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September is upon us. The blackberries are in fruit. The days are growing shorter. And the Sunday morning political shows have returned.
That’s right. Pack away the sun lounger, the holiday season is over. The dreary politicos are back.
The BBC’s Andrew Marr and Sky’s Sophy Ridge are now on even earlier. Marr has reverted to its original time of 9am. The decision to broadcast later wasn’t the ratings bonanza the producers hoped for apparently.
Ridge, in turn, has shunted back to 8.30am. Political hacks working the Sunday shift, I can report, are less than thrilled.
The Ridge show is currently sans Sophy so filling in is Stephen Dixon, a decent wind-up merchant with a touch of the Eddie Mairs about him. Every now and again you half expect him to give a Fleabag-style wink at the camera.
Dixon had to make do with David Gauke as his main interview. I say ‘make do’ because the ex-justice minister is far from scintillating. Television gold he ain’t.
Gauke is the unofficial shop steward for former Conservative ministers trying to stop a No Deal Brexit. Possibly this is because it gives them the opportunity to call themselves the ‘Gaukward squad’, or perhaps just because he’s mildly less dull than Phil Hammond or Greg Clark.
Michael Gove, now Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, appeared on Marr this morning to say he wasn’t going to play ball on Starmer’s No Deal legislation to make it illegal. They’d look at it if and when it happens, he said insouciantly
Threatening to become an independent MP if the Prime Minister pursues No Deal, he remarked: ‘Sometimes there is a point where you have to judge between your own personal interests and the national interest. And the national interest has to come first.’
Bushy-browed Mr Gauke not only looks more like Sam the Eagle from The Muppets by the day, he’s growing almost as pompous.
More entertaining was the two-way interview which followed with Labour’s John McDonnell.
The Shadow Chancellor was, as ever, a model of folksy charm and spray-on sincerity. Dressed in a scarlet woolly knit and tie, if it had been anyone else I’d have assumed they’d just returned from a shoot on a nearby estate.
He chose to be interviewed