Wednesday, May 20, 2009

PMQS: Cameron & Clegg Triumph

Taking any party political hat off I doubt whether anyone could seriously doubt that David Cameron got the better of the Prime Minister at PMQs today. Brown was his normal hesitant, stuttering plodding self and seemed content to rest on his usual fare of wittering on about Tory spending cuts.

Cameron started off by asking him why he thought a general election would cause "chaos", as he had said on GMTV this morning. Brown said a Conservative government would cut public spending. Cameron latched on to the tacit admission that Labour would lose with relish. He followed up by saying the best thing the PM could do to show humility was to let the people decide and his failure to do so displayed arrogance.

Cameron then quoted Frank Field at Brown, who had made some very disparaging remarks. Paul Waugh twittered that this effectively killed Field's campaign to be Speaker dead in the water. I have to admit I thought that was a strange thing for him to do.

Cameron finished by saying: "The Prime Minister calls an election chaos. I call it change. When can we have one?"

A reader sums it up this way...

DC: Why would an election be chaos?
GB: Because you'd win
DC: Try again
GB: Ask me about something else. How about your policies?
DC: I'll tell you about policy when you call an election
GB: You'd cut spending

The most entertaining part of the proceedings was when Nick Clegg stood up. He was loudly barracked by Labour MPs. Notably, the Speaker took a very long time to intervene. The Speaker the forgot to call Clegg for his second question. Clegg stood up nonetheless and Michael Martin came out with this excellent putdown: "I thought there were two questions in his first one." Nick Clegg, to his credit, smiled and said: "Touche, Mr Speaker". A nice moment.

Gordon Brown 4
David Cameron 8
Nick Clegg 8


Liz said...

Brown's stutter seemed a hell of a lot worse than usual today. He doesn't react well to stress at the best of times; I'm starting to wonder whether we're going to see him implode soon.

not an economist said...

"The most entertaining part of the proceedings was when Nick Clegg stood up. He was loudly barracked by Labour MPs. Notably, the Speaker took a very long time to intervene. The Speaker the forgot to call Clegg for his second question. Clegg stood up nonetheless and Michael Martin came out with this excellent putdown: "I thought there were two questions in his first one." Nick Clegg, to his credit, smiled and said: "Touche, Mr Speaker". A nice moment."

Is this a foretaste of how Martin will conduct himself for the rest of his term in office - abusing his position for narrow advantage - politcal and party no doubt?

Its a shame he cant just be ditched with effect from next Moinday and a temporary replacement put in. Isn't there a deputy who could cover for him for a month or so?

Plus, presumably this means we will get lumbered with another Labour supporter in the role.

Lee H said...

Very amusing. Hence I think DC only asked 5 questions. It was job done. Nick Clegg being barracked too!! I am sure he enjoyed that, shows he is finally getting noticed.

PhilC said...

Wondered if you had a comment to make on this Iain?

Gareth said...

"Cameron then quoted Frank Field at Brown, who had made some very disparaging remarks. Paul Waugh twittered that this effectively killed Field's campaign to be Speaker dead in the water. I have to admit I thought that was a strange thing for him to do."

I disagree. The new speaker is to be elected with a secret ballot. The Whips won't know whether an MP has backed Frank Field or not.

There is far too much tribal guff flying around. If Frank Field's quoted remarks are on the money they are on the money. MPs need to bloody well grow up from this infantile party politics and do more for Parliament as an institution. The article linked to in an earlier thread about Field and Margaret Thatcher showed just what good MPs do - the nation is their interest. Give and take on both sides. Less of this intractable differences please.

The whole of the House should be against The Government and it's odious proposals. Too many Labour MPs put party before Parliament.

Anonymous said...

The longer Brown keeps putting off an election the worse it will be for Labour, "an election would cause chaos", er whats that thing in 2 weeks then if its not an election.

People are not going to buy Browns excuse, he refuses to have an election and admitted today he'd lose, thats the short of it.

Lola said...

How bloody dare Brown call an election chaos. How bloody dare he, the arrogant disconnected Stalinist shit. What a wanker.

If anything should remove any doubt as to his fitness to be a PM in a democarcy that should should do it.

I am outraged.

