I couldn’t possibly remember all the times over the last 13 years that the government has dropped some bad news 10 minutes before the start of Prime Minister’s Questions. They think it’s a clever ruse, because it doesn’t give the opposition time to do any preparation on it.
But it doesn’t always work. Prime Minister’s Questions is the only bit of House of Commons action anyone vaguely normal might watch. And this week, the “first week back” for MPs (but not thousands of schoolchildren), it could hardly have backfired more.
Because who, really, is going to listen to a word that comes out of the prime minister’s mouth if scrolling away next to him in split screen is the full 150 strong list he’s just published of the country’s most dangerous schools? That’s quite an attention stealer, isn’t it? People of a certain age might remember the blind panic of trying to read the cheat codes hidden in the end credits of early 90s’ video game show Bad Influence as they scrolled along the bottom of the screen at the speed of light.