Wednesday, April 01, 2009

PMQs Review

Tom Harris twittered from the chamber of the House of Commons...
Ever been at a football match where the crowd starts to file out just before the full time whistle? You get the picture.

He's right, so I won't delay you too long. I think David Cameron was wrong to raise the issue of MPs' expenses. It just smacked of politicians talking about themselves. He made some totally valid points on the timetable for the review and 'long grass' , but today was, perhaps, not the time. But he did get an agreement from the Prime Minister to meet him and Nick Clegg. He should hold it sooner rather than later, go into the meeting with proper proposals, which could get cross party support and be non partisan in nature.

Cameron then moved on to the G20, but somehow the exchanges never really caught light. But what we did get was a clear signal from the Prime Minister that his entire line of attack on the Conservatives at the next election will be that they will "cut pensions, cut child benefit and cut the health service." How edifying. I think I am right in saying that David Cameron only used 5 questions, which is quite normal. But with the attack by the PM in answer to his 5th question, I thought David Cameron should have improvised and given a withering retort.

Nick Clegg's questions concerned green jobs. Again, there was a lot of synthetic anger, but not a lot more.

Brown 5
Cameron 5
Clegg 4


Mog said...

I thought Dave was dreadful today. Brown slaughtered him. Very, very disappointing especially when Cameron has so much to batter the Government with.

Boo said...

Bit of a no score draw.
However, will Brown please stop banging on the tabl! Listening on my earphone all I could hear was thump, thump, thump.

Conand said...

Cameron was right to raise the issue of MPs' expenses. People are really concerned about what has been going on.
Brown gave Cameron a platform to detail our policies and Cameron didn't take it. Brown spoke for 2 minutes after one question, Cameron could and should have at least matched that.
I'm very angry at Brown's lies. ALL Conservative MPs should have been on their feet.
Brown is lying to the country and to the world. He's totally despicable.

King Athelstan said...

So the tories will cut pensions and child benefit will they? big deal, their not worth a sh*t anyway, the deluded old basket case.

trevorsden said...

Coffee House gives it to Cameron.

6th question - all you get back is propaganda. Thats why they generally do not ask one. But if Brown is going to treat the 5th as the one he can say what he likes without reply then you may have an argument. But really today no matter what Brown was going to say the G20 was wonderful and its all down to him. If there are PMQs next week he will say the same - no matter what the outcome.

PMQs are a waste of time - no answers just propaganda.

Take Camerons suggestion that the G20 should make sure Doha is ratified. A couple of mumbled words back and then endless propaganda.


Chris Paul said...

Almost agree with you on the scores Iain. But think Brown probably edged it because he didn't fluff anything, whereas DC was too tortuous and pretty silly asking already answered (!) questions.

Nadine was awful. Rowen was awful. Hunter was awful. Joyce was good. Also point re legal action vs cancer sufferer from Tories.

Scoring the floor I'd say:

Lab 8 Tory 4 Lib 2

curly15 said...

I missed it, Was Brown his robotic self?

Plato said...

Score draw. That statement masquerading as an answer was appalling.

I think he was right to raise expenses but guess it's a hard one as they're all at it.

The news cycle won't give this more than a nanosecond of coverage so nothing lost.

The BBC are having a group Obamaganism in any event.

Roger Thornhill said...

The next government should not "cut"* those three things, but instead set the flamethrowers towards the bureaucrats and quangogcracy.

I notice he did not care about Eductation. Why teach the kids how to count up to £20,000?

* as in no cuts to nurses, docs etc

strapworld said...

I thought Cameron was right to raise the issue of MP's expenses. Goodness me, iain, what has been on the front pages and editorials these past days?

The viewers to the Daily Politics, obviously agreed with Cameron as well. They would not pick them if they were not the majority emails.

Brown was very nicely knocked back by Cameron on the opinion polls.

Radio 5 Live now with John Pienar(?) talking about the world leaders here, slobber, slobber slobber, still agreed with Cameron!

Brown came across as if he suddenly changed the world! what a let down he will get when the next opinion polls will show yet another drop in support for him and his ghastly crowd of wallet fillers.

dalesman said...

Brown came out on top this week. I thought Cameron was lame.

I agree with Trevorsden though, PMQ's has become a waste of time. It's all propaganda.

Mark M said...

I didn't see it, but it was mostly pointless this week anyway. All anyone wants to know is what the G20 will come out with. It would be impossible for Cameron to attack on the economy given it will probably all change again soon, and he's so scared of being labelled with 'Tory cuts' that he won't give alternatives.

Perhaps if he was truely anti-EU he could have asked Brown about the report out the other day showing that being in the CAP costs British families £400 each a year.

See Dan Hannan for more.

Andrew said...

Chris Paul. "Joyce was good". Are you radio rental? (as they would say in his constituency). A planted question from the MP with the highest expenses?

