Wednesday, June 02, 2010

PMQs - the tone is different

Prime Minister's Questions - they used to be the weekly bear pit. Brown used them to bellow out lists like Stalinist beetroot and tractor statistics but otherwise avoided answering questions. Labour sycophants trotted out their planted questions. Nick Clegg was shouted down and treated dismissively by Brown.

The tone now is different. It is much less of a confrontational political punch up. Apart from Ian Davidson, a Glasgow Labour MP, who was stopped by the Speaker after making anti-Lib Dem comments best kept for the playground rather than Parliament, the questions on the whole were reasonable and appropriate. Notice also the difference in Cameron's response to questions compared to Brown's. The latter used to step forward with a huge file of stalinist statistics which would be rattled off like bullets from a sten gun. Cameron often stood at the dispatch box without notes.

Harriet Harman avoided screeching through her questions. And even the "socialist" Labour MP for Blyth, Ronnie Campbell, normally cherished for his entertainment value than his intellectual clout, put forward a reasonable question despite his barbed comment about Cameron's friends in the City (which overlooks Labour's friends in the same place).

So hopefully, PMQs in the future can develop as a useful tool for scrutinising the government rather than being a slanging match.
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Darlington Councillor said...

You're awfully loyal, Jonathan - I'd be hard pressed to work out if you were a LibDem or a Tory from the tone of your blog now. The two are coming together seamlessly!

Jonathan Wallace said...

Nick, you would say that, wouldn't you!? I make no apologies for being loyal to my party however. I am a liberal and I believe we have had a strong liberal input into the Coalition Agreement. Our presence in the government, as well as guaranteeing the liberal agenda, also helps lock the old Tory right wing out of influence. It's only the likes of the Telegraph, the Labour Party and the Tory rightwing that wants the liberal Coalition destroyed and a return to the bad old days of single party rule.

I've been talking to my constituents and the vast majority say they want parties to work together, not in conflict.