WV 'phosser' hahahaha

Anonymous said...

Broon, an absolute disgrace and a National embarrassment, which is a bit of a sick joke as hes not actually from the very Nation that he and his Regime Misgoverns.

Michael said...

Iain, I'd agree with you on Cameron and Brown but I think you tend to be too generous to Nick Clegg. I think today he was closer to a 6 than an 8 - he's certainly not equal to Cameron at PMQs

Mark M said...

I heard the Cameron/Brown exchange and was left bewildered at Brown's responses. It seemed to go

DC: Why would an election be chaos?
GB: Because you'd win
DC: Try again
GB: Ask me about something else. How about your policies?
DC: I'll tell you about policy when you call an election
GB: You'd cut spending

Brown is a broken record and I think Cameron has really got one on him here. Brown's current excuse for no election is because it's not right to have one during a downturn - however Cameron pointed out that India, South Africa and even America have had elections during the downturn.

I'm only surprised that Brown didn't appoint a new quango to look into the feasability of an election. That's his normal solution.

Anonymous said...

Taking off your political hat do you really think Cameron said anything of any substance? If so perhaps you could enlighten us as to what it is - otherwise the marks you provide seem to be purely for showboating skills.

Conand said...

After stopping MPs barracking Brown (5 million lost letters), the Speaker allowed MPs free rein to barrack Clegg.
This shows exactly why it is good that he is going. He wasn't meant to acting as Michael Martin, but as The Speaker. He should have defended Clegg to the same degree that he protected Brown, despite (or because of) what Clegg has said in recent days. That is called dignity.

Shamik Das said...

Loved the interchange between Clegg and Michael Martin! They're allll-right! :)

Anonymous said...

Agree totally with your synopsis of the Brown vs Cameron encounter, however, but how on eath can you score Cleggover 8? Have you had an early liquid lunch? He looked even more insignificant than usual, and what with the barracking and Martin forgetting his second question, his Gurkha moment of glory is now well and trully past. Every time I see him I am reminded of the David Steel Spitting Image puppet - only this time he is sticking out of David Cameron's top pocket!!

Liz said...

Anon - it's called Prime Minister's Questions, not Leader of the Opposition's Questions. I understand that it's an easy mistake to make, not least because Gordon Brown seems to have the same trouble making the distinction between the two that you do.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable comment from Brown-the Americans voted in FDR in 1932, and I don't think their economy was exactly booming then.

The man is a disgrace, and showed today why he is unfit to be Prime Minister (as if we didn't already know....).

Anonymous said...

The Torys need to come up with a line of attack on Browns claims of "Tory Cuts".

The reality is that spending cuts are already underway by Labour and will have to be even larger in future to balance the books.

Every cut in public spending will be the result of Brown economic mismanagement

Anonymous said...

I was utterly disgusted by Brown today. We DO NOT live in a friggin' dictatorship - it is NOT up to him to decide what people think about calling an election.

He then had the breathtaking cheek to pontificate about reform and public accountability!

If anybody needed proof of how deluded this tyrant is, then look no further than today's PMQs.

Anonymous said...

Not sure I agree with your scoring for Cameron and Clegg Ian, more like a 6 or 7 for both.

Browns answers were awful (as usual), but Cameron still keeps using all his questions on topic, giving Brown the chance to recite his usual mantra's.

The only time in the recent past that I can remember Cameron changing his questions was when he threw one in about Baby P, which had GB floundering all over the place.

He should do it more often, it would be better for him, his party and the viewing public.

Dr Evil said...

I would rather have Frank Field telling it like it is and arguing against stupid Labour ideas than him being muzzled as Speaker. He is one of the few who speaks up for everyman against ideas such as multiculturalism and the lamentable effects excessive immigration is having on this country.

Brown has lost it. He gave Cameron an open goal during that chaos discussion.

Teri said...

What a sorry business. The arrogance of the man.

I truly believe we need an election despite this unelected PM bleating on about the recession.

I believe we need to have an election not just for the sake of Parliamentary reform, public trust etc but to sort this bloody country out!

People go on about Margaret Thatcher in my neck of the woods and what a down they have on her over the miners etc.

BUT never have I known a government to bring this country and democracy to its knees as well as Parliament into disrepute and utter chaos.

