Another Wednesday, another PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) in Parliament. What to make of today’s Punch and Judy show between Cameron and Brown?
First – I guess, as Nick Robinson points out, that Cameron has forgotten his professed distaste for Punch and Judy, you say one insult, I’ll say two back more loudly style of politics. Perhaps he genuinely meant it when he said it, but if so he’s long since changed his mind.
Second -Gordon Brown really ain’t that sharp or fast when it comes to PMQs. He was always going to have a tough act to follow after Blair who, love or loathe what he said, was a master of the art of question time.
Fraser Nelson rather wickedly desecribes Ed Milliband’s apparent new role in the whole farago:
Ed Miliband seems to have a new job. He now sits next to Brown making theatrical grimaces and facial expressions of mock astonishment when Tories speak. Quite fun to watch. Oxford, LSE, Harvard – and he ends up as the highest-paid mime artist in Britain.
I see Mike Smithson (Political Betting) is speculating whether Brown might even be driven to trying to abolish PMQs. Well – if Brown is minded to, he could revolutionaise PMQs, improve Labour’s standing, polish the image of politics and make the Tories look like silly – all in one go.
The answer? Turn down the volume and turn up the behaviour on the Labour side of the chamber. Imagine what would happen if all the Labour MPs started behaving like sensible adults – none of the screaming and pointing and exagerated facial expressions, none of the passing impressions of the rowdy pub bore who insists everyone in the pub MUST hear what they’ve got to say – and instead – behave like you or I would expect and be expected to behave in any other place of work.
In a blink, he would look statesmanlike, the Tories (if they don’t follow suit) would look almightily daft in a one-sided shouting match, and who knows – PMQs might even end up fullfilling a purpose other than making politics look crap once a week.
But will Gordon do it? On past form, I’m not sure he’s got the bottle to take a decisive act. Here’s hoping though….