"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

PMQs: The Verdict

Cleggy, Brown & Cameron

I'm thinking of ending these summaries of PMQs on the grounds of denying them the voguish 'oxygen of publicity'.  Perhaps if we ignore them, instead of engaging with them, they'll just go away.  Not a good strategy?  Okay, here goes:

It was delayed by N Ireland Questions and Brown took the opportunity to answer a question that no-one listening to PMQs had heard.

"...the final stage of devolution in N.Ireland...our aim is a peaceful, more secure & more prosperous Northern Ireland."  Bye-bye Northern Ireland and don't forget to thank the Labour Party for all the platitudes.

Crispin Blunt (Conservative, Reigate) had the first question about TA training cutbacks (£20m announced last week) and the effect on "recruitment & retention of these vital volunteer specialists".

Brown: (Labour, Going Nowhere) Any TA personnel going to Afgh in the next few months "will secure the training that is necessary".  He then went on to 'quote' a CGS (he didn't specify Dannatt or Richards) - "the reason the changes are necessary is because the Army has recruited more regular soldiers in the last year.."  Hmmm.  Nothing to do with decent kids being failed by an education system and wanting to better themselves?  Nothing to do with a dearth of jobs?  Nothing to do with the DfID who keep showering money on India, China, Yemen all in the name of climate change, terrorism or any number of Labour's hobby-horses?

A few minutes later Brown was saying that all TA would be "individually assessed to make sure they have all the training that is necessary."  Didn't quite answer the question did it?

I'm convinced that Labour Party MPs send messages to each other in a tie code: purple is the de rigueur colour of compliance at the moment (red/blue = purple = the 3rd Way; Jack Straw's vivid scarlet (with pink shirt?) = warning, unreconstructed Trotskyist.

A Scottish MP asked: "Will the PM join me in congratulating the NHS in Fife in their preparations..."  Swine flu vaccine - no mention of pregnant women being told by the govt to have the adjuvant-added vaccine which hasn't been tested on pregnant women before.  I wonder which vaccine Brown will choose for himself and his family?

[I've just double-checked this and it was Lindsay Roy, Labour MP for Glenrothes who asked the question.  I have questions of my own:  where is the missing electoral register?  Amid allegations of electoral fraud this matter can't be forgotten.  Neither will people like me forget that Glenrothes was the place where guns  made a comeback on the British electoral scene.]

Cameron (with a quiff) led on privatisation of Royal Mail and the impending postal strikes.  He was fiery in defence of privatisation overall and goaded Brown into "sending a direct msg to the Trade Union" to call off the strike.

Brown: I said that last week but we must "urge negotiation & mediation".

What none of them mentioned in all this hot air was the role of the EU - no one acknowledged the EU directive which started all this - many years ago.  The role of the EU makes this sort of PMQs completely irrelevant - a divergence & sideshow for the minority (the majority, of course, prefer to read about Kate-this, Jordan-that, Wossy-the other).

Cameron quoted Mandelson as an ally.  God help us all.

The House was definitely more energised & vocal than last week, no doubt after a session with the whips this morning.  Harriet was a shiny mop-top as usual, albeit the roots were showing slightly.  She wore her 'pearls-before-swine necklace' and a badly-made white suit which did no favours at all to her low-hanging fruit as she looked around gauging the opinion of Opposition back-benchers.  'How would I fare against them as Leader of HM's Loyal Opposition?'

In all of this Hain rested an attentive gaze of adoration on Brown (I  see bigger things for Hain in the NuLabNWO) & Ainsworth's custard-pie-tie barely shifted off his fat gut as he looked at Brown, not adoringly: 'You think you've got problems? Try my job'.  Dougie Alexander's eye gave him some trouble as he & Harman nodded in agreement with Brown's finger-stabbing and tractor stats.

I've lost the will to live.  What's the point?  Overthrow the b@stards now.  We want a General Election now.  Just a General will do.

Clegg asked a question of banks.  Brown, obviously, replied that he knew better and had been there before him.  He treated Clegg as if he were a supercilious teacher and Clegg the child.The G20 knew best and global banking system was the answer.  Naughty Cleggy - stand in the corner and here's a pretty hat I've made for you.

Paul Flynn (Labour, Newport if I'm not mistaken): Why should our brave soldiers be asked to put their lives at risk in order to re-elect the corrupt thief, Karzai?

Brown: W-w-w-w-what we have is.....

I was resuscitated by this question from Graham Brady (Conservative, Altrincham) :  "Why should my constituents pay more tax so that his could have their Council Tax frozen?

Brown: "The purpose of devolution, whether it is to Scotland , or to Wales or to Northern Ireland or to London is to allow those people in those areas who are represented to make the decisions... that affect their lives and if they make these decisions by doing one thing it is at the cost of their ability to do other things."  And that's that really; England no longer exists.

After that we had Peter Bone (Conservative, Wellingborough) who struck a nerve - eu subsidies - el Presidente Blair and Smith - a very angry Smith, not about Surestart but about her own demotion.  Nice to see the Labour Front Bench sporting British Legion poppies in their lapels wasn't it?

Chin up - it might be better next week.


  1. woman on a raftOctober 21, 2009

    Hurrah, yes, it was dreadful.

    Good sketch though and necessary as there is something Rohypnol about PMQs - I know I watched it but it's like it happened to somebody else.

  2. I doubt I'll do it next week WoaR - even I think it's predictable. Today was terrible - and to think we have 7 months until the GE is too much to contemplate. It's time to turn our sights on the Conservatives.


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