Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brown Fails to Convince at PMQs

I thought Gordon Brown was flailing all over the place at PMQs today, even having to resort to his 'no time for a novice' jibe. Cameron had him on the ropes on social care policy, pointing out that Labour councils and Labour peers all think his policy is unworkable and unfounded. Cameron asked him to clarify whether he would be introducing a so-called £20,000 death tax to pay for his social care plans. Brown refused to answer three times. It was a poor performance from the Prime Minister for the second week in a row, following a series of much more vigorous performances in January.

Nick Clegg concentrated on armed forces pay but got a very low key answer defending the government's record. Clegg then queried employing 800 people covering PR and media in the armed services. Brown said armed forces pay was handled by an independent body and that was the right approach. The exchange failed to catch light.

David Cameron 8
Gordon Brown 4
Nick Clegg 5

UPDATE: Government Whip Kerry McCarthy has confirmed that Labour are looking at a death tax. "It's an option," she tweets.


Simon Gardner said...

I am somewhat surprised that you appear to have posted this while PMQs is still going on.

Iain Dale said...

I posted it when Clegg had finished. Problem?

Bird said...

Shirley Williams and Ben Bradshaw (yet again!)in the studio.
Where was the Tory?

Simon Gardner said...

Yeah. Well the PM’s QT “performance” would appear to continue until the end of PMQs. N’est pas?

dff said...

The exchange immediately above between Iain and Simon illustrates a broader point: Gordon Brown has 30mins to deliver his prepared lines, and even then rarely does so with much skill. But he has the whole half hour to deploy his favourite lines. Cameron's task is, in some ways, much the more difficult as he has only 6 questions (and perhaps 8-10minutes) to make his mark. It sometimes seems that commentators fail to realise that in PMQs, the PM has certain built-in advantages.

DespairingLiberal said...

I hate to say it, but I thought Brown was a bit better than Cameron and showed that he still has fight in him.

What alternative do you put forward Iain to deal with the hugely growing cost of social care? As a crippling burden of cost already falls on many families, am I right in thinking that your basic position is the status quo, eg, house sales for local authorities, growing costs and no government intervention, leading to zero social care for a large minority? Please just say so. Thanks.

FireForce said...

Brown can not answer a question on PMQ, not at all.
(Mind, David Cameron much the same when on a one-to-one with him I have discovered)

pete-s said...

When asked on two occasions will Britain be part of the group having to bail out the Greeks, he REFUSED to answer.

richard.blogger said...

Bird, the Tories are wobbling so much at the moment they cannot find one to go on TV to defend their sorry policies!

DespairingLiberal said...

Bird - they had Andrew Neil.

Strange that you all keep going on about how left-biased the Beeb is when virtually every political programme is fronted by Neil, who never loses an opportunity to insert his rightist viewpoint, sometimes deliberately distorting facts in favour of that view.

Iain Dale said...

I rate them on the exchanges between the three leaders. Always have.

DespairingLiberal said...

How bizarre and well spotted Simon. Dale blogs that Cameron has won - before it's even ended!

I think a General Election may be on the way!

I can't wait to see Iain Dale's smug blog on the morning after the election when (I forecast) there will be a big increase in LibDem MPs and a hung parliament with both leaders coming to Nick Clegg to ask for support.

Englishman said...

England's unelected Scotch Ayatollah Broon was abysmal and pathetic as per usual.

Douglas said...

Usually you get this fair and spot on but having watched it I felt that David Cameron fell into Gordon Browns trap re supporting the care plans when they were being debated. Also, the lack of coherent policy (on both sides) regarding social care was exposed and neither leader came out victorious and certainly the difference was not 8-4 as you have scored it.

I am a Lib Dem and agree that although a good area to question his time today did not land any hits.

I wonder if the legitimate and telling comments about Lord Ashcroft are colouring your view here?

cherami said...

You didn't miss much by leaving after Clegg (apart from a question about his slush fund and some evasive rubbish about how Labour donations are dealt with.)

I haven't watched PMQs for weeks but frankly, I thought Brown was pathetic - either not answering questions at all (why does the Speaker allow that) or simply building up to the current Campbell fatuity.

javelin said...

there is a gravestone poster that has been produced - does anybody have a copy?

Gallimaufry said...

What's the point of PMQs if they are not followed by Prime Minister's Answers? Shouldn't the Squeaker tell Mr Brown that his "answers" must be related to the questions posed?

Jimmy said...

"I am somewhat surprised that you appear to have posted this while PMQs is still going on."

I'm surprised he waited that long.

So Lightweight thought it was a constructive use of the time to ask for information about next month's budget. I know he's still fairly new but surely somebody there could have explained why he wasn't going to get an answer

Tormod said...

Gordon Brown has a very very small comfort zone.

