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The weekly WHIP: 25 May 2012

The weekly WHIP: 25 May 2012

Muttering Idiots

David Cameron came under criticism this week for referring to Ed Balls as a “muttering idiot”. This came during Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday and was apparently provoked by comments throughout the Punch and Judy show relating to the prime minister’s apparent tendency to chillax with some wine and tennis at the weekend.

The prime minister had previously attracted ire for suggesting that Labour MP Angela Eagle should “calm down dear”. Suggestions of Cameron’s preference for flashman style one-liners were reinforced as the BBC compiled a montage of his most memorable rejoinders.

What Money Can’t Buy

Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people crammed into St Paul’s to listen to a philosophical debate. Not quite what you would expect on a balmy spring evening. The queues to get in snaked around the Cathedral.

Michael Sandel has just published a book called What Money Can’t Buy, teasing out the moral dilemmas behind the role money has come to play in our society. For example, is renting out your forehead for £4.20 per hour really any different than wearing a sandwich board? And what of the Swiss villagers who were less likely to support the development of a nuclear power plant in their locality after they were offered money to do so? These are deep questions and the WHIP suggests you read more.

Eurozone – IMF

Things are not looking too good for the European economy. When the Guardian starts live blogging an EU economic summit you know you should be paying attention. The problem is that most of us aren’t quite sure what the crisis means, except that perhaps those drachmas we never spent might once again be legal tender. Never fear, there is a flowchart to guide you through the options for Greece.

Back home the economic indicators are not more pleasing. Treasury minister Chloe Smith made a valiant effort to explain why the economy had failed to grow in the past six months.

Dog laws

Apparently MPs are investigating whether we need new laws to regulate the ownership of dogs. This inquiry comes as a hospital comes under criticism for failing to detect cases of rabies after a patient had been bitten by a dog in South Africa. One wouldn’t have thought that dogs took up too much parliamentary time, but the BBC’s report suggests otherwise.

Broken roof

MPs were shocked on Thursday when glass in the roof of Portcullis House, where most of them have their offices, shattered. Conservative MP Therese Coffey broke the news on Twitter and later posted a picture of the offending panel.

Portcullis House is a controversial building; the trees which are rented have cost more than £400,000 since the building opened in 2000.