An early sign that Dave was not quite himself came when Jeremy Corbyn upstaged him by paying tribute to the playwright Arnold Wesker who had died earlier that day. Dave is normally well abreast of any celebrity deaths and seldom misses an opportunity to praise “Danny the Police Dog who slightly injured his front paw in the line of duty” but this time he was completely stumped. Arnold who? “Let me make myself absolutely clear,” said Muddy Dave, “I’d also like to pay tribute to... um, er, this playwrighty chappy whoever he was.”
As homage to the angry young man, Corbyn did his best to present himself as an angry old man. If the government was so determined to clean up the tax system, he asked, could the PM explain why Conservative MEPs had voted against measures to close tax loopholes and keep a register of those who were benefiting from such schemes?
“Let me make myself absolutely clear,” said Muddy Dave before completely ignoring the question and answering one of his own: “No government has done more to tackle tax avoidance and tax evasion than this one.” That’s because the only way his government could have done less is by doing absolutely nothing; Labour’s own record in office doesn’t bear too much close scrutiny.
Muddy Dave tried making a gag about Corbyn’s late tax return, a mis-step that backfired when the Labour leader drily observed that he had paid more tax than companies owned by people the prime minister knew well. Muddy Dave turned a nasty shade of purple as he tried to work out whether Corbyn had been talking about his late father’s company or the chancellor’s soft-furnishings family business – wallpapers also available in puce. Both probably.