"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, 2 December 2009

PMQs: Verdict

Nobody does it better. When it comes to shouty-shouty no one does it like Gordon. When it comes to opening his mouth and spouting crapadoodle, no one does it like Gordon. When it comes to self-righteous indignation ... ...

A taster of this week's verbal faux-pas: President Barmer; Spain is in the G20 now; the continent of Britain - and those were in the first 4/5 minutes. These were followed a little later by the appearance of that well-known actress, Renee Witherspoon. Alchy Ada, of course, is always with us.

Brown was flanked by wee Duggie Alexander (International Development - used to be called the Dept of Overseas Aid) and Sadiq Khan (Minister of Transport, who was obviously there in his capacity of Chief Order Paper Waver. Perhaps next week he'll be parading up and down the Chamber holding aloft a 'Laugh Now' placard). Here's a clip of the first Afghanistan exchange - note Little Sir Echo to Brown's right copying His Master's arm gestures, at about 0:23 in:

The gloves came off when Cameron asked about the economy. We know that Brown rarely gives a straight answer to a straight question and always manages to incorporate a small soundbite here or there in order to play to the gallery but this week he had his backbenchers cheering uproariously. PMQs has become superfluous under this PM: Brown lumbers around the ring ducking & diving whilst Cameron dances balletically around him failing to deliver the knockout demanded by the crowd.

Here's an excerpt from the exchange:

Notable quotes from Gordon's script-writing team this week were: the voice of a Public Relations man with the mindset of the 1930's; the more he talks the less he actually says; an inheritance tax policy dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton.

Speaker Bercow, who's thoroughly enjoying his new role as referee, intervened three times and particularly called boisterous Ben Bradshaw (Culture Secretary) to order.

Clegg used both questions to ask about Afghanistan.

Anne McIntosh (Con, Vale of York) asked a pertinent question about a £50m financial shortfall suffered by local authorities affected by the 2007 summer floods and asked where Cumbria will stand with regard to the recent flooding. Brown simply reeled of a list of grants and liaisons with DEFRA and the Environment Agency; there was little in the way of firm assurances.

Two MPs who seem to be regular fixtures at PMQs are Chris Ruane (Labour, Vale of Clwyd) and Shona McIsaac (Labour, Cleethoropes). Ruane is another one prone to verbal slippage; this week he spoke of 'the dynamic duover... duover there', stabbing his finger in the direction of Cameron & Osborne and speaking of 'a right old Eton mess'. I can't take much more of these witticisms, really I can't.

Good old Guido video'd the Spain G20 gaffe:


  1. It was the usual pantomime, Bercow allowing Brown to escape answering Cameron's question.


  2. Hear, hear. Open wide, Gordon, so you can fit your other foot in.

  3. I'm starting to wonder if Cameron is ever going to deliver another knockout blow to the bastard - it's been a while, GV.

  4. Hi guys & gals. I'd rather Bercow addressed the problem of Brown avoiding questions than the schoolboy behaviour of b/benchers - that would do more than anything else to calm them down.

    Cameron's had his chances in the past but didn't push home - whether he feared accusations of bullying or because he didn't want to land the knockout doesn't matter really. Brown had him on the backfoot yesterday - definitely stronger.

    If Cameron had been stronger Brown & Co might have been history in 2008.

  5. "...an inheritance tax policy dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton." I laughed out loud when I heard that on the radio yesterday, clutching at straws or what !

  6. There used to be a saying about the first WW being won on the playing fields of Eton - tofftastic. I see Harman is also insisting that Spain is a member of the G20 - peace/war; black/white; up/down.


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