A REPORT ON QUESTION TIME IN THE HOUSE
(Written back in the 1970’s when Mrs Thatcher was in power)
In an unprecedented attack on the Prime Minister, Edward Heath, together with, Enoch Powell, accused Mrs Thatcher of having Marxist leanings. Francis Pym leapt to his feet and shouted in reply that they too, were far from perfect. Pandemonium broke out as M.P’s from both sides of the House shouted abuse. Michael Foot, leader of the Labour Party, said he was disgusted at the behaviour of his fellow politicians and never before had he witnessed such an outburst. While on his feet, the Opposition leader took the opportunity to deny the rumour that the clock at Westminster, namely, ‘Big Ben’ had taken its name after a certain member of his party. He continued that the clock was world famous for its big face. Whereas, Mr. Benn could only lay claim to having a big mouth!
There were loud jeers until the Rev. Ian Paisley, well known for his moderate views, made an impassioned plea for sanity and said that in his opinion it was all a Papist plot.
To shouts of hear, hear, the Prime Minister, mistaking the cultured tones of her Tory backbenchers, thought they had said, hair, hair. To which she replied, “Yes, I know I’ve had it permed and it’s turned out frizzy, which is not what I expected as I told the Hairdresser…The lady’s not for perming.” When asked if perhaps the style was a little young for a woman whose hair was nearly white. She replied, tersely “There may be snow on the roof but there’s a fire in the cellar!”
Jim Prior, asked to comment on the downward turn of his career, waxing lyrical replied, “I set forth from Lowestoft on the good ship S.S. Thatcher but unfortunately the ship ran into a heavy sea of economic crises and finally foundered on the rock of unemployment. The ship was listing badly to the right, when I called to fellow crew member, Mr. Heseltine, “Michael, row the boat ashore” but the only reply I received was “Hallelujah!” With such a heavy list, I was getting very wet, until finally, I went over the side and found myself castaway on a Northern Ireland! He went on to say that being interested in farming, he felt that the Northern Ireland post would give him an opportunity to study Irish farming methods. Mr. Prior continued that the Irish, renowned for their love of explosives, had it seemed, perfected a method of muck-spreading with a BANG!
A question was put to the Prime Minister, did she still feel confident of her choice of Minister for Cruise Missiles in view of the fact that the said Minister had, this morning, displayed an alarming accuracy with his paper darts. Mrs Thatcher replied that her confidence was placed not so much in the Minister, but rather in the Russians’ ability to duck! Indeed, the Russians had shown themselves to be past-masters at ducking out of Cruise-cial issues!
Sir Ian Gilmour in making his final speech to the house said that as he was shortly to join the ranks of the unemployed, would an increase in benefits be possible? To which, Mrs Thatcher replied brusquely “On yer bike!”
In reply to accusations that Professor Friedman’s monetarist theories were out of date, the Prime Minister answered “Piffle! When I last did my sums there were still one hundred groats to the pound!”
The Minister for Sport then asked if it would be possible for his department to have an increase in funds, as interest in sport had declined considerably over the last few years. Mrs Thatcher said there was no evidence to support this and, indeed, it was her opinion that, with an increasing birth rate, it was obvious, to her at any rate, that there was still considerable interest in certain sporting areas. She went on to say that she had no intention of allocating more money to a sport in which she herself no longer participated.
In answer to a question from Industry Secretary, Patrick Jenkin, Mrs Thatcher said “The so-called riots in Toxteth, Mosside and Brixton were, in fact, no such thing. Indeed, those taking part were just a load of YOPS, in other words, well-intentioned young lads out on retraining exercises from the Youth Opportunities Programme.” The Prime Minister continued that as the underworld was now the only growth industry left in Britain today, she considered it her duty to keep that industry supplied with suitably trained young people. She went on to say that looting, mugging and robbery were all skills that would be needed in the Britain of the future.
Question Time over, Mrs Thatcher apologized to the House for having to dash orf, but explained that she’d got a pile of ironing to do before the arrival of her favourite Cow-boy!