Politicians Make the Best World Cup Jokes

The House of Commons has got football fever, and a massive crowbar.

by Simon Childs
11 July 2018, 1:32pm

Emily Thornberry at PMQs

Will someone please inform Messrs Baddiel and Skinner to kindly move aside? Standing in for Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions today, Emily Thornberry delivered what in politics counts as a zinger. The Tories' cartoon Brexit bust-up dust ball is still choking up Westminster, and – well, I'm sure I don't have to point out the glaring contrast to Gareth Southgate’s unicorn riding heroes and their nation-healing World Cup campaign. Not least because Thornberry already did so with delicious aplomb!

"I may know very little about football, but even I can see that England’s progress so far at the World Cup shows what can be achieved when all the individual players work effectively as a team, when there’s a clear game plan and when they’re all working together, and of course, when everyone respects and listens to the manager. So can I simply ask the Minister of State what lessons he thinks the England team could teach this shambles of a government?"

Like Gary Lineker with a dodgy Match of the Day sign-off pun, she at least delivered it with enough sass to make it land. But if you’re groaning at that, check out this absolute stinker from last week after England beat Colombia on penalties. Lining up a soft-ball question for the PM, Rachel Maclean (Conservative, Reddich) went for a reach so far it would have Pickford struggling.

"After last night, I am sure that there is one question I do not need to ask the Prime Minister, which is whether she believes that football is coming home. I will ask her, though, whether she agrees that another great victory for our United Kingdom is the BAE contract [a £20 billion deal to build frigates for the Australian Navy]. What does she think that means for jobs up and down the country in the manufacturing supply chain after we leave the EU?”

A seamless, seamless reference that in no way taints the Three Lions' efforts with an arms deal.

Spads, if you're reading this, please help yourself to any of the following:

  • It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming / Britain’s ability to make its own laws is coming home – I don't think, thanks to the appalling treason of the Prime Minister's Chequers fudge.
  • Football may be coming home, Mr Speaker, but what of the home owners who face the prospect of continuing to pay off their mortgage well into their seventies?
  • Might I ask my honourable friend to reflect on New Order's "World in Motion", in which we are reminded, "You can't be wrong / When something's good / It's never gone". Does the Prime Minister agree with me that our National Health Service is indeed good, and that thanks to our spending commitments...

You're welcome.