Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday Open Thread

I'm tied up for the rest of the day so feel free to use this Open Thread to talk about anything you want. I didn't see PMQs. How was it?


Tory Radio said...

Link to PMQs podcast in case like Iain you didn't catch it:-

Anonymous said...

Be careful, Iain, you know what it's like to be tied up in Tory Party circles!

If Georgey boy Osborne comes anywhere near you, tell him you'll rip his spleen out.


Anonymous said...

It's nice to see that the Number 10 inner circle is so close that they've given to wearing a uniform.

Ed Miliband was sat next to Brown at PMQs wearing exactly the same suit-shirt-tie combo.


Anonymous said...

PMQs? A no score draw,I'd say. Has anyone else seen Jack Straw's article on CIF in today's Guardian. A lecture on liberty from good old Jack. I nearly choked on my cornflakes! If anyone's interested, I posted under "Evoke" at 11:30am.

Not a sheep said...

A few impressions:
Gordon Brown looks dreadful and tired and stuttering. Harriet Harman smirks as always and Ed Miliband looks like he may be in love with Gordon but chews his lip when nervous, ie: most of the time.

Gordon Brown does his staccato pointing thing again.

Gordon Brown accusing David Cameron of no substance as usual.

Gordon Brown usual line on we believe in opportunity for some not opportunity for all - he has learnt this one and will use it every week

Chris Paul said...

Brown's on substance. Cameron's perhaps on tacky gimmicks and gossip. Cable solid.

Anonymous said...

PMQs as usual: Brown rattled and annoyed and Cameron confident and eloquent.

Anonymous said...

Cable : 9/10
Brown : 5/10
Camoron : 4/10

Bit rubbish for end of term. Roll on 2008!

Anonymous said...

The papers are all saying the same thing.

Michael Gove needs to show some passion and conviction. He is not challenging Ed Balls in the way that he should be! The Tories need to PROVE that they believe in what they say.

I think Gove needs to put his glasses back ON! He must say no to contact lenses - and show some authority.

Anonymous said...

I think Vince did rather well :-)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say what a crap idea Fixed Term Parliaments is. It is equally within a government's capabilities to engineer a boom for a fixed date in five years as it is to hold an election when the boom is coming. In addition we woud be taking away the Royal Prerogative of proroguing parliament, and I think we should think carefully before messing around with the constitution in this way. Lastly, calling an election is a test of character (which Brown, eg, failed) and is part of our assessment of a PM. Thinking before changing is my motto.

Anonymous said...

Didn't think anyone landed any killer blows. Good line from Brown about Vince Cable maybe being back as acting leader in the future; good response from Cable that Brown himself should be wary of leadership contests.

Cameron did the statesman thing and asked about Kosovo first.

DJ Mickey Fabb asked about the police in a clever new West Lothian question. Has he got a new wig?

Anonymous said...

Brown was his same old self but Dave is looking more and more like a one-trick pony. End of term report: poor.

Anonymous said...

I have been writing about Lord Black on me blog if anyone would like to read about that?

Dusanne said...

PMQs - Split 2 (Kosovo - non-attacking) and 4 (General attack on Incapability Brown).

A bit like last week I thought, lower key than in past weeks, but Vince Cable back to form for his final appearance. No kill from Cameron, usual non-answers from Brown.

I think DC might have been better to play his cards the other way round and go in to Xmas on a more statesmanlike note.

Probably the worst collection of planted questions I've seen for some time though. The Labour back benchers didn't even seem to have rehearsed their government issue questions, especially Blair's Sedgefield successor.

Usual Nick Robinson job afterwards commenting on the PMQs he wished he had seen.

Unsworth said...

You into all that bondage and stuff, then, Iain?

Anyway, whilst you Houdini, I thought PMQs was pretty dull.

Cable managed to get a dig in, Cameron was - I felt - distracted into Afghanistan but asked the right questions. Did alright in the end of session knockabout, though. Brown has now got to the point of endless repetion of mantras about jobs, prosperity, economy blah blah blah. Gives it all that stuff about how wonderful it all is, but no one is listening, it's never any different nor any more credible.

The Labour benches seem to be on autocheer, but no real enthusiasm there. In the meantime the Conservatives seem to be quite entertained by what they see, as they have been for a few months now.

I don't think anyone seriously believes anything which the Government is saying any more. PMQs has just become a weekly confirmation of how incompetent and uninspiring it has become.

