Wednesday, July 15, 2009

PMQs Review: Afghanistan Dominates

David Cameron devoted all his six questions to Afghanistan today and the Prime Minister didn't answer a single one of them. Instead, he answered the questions he thought David Cameron ought to have asked.

Brown treated the public as fools. He said that the government had provided 60% more helicopters. But as a Daily Politics viewer pointed out, 60% of ten is six. Does he think we are that stupid? What was just as astonishing was that former Defence Secretary John Hutton didn't know how many helicopters had been provided and had to be told by Andrew Neil.

Perhaps the most noteworthy part of the exchange was when the Speaker interrupted to ask Cameron and Brown to be shorter in their questions and answers. Cameron wasn't having any of it and told the Speaker that the subject deserved proper questions, and then proceeded to ask another lengthy one, which got an equally lengthy answer from Gordon Brown.

Nick Clegg rather misjudged the mood of the House, which had been fairly sombre throughout the previous 15 minutes. He launched into a flailing attack on Brown which didn't really seem to be going anywhere. He would have done far better to have followed Cameron's questioning on Afghanistan, which is a subject where the LibDems have defined a very different position to the two main parties.

Brown 4
Cameron 6
Clegg 4

If you come back at 1pm you will be bale to take part in an experiment. You will be able to rewatch PMQs and use your keyboard as a focus group dial. This will then show what you thought of the leaders' performances and we can then compare your reaction to the readers of Guido Fawkes, LabourHome, Labourlist and So, do come back at 1pm and the technology will go live.


Madeleine said...

Was listening to PMQs on 5 Live. Bercow's intervention was unnecessary and was just him playing to the cameras/stoking his (massive) ego.

Best wishes for a happy birthday.

JuliaM said...

"Brown treated the public as fools."

Why not? He knows what's going to happen as soon as they get a say on his leadership, via a GE. What's to lose?

TrueBlueBlood said...

PMQ's is a joke. Brown does not answer any questions.

Speaker Bercow is a bigger joke. He talks tough. Sounds the big man but never acts. Ministers must not make statements to the media....Ministers continue to still do this. PMQ's today, Gordon and Dave must be briefer in their questions and answers. Both ignore him. Bercow is a joke and a poor man in the role of speaker.

Clegg has lost the plot. Why is he flailing around. He needs a summer break methinks.

Like the sound of the cool new tec at 1pm Iain.

Harry T. said...

The focus group thing is a good idea, but it would be better if you could do it live rather than having to go back and re-watch PMQs which I'm pretty sure not many people have the time or stomach for.

stuart said...

Brilliant. I missed PMQs - forgot about it. Thanks for replaying it - and for offering a dial thingy. Cool.

Rob said...

Please, I don't know if I'll have the will to live watching Brown again. I just pray the labour party wakes up, smells the coffee and makes it his last PMQ's.

Mark M said...

Haha, you actually believed that Hutton didn't know how many helicopters we had? He knew full well. He just didn't want to admit that we have only 10, compared to America's 100+.

Did anyone else see the look on Obama Beach's face as he sat down after Cameron's last question? It was as though he felt insulted he should have to answer any questions at all, because his statistics showed "up 60%" and "up 84%". I feel Cameron missed a trick by not ridiculing the overuse of statistics and saying that America has over 1000% more helicopters (much like Hague getting Harmas with the "100% of her time" jibe last week).

Very generous to Clegg there Iain. He seemed like he forgot what he meant to ask about.

Anonymous said...

Did GB tell another lie ? Second highest defence budget in the world ? China ? France ?

Dick the Prick said...

Bit harsh on Cleggy - thought the lad did alright. You could defo tell they were all thinking of jollies but Brown was especially rubbish.

Anonymous said...

Create a filter for Gordon Brown. He just said there's been a 60% increase in the number of helicopters in Afghanistan.

Which means there hasn't.

(BTW Happy Birthday)

Dave "fed up with creating Google Account" H.

Anonymous said...

Bercow showed today why he is a worthless speaker and why his candidacy should have been drowned at birth - he has no interest in the deaths of teenaged British soldiers, no interest in the conduct of a war which, according to the politicians, is part of an existential conflict for democracy and liberty.

Bercow genuinely wishes that MPs would shut up about stupid pointless irrelevant things like dead soldiers and get on with the important business of the day, which presumably includes paeans to Bercow's attempts at "reform" and yet more parliamentary debates about how parliament should conduct debates.

If Cameron, after the next GE, doesn't push that vile little rat bastard out of the Speaker's chair and out of the Conservative Party, I swear I will never vote for the Tories again.

Boo said...

I thought Clegg did well.
In the sense that he kneecapped the PM.
However, it was not the sort of manner a future PM should ask the question, but hey, he's Libdem.

DC did well, pretty dull, but statesmen like.

Jim Baxter said...

A phrase that those of us who read many blogs come across quite frequently is 'you just don't get it'. One reason we come across it so frequently is that we post it so frequently ourselves.

That's that said. The great game has changed and those of you who think you are still living under the old rules are going to be surprised.

stuart said...

