Immediately following the horrific events in Woolwich that saw a soldier hacked to death by fanatics in broad daylight there were demands from some for parliament to be recalled.
Frankly, parliament should have been in session anyway MPs were sent off on holiday again on Tuesday.
The Government cannot justify starting the Whitsun recess so early. Schools, in England at least, have a week off. Why MPs need an extra five days is as unanswerable as the long break is unjustifiable. Especially coming so soon after the House had a similar length of time off ahead of the State Opening of the new session of parliament on May 8 they hadn’t even been back at work for two weeks.
Government decides on the parliamentary calendar and it was looking very foolish indeed at the start of the week, for a decent Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday would have damped increasing disquiet about David Cameron’s leadership. Discontent fuelled, for example, by a spectacularly bad piece of scheduling that saw the gay marriage bill back before the Commons on Monday setting the Tory backbenches, still smouldering after the previous week’s Europe furore, ablaze all over again.
Last time out it was Sir Roger Gayle who led opposition, claiming that brothers and sisters would be allowed to marry next. This time Sir Gerald Howarth took top honours with his warnings about the “aggressive homosexual community”. Heaven knows where Tory high command gets the idea that some of their number are “swivel-eyed loons”.
The bill passed but with Labour support.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper was the only person to emerge with any credit from the whole unnecessary farrago, giving the impression she’d ridden to the rescue and personally ordered Labour’s troops through the Government lobbies.
Cooper has a knack for avoiding trouble and turning up at the right time. Politically that’s invaluable and her timely cameo last Monday proved once again she’s very much in the running to be the next Labour leader.
There are Westminster whispers about the fate of the current Labour leader and they won’t have been silenced by a bizarre speech Ed Miliband gave on Wednesday morning.
Impressively, he went to the headquarters of internet giant Google and told them to pay more tax.
Trouble is, he began his speech by asking the audience the difference between his Marxist father Ralph and Willy Wonka. Frankly, if he doesn’t know the answer to that then even the computing power of Google is unlikely to be able to help.
He followed this up with another odd-one-out involving Mr Burns, the evil boss from The Simpsons. Ed’s battling against a public perception that he’s a bit odd this did not help.
And though it may seem distasteful to say it, plenty around parliament have been asking the question about how a Willy Wonka-quoting wonk would have responded to the terrible events that took place in Woolwich later that day.
David Cameron is unquestionably good at such serious stuff. He put his political troubles behind him as he took control of the nation’s response to the terror attack.
Cameron’s calm serves him well at times of crisis. Where Tony Blair would have been bashing out badly drawn-up bills in response to the terror attack, Cameron promised no knee-jerk reaction and restated, if it were necessary, the nation’s resolve to stand up to such atrocities.
Last week’s events, in both Westminster and Woolwich, proved David Cameron is a better Prime Minister than he is politician.