Wednesday, June 11, 2008

PMQs: A Very High Scoring Draw

I think this was one of the best Prime Minister's Questions in recent years. I think both Brown and Cameron were at the top of their game and they debated real, substantive issues. It was certainly Brown's best performance so far, on a day when he needed it to be. I'd give them both 9 out of 10. Clegg again failed to rise to the occasion

I was aghast when Gordon Brown started quoting ConservativeHome's editorial in favour of 42 days this morning, and I suspect Tim and Sam will have gone a little green around the gills too. Cameron was clearly furious, and I have to say I don't blame him. However, it's a free country and if they feel so strongly they have every right to make their views clear, I suppose. It's just a pity it had to be today.

I'm just about to go and interview Damian Green and Jeremy Browne on College Green about 42 days and PMQs and will post the video later.


Anonymous said...

Ian you are joking aren't you?

This was Clegg's best yet and his second question was right on the money.

cameron once he got past Afghanistan was excellent.

Brown was just a stuttering worn out wreck.

Liz said...

Imagine Tim's feeling a little queasy this afternoon.

Any ideas on why Cameron is consistently opening with two soft questions on foreign policy, then going for the jugular in question 3? He's been doing it for a while now, but I can't think why; it doesn't make the Punch and Judy-ing look any more statesmanlike, and it seems a bit of a waste of two questions.

I thought Brown was utterly average (for Brown) today.

Anonymous said...

And that about sums it up. Tories are free thinkers. The Labour Party are tribal. Comrades marching shoulder to shoulder to oblivion.

Anonymous said...

The usual appalling posturing from Brown.
I notice he tried to make out that ConHome is THE Conservative website and that Tim was representing the majority view among party members. Gordon tries every possible little lie.
Yes Gordon YOUR SCHOOLBOY POLITICS! You're the one who should be put in detention.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me for noticing, but my whole political psyche says that Tories love a bit of detention and Labour opposes it with a venom.

What a mad situation this is.

I think it's called Government.

The facts have not changed regarding 28 days and that's why I oppose this stupid idea of 42 days.

Nobody but nobody can tell us where this 42 day figure came from.
The police, Jaqui Smith, Gordon not a single person can say why.

So why support it?


Anonymous said...

Over on Guido he is bemoaning the fact that he is off the central office mailing list and Montgomery is saying they are as well.

Well good riddance - cannot see why anyone would want to take notice of Conservative Home - they are right of my favourites list.

What a set of arse holes.

You know the trouble with bloggers is when they start to feel important.

Anonymous said...

Did you think it was that good? As a labour supporter it was less like pergatory than usual, I'll admit, but that doesn't meant GB was much cop. DC clearly rattled by the 42 day thing and so minimised the number of questions he asked about it but still came back at GB quite strongly after the CH point.

I'd say it was nil - nil.

Remind me who Nick Clegg is again?

williamt said...

Just a procedural question - but how long is allowed for this debate and what time will the vote be? (the House of Commons is the only chamber where they don't list actual times on

Anonymous said...

'clegg again failed to rise to the occasion' - this is such throw-away nonsense.

The system is fundamentally weighted against him so in a discussion on the battle between Brown and Cameron, of course he wont get a look in.

Your attempt to do him down is rubbish

Anonymous said...

I thought Cameron scored very highly on 42 days. Apart from the substance of the points he was making, he was able to pick up what Brown had said and use it against him.
Brown came over as scripted and defensive. He did not convince me.
Using up 2 questions on foreign policy is not a waste - Cameron is able to show that it is not all punch and judy and not all just about how pathetic Brown is.
Clegg's questions weren't bad, but he lacked his usual (and usually inappropriate) indignation. He does not command attention.
So, Camreon 9, Brown 5, Clegg 4.

Anonymous said...

Iain I think you are being very generous to Brown. I thought Cameron nailed him on the point of doing what was right rather than just what was popular.

And Brown saying that something can't be both draconian and ineffective was properly taken apart by Cameron. I though that Cameron won it by a country mile.

Anonymous said...

Why not just lock everbody up indefinitely then there won't be a problem anymore?

Anonymous said...

Donal Blaney is very clever at pretending to be someone else and posting the link to his site all over the place. I went to his site, mildly excited - rubbish as usual.

Unknown said...

I agree Iain, I'm a disgruntled leftie, and not a fan of Dave by any stretch of the imagination. But I really admire the tone he strikes on occasions like this - he had a bucket of crap he could have poured over the government after the events of the last week but he stayed measured and, as you say, debated the issues.

If I wanted to help the Tory cause - and I don't! - I would advise that he embrace this sober line of questioning whenever possible. He looks statesmanlike and on performances like today's he is a credit to his party. Much better than when he often feels the need to bark pre-rehearsed one-liners - comes across as a bit of a smug arse then IMHO.

Brown very good too.

Clegg the invisible man.

Indeed on solemn debates like this Ming would have been a real asset.

Anonymous said...

The thing I noticed was the difference in the drama between Camern and Brown arguing over important fundamental matters, being followed by the usual planted question 'would the PM agree with me ...'. You feel like shouting that there are more important matters than East Neasden getting a dog warden.

Anonymous said...

sorry Iain but you are barking. brown just stuck to an indefensible script for a disastrous law.

Anonymous said...

Gordon thinks the answer to everything is a percentage or a statistic. Arithmetic is all very well in its place but someone should tell him there's more to life than numbers.

Anonymous said...

