David Cameron set out, somewhat disobligingly, to portray Jeremy Corbyn as Scrooge. The Prime Minister said that he himself would like to wish people “a full happy Christmas”.
We struggled to recall whether Corbyn had wished people only half a happy Christmas, or a quarter of one, or had resorted to some pagan euphemism.
Corbyn hastened to our aid by declaring: “Just for the record I did say happy Christmas.” He also took care to match the Prime Minister by wishing “Major Tim Peake, who’s not on the planet at this time”, a happy Christmas.
There was laughter when Corbyn said “not on the planet”, for he too is reckoned by some to have extra-terrestrial characteristics. Cameron opted to sound absurdly positive about Major Peake: “We all watched his exciting take-off yesterday.”
No we didn’t. Some of us missed Major Peake’s take-off for the space station, and couldn’t care less that we missed it. We don’t wish to be co-opted into the British space programme.
The Prime Minister went on trying to shoot down the Leader of the Opposition. Corbyn asked about adult social care, to which Cameron responded with a fusillade of statistics, while also chiding Corbyn for failing to delight in the fall in unemployment: “Is he going to welcome that at Christmas time or doesn’t he care about unemployment?”
People used to complain about the commercialisation of Christmas, but here was the politicisation of Christmas. It was too late to propose a Christmas truce – or too early, given that we are only in Advent.
Cameron later insisted, for good measure, that because “Britain is a Christian country”, with faith woven into the fabric of our country, this “makes us a more tolerant nation”.
But one has to say he is not himself very tolerant of Corbyn. A very happy Christmas, by the way, to all readers of this sketch.