Someone contact the Russians and find out what the score is on buying on of those poison brollys!

Teri said...

Looks increasingly likely that the Lib Dems are gonna be the opposition party at the next election.

Anonymous said...

Speaker will no doubt proceed as he has today - allowing the corrupt Brown and his thugs to run riot in the Commons - evidence being the way he stitched up Clegg.

They are taking this beautiful country to the brink of a public riot and it will only be when that happens that Brown will be evicted.

This is so depressing - to allow this ghastly Brown to ruin this country.Why do we have to ASK him to call an election - surely Cameron can;

"Break The Glass And Pull Lever"

and go to The Queen?

Either that or the country descends into third world status,financially and morally.

Anonymous said...

Am feeling slightly depressed about the whole new-Speaker thing. It just doesn't seem right to have another Labour one, unless it was someone really left-field (err, not in the political sense!) like Kate Hoey. There would be a delicious irony in replacing Martin with Hoey though... And Martin has shown pretty clearly what a mistake it is to have someone too close to the governing party, so that knocks out the Tories unless as an interim measure before the election. And of course you need someone who's liked but has no particular chance of attaining high office. Which of course leads to the LibDems. I quite like the idea of Charlie Kennedy as Speaker. OK, he'd be more of a landlord than a Speaker, and he'd have to give up his media tarting, but as Catholic Scots go you could do a lot worse....

I'd agree with the thought that the Tories need to do a lot more work publicising the implicit spending cuts in the Budget, and that Cameron's current line isn't nearly as effective as it could be, he needs to mix it up a bit.

judith said...

As a Conservative, I'd like to thank Nick Clegg for the work he has done in the past few days to remove the Speaker.

I think he said what needed to be uttered, and did it in a dignified manner. I was very cross with Martha Kearney who interviewed Clegg and accused him of 'politicising' the Speaker issue, which is the very thing he has been careful not to do.

If the LibDems do become the official Opposition next year, it will be interesting to see how their Party grows into the role.

Anonymous said...

What are Conservayive Policies?, why is the Jock so keen to know?, so he can STEAL them all?, this is the reason why the Conservatives are right to keep Policies close to their chest until the General Election campaign, because McLabour will nick them all!, why arent all Conservative MP's, including Cameron, saying this when asked about Policies?.

p smith said...

Iain, perhaps you were impressed by Cameron using all his questions to push for an election but I can assure that non partisan observers will have been turned off by the spectacle. After all, what did it demonstrate other than Cameron's predominant and vain desire to become PM at the earliest opportunity.

One might have thought that he could have used his questions to discuss substantive matters of concern to the country such as, er expenses. Instead he acts as if he has less blood on his hands in that regard when he and his party are just as mired in the sh*t as Labour.

Instead of humility and leadership we got bombastic vanity.

And to those mouth foaming Tories who consider Brown's refusal to call an election to be a constitutional outrage, take a history lesson. I don't recall John Major doing what the people wanted when his decrepit and dying government hung on till the very last moment before calling an election in 1997. Sadly our political system vests the right to call an election in the hands of the Prime Minister of the day (via the formality of royal assent).

I would humbly suggest that Cameron and his friends use the time at hand to develop a plan for government. Crowing and sneering won't cut it once they are in power.

talwin said...

Most embarrassing and insulting is Brown's 'tribute' to recently fallen soldiers. He reads it, staring down at a piece of paper, as peremptorily and as lacking in sincerity and feeling as he does the introductory mantra to PMQs "This morning I met with ministers......"

Brown, don't bother in future. Done by you it's meaningless.

The Grim Reaper said...

Andrew Neil: And now we go over to the House of Commons to hear what the Prime Minister has to say...
Gordon Brown: M-m-m-mm-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-Mr Speaker...
Andrew Neil: I think we'll come back to that later...

Anonymous said...

You seem to be going yellow on us Iain!

Liberal Democrats are a road block to stable government.

strapworld said...

Martin should have been escorted to his desk, by the Sergeant at Arms, given ten minutes to clear it, then escorted off the premises.

The hypocrisy today and the clapping yesterday was quite quite ridiculous.