I thought Dave had rehearsed beautifully, and looked lovely. What's not to like!

Looking forward to inheriting £2m tax-free (just hoping ma and pa can hang on)

John M Ward said...

Brown came across better this week, though I don't think he was challenged as strongly on this occasion -- and one wouldn't have expected that today anyway.

Cameron still handled himself very well, despite what ConHome had been saying and which Gordon B read from, incorrectly claiming this was the Conservative Party's own website (we all know that it is independent of the party, though broadly of like mind and generally supportive).

Excusers for Clegg perhaps need to be reminded of the quality of Cable, operating under exactly the same rules and conditions, and to some extent even Ming, who was on the whole a lot better than Clegg has tended to be so far.

Anonymous said...

Bit of a problem that Gordon Brown.

I find him and his style so obnoxious that I have to admit that I just can't assess his performance rationally any more.

I reckon a lot of us have that problem, even if most don't admit it.

Anonymous said...

I support 42 days. We must put order first. Look at Iraq if you do not have order any civil liberties collapse.
I put people's lives aboue 42 days in a jail for a terror suspect.

Remember these suspcest will still be bale and free when let out after a just over a month.
Dead victims of terror attack cannot complain.
Order first, then liberty.
But all by democratic governments.
I think ConHome must feel complimented by the leader of the country and insulted by the tory leader. The tory leader said it was new low to mention conhome. Thanks a bunch is I am sure what Conhome would say Why is it a new low to mention conhome in the house?
I respect people's views. This is a free country execpt i hope for terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Maybe as the tory leader insulted conhome by saying it was a new low to disscuss it in the house of commons it should now be called
conaway LOL.
I agree with conhome on the 42 day terror issue.
I think we needed these laws to stop the terror threat now the tories have prevented us having strong terror laws. End of story. The people are compensated so why does it mnatter.?
The terror people would like to kill millions of us in one go with biologcial bombs maybe even nuclelear bombs or dirty bombs. It is not something mess around with. They are potentially more dangerous than Hitler.

Anonymous said...

BBC News At 1:Cameron shown giving the same quote twice.Clegg once on the same topic.Brown shown giving 3 DIFFERENT responses from PMQs that together formed a narrative.They really must think people are daft if they assume we don't notice these 'editing suite partialities'.No wonder you can't replay news on IPlayer!!!

Anonymous said...

Very good Gary, right on the money.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 1.19pm: Nick Clegg is the leader of a party backed by 20% of voters.

Anonymous said...

Tories? Free thinkers? Ha ha ha ha ha

Tapestry said...

They want to dismiss bloggers as not influential, but are quite obviously influenced. They are prepared to quote them in Parliament, sack politicians on the strength of their campaigns and who knows maybe even appoint others.

Cameron might be furious but he should have dealt with the blogosphere before he tried to battle in Parliament. He's cut Tim off from news feed recently. Mistake.

Bill Quango MP said...

gary elsby. stoke said...
What a mad situation this is.

Be careful young Elsby..
rational thinking, clear argument, lack of tribalism and independent thoughts?

That way lies the Dark Side

Bill Quango MP said...

well I think Mr Dale is right.

Today I didn't think LIAR and TWAT when I heard Brown.
Just LIAR.

He has now risen to the PMQ level of Blair.

He must be very pleased and can continue planning the next publicly supported initiative he can use to pretend to have a leadership contest with. Dangerous Dogs perhaps?

Mulligan said...

"The people are compensated so why does it mnatter.?"

Disgusting comment, even for you mate.

Anonymous said...

I thought Clegg was pretty good and phrased his question far better than Cameron's stab at the subject - although not as well as Michael Howard. It's the first time I've seen him say anything that seems reasonable.

As for Brown, quoting from a blog is a new low for PMQ's - particularly when he attempted to portray ConHome as "The Conservative Party Members' Website", which it clearly is not. Brown seems to be suggesting that not only should the entire Conservative Party speak with but one voice and no debate, but also their supporters need to blindly unify behind them. Ridiculous.

Beyond that, I thought Cameron was calm and relaxed throughout PMQs, while Brown spent his time shouting unnecessarily. It was against this backdrop that Brown accused Cameron of 'Opposition for Opposition's Sake'. Irony runs thick across the House of Commons floor.

Anonymous said...

I confess that Brown is looking so grey and haggard these days that every wednesday I keep expecting him to lose it completely and be led out weeping.

Cameron handled himself well. I'm glad he ditched the centre parting.

Oh, and 42 days is a mistake which has nothing to do with security and everything to do with posturing. The secondary worry is if this appears to have been successful for Brown what other measures might we see under the banner of "security"?

Not good.


Anonymous said...

I have to say I was disgusted by Con Home "Nailing the colours to the mast" over the issue of the unecessary legislation of 42 days.

I won't expect ConHome to have as many willing contributions from the party insiders as a result of this.

You'd have thought they'd have waited for after the vote. Highly dissapointing.

Anonymous said...

Travis Bickle Oh so it does not meet that terrorists want to wipe out thousands of british people you are the one who is disgusting bully, who sees some sort of glamour is supporting terrorists to kill innocent people. The vast majoroty of Briths people support this law are thy all disguting compared to you. You arrogant pratt. I have noting but contempt for you bullying logic.
I have respect all sides on the 42 day issue. You are just a bully as allways. I dissagree with you so I deserve to be insulted and bullied by you as allways in youir evil logic.

Anonymous said...

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