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by Paul Goodman

Screen shot 2010-11-26 at 10.25.16 The following exchange took place yesterday in the Commons –

Mr David Winnick (Walsall North) (Lab): In view of the launch of the happiness index-mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) – on which the Prime Minister is so keen, will we get a statement in the near future on how happy are those who will be the subject of the savage cuts in jobs and services that are coming shortly? As far as yesterday's demonstration is concerned, it was marvellous, and gives a lead to others to follow

Sir George Young: I do not think I have ever seen the hon. Gentleman look happy. Wherever the index is, it will be dragged down by his appearance in the House. I wonder whether, on reflection, he would describe yesterday's demonstration as "marvellous". Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage was done in Westminster, and the demonstration was ruined by a minority of irresponsible people. I pay tribute to the way in which the police responded.

ConservativeHome's Parliament page should at this point record that Harold Wilson is reputed to have called Winnick "the stupidest man in the House of Commons".  I can't find the date, time and place when this observation was made, but Boris Johnson refers to it, and the great man is never wrong.  It's only fair to point out that Winnick has had a good deal of competition since, not least from this author.

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