Every interview and PMQ's highlights that fact.

miko said...

Perhaps Gordon Brown could lead by example with his Death Tax.

TrevorsDen said...

How can you rate Cameron and Cleggs relative performance when nthey are sat down listening to Brown answer prepared questions from his backbenchers??

JMB said...

Didn't Berkow intervene for quiet saying something like that he wanted to hear answers to questions on government policies. I was surprised there was not a loud "we all do" from the Conservative benches.

Childprotector said...

Douglas 1.01pm
I think you are right - and I am not a supporter of any party. If the Tories support the Bill, either Cameron and Brown are both right or both wrong. I do not like party point scoring (time the Speaker stopped it) but this time Brown was right to highlight (not very well) Cameron's opportunism.

moorlandhunter said...

Brown is like an out of control super tanker, no captain at the wheel, as he reads out his prepared jokes that fall flat but he goes on and on and on without any sense at all.
It amazes me that he cannot alter course at anytime and like a mindless robot has to trot out what he has been taught to say.
It is even more amazing that he NEVER answers any question put too him.
He is truly pathetic.

Desperate Dan said...

Gordon has about five responses to Cameron's questions that have been dinned into him by his minders. They should ascribe a number to each so that he can shout out the number instead of the question. One, could be that old chestnut "No time for a novice". Two, could be any variation on "He hasn't asked me about (what I rehearsed)". Three, could be "He keeps changing his mind". Four, would be "He hasn't any ideas". We heard all his crackpot ravings so many times before we don't need the whole answer any more. Just give us the number Glordon.

javelin said...

I've just read Douglas Carswell asked the PM whether we would pay for the Greek bail out - and got an evasive answer.

I think the Conservatives should nip this in the bud instantly. It's OK for Cameron to say we wouldn't be in the Euro - but what does it matter if we end up paying for the bail out.

Cameron needs to come out with a clear statement that the UK will not bail out a Eurozone economy, otherwise what he says about not joining the Euro is weak enough to be meaningless.

Victor, NW Kent said...

The total lack of any mental acuity in Brown was shown vividly when he ended with a triumphant bray "This is no time for a novice". That, and his inability to answer any question at all show that he is preprogrammed like a puppet for PMQs.

Every question from the Tory side is met by an attack instead of a reply.

And, I repeat that he brays.

Bond007 said...

DisperingLiberal -

I think it was it was polite and courteous of Iain to wait for Cameron and Clegg to finish.

Afterall, the same headline could have been posted before PMQs today even started.

Russ said...

Same every week from Brown,no answers.

I was so sick of the PM never answering a question I wrote to the speaker asking him to stop the PM answering a question with "unlike the party opposite who......." or "the tories did/didn't/will/won't" etc.etc. and remind him that it is meant to be PMQ and he should just answer the questions.

Even more irritating are the blatant lies about tory policy or labours statistics.

I got a reply from the speakers office 8th February which states "the Speaker can only operate within the powers which the House has granted him.These do not include the authority to require Ministers to give proper answers to questions." "Ministers, like other Members,take reponsibility for their own remarks and you may wish to draw your concerns directly to the attention of the Prime Minister."

Not really any point in having PMQ's ever again is there?

Roll on evict labour day, should be declared a national holiday, after 13 years we deserve one.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I think your downer on Clegg is getting silly.

He asked s sensible question and follow up about a real issue. If we are to beleive Camerons speech yesterday about a new type of politics, why is it he reverts to "yar - boo" politics at the first opportunity.

sarah said...

Which idiot said Brown got the better of Cameron today? Is this the alternative universe where all the limp dims live?

Brown was atrocious today - all of his many inadequacies (shouting, the false portrayals of sorrow, the desk banging) were there in glorious technicolour today.

Brown now spends the vast majority of PMQs attacking the Tories, instead of being held to account on govt business.

Guess what? That pipsqueak bercow is in full cahoots with him.

Cameron - 8/10
Brown - 0/10
Clegg - 1/10

Jimmy said...

We all have our biases of course but I do think Brown won and I'll explain why:

Cameron's argument can be distilled as follows: "Your policy is crap. It's not just my opinion, even X agrees with me." In effect this is an appeal to authority which only works if Joe Public knows who the authority is. Unless Lord Turnbull has recently acquired a much higher profile I don't think bumface connected.

Brown's thesis was even blunter "You're attacking the govt for doing something you voted for." I haven't swotted the facts and am prepared to assume for the sake of argument that this might be wholly unfair, but if Cameron had an answer, he kept it to himself.

Score one for the clunking fist.

Future History of England said...

It should be a 100% death Tax, so it can be given back to everyone.

Isn't that socialism at its best?

Or doesn't that make you just want to wait and not work?

golden_balls said...

This evenings newsnight was most interesting did you get the chance to watch it iain ?