Blair, I can understand. But Martin the worst speaker, ever? only the second in our long history to be booted out of office!

What does one have to do, or not do, to get a standing ovation?

Anonymous said...

So let me get this right, p smith. The only way Cameron can be fit to be PM is not to want the job, and because Major clung on, two wrongs make a right. (Well, three; you forgot Sunny Jim, possibly because he was Labour.) Gosh, you really are a master of Socratic reasoning.

Anonymous said...

I hope D Cameron asks him again next week to call an election, and when G Brown comes up with all his feeble excuses, D Cameron should just pass across the table a white feather, sure would make good viewing because we get nothing else from this labour government.

Anonymous said...

If that "show" (between Clegg and Martin) was aired on prime time TV then it would surely boost Douglas Carswell's "street cred" in making a point against the speaker.

Am I just being Cynical? possibly

when is it he leaves again?

Im sure Clegg will be counting the days

Anonymous said...

The best bit was when Brown fluffed the line about the post office losing five million letters last year, when he meant that the annual volume of mail sent by the rest of us had reduced by five million letters - pesky email.

Amid the laughter, he glowered and repeated that the post office had lost five million letters, glower, glum, hunched shoulders, glower.

Blair would have ridden the laughter and made a joke. All would have been amused.

One Scotsman Broon, canny take it
The other, Blair, must be desolate to see his old friends in such trouble.

This Scotsman can't wait to replace them with the nice young Tory Englishman with the Scottish name


simon said...

There's no point getting cross because the PM won't call an election. It's a fact of our constitution that the government can determine the date of an election. Of course Brown, like every PM before him, is going to use this power to get whatever political advantage he can from it.

Lee H said...

It is all about pressure now. Keeping the pressure up. What is next? DC should now start coming up with the radical reforms that the public are talking about. Number of MP's, reform of the upper house etc. Oh yes and the General Election call of course. Come on The Sun start pushing harder!Daily Mail, Daily Express, maybe even a broad sheet, okay maybe a step to far. People want change, they don't know quite what change they want so they look to the politicians to frame their ideas for them. Who is going to step up to that mark? It is all about momentum.

The voice of Truth said...

Brown was utterly utterly defeated today.....

The best analysis of Brown's options is over on TrueBlueBlood's site.

I agree with him.

Brown will stand down after the Euros and a new Labour Leader will call a summer election.

Brown just looks a desperate, old man..a loser

Anonymous said...

Read what Nick Robinson wrote today:
"The prime minister's reply was that he was referring to the chaos caused by a Conservative victory - thus appearing to suggest that he will not permit the electorate a vote because they might choose to change governments."
I'll say that again, that was Nick Robinson, who is employed by our state broadcaster.

Anonymous said...

Why does anybody bother commenting on Gordon Brown (texture like sun) these days? I thought that he was old news. He and his "partei" are definately history.

I just hope that he doesn't throw a mobile phone or a printer at me for making this comment...

Matthew Dear said...

I'm watching it now and I wouldn't give Brown more than a 2.

Anonymous said...

Brown will stand down after the Euros and a new Labour Leader will call a summer election."

Dream on, Voice!!

Elliot Kane said...

Anyone else think Cameron wants Frank Field to cross the floor? Who would YOU want in charge of welfare reform?

p smith said...

To the appropriately named Anonymous at 4.39pm, think before you write, if that is possible.

My point was that at a time when the public are looking for leadership, a weekly performance of sneering and jeering is hardly impressive. Of course he can want the job, but it would be nice if there was more than that. Note, I haven't bothered to defend Brown whose performances are equally facile and lamentable if less polished.

As for Major and Sunny Jim hanging on, you simply prove my point. The sitting PM can do what he darn well likes barring defeat in a vote of no confidence. If you had even the mildest understanding of our constitutional conventions you would understand this. The pathetic bleating of people such as yourself for an election serves no purpose and is idiotic. Should Thatcher have called an election in 1981 and 1989 when she was deeply unpopular? Give me a freaking break. If we allow the election cycle to be dictated by the Daily Mail, this country truly is finished.

Like I said, I suggest the Tories use the time at hand to develop some concrete policies because we certainly haven't heard any yet (unless you count Brown baiting as a roadmap for government).