Verdict: Looking honestly at this week’s PMQs, Ed Miliband was well beaten by Cameron. The points he made were correct, but as is so often the case in PMQs, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Cameron is undoubtedly a strong performer at PMQs. Some have compared him to Blair, although that’s not a great comparison. There was usually a sense that Blair was respectful, even as he dispatched opponents with ease. There is no such sense of respect from Cameron. His dominance is that of the bully. He goads and sneers at those who would dare to ask him a difficult question (which, of course, he doesn’t answer).
In many ways Ed Miliband’s style should be a counter-balance to the Prime Minister. He is calm, measured and reasonable in the way he addresses the PM. There doesn’t seem to be a fire in his belly though, and fire is exactly what is needed to combat Cameron when he’s in this kind of form. There’s no point in asking him well formulated questions if he won’t answer them. There’s no point in being reasonable if you get beaten up for your trouble. Ed Miliband got served today by Cameron, a Prime Minister who is getting away with an economic attack on the weakest in society. If a Labour leader can’t get angry at that, then what will anger him enough to hit Cameron where it hurts?
12.29: Tory MP says that Human Rights Act is “a glaring example of everything that is wrong (in Britain)” – astonishing. Even more astonishingly, Cameron agrees. I wonder what the Deputy PM thinks about that?
12.25: PMQs is petering out this week very early, the early passion has gone…
12.23: U-turn alert…Cameron says he was watching yesterday’s debate on school sport closely, and will be making an announcement on school sport soon. Is this another Cameron u-turn under pressure?
12.21: Cameron returns to his favourite topic – the unsustainable nature of government debt as a result of a “gimme” question from a pliant back bencher.
12.20: Pamela Nash MP points out the lack of Moustaches in the house this week – she’s right, Movember ended yesterday.
12.16: Cameron says Higher Education reforms are intended to build a strong university sector for the future, to widespread laughter from the opposition benches.
12.14: Cameron is looking very confident today, bordering on smug. The question is, how long can he have that attitude while people are losing their homes and jobs?
12.11: Ed Miliband refers to the wikileaks revelations that Hague referred to the government as “The Children of Thatcher” – he’s on the offensive this week. Cameron responds saying he’d rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown.
12.08: Cameron gives an incredibly complacent answer on cuts that Ed Miliband hits him hard over, as Cameron suggests that £6 billion cuts haven’t damaged the economy, and that without the measures his government have taken then Britain would need to be bailed out like Ireland. Miliband says the PM can only rewrite history for so long.
12.07: Miliband re-iterates that the OBR shwos growth is down. Cameron doesn’t answer the question (unsurprisingly).
12.04: Ed Miliband asks why the OBR forecasts have changed. Cameron stresses that the OBR are independent – that would be the treasury economists sitting in a room in the treasury would it?
12:00: PMQs kicks off with David Cameron returning from Zurich in between meetings to take part in the weekly punch and judy show. But what will Ed Miliband go with this week? Could he go with the wikileaks revelations that the Bank of England Governor had concerns about Cameron and Osborne?