"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, 3 November 2010

PMQs: Verdict

Cameron paid tribute to Sapper William Blanchard, 101 Engineer Rgt who died this week while attempting to make safe an ied.   The weeks when pmqs hasn't started this way can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

John Robertson, Lab, Glasgow North West, had the first question.  555 of his constituents stand to lose out due to the government's withdrawal of Educational Maintenance supplement.  What's Cameron going to do?   [I thought education was a devolved issue for the Scottish Parliament but perhaps the EMS falls outside its remit].

To the groans of the Labour benches Elizabeth Truss, Con, South West Norfolk,  asked a 'would the prime minister agree with me ...'  question about retaining RAF Marham in Norfolk as a base for the Tornadoes.

Miliband Minor first asked about airfreight & passenger security on airlines and a timeframe for measures.  He then moved on to tackling the root causes of counter-terrorism but not in Britain, in Yemen. More co-operation with 'Friends of Yemen' and aid & economic development is the answer, apparently.

I'm fed up with them constantly thanking each other and being so polite, not only in PMQs.  Miliband's next question related to the rise in university tuition fees.  Cameron could have been speaking to himself when he said, "What a pity that opportunism has overtaken principle."  Miliband has learned something from backing Brown all these years, every week he now tells Cameron that he should be answering questions, not asking them.

Miliband saved his final two questions to ridicule Cameron about his photographer being put on the civil service payroll and a list of broken promises.  First intervention from a bad-tempered Bercow - it was directed towards 'senior Labour backbenchers who should know better'.   Lots of laughs and cheers but Cameron has so much ammunition from the last 13yrs that anything Miliband says is swiftly knocked back over the net and the ball drops dead at his feet.

Not much of an improved performance from M: his voice was a little stronger this week but still retains that annoying gob-stopperish, nasal quality with a hint of whinge.  Cameron's response:  "You can come here every week and have a succession of lame soundbites or engage in the substance about the future of our country..."  40-love Cameron.

The benches were a riot of colour and it wasn't the women.  We had fuschia, sunshine yellow and orange mingling with a smattering of the light-hearted (baby blue) and the sombre (maroon).   It conveyed such a merry, who-gives-a-damn-it's-happy-half-hour atmosphere that I swear I could smell Eau Sauvage coming from the tv.

There were also plenty of Scottish accents in evidence this week  (Labour) which only draws focus to the fact that England, being a nonentity of nine regions, doesn't have it's own Parliament/government/assembly.  Call it what you like, the result is the same: England is not fairly represented at Westminster and is unlikely to be in the future.  England is routinely ignored.

Did your MP ask a question?
Matthew Offord, Con, Hendon,   Julie Hilling, Lab, Bolton West,  Andrew Selou, Con, South West Bedfordshire;  Hazel Blears, Lab, Salford & Eccles;   Peter Aldous, Con, Waveney; Fabian Hamilton, Lab, Midlothian,   Philip Hollobone; Con, Kettering; Heidi Alexander, Lab, Lewisham East;   Sam Gyimah, Con East Surrey;  Chris Ruane, Lab, Vale of Clwyd;  Sir Robert Smith, LibDem, West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine; Lindsey Roy, Lab, Glenrothes; Andrew Stephenson, Con, Pendle;   Emma Reynolds, Lab, Wolverhampton North East;  Greg Mulholland, LibDem, Leeds North West;   Ronnie Campbell, Lab, Blyth Valley;  Gareth Johnson, Con, Dartford;  Steve McCabe, Lab, Birmingham Selly Oak;  Sir Alan Beith, LibDem, Berwick-upon-Tweed;  Jim McGovern, Lab, Dundee West.

Topics:
The death of Marvin Henry and role models for young people; public sector job losses -v- 'vanity' photographer;  welfare reform & housing benefit cap;  the gas blast in Salford & requirement for extra funding;  the exclusion of the East Anglian coast from off-shore investment;  Leeds [?] trolley bus;  80% of 1,000+ foreign nationals granted indefinite leave to remain in constituency - what assurances applicants not waved through in order to clear up backlog;  EMS & Lewisham College;   automatic pension enrolment;   decreasing number of MPs and increasing number of Lords;  visa system and immigration;  "unfairly" blaming current problems on previous government; side-stepping of defence measures because politically "too difficult";   300 job losses at Newcross Hospital, Wolverhampton;  British Pub Week;  making bankers and speculators pay;  prisoners' right to vote;  prospect of prisoners electing police & crime commissioners;  Duchesses High School, Alnwick;  tax breaks for computer/video games industry.

Videos to follow.

Cameron - Miliband

Liar Politicians.  Hopefully, there'll be more to follow.

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