Cuse said...

Hilarious PMQs today.

God only knows what Obama would make of it, watching these two trade low-level insults like spoilt siblings.

Cameron increasingly relies on Hague-a-like soundbites a la "snipped the credit card" (Coulson is definitely top-dog in the Tories now); Brown retorts "you'd do nothing" ad infinitum; Cameron repeats "fix the roof...sun shining"; Cameron can't relate any information through any media outlet on what he would actually do; Brown can point to lowering debt levels until the last year or two zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Brown is an appalling PM - Cameron is as bad a leader of the oppostion as Hague and Howard.

Britain is indeed great!

golden_balls said...

Just out of interest have you ever given brown higher marks than cameron ?

btw i haven't watched todays PMQs

Iain Dale said...

Yes, several times.

Conand said...

Iain Dale said...

'Yes, several times.'

You were wrong every time you did IMHO. Your reasons were cogently argued every time though, which is more than I can say for Brown.

Iain is a kindly soul so I wouldn't read too much into his scores on the doors for Brown.

andanotherthing said...

I listened to it on the radio and thought it was pretty much a score draw. Another pointless waste of 30 mins.
Cameron was slightly angry in knocking back Browns constant mantra of the do nothing Tories but Browns reply "Tories will cut pensions, benefits etc." is obviously what he`s now going to demand that his crash test dummies repeat ad nauseum.
Brown does lie all the time so why doesn`t Cameron get angry with him?
On the radio he comes over as a bit of a softy!

andanotherthing said...

Just another thought.Every time i watch PMQ`s from now on i will wonder what Daniel Hannan would have said.
Can you see him be as easy on Brown as cameron is?

Cuse said...

Andanotherthing - Dannan is a red herring.The Brown haters (of which there are legion) have pinned their pin badges on Dannan for some unknown reason to me. it must make Cameron hopping mad to know that the guy has captured the Right's imagination so quickly and powerfully - whereas outside the UK Cameron is anonymous.

Dannan would be a disaster in the Commons. A plain catastrophe. His priggish style (watch the clip again - note the look he gives Brown at the end of the speech. Hilarious. Like a spurned lover) would just annoy - annoy the PM, annoy his party, annoy his leader, annoy the electorate.

Honestly - I'm not playing the party political line - having a dig at Brown in an upper class, 6th form student style approach works when you've got the floor uncontested - like in the EU.

But in the House - he's be crucufied. said...

I can't believe that Cameron didn't pick up on the "cuts to pensions" line, and use his 6th question to have a go at the dividend tax from Gordon's first budget as chancellor which has resulted in pension funds being cut.

His mind was obviously on the meeting with Obama, and not on the task in hand.

The Grim Reaper said...

Iain, if nobody had raised the issue of MPs expenses, you would have been the first to complain about it. Yet when Cameron asks questions about it, you still complain!

Iain Dale said...

Thanks for telling me what I think.

So let's get this right. I'm normally accused of being a Cameron arselicker. Now you are accusing me of looking for an excuse to criticise Cameron.

Which is it to be?

Simon Gardner said...

Cuse said... “God only knows what Obama would make of it, watching these two trade low-level insults like spoilt siblings.”

Strangely, PMQs is for some reason greatly admired across the pond. It even has its own cult following on C-Span.

andanotherthing said...

CUSE-you say dannan would be a disaster in the commons because of his priggish style and upper class 6th form student style approach, but you`ve just described Cameron perfectly!
Maybe they are more alike than i thought.

The Grim Reaper said...

Sir Iain of Walden said "So let's get this right. I'm normally accused of being a Cameron arselicker. Now you are accusing me of looking for an excuse to criticise Cameron. Which is it to be?"

Well, I certainly don't think you're a Cameron arselicker. Far from it - you've thrown the boot at him more than once before. If nobody had bothered to mention MPs expenses, you would have spoken about a conspiracy of silence, or about the elephant in the room that no one dares say anything about. Slightly inconsistent line you've got on this one, to say the least.

Victor, NW Kent said...

I am getting very old but I cannot recollect any time or occasion in which Conservatives in Government or Opposition have said they would cut the State Pension. So, that accusation is simply another Brownie.

What we have pointed out is that the level and nature of pensions for the Civil Service and for MPs is neither fair nor sustainable. I suspect that only Civil Servants and some MPs could disagree with that. Labour's constituency is now reduced to state employees and benefit seekers so it is at least being true to its supporters in maintaining these privileges.

not an economist said...

I do think that Brown's argument that the Tories will cut state pensions etc.., are increasngly pointless. Whatwever they have increased public funding by will come to nought once runaway inflation - fuelled by the govt's low bank base rate and QE - evaporates the value of both all the benefits they pay out and the budgets of the multi-various public bodies be it the NHS, LEA's or any other public body you care to mention.