How Brown could revolutionaise PMQs, improve Labour's standing, polish the image of politics and make the Tories look like silly – all in one go

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….

No to a general election this year

So – lovely, lovely Nick Robinson, a journalist who I only hold in the highest esteem you know (!) – is saying the general election is off. Looks like Gordon Brown wimped out in the end!

Tony Blair must be in seventh heaven – to see Gordon brought so low! And to be frank – I wouldn’t blame him. Gordon has made a right pig’s ear of the whole business – toying with us the electorate, flattered by polls, cynically using Maggie, Iraq and his big tent appointees to big himself up.

Tony Blair – with whom I disagreed fundamentally on major issues – at least had the balls to take the flak. Gordon Brown, keeping head below, parapet just let Blair take all the flak and brooded in the background resentful of their relative positions.

It’s good for Gordon to get a dose of leadership reality. It’s hard. It can be extraordinarily humiliating. It’s quite different to how all these boys it will turn out – and that goes for Brown, Cameron and Campbell. But I have always felt that Brown sneered silently at Blair’s leadership. Well – what goes around comes around.

Blair’s moment of revenge – I think!

Benedict Brogan 1, Nick Robinson 0

I’ve blogged before (just once or twice!) about what a soft ride Gordon Brown is getting in the media for treating the choice of general election polling day as if it is his own personal plaything.

So – credit where credit is due – which means credit to Benedict Brogan (Daily Mail) today for writing:

Once all this nonsense is over, I’m going to start campaigning for fixed terms.

Nick Robinson refuses to show me his balls

I had my hopes up when lovely Nick appeared on the TV this evening … but alas, they were dashed.

Another BBC news reports about Gordon Brown, general election date and all the will he won’t he dithering.

On to screen strides Nick Robinsonhe whose balls I wish to see – and we see him confront the Home Secretary about general election date – but what then happens? Soft question, easily batted away.

None of the tough questions about why in a democracy the PM should be able to pick the election date that most suits the PM’s electoral prospects. None of the tough questions about the hypocrisy of Brown saying he wants to get on with governing – whilst at the same time happily stoking up election date speculation.

Now – I know Nick Robinson can be a tough interviewer when he wishes – indeed, I still remember him clearly chasing Sir Ian Blair (London policeman) down the stairs, along a corridor and through to the outside, thrusting microphone in his face and asking tough, aggressive questions.

So come on Nick how about it next time – how about addressing the tough questions to Labour?

I'd like to see Nick Robinson's balls

Well, well – another day yesterday of Gordon Brown playing “will he, won’t he” on the general election date.

It’s typical boys and toys stuff – as if the whole electoral system is just his personal plaything to bounce around as he likes.

For all his talk about New Gordon, Open Gordon, Democratic Gordon – it’s still the same old control freak Gordon, treating our democracy – OUR democracy – with contempt. Why should the date of elections be up to him and him alone to pick – and only on the basis of what suits his own vote winning desires the best?

(My own view? Fixed term Parliaments, save for automatic general election on change of PM, vote of no confidence in the Commons or cross-party agreement).

And yet whilst he brazenly displays this contempt for democracy – where are the likes of the BBC’s Nick Robinson? Just meekly playing along as if having a democracy where the Prime Minister gets to fiddle the electoral system to suit his own ends is the only possible imaginable
game.

Sorry Nick – not impressed!

Show us your balls – and start asking Gordon Brown the tough questions – like why should the date of a general election be picked just to suit Labour? Or why Gordon Brown wants to face both ways saying he wants to get on with governing – but doesn’t kill of the date speculation one way or another?

The occasional lobbed soft question to Gordon does the media’s reputation no favours at all. So come on Nick – put Gordon on the spot, ask the tough questions – and keep on until you get an answer.