And once again Gorbals Mick bobbing up and down like a Michelin Man with high blood pressure. Vastly overinflated sense of his own importance - completely unjustified, of course. Desperate to keep on the right side of his pension(s).

Anonymous said...

Another complete, absolute and total victory for David Cameron, Brown doesn't even bother these days, his new tactic seems to be to feign resigned indifference. Vince Cable's retort was lethal, again, Brown just looked clueless and horrified!

Vienna Woods said...

I hear that Brownie didn't engage brain at PMQ today when he supported Jaqui the Jerk in refusing to backdate the Police pay rise to September 1st. He can only pray that Plod is not so very angry that the (ahem!) investigation into Donorgate will be now very thoroughly investigated indeed. Would be a good time to provide Plod with any new evidence, however weak!

Anonymous said...

There's a funny piece in the Times on the railroading of the 42 days through consultation and the dismal attempts by this pack of liars to justify it:

Anonymous said...

David Cameron OWNED Gordon Brown as the yoof are wont to say. It's no contest. Gordon as shockingly abysmal and out of it as ever.

Anonymous said...

If only the other Shadow Cabinet Ministers showed the same passion (and had the same level of conviction) as David Cameron.

What does it take to make a Tory fight for what they genuinely believe in?!

Come the next general election , many people could say 'well, better the devil you know'. The Tory decontamination process is not yet over. There is NO room for complacency.

The Labour government are waiting patiently to be brought down - DC must tell his shadow cabinet to raise their game.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen/heard about/experienced panic buying of petrol today? There is a fuel depot protest planned for Saturday by the 'Farmers For Action' pressure group, but I've seen 2 comments on other blogs about queues/panic-buying/sell-outs/cancelled deliveries, one from Glos., one from the Wirral.
There's nothing on Sky or BBC about it (broadcast or on-line) so I don't know if we're "not being told" or if there's nothing to tell. Any news..?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Camoron refused to engage with the issue of police pay because he knows they're on his list of "waste cuts".

He looks more and more like Flashman every week - good he can yhave a little rest now - maybe come up with a proper Camoron Policy or two?

Anonymous said...

Brown has his pre-arranged answers,but not to the questions asked. A fibber but not an ad-libber.
He does talk crap ,but the format of PMQ allows him to get away with murder.

When needled by the SNP MP about Scottish police getting the pay rise backdated to 1st September, he launched into a diatribe against the SNP promising 1000 new officers,but only coming up with 500. Eh?

Backdating the rise in Scotland is costing a whopping £3m. He then changed tack to blame the Tories for high inflation in the 90's.

AS someone has posted elsewhere,if the country can't afford to pay police officers in England their arbitration-decided pay-rise in full(say £30m), the UK's finances must be really in a bad way.

Anonymous said...

Gordon could give the best performance of his life every week in PMQs but this government is finished.

Anonymous said...

Cameron was very weak and Brown actually made the valid comment that Cameron was just going for easy jibes and after his Kosovo questions Cameron lost impetus. Poor performance by both

Benny said...

Brown - 3/10
Cameron - 3/10
Cable - 8/10

Cable continues to dominate PMQ's with his wit and apparent idiocy.

Brown responds with 'substance' whenever Cameron asks a question he doesn't like.

Fictional Reportage in the style of Gonzo journalism of last week's PMQ on my blog, just uploaded.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting if those who support Brown openly said so instead of posting thinly disguised comments to try and undermine the other leaders/parties.
If you are Nulab supporters then say so and the rest of us can then feel sorry for you.

Vienna Woods said...

Watching Brown at PMQ's, he reminds me of one of those Chinese made dolls that pees, craps and has a limited vocabulary (like "substance, record, inherited etc.)

Come to think of it the Chinese dolls are ugly as sin also!

boanerges said...

I find myself in the unenviable position of agreeing with Chris Paul on something.

'Brown (definitely) on substance' but which one/s

Please advise

Anonymous said...

I've just been reading Adam Boulton's blog and the Sky correspondent who went with Brown to visit the troops, Glen Oglaza, is moaning about how badly managed the trip was from a press point of view with correspondents not given enough time to file their copy.

Brown does seem to have the knack of upsetting people.

strapworld said...

Cameron is doing the right thing. Indeed he is following the Blair against Major line. Each week in anyway show how incompetent and unattached the PM is!

Brown looks shocking. Still shaking.Hair askew.He needs a good nights sleep.

