After the excitement of Wednesday's vote, the House of Commons on Thursday debated dead fish. That's one of the charms of the place; in no time at all it can move from high drama to rotting mackerel.
Jeremy Hunt, having survived Wednesday's vote on his future, was back, answering questions, the perma-smile still in place. It could be that there is a six-digit code that would unlock the grin, but no one can remember what it is. Questions on culture, media and sport contained a few modest attacks on him, but they were mere side-swipes, like a dead plaice flopping past his head.
MPs were fretting that there weren't enough British sports in the Olympics. Richard Graham wanted squash included.
The sports minister, Hugh Robertson, suggested lacrosse and netball. Why not rounders, crown green bowling and cribbage? Anything to get us those medals!
Peter Bottomley wanted cricket in again, and he brought us the stunning fact that the current holders of the Olympic silver medal for cricket are … France! They won it 100 years ago, he said. We could trade cricket with them, for petanque.
And we were on to the fish. It says much about the European Union that this week there was an all-night meeting of ministers to discuss the common fisheries policy, in Luxembourg.
Ah, Luxembourg, that great maritime country from which generations of crinkle-eyed, salt-crusted fisherfolk have set out to harvest the bounty of the seas – at the Thionville Leclerc, or the Saarbrücken Lidl.
The meeting had gone on way past first light on Wednesday, which may account for the bizarre terminology. Richard Benyon, the fisheries minister, said that "the text provides for a landing obligation in pelagic fisheries".
This appears to mean that boats that have taken on board more than their quota of deep-sea fish will not actually be obliged to hurl the dead ones back into the briny, an existing rule that also encapsulates the EU in all its madness, doing nothing to preserve fish stocks, and pushing up prices – though probably pleasing the French.
Amber Rudd, the MP for Hastings and Rye, suspected a ruse. She thought the deal might be "the marine equivalent of the long grass" – her way of saying that probably nothing would happen.
Mr Benyon replied that "the year 2015 will probably see the emergence of white-fish land-all obligations" and, as so often in the Commons, my mind wandered.
I was on board the Pequod, with Ishmael, Starbuck and mad Cap'n Ahab, searching for Moby-Dick, the great white whale that had chomped off Ahab's leg.
"I do not know," said Starbuck, "but if the Cap'n does find Moby-Dick we may be subject to a staged pelagic implementation."
"Aaaarrr," I agreed, "but being a whale, and so technically an aquatic mammal, Moby-Dick is not subject to the common fisheries regime!"
"Better not take no chances. If we harpoon the beast, since the emergence of the white-fish land-all obligations will not be in effect until 2015, we'd better throw the bugger back, just to be on the safe side."
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