« Home | Hazel Blears? She's just like Thatcher... » | Just one fucking thing after another. » | Weekend links. » | Another week in the slow death of Gordon Brown. » | Scum-watch: It's all thanks to us! » | How to tackle the BNP effectively. » | Now for something completely different... » | Immigration and the Gurkhas. » | Weekend links. » | The budget aftermath. » 

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 

Another edifying session.

It's a good thing that only politics nerds bother to watch prime minister's questions, because if anyone else had bothered to tune in today, they would have had their reasons for being completely cynical and apathetic about what goes on at Westminster fully confirmed.

Understandably, the Conservatives sense blood after Gordon Brown's last dire week. They realise that turning him into the issue is also the main way to rile him up, and few opposition leaders would have failed to mention the weekend's events with Hazel Blears' newspaper article. Even so, that Cameron used up all six of his questions personally attacking the prime minister, without mentioning either the Gurkhas again, the other tensions within Labour over the proposed part-privatisation of the Royal Mail, or the economy was low politics from those who only a couple of weeks back were calling for a complete change to the way Downing Street operated after "Smeargate".

Admittedly, prime minister's questions has long transformed from the prime minister answering questions into the prime minister not answering questions and attacking the opposition whenever the chance takes him. Gordon Brown didn't start this trend, but has done nothing whatsoever to alter it. Brown also once again resorted to the caricaturing of Conservative policy, describing them as the only politicos in the world advocating doing nothing as a strategy in the face of global recession, which is wrong both counts, but which is not as disconnected from the truth as the Tories would like.

This clearly wasn't just Cameron's strategy however, but the entire Conservative strategy. Brown himself noted that not a single Tory question concerned policy until Iain Duncan Smith stood up and asked about the Gurkhas, 28 minutes into the session. While Brown for the most part floundered, he did score a hit on Cameron regarding u-turns, especially on the "show a lot of love to children" crime policy, which has since turned into the "modern clip round the ear" law and order strategy. "That must have sounded great in the bunker!", smarmed Cameron in response. It was left to Nick Clegg to again raise substantive points, and although his calling Brown stupid was cheap, he seems to have finally settled into PMQs, making the best use of having just 2 questions as he possibly can.

The Tories who continued to pop up increasingly resembled those delightful school children who pile into a fight and aim kicks at the person sprawled on the floor. They caused much hilarity amongst themselves when Stephen Crabb stood up and made reference again to the reports of Brown throwing things around, Cameron already having done so. The only way Brown could possibly have responded to it was to either laugh it off or keep to his complaining about the personal attacks; instead he said "complaints were dealt with in the usual manner", which left the Tories falling about laughing at Brown's latest Stalinist faux pas, also resembling an admission that the stories are true. It was grim stuff, and even if the backbenchers had cheered Brown loudly in his final response to Cameron, the rest of the frontbench were clearly not enjoying it.

Only those that love to descend politics to personalities rather than policy and to insults rather than considered argument will have done. Clearly, Brown cannot complain on either front by his record, but for Cameron, who once said that he wanted to remove the Punch and Judy from politics, it was weak stuff and beneath him. The Conservatives clearly do have some sort of policy on dealing with the recession, and on most other things; they just seem to not want to expose them to any actual scrutiny. Again, that's understandable when they have clearly not finalised them and when we're still a year away from an election, but it is also beginning to suggest that they themselves have no real faith in them, and that they don't wish to scare the electorate with what their "age of austerity" will really mean. Again, the emphasis on Brown's travails has completely deflected any attention away from what the Conservatives are really offering, something that simply cannot continue.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Share |

"It's a good thing that only politics nerds bother to watch prime minister's questions,"

Mate, you wanna try ploughing thru local authority minutes... ;-D

You've painted a delightful and terrifying picture.

Thank you.

No government-in-waiting is going to give hostages to fortune by making specific policy pledges until it is in a position to inspect the books left behind by its predecessors - especially when, as in this case, there is good reason to believe that things are in a far worse state than the government lets on.

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link