As for the rest of the Tory front bench. They would all profit from a session with a good dramatic coach! Someone who will bring out the 'evil' in them all.

Let 2008 be the year the Tories became EVIL

Oscar Miller said...

Brown has learnt his lines but delivers them with no style, flair or ability to galvanise his back benches at all. Occasionally he uses a tutored line in the wrong place altogether. And his pronouncation of some words is plain strange. Altogether he comes across as a nervy person with no self belief, which is strange given his extraordinary ambition.

(BTW I think the best comment on this weeks PMQs comes from Fraser Nelson at Coffee House.)

Anonymous said...

I am very rapidly losing patience with Dave Cameron. I was really hoping to see something fresh and dynamic following the series of NuLab failures but all we see and hear is empty silence, zilch, nothing! An amazing opportunity presented itself today with Gordon Brown refusing to honour a deal worked out in arbitration for a Police pay rise. The response from the opposition benches was virtually zero, like a damp squib fizzling out! What does it take to get the Conservative front bench to respond? Can't they think on their feet, or are they all so wrapped up in silly schemes that they lose sight of the goal! There are 130,000 votes there Dave, plus the families makes at least quarter of a million! Think about it dave, but don't take too long. Oh, and by the way don't borrow Ozzie's calculator, it doesn't work too well either!

Anonymous said...

How to cover-up a Labour cover-up.It would be funny if it wasn't so desperately serious for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else see Miliband having a quick pick of his nose today at PMQs? Yuk!

Anonymous said...

The EPP declaration DOES need tightening.Given Dave's pledge during the leadership campaign he really should be more careful.

Oscar Miller said...

I agree with Canvas and Strapworld - Tory front bench need to really take the gloves off and stop throwing their punches. There's certainly enough Labour failure, lies and drift to get stuck into. I don't quite understand why so many Conservative spokespeople come across as well - just a bit wimpish.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Donorgate Iain ?
The Tories have gone silent about it and let Brown et al off the hook . OPen goals galore and Dave just walks away
Seems to me like a Tory/Labour conspiracy.

Whats thereal story here Iain ?

or are you in on the obscure plot and conspiring to close it down too?

Anonymous said...

Cameron was deliberately low key. A few days ago he sounded like he had a cold. The reason today? Nah -it weren't a cold. The Conservatives have something.

Mulligan said...

13 days to Christmas, the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing approaching their finales, why on earth would Cameron bother trying to go for a killer blow this week? Nobody is listening.

All he has to do and stand back and watch every desperate new policy (re)announcement go down like a lead balloon and go for the kill in the final months before the election.

PMQs a non event but Cable was rather good nonetheless. Brown's complete failure to answer the Scottish/English police question yet again shows his true colours.

Anonymous said...

As we all know Jacqui Smith is only a puppet for Gordon Brown. Because Big Gordo's fingerprints are all over Smith’s devious, underhand and mean-spirited decision not to back-date the police pay-rise as morally commanded by the arbitration procedure and all precedent.

As we know, Gordo is only too happy to back-date when it suits him (eg backdating air passenger tax increases to months before he even made the announcement); but he is happy to introduce the opposite approach (ie 'time lags') when it suits him eg leaving a whole year between axing married couples allowance and then introducing child tax credits - meaning that for a whole year it didn't cost him a single penny !

How can anyone see this mean-spirited scrooge as being 'honest, up-front and solid', when he is really just a duplicitous and devious conman.

Anonymous said...

DC: "Calm Down Dear"

LoL :)

Nice one.

Anonymous said...

"An amazing opportunity presented itself today with Gordon Brown refusing to honour a deal worked out in arbitration for a Police pay rise."

Camoron surely AGREES with Brown.

Pay restraint = low inflation = proper economic management.

T.I.N.A!!! New (or "NU for you torytrolls" Labour grasped the essentials of prudent Thatcherism, subtracted the nonsense, and adopted winning policies.

Camoron will never win the argument if he disagrees with Brown on public sector cost restraint.

Don't you realise that "cuts in waste" mean job cuts and wage restraint? How else could the tax cuts happen? Hoe else could the welfare bill be covered by the "proceeds of growth minus the trickle-away factors"?

Wake up!

strapworld said...

anonymous 6.26pm

The conservatives have not got such a good record on police pay...after Maggie!

