Wednesday, July 08, 2009

PMQs Review

Harriett Harman put in quite an impressive performance at PMQs today, when she was up against William Hague. She seemed more assured than in the past. Of course, what she was saying was total and utter rubbish, but she said it with some panache. Hague seems reluctant to go in for the kill with Harman. You can tell he's on the verge of it, but can never quite bring himself to inflict any verbal violence on her. His questions and retorts were all rather good, but Harman managed to get through them without too many mishaps.

Vince Cable almost stole the show with a remark about Harman lecturing Silvio Berlusconi on the merits of gender equality.

The two most difficult questions for Harman came towards the end from senior Tory backbenchers Richard Ottaway and John Maples. Ottaway reminded her than no Labour government has ever left power with unemployment lower than when it came to office. A year ago, the Prime Minister had said it wouldn't happen on his watch. Harman flailed around saying that no previous Labour government had had to cope with a global downturn like the one which has just happened. It was a weak response. Maples asked Harman what our mission was in Afghanistan. Her answer was weak and uninformative.

Lastly, she appeared to say the government would look sympathetically at the reintroduction of the Dock Labour Scheme following a question from Great Yarmouth MP Tony Wright. Or maybe I misheard.

But overall, it was probably Harriett Harman's best performance so far at PMQs.

William Hague 6
Harriett Harman 7
Vince Cable 7


Anonymous said...

Yep, she was OK. Hague sounded as if he were elsewhere.

Reading Glasses by Daniel Cullen said...

Gotta love deputy PMQ's it's so much more entertaining!

Harriett Harman comes across honestly which the public likes, she always makes the effort to answer the question (cheap unemployment shot though by Tory bloke).

William Hague is a bright button and was leader of the party far too soon in my book, and Vince Cable is just excellent value for money.

Plato said...

Disagree - I thought HH was wibbling far too much.

Very poor PMQs.

HH 5
Hague 6
Cable 3

Colin said...

Hague 2
Harman 2
Cable 2

What a dull PMQ!

Another dreadful performance by a Tory spokesman on the Daily Politics. Not a good indication about the talent on the opposition benches.

The biggest shock was my MP Anthony Wright actually doing something in the House. He must the laziest MP ever. Never does a thing other than fleece the taxpayer (pocketing £10,000 in return for accepting a bigger rent paid for by us).

Anonymous said...

Would concur with your assessment Iain.

I think Hattie was way better than Broon.

Disappointed in Hague.

I suspect they are saving the best attacks for when Brown is around.

Anonymous said...

They must stop reading out a long list of those who hve died over the past week. This is PMQs not the obitury column.

Anonymous said...

What are you? Gay?

Harman was awful - didn't answer a bliddy thing.

Plenty said...

Utter drivel from Harrie, but a more attractive view than looking at grumpy old Gordon. I agree, Hague was a flop today. Unusual, because he used to be so good at that sort of political theatre. Cable as always was the more sensible of the lot. Shame he's not batting for us Tories.

Jonathan Cook said...

I was a bit disappointed with Hague today.

Given Gordon said real terms spending would rise and Harriet said spending would drop because they had brought spending forwards - he could have at least asked who was correct.

Bill Quango MP said...

Maybe its a strategy. Let the head Girl look good, so Gordon looks even worse.

No. That doesn't make sense. Brown couldn't be any worse if he turned up naked, flicked two fingers at the squeaker, straddled the Mace and rode it round the chamber saying "I'm Thick Turpin."

If anything it would improve his delivery.

Bill - 5
Hattie - 6
Vinnie - 5

Blue Eyes said...

I would like to see Brown v Hague. Can Dave be off sick or something one day?

Anonymous said...

Hague was crap.NAP

Anonymous said...

bad day for the torys,hague looks pissed off,maybe packing in them second jobs as got to

Anonymous said...

Next time Gordo's out of the country, they should get some backbench nobody to go up against HH, on the basis that the real deputy PM is in the other place!

Lee H said...

Two individuals just rattling off to fill half an hour. That is all that it looked like today. No killer punch and no sound bite from either of them so it was left to the backbenchers to make the hits and they did quite a good job.Daniel Cullen, at PMQ's cheap shots are good :0)

Thomas Rossetti said...

I think people in the Westminster Village have to remember that PMQs isn't actually all that relevant. I'd suggest that most people in the country don't pay any attention to it at all. It's just a piece of entertaining political theatre in which the Government boasts of their achievements and the Opposition tries to embarrass them.

William Hague used to slaughter Tony Blair every time they faced each other at the Despatch Box, and yet Blair absolutely thumped him in the following election. Maybe that's why Hague doesn't try as hard as he used to. "What's the point?" he may well wonder.

VotR said...

Harriet was totally, totally out there. Not a deep recession, but the shallowest? Planet Hatty is a scary place to visit, yet alone live. She's a prisoner in her own head. I almost feel sorry for Harperson, almost. Labour must not win another term in power.

