In the UK it was the first turn on this side of the despatch box for Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. After a week of international outrage and domestic troubles with shiny new Chief Sec to the Treasury, David Laws, resigned over expenses – how did the ConDems do in their first PMQs?
Cue Dave for the condems and Harriet Harman (hereafter referred to as HarHar) for Labour…..let the battle commence!
The Freedom Flotilla
HarHar, probably relieved to be able to speak freely now she is unconstrained by governmental responsibility, fired in her first question on the Gaza flotilla, winding up her question with and emphatic ‘This blockade must end’.
David Cameron gave a clear response in favour of releasing and repatriating imprisoned humanitarians and ending the blockade in Gaza
There is no way on earth that the language of political moderation with which Cameron’s message was couched will satisfy those who are directly at the effect of the blockade in the Gaza or the humanitarians shot or imprisoned off the coast…but it is a sea change in tone for the British government with respect to Israel.
Tax, Tax, Tax
On to marriage tax allowances and David Cameron was eager to show his credentials as ‘an ashamed supporter of families”…and just in case us sodomites felt left out of the party, David crowed into a crescendo with a clear commitment that the tax break would also apply to civil partnerships “because commitment is important whether you are straight or you are gay”.
HarHar laid into David Cameron citing pointlessness of a £3 pounds a week tax break which will cost the UK government an estimated half a billion pounds per year. The house lit up in raucous applause as she commented on Nick Clegg's silence during this section of the PMQs stating “On this one, Nick agrees with me…we don’t need it, it won’t work, they should drop it”…thoroughly pissing on his chips.
Regardless of whether David won the arguments or not, he did signal a change in the mood music of the commons and of PMQs.
Karen Bradley MP, representing her constituency of Staffordshire Moorlands wins this week’s MP of the Week prize from ScriptoniteDaily for using her question to address what on earth the UK government plans to do about the proposed extradition of Edmund Arapi, a chef from Leek, Staffordshire who, having been tried IN HIS ABSENCE has been found guilty of murder and sentenced to 16 years in an Italian jail for a murder committed while he was not even IN THE COUNTRY. The story has shone a bright light on the grim reality of the UKs current extradition agreements following the ruling of a district judge at Westminster Crown Court that there were no bars to extradition in this case and therefore approving the extradition of Mr Arapi to Italy to face years in prison, away from his wife, new baby and two young daughters, for a crime he quite clearly did not commit having been working in a Staffordshire café on the day the murder took place in 2004 in GENOA!
David Cameron kicked this one into the long grass for a later day….but don’t think the story is going to go away and neither should it…points lost for procrastination there Dave.
Hospitals and Schools
A snoozefest of a conversation around Free Schools, Pupil Premiums and NHS ‘senior management wages. This is becoming tired already….Sort of a moot point. Expect the Free Schools debate to become a little more lively when more real policy is available and real impacts on the humble comprehensive are established…right now just futile huffing and puffing.
More drop kicking of questions into the ‘to be answered’ later box on Afghanistan. Same old line of ‘we’re trying this new thing out, progress is being made, we need to see what happens’. Zzzzz. Seems the coalition government has not yet found a way of creating any new position or at least a break in the intransigence of our fly in the web commitment to Afghanistan…at this rate, our grandchildren will be asking the same questions we are. Why are in Afghanistan after 50 years???? We have to stay until we have “An Afghanistan stable enough and secure enough for us to bring our troops home”.
Weird that Cameron touched on the Peace Jirga (a tribal assembly from across Afghanistan that met today to discuss peace) and forgot to mention that the Taliban had launched a bomb at it…
And they bothered to stand up becauuuuuse?
With all the gravitas and aplomb of a pissed uncle at a family party, Labour MP Ian Davidson made a complete tit of himself - commenting that the House had one thing in common, the thing being that they ‘dislike, distrust and despise the Liberal Democrats’.
Somewhat surprisingly, HarHar put in a valiant performance. Witty, passionate and right on the money. The overall feel though was that the breath of fresh air, the new thinking and the enthusiasm was all on the Governments side of the house. Frankly, the Labour suits looked stuffy, defeated and bitter…poor sods.
Battle to HarHar, War to the Condems this week…
Come back next weds for your weekly review of PMQs, Scriptonite style…