Beast of Bolsover

An entertaining incident in the House of Commons today when Labour MP Dennis Skinner was thrown out for talking about the 1980s in the following terms: “The only thing that was growing then was the lines of coke in front of Boy George over there…”

When speaker Michael Martin asked Skinner to withdraw his comment, Skinner declared “I won’t withdraw it, it was in the News of the World.”

I can’t help wondering if he could possibly have found a less convincing justification for his comment. Even “I won’t withdraw it, I’m a bit senile so I’m allowed to say what I like” might have earned him a little support, or a simple “I won’t withdraw it, it sounded better in my head”. Or “I won’t withdraw it, this is an opportunity to get chucked out of the House of Commons again and spend the rest of the day in the pub.”

After all, the people of Bolsover were already aware that their MP is slightly senile, talks without thinking and probably spends a lot of his time in the pub. They now have to live with the fact that their MP gets his opinions from the News of the World, which is rather less palatable.

Somebody should at least have been generous enough to point out that the person he was gesturing to was not Boy George at all, but David Cameron. I see very little resemblance between the two, but Dennis Skinner is an old man and was seated far enough away from the new Tory leader for such a mistake to at least be understandable. Perhaps he’ll be terribly disappointed when he learns that the new Tory leader is not actually the androgynous singer from Culture Club – but in fairness, Boy George did indeed have growing lines of coke in front of him throughout the 1980s, so perhaps it was just a horrible misunderstanding.

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