencher of an inordinate affection for high spending financed by borrowing. A perfectly valid point, that, but does that uncouth prole concede it?
Does he bloody hell. Instead he has the gall to come back with “Oh yeah? ‘Ave you looked at your own policies lately, mate?” or whatever uncouth proles say under such circumstances.
The honest answer would be no, one hasn’t, but honesty isn’t the best policy, not in Parliament. So it’s better to stick to what at Eton they call ad hominems. The more lightheartedly offensive the better.
The kind of ad hominem doesn’t really matter. Take yesterday’s session for example. The Reverend Flowers is much in the news as a user of cocaine, crack, crystal meth, cannabis, ketamine, GHB (mental note to oneself: not to be confused with GBH) and what have you.
Mind you, high as this ex-Chairman of the Co-Op Bank rose in business, he was only a lowly councilman in the Labour party. Still, too good an opportunity to miss. Every line snorted by a Labour chap, no matter how lowly, can become a clever line in Dave’s capable.
So when Miliband mentioned his tax plans, Dave seized the chance. “That is not a policy; it is a night out with the Reverend Flowers.” That toadie Osborne laughed hysterically, as if he’d just broken another chair on a Bullingdon outing. Job done.
Then came the turn of Michael Meacher, a former Labour minister who looks like a retired Edwardian parson. He dared ask Dave about Britain’s levels of business investment, low by international standards. Bloody cheek!
But Dave knew how to cut the wrinkly down to size. He was on a roll: “I can only conclude that the Right Honourable gentleman, too, has been on a night out on the town with the Rev Flowers and that the mind-altering substances have taken effect.”
That’s the way to field such queries. Business investment, low, high, average, who the hell cares? Certainly not Dave. He does know, however, how to score points.
That particular point got disallowed though. The wrinkly screamed bloody murder to the Speaker about Dave’s little quip, describing it as “unjustifiable, rude and offensive” and, well, unparliamentary.
It was time to backpedal a little. “I made a light-hearted remark,” smiled Dave. “If it caused any offence, I will happily withdraw it. I think it is very important that we can have a little bit of light-hearted banter, and a sense of humour on all sides.”
At which point the shadow chancellor Ed Balls screamed, “Have you ever taken cocaine?” But because he never got up from his seat, Dave felt justified in ignoring the question, as he always does.
Look, what was he supposed to say? “What, a member of Bullingdon’s taking cocaine? How preposterous can you get?” No one would have believed it, and anyway it’s best not to remind the proles of one’s own status in life.
Anyway, Dave has had to grapple with this question for years and he has never deviated from his original line: “I did lots of things before I came into politics which I shouldn’t have done. We all did.” And that includes you, Balls.
Get it? ‘Before I came into politics’! So on the one hand Dave modestly hints at the remote possibility of youthful indiscretions, while on the other strongly implying that as a politician he has been whiter than… well, cocaine.
So what if he was almost expelled from Eton for smoking dope? That was then and this is now.
As to dealing with Ed Balls, Dave has that down pat too. Whenever that lout opens his mouth to heckle, Dave dismisses him as a Tourette’s sufferer. Works every time, as do various sparkling witticisms based on Ed’s surname.
All in a day’s work. His statesmanship done for this week, Dave goes back to Number 10 to chillax with Sam, whom one presumes he lovingly calls ‘the girl with the dolphin tattoo’.
When Sam dozes off, he spends a few minutes sketching a few witty retorts for future use. For example, when the issue of hunting next comes up, which it’s bound to, Dave will say, let’s see, oh yes, “I realise that the Right Honourable gentleman is more familiar with a different kind of horse. The kind he calls ‘H’, what?” Brill!
And there’s more mileage in Flowers yet. It’s not just drugs, it’s also homosexual porn and trysts with rent boys. Let’s see: “What Flowers did to those rent boys, the Right Honourable gentleman will do to the economy.” Yes, that could work. Anyway, it’s the one for tomorrow.
Dave smiles and dozes off next to Sam. His conscience is clear and he sleeps well. He knows he’s doing his best for Britain.