Wednesday, 9 June 2010

PMQs - How it All Went Down 9th June '10



Roll up, roll up!
Week Two for the condems at the despatch box.  As the UN votes on further increasing sanctions on Iran, Diane Abbott gets enough votes thanks to good ol’ John McDonnell, the US has taken to shooting Mexican children at the border and Maggie Thatcher is wheeled out before the press for what one might presume the last time…….Scriptonite reviews how it all went down at PMQs.  Dave for the condems, Harriet Harman (a.k.a. HarHar) for the Labour party….and they’re off!

Cumbria Shootings and War Dead

PMQs got off to a subdued start this week with a minutes silence for the victims of Derrick Bird’s cumbrian massacre.  A week ago, the indebted taxi driver loaded up his Picasso with a shot gun and .22 rifle and set off around Cumbria shooting his twin brother, several ex colleagues he had issues with and a number of complete strangers…then as twelve people lay dead in the streets and fields of Cumbria, he drove off to a dense forest in Boot and shot himself too. 
This has also been a nightmarish week for troops in Afghanistan who have seen nearly twenty fellow soldiers killed this week through various raids and battles, together with a rather worrying attack on NATO supply trucks this morning in Pakistan which killed four drivers and saw the destruction of the supply vehicles and the supplies therein…..worrying.

The Respect Agenda
A bit of a sleepy question on powers to the devolved assemblies of wales and Scotland…what's with the House of Commons today...they're all rowdy but with no major content in the questions.  Displeased!
Health

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrats for West Morland and Lonsdale wins the prize for the waffliest attempt at a PMQ EVER!  Come on Tim for pity’s sake get to the point – will there be a new cancer unit in my area or not?!  Background – Tim wants to meet he commitment that no cancer patient should have to travel further than 45 minutes for radiotherapy….laudible, but it took him that long to squeak out the question…earning him a ticking off from the speaker Mr Bercow.

Gun Control

HarHar steps up to the despatch box looking like the Milibands had ambushed her with a surprise paint ball attack in some back corridor of Westminster hall. Hmmm, perhaps that’s the real reason she goes in for a question on gun control as her opening gambit?
Yes Harriet, I know you think it’s sexist when people pick up on what you wear but it isn’t, it is because you dress like a bit of a loon sometimes and it amuses our simple minds. 
Refreshingly, inspite of ensuring another flaming review, Cameron was keen to stress that “I don’t believe in knee jerk legislation”.

Electoral Reform

3.5 million people eligible to vote aren’t on the electoral register.  HarHar wants assurances from Cameron on pausing constituency reform until this matter is resolved…..bizarre.  She was claiming that somehow this was unfair and the register would NEVER be fixed, or these voters would be lost FOREVER *cue mood music
She sort of got into her stride with it announcing that "A third of of all black people and a half of all young people" are still not on the register.  A bit of a pause to check in on the political correctness-o-meter.
Seemed like a surprisingly good question in the pause...until Cameron pointed out that she had THIRTEEN YEARS to deal with the problem if she felt so passionately about it.  Basically, quit your squawking HarHAr we're onto you.

Telling Off
  
Big fat telling off from Bercow for all the snorting at HarHar.

Civil Liberties

A bit deflated after her last question rolled over and died, HarHar goes back in for the kill on…..wait for it….the plans for the Regulation of CCTV.  Oh HarHar…opening yourself up for a kick in the nuts are we? And sure as eggs, Dave drew back his knee and fired a firm one straight into the goolies….
Firstly a withering “The Labour Party may well have given up on Civil Liberties”….to a quite wonderful portyayal of Ed Ball as ‘the new Alf Garnett on immigration’ and a reference to the Labour Party contenders Balls, Miliband x2 and Andy Burnham all racing to sound the most xenophobic at the thought of some votes in return. 

Housing and Jobs

Couple of backbencher questions on housing funding and jobs given the cuts…sure to be planty more of these over the coming months and years…we’re broke folks, stuff just aint gonna get paid for.
Important note from Cameron that he will be funding the social housing schemes he announces unlike the Labour Party who announced them but the funding never came through.

Stafford Hospital

Cameron used a question on hospital targets and red tape to announce a public inquiry into the hundreds of avoidable patient deaths at Stafford Hospital on the back of heinous failures of cleanliness and clinical competence. Bravo….now if we would only do something on the back of the inquiry that would be very much appreciated.

National Debt

Cameron got to have a damn good rant about £70 billion annual interest payments….cue sighs and recriminations all round the house.  Cannot believe this was the only real conversation about the national debt today, given the huge public engagement exercise over government spending that we have coming up.

Keep the England Flag Flying

Dave has promised to fly the England flag over Downing Street at “no cost to the taxpayer” for the duration of the world cup…well, I can sleep peacefully at night now.

Doozer of The Week

Frank Roy…Frank, PMQs os not the place to ask about a tiny station on the bloody east coast mainline!  Write a letter and find a bigger issue for your constituency!


In Summary 
Got to say I was flipping happy this weeks PMQs was over by the end, having nodded off and found myself having walked out of the room without realising….such was the soporific effect of this weeks debate. Big issues missed…where was the new immigration law? Where was the national conversation on the cutting the national debt….?  It was slow and tedious and it appeared that the MPs made up for serious content with raucous and out of order behaviour which saw the speaker take to his feet on several occasions to bring the order back to proceedings.

Scriptonite Verdict:
HarHar completely bombed this week.  Completely and utterly bombed.  HarHar who?  Zero presence, zero challenge for Cameron and therefore a snoozefest and cranky PMQs.  Cameron walked it and came over well…is it bad that I had an awful moment of ‘oh I miss the libdems questions!’

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