Remember the Sheey Report?
The ending of Rent Allowance and many other allowances?

perhaps that is why they kept mum/.

I also suspect that there is some behind the scenes arrangement with the Lib Dems as to who will ask what!

Anonymous said...

What on earth does Gordon Brown mean by substance?!Each time Cameron states a few simple facts about the government, Gordon has two simple answers:
"I will not take lectures from the honourable member"
(which we all know is a "worst case scenario" type answer) Or
"Still no substance"
What sort of substance is Gordo actually referring to?!

M. Hristov said...

PMQs was surprising. David Cameron asked a question on Kosovo. It was not “Punch and Judy” and was impressive. He then decided to remind everyone of Gordon Brown’s record.

Vince Cable was hilarious and is now the “William Hague of the Lib Dems”. The new leader must utilise him in the future.

Gordon Brown is still “harping on “ about his record. A tactic that will not long survive the 2008downturn.

I see that someone has mentioned Lord Black of Crossharbour. His defence team obviously got the mitigation right. Andrew Roberts has been “wheeled out” to say that this was a victimless crime and 6 ½ years is not a long time. He is obviously not a Hollinger Inc. shareholder and 6 ½ years is a long time in our system but the blink of an eye in the “land of the free”. It will be difficult for Lord Black to adapt to life behind bars, because he was born rich but not impossible. The Judge expressed astonishment over his actions. I was not astonished. It seems to me that many people believe that they are above the law these days. Yet, more and more “white collar” crimes are “pumped out” every year.

Anonymous said...

Blimey - for a Conservative blog, apart from a suggestion (anonymous 7.50pm) that Cameron's awful performance at PMQs was "a cunning plan" noone has a good word to say about the Tories performance. If Brown recovers he will have Cameron to thank.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps he means by substance the policy issues of the day. Education? Camoron is silent. Police Pay? Camoron is quiet. Northern Rock? Nothing from Camoron. What Milliband said about Blair? NOW Camoron is talking!!

Anonymous said...

To get the true flavour of PMQs, read Simon Hoggart in the Guardian aka the lefties' comfort blanket:

"a tidal wave of mockery ... Can it get any worse ... you really don't know where to look."

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry James I thought Gordo was meant to answer questions re Northern rock etc. The opposition is there to hold the government to account. When Cameron asked about the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, the PM dismissed the question in favour of onswering an issue "the people of Britain care about". I care about it, hundreds of thousands have signed a petition for a referendum and we are all dismissed. That must indeed be called "courage" and "substance" - to ignore the very people who put you in power.
Ahh the government of today - such an inspiration to democracy.

Anonymous said...

"Cameron asked about the signing of the Lisbon Treaty,"

The travel arrangements!

The substance of it? Silence from Camoron, who will not hold a referendum on it.

"hundreds of thousands have signed a petition for a referendum and we are all dismissed"

Which petition and where?

Even if the figure were in the hundreds of thousands, that isn't anywhere near enough - come back when you have a million (like the poll-tax protesters)

Parochial twaddle.

Anonymous said...

The telegraph petition as well as Dan Hannan's relentless campaign and petition.

Nevertheless I've come to accept a referendum will not be held before the treaty is ratified, so we will all have to survive the consequences. There is no point in having a referendum after the Treaty is ratified and implemented into British law, therefore Cameron is right in not promising one.

Unlike Gordo who promises and fails to deliver.

Anonymous said...

Curious -
You no doubt hold a respectable position on Europe, presumably wanting to distance the UK from it.

Personally I'd like a thinner, cheaper layer (a la British Commonwealth), but i'm against what the little Englanders are squawking about.

I don't know how many read The Telegraph, but your argument is in trouble if the proportion of Telegraph readers on that petition is less than 50% !

Anonymous said...

Had a spare min so I looked it up!

Telegraph circulation : 800k +

Petition through paper - around 68k

Petition online - 42,153

(I don't know the online traffic figure)

That looks like less than 10% of readers have signed up. Could it be that not even Telegraph readers care very much either way?

Anonymous said...

Could be. Could be that people are so used to the government failing that they have become immune as it is now usual routine - ah the Government such an inspiration to us all, money spent to good use, trust and confidence maintained not to mention all our details safe and secure.

Anonymous said...

Keep going, curious. If I were you I'd read Iain's latest posts onhis readership profile. It's scary! i hope you can challenge the monstrosities here without losing your will to partake!

Cheers, and respect (welcome or not!)