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Politics diary: PMs settle in amid bums, Big Brother, and bananas

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At the same time as the new session of Parliament gets under way yet another series of Big Brother has started on TV.

One sees a cast of oddballs and attention seekers enter a fantastical House designed to discombobulate where they are given seemingly pointless tasks to undertake.

And the other is Big Brother.

The two have much more than that in common.

For a start, in both cases the public ultimately decides who stays and who goes.

And folk used to take an interest in politics and Big Brother. But since the original reality show is aired on Channel 5 these days its viewing figures are comparable to the number of people tuning into BBC Parliament each day to see how the latest political inmates are getting on.

The class of 2015 doesn’t just include the 50 new SNP MPs returned following the slaughter of Scottish Labour on May 7.

Around a quarter of both the Tory and Labour parties is made up of newbies that’s 53 Labour and a whopping 73 Conservatives.

Like Big Brother contestants, they are a diverse bunch. One new member gushed last week: “I’m so proud it’s the gayest Parliament ever!”

Like those on the TV show, some will go on to make a name for themselves but most will fade to obscurity.

The question is who will become a national villain like Nasty Nick or who will see their star shine brightly but briefly like dumb and tragic Jade Goody.

Scotland’s only Big Brother winner might teach the MPs a thing or two Orkney fish trader Cameron Stout proved nice guys can finish first.

The new MPs faced a few tasks last week.

First, they had to elect a Speaker. As expected John Bercow was quickly re-installed.

He’s a bogeyman to some in the Tory party who reckon he’s slightly biased, which is open to question and painfully verbose, which is undoubtedly true.

But his critics chose not to oppose him largely on the basis of better the devil you know.

Before the process of picking the Speaker the MPs faced the simple task of sitting down.

But just as the Big Brother housemates often struggle in the face of the most mundane everyday issues, so the MPs descended into “seatgate”.

The SNP group were supposed to be coming to London to shake up the Westminster system.

How that squares with immediately getting in a stooshie about seating is unclear.

As third party, the nationalists need more seats actual ones.

The trouble is, Labour veteran Dennis Skinner sits at the front of one section of benches the SNP could reasonably expect to occupy.

Skinner, dubbed the Beast of Bolsover for the monstering he’s given PMs of all political stripes down the years, has been around so long he may feel like part of the furniture. And he has almost taken on a constitutional role with his now traditional quip that he shouts out during the State Opening of Parliament ceremony look out for him blurting out something unfunny on Wednesday.

He has no right to any particular place in Parliament, however.

Huffy Labour whips, still smarting from the election result, refused to talk to their SNP counterparts to sort seating, and so began “The battle of the bums”.

The outcome, for now, has seen Skinner stay in his seat while the SNP bloc cluster around him.

The episode, though, has given rise to another phenomenon familiar to both Big Brother and politics unlikely friendships.

For Dundee MP Chris Law, perhaps the most recognisable of the new SNP intake with his pony tail, beard and trademark tweed suits, has struck up a rapport with Skinner since the two started sitting together.

They’ve bonded over a shared love of Woody Allen films.

The title of one of his hits sums up the whole situation Bananas.