Friday, July 02, 2010

House Points: The new Minister for Fish

Fish-related humour makes a comeback in my House Points column from this week's Liberal Democrat News.

Danny's Day

House Points has long taken an interest in the Minister for Fish. Who could forget the years Ben Bradshaw spent in the post? His plan for a Europe-wide database that would trace fish "from the moment they are caught to when they are served on a customer's plate" serves as a damp and salty metaphor for the Labour years.

Later there was Hugh Irranca-Davies, whose efforts in the role won him the sobriquet “The Haddock’s Friend”.

At environment questions last Thursday we saw who the first Minister for Fish in the coalition government is. And in a bitter blow to the Liberal Democrats he turned out not to be one of us. Instead Richard Benyon, Conservative MP for Newbury, sat on the front bench.

For some unaccountable reason, Hansard called him the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, but we all know what that means.

Benyon’s first fish-related question came from his fellow Tory Amber Rudd. She was concerned about the “under-10-metre community”. You might think that includes everyone, with the possible exception of a few basketball professionals, but it turned out to mean the inshore fishermen of her Hasting and Rye constituency.

The answer was all about quota swaps and reforming the Common Fisheries Policy, but wait a minute... Isn’t an Amber Rudd a kind of fish?


On Monday night a star was born. Over the past few weeks, as the coalition’s honeymoon has dwindled, David Laws has become a giant simply by not being in the House. In the same period, Joe Cole has cemented his reputation by sitting out most of several dismal England performances.

But in closing the debate on the budget, Danny Alexander emerged from David Laws’ shadow.
Biff! Liam Byrne was swatted away with a reference to his “I’m afraid to tell you there is no money” letter.

Zap! Danny described the rise in VAT as “a Labour inheritance tax”.

Pow! He put down Yvette Cooper’s intervention with “I thought that the right hon. Lady was going to do better than that.”

Behind those owlish spectacles there lurks a considerable politician.


Meanwhile In the upper reaches of the Thames, high above Westminster, an amber rudd turns against the current and begins to feed.


NoetiCat said...

This cheered me up in Lib Dem News, among all the fawning over (euchhhhh) Yvette Cooper in the guardian all week, Danny's stellar performance seemed to just get brushed under the carpet in the media.

dreamingspire said...

Mum (now very ancient) remembers selling headless cod at 4/9 a stone, in a town, not too far from the North Sea, where the fish fryers wouldn't fry it - haddock was the minimum that they would offer you. Cod was a fish pie thing there. (That's less than 4 pence a kilo in modern children's speak.)