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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008, 14:00 GMT
A confusion of car dealers
Prime minister's questions sketch
By Nick Assinder
Political correspondent, BBC News website

The spirit of Killer Cable lives on.

Oh how David Cameron wished he had come up with the ex-Liberal Democrat leader's devastating slap down, that the prime minister had gone from Stalin to Mr Bean.

Del Boy and Rodney
Del Boy was not a second hand car dealer
So, he put his team on it (presumably) and they produced the following - to be deployed at the right moment in Mr Cameron's attack on the latest "dodgy deal" to save Northern Rock and the fact Mr Brown refuses to say what the cost to the taxpayer is.

"The prime minister is like a second hand car dealer. He won't tell you the price, he won't tell you the mileage and he will not give you a warranty." So far, so good.

"He has gone from Prudence to Del Boy without touching the ground."

Oh dear, the sound of a good idea crashing in flames before your very eyes.

Whoever made that basic blunder proved, at a stroke, that the opposition leader is entirely unfamiliar with Britain's rich cultural heritage.

Dopey brother

Del Boy, as everyone knows, was not a second hand car dealer - he couldn't afford the cars for one thing.

The character who filled that honourable profession in Only Fools and Horses was, of course, Boycie - but you don't need telling that.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a previous question time
Mr Brown accused Tory leader of all slogans and no substance
Similarly you probably don't need telling - and Mr Cameron will certainly not want to be told - that the character referred to as "Dave" was Del Boy's dopey brother Rodney (usually dubbed "a plonker").

Had Mr Cameron or his sketch writers wanted a second hand car dealer, they need have looked no further than the godfather of the species - "Arfur" Daley. Perhaps they are too young to recall actor George Cole's crowning creation.

Still, let it pass. Mr Cameron went on to deliver a series of put downs and, in the end, came up with a far better one.

Getting into a row over whether Northern Rock should be nationalised, or put into administration or liquidation, he declared the difference was clear.

All slogans

"Administration is what his government is in at the moment, liquidation is what will happen to it at the next general election".

If that came from the pen of the same script writers, they may just have saved face.

Anyway, what all this was about was attempting to make Gordon Brown look both incompetent - the main line of Tory attacks at the moment - and shifty, for refusing to answer straight questions.

And, to an extent, it may well have worked.

Mr Brown's line, on the other hand, is to paint Mr Cameron as all "slogans and no substance" - and, to an extent, that may well have worked thanks to the Tories' apparent inability to decide where they stand on Northern Rock.

And it is just possible, of course, that our deeply serious prime minister has absolutely no idea who Del Boy, Boycie or Arthur Daley actually are. Or is that libellous?


Gordon Brown The Full Story
All the action with key points, analysis and reaction from Gordon Brown's weekly grilling

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