Hague was standard William, but he got a punch in.

At least Vince raised a few laughs at Harm Man's expense.

Harman - 6
Vince - 7
Hague - 6

John M Ward said...

I'd say that it was harman's least bad PMQs so far, rather than her best, as "best" implies at least one good performance. None of them has been what I suspect most people would regard as "good".

Hague knows that it would not be wise to be portrayed as a bully against a woman, so he always holds back, I have noticed at these encounters. Although this was one of his less good performances, tat least in his case he is nearly always at least "good"…

Victor, NW Kent said...

A very valid question about Afghanistan. Why are we squandering lives in this hopeless, endless, unwinnable cause?

Patrick said...

As stated above Harman does seem to attempt to answer the questions. (compared to Brown). This is particularly refreshing.

I think the Tories are pulling their punches. Dave was a bit lacklustre last week as well.

Anonymous said...

Harriet doesn't answer the question & talks twaddle. But she looks & sounds good in comparison to Gordo's performances - makes you realise that he just isn't a communicator.

William doesn't need to go in for the kill as neither of them will be next PM.

Anonymous said...

Harman didn't answer a single question.

The Speaker needs to address this - after all, there's no point in PMQs if questions aren't answered.

Man in a Shed said...

I have to agree with the previous Anon - no questions answered. Bercow just interested in noise not substance.

Maples had a very serious and specific point to question.

What are objectives - in return we got the usual mix of aspirations and danger of terrorism.

I think Maples has a point - there's a complete vacuum in government on this point.

The coffins keep lining up and HMG can't answer basic questions about what its doing.

That is very very bad. ( Contrast to the emoting each week when they read out the list of the latest government victims of current policy ).

Unsworth said...

So Harman continues with the tactic of saying what the Tories 'would do' (with absolutely no basis, either) whereas Cable and Hague are asking questions about what the Government has done.

Maples is right to ask what the Afghanistan 'mission' actually is. Nobody seems to know - least of all that devious clown Ainsworth - it's a bit like the Iraq adventure, only even less understandable.

Thomas Rossetti said...

In reply to Victor's post at 2:57pm, why are we still in Afghanistan? It's time for politicians to face up to the fact this is an unwinnable war which is costing too many lives.

I can just about understand while America is still there, but Britain? What have we got to gain, exactly?

If the Afghans choose to mistreat their women and run their country based on an ancient text, that is surely a matter for them. said...

Harpy didn't answer Hague's questions as usual.
Apparently she's an unhappy lass at the moment, ever since Mandy leapfrogged her and became more important than her. Sob sob.
She'll probably try to do what all women do in these circumstances and reach for the stiletto.
Better watch out though - Mandy's is probably sharper than hers.

Havocman said...

Let's be honest, a dustbin full of shit would be an improvement over Gordo at PMQ's.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Bob Ainsworth realise that his haircut and houtache make him look like an overweight Adolf Hitler?

Unsworth said...

@ Anon 4:38

Ainsworth has had a make-over. The moustache has gone! Breakfast TV today revealed the new, 'improved', Ainsworth - so Mathew Parris' comments may have had some effect. But I do wish Ainsworth himself would follow his moustache into oblivion.

trevorsden said...

"(cheap unemployment shot though by Tory bloke)." -- huh? its the fundamental question relating to socialism. the economy was in good condition when Brown inherited it.

dull PMQs ?? PMQ is overrated. Its easy for the PM to avoid questions and just launch propaganda. Vastly overrated.

It only counts internally and by that I mean on the side of the government - if the PM is seen to be weak and not command the house he is doomed - but there are other avenues where this is shown as well as PMQs - which is probably why labour have sought to bypass parliament at every turn.

Why should Hague try to make HH look good compared to Brown? The issue is to make Brown look relatively to his own side.

Wake up at the back.

Did HH read out a list of the war dead? If not will brown only read out a list od dead (hopefully none) starting from the last PMQs??
IAE (in any event) I think the practice demeans their memory.

tapestry said...

Hague ain't as daft as you think. If Harman were to be the next Labour leader, Cameron would have a landslide.

golden_balls said...

any chance of a blog about Andy Coulson involvment in bugging cabinet ministers and others ?

would be interesting to see a conservatives perspective on this

Lady Nice said...


It is because Hauge is an old fashioned gentleman and would not go too hard (sorry if this sounds like inuendo) on a lady .

I find this quite freshing .

Osama the Nazarene said...

Harriett Harman put in quite an impressive performance at PMQs today...

Of course, what she was saying was total and utter rubbish...

Do we really want our politicians to be performing monkeys? Doesn't matter what they say so long as they say it with some panache!

This is Nuliebor all over anything but the truth!

Anonymous said...


You heard Tony Wright correctly.
He was calling for reintroduction of NDLS for Gt yarmouth. I suspect this is a `play` for securing workforce for the new outer harbour now in the process of building.

St Crispin said...

Why is Harman doing PMQs? I though it was the blind scots bloke?