Do you like blood sports? Small, cute furry Beatrix Potter creatures being ripped apart by hounds to the accompaniment of a lot of braying upper class Brits on horses. Or bulls being taunted in a ring and speared by a motley crew of Spaniards in fancy dress. Of course you don’t because you abhor any type of cruelty to dumb animals. In which case there’s always Prime Minister’s Questions beamed live from the House of Commons every Wednesday lunchtime to satisfy every blood lust you could ever imagine.
I have become a bit of a recluse at lunch time on Wednesday because I love watching PMQ as it’s known. Poor old Gordon Brown must dread Wednesdays and David Cameron is so good at baiting him. Last week there was a rumoured spat between Alistair Darling, the chancellor, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown. So during PMQ they sat together and joked for the benefit of the TV cameras. “Any closer and they’ll be kissing” quipped Cameron which completely nullified their attempts to demonstrate that everything was hunky dory between them.
Almost as good as PMQ though are the shots of the front door of 10 Downing Street on Sky TV. Have you ever noticed how many people go in and out that door during a short live broadcast. On a cold London day it must be damn difficult to keep the vestibule of 10 Downing St warm and welcoming. But who are these people? Obviously some are cabinet members dropping in to see the PM and some are civil servants. But who are the guys in tattered jeans and bomber jackets who just knock and get let in? These days Downing St is fenced off from the surrounding area and it’s damn difficult just getting into the street for a view of the prime minister’s house without having to satisfy the Metropolitan constabulary that you’re not a member of a terrorist organization. And yet there are men in tatty jeans going boldly up to the front door and getting admitted.
Maybe they’re plain clothes policemen or security experts from MI5 in which case they should consider putting a Waitrose carrier bag over their head because anyone watching Adam Bolton on Sky now knows what they look like. Or maybe they’re just workmen there to repair the washing machine which has stuck on the spin cycle. In which case where are their toolboxes? And wouldn’t workmen use the tradesman’s entrance?
No, there’s definitely something odd going on at 10 Downing Street because I can’t remember the front door opening to admit so many oddly dressed people when Margaret Thatcher was in charge. My guess is the guys in tattered jeans and bomber jackets are from the advertising agency that will be handling the Labour general election campaign. They’re having a good look around 10 Downing Street to get some idea of who Gordon Brown really is so they can put a human face on the man in time for the next election. It can’t be an easy job which is probably why they look quite cheerful when they go into 10 Downing St but nothing like as cheerful when they emerge. How on earth do you sell the Labour party to the British public? These days it would be easier to sell toxic waste.