Jeremy of Islington seems to be settling down to a war of attrition. Week after week he flings, with unimpaired earnestness, the complaints of named members of the public at Dave of Downing Street: today we heard from Lizette and Louis.
Perhaps in years to come, someone will do an analysis of the names most frequently used. But already the technique has lost its freshness, and has begun to sound evasive.
In hospitals, this matey business of using (often incorrectly) the patient’s first name came in about 30 years ago, and was not accompanied by any perceptible improvement in standards of care. Nor will the innovation lead to any permanent raising of standards in the House of Commons. We shall find ourselves lost in a morass of bogus respect for Tom, Dick and Harry.
The final and highest point of an MP is to give his or her own judgment on the great issues of the day, which is what Jeremy of Islington was respected for doing during his many years on the back benches. The most glorious thing he could do is to revert to that independent style.
Jacob of North-East Somerset – a backbencher likewise noted for his independent style – asked the most penetrating question of the day. If the House of Lords presumes to vote against the Government on tax credits, which are a financial measure, will the Prime Minister be willing to create enough Conservative peers to push it through?
Dave declined to rule that out. At previous moments of constitutional crisis, the mere threat of creating new peers has been sufficient to prevail on the Upper House to back down. But this Prime Minister is so excessively fond of distributing peerages and other distinctions that one fears he would jump at the chance to create several hundred more. Could their lordships please not give him the chance?