The Speaker was partly right. Cameron's Qs weren't too long, but the PM's answers were far too long - esp that first one, which must have gone on for four or five minutes.

Anonymous said...

Brown was disgusting at PMQ's, the lies and deception roll out like there's no tomorrow. We all know the truth about our armed forces, they are under funded and have been sent in to battle without the equipment needed to keep them safe.

Gordon Brown will never be forgiven for these shameless acts.

I saw Hutton on the Daily Politics squirm and evade. How can he not have known how many helicopters are in the field of battle? Our soldiers have been crying out for more air support. Andrew Neil is fast becoming the new Paxman for me. I take my hat off to him for showing us the true nature of NuLiebour in a word SCUM.


Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

Cameron 6
Clegg 3
Brown 0

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Brown scores zero every time he refuses to answer any of Cameron's questions.

Bill Quango MP said...

Anonymous said...

Did GB tell another lie ? Second highest defence budget in the world ? China ? France ?

He has rounded a little as usual.We are fourth.


If you want to measure as a % of GDP though we do less well at 70th.
{2.4% GDP}. Its not a good index though. Oman comes 1st.

Brown has exaggerated as usual but he should be honest as defence spending IS high. Whats wrong is the targeting of expenditure.
Did you hear the Labour MP Ian Davidson (Lab, Glasgow South West)calling for a third aircraft carrier?
Typical Labour self interested tribal fool calling for defence expenditure to be used to supply horrendously expensive ships when we are engaged in a desert and a landlocked mountainous war.

If he wants to safeguard jobs he should do it without denying equipment to soldiers in combat.
Has he not read a newspaper? Does he not have any idea how idiotic he sounded?

Anonymous said...

Brown, Blair and every defence secretary since 1997 should be tried for corporate manslaughter.

Carl said...

"Did GB tell another lie ? Second highest defence budget in the world ? China ? France ?
He has rounded a little as usual.We are fourth.
UK "

It would be safer to say that we are 2nd equal with China and France.

China, France and UK are all about the same in absolute terms. In reality, we are ahead of France because they include a high proportion of their police costs in their figure for defence expenditure. Figures for China can be misleading because they cost things differently from most countries.

Anonymous said...

Boo said...
"I thought Clegg did well.
In the sense that he kneecapped the PM."

In political stature he is about knee level compared with Cameron and Brown.

Anonymous said...

Stuart at 2.06pm:

"but the PM's answers were far too long"

You mean he actually answered a question? Will wonders never cease?

Yak40 said...

Looks like there's one less helo now anyway

Johnny Norfolk said...

Have you noticed whenever the speaker is asking for calm or speeding up questions and answers he always looks towards the Tories and never Labour.
He again favours Labour and will not change anything.

Unsworth said...

Bercow isn't doing very well, is he? I don't think he's up to the job.

The Grim Reaper said...

Does anyone know when was the last recorded occasion of Gordon Brown actually giving a proper answer to a question put to him?

All this evasion - you'd be half-forgiven for thinking the man was a pathological liar.

Oh hang on a minute...

Anonymous said...

If you are using wikipedia as a source of defence budgets then how does it translate £35 billion into $64 billion ??

Anyway the % of GDP is pretty damning. Odd isn't it that Brown usually likes to use % of GDP (or he did until it started to decline).

Increasing helicopters by 6 and calling it 60% had Mandy's dirty fingerprints all over it.

French Armed Forces actually number - 779,450 in 2006 (259,050 regular force, 419,000 regular reserve, and 101,400 law enforcement Gendarmerie.

Britain on the other hand can only muster - 425,500 in 2006 (191,900 regular force, 191,300 regular reserve, and 42,300 volunteer reserve).

So even allowing for Gendamerie France has larger armed forces.

iain said...

Is Bercow in a competion with Vaz for the most fake pompous voice in Parliament?

Unknown Soldier said...

Can someone explain something to me...

Why do the chattering classes seem to think that soldiers will not die in helicopters?

Why do they give the impression that with the "correct equipment" we will not have British dead?

Anonymous said...

I was astonished by John Hutton's argument that ministers chose "from the options given to us" by the forces. Very revealing, that: I think strong and successful ministers - like good civil servants and no doubt in the MoD context generals, admirals and so on - realise the unelected part of the government exists to support ministers, not to constrain their choices. Only reality does that. Including the choices, such as budgetary choices, of other ministers.

If he wasn't content with the options, he could have ripped them up, or asked for more work to be done. If the constraint was budgetary he could have taken his claims for money to the cabinet backed by a threat to resign - or reallocated cash within defence.

labour for the few said...

4 for brown?

it you ask a child something and they fail to answer you straight and lie,on numerous occasions,do you award them 28.6%.(14 points awarderd in total)

maybe to keep them happy.

if brown,or any leader in the house, lies you should award them 0.

Anonymous said...

'brown treated the public like fools?'

labour got away with it in 2001,2005.why not keep going.

i leave out 1997,as we needed change.

Carl said...

"Increasing helicopters by 6 and calling it 60% had Mandy's dirty fingerprints all over it."

10 + 6 = a 60% increase.

Pathetic but nothing wrong with the arithmetic.