I don’t watch Prime Minister’s Questions. Never. Wednesday is my only day off and I’d rather have a long lie in. From what I read on The Blogs, it doesn’t sound like I’m missing a great deal. Every week, there’ll be another piece bemoaning either the childish behaviour of our elected officials, Cameron parading his arrogance, planted questions, Bercow parading his arrogance or Miliband’s inability to score any cheap party political points (which is, as I understand, the point of PMQs). LabourList’s own editor Mark Ferguson seems so unhappy with it all that his continued viewership can now only be ascribed to a deep-rooted sadism. This would also explain his penchant for door-knocking naked.
Yesterday was no different, with Mark and Dan Hodges both lamenting the fact that the sombre, serious tone that began the half-hour affair was soon made to look insincere as, once more, the House of Commons fell to the occasion. Mark’s campaign to get MPs to bloody well get their act together is admirable, but undoubtedly doomed. When John Bercow says that “the public” don’t want to see MPs behave in the way they so often do in the chamber, he might well be right; but when “the public” are given the chance, things aren’t as different as you might like to believe.
I don’t watch Question Time. Never. This is because, unlike Mark Ferguson, I am not a sadist.* I can’t watch it. It makes me angry that no one wants to listen to anything anyone else has to say and depressed that at the only time that people can properly interact with politicians in a public forum, this is the forum in which is has to be held.
Question Time is a stain on our democracy. Nothing in this world makes me unhappier than Question Time, other than unnecessary exaggeration that trivialises real tragedies in this world. Those are definitely the two worst things in life.
It is simultaneously the Roman Colosseum and the Christmas panto of the modern political world. A rag-tag group of cowed politicians, ambitious commentators and baffled celebs are paraded to prove their worth in front of a baying mob. Either they are vindicated or they are damned. Move over reasoned political debate, you are not welcome here. Just shout your opinion, and keep it snappy. No time to go into detail, but let’s solve Iraq NOW.
What is supposed to be achieved here? Is anything learned, anything gained? Are governments held to account or charlatans exposed?
The idea that Question Time is any better than PMQs is a sham. It’s politics for the people who know they’re angry but never know why. The shouting is ceaseless, the screaming and jeering regardless of events. The MPs are more in touch than we’d like to admit.
I’m looking at the pigs, and I’m looking at the people, and I can no longer tell them apart.
*I would like to point out that Mark Ferguson, Editor of LabourList, is not a sadist.