PMQs verdict – Ed Miliband and the agony of choice

April 25, 2012 12:35 pm

Well he can’t say we didn’t warn him…

Today Ed Miliband was a victim of the agony of choice. Any other week the decision on what to whack the PM with wouldn’t have been a serious question. The problem was it still wasn’t a serious question today – the economy is the issue that can kill this government outright, Hunt and Murdoch can only cripple them.

As I argued this morning, the media needs no excuse to talk about itself – focussing on Hunt and Leveson at PMQs (with 4 out of 6 questions), was a misfire. Sure it got Cameron shouting and yelling on a day when he should have been contrite. Sure it got the PM to lash himself to the Culture Secretary in a way that will be embarrassing if/when he goes.

But the economy is so bad it doesn’t need explaining.

Everyone knows what a recession is. Not everyone know what a Leveson is.

The economy has double-dipped for the first time in nearly 40 years and Cameron had barely begun to squirm before we dropped it. Ed Miliband might never get that chance again. The Leveson enquiry will rumble on and likely uncover further misdeeds. The Hunt questions will rattle on as long as he refuses to resign. They should have been left to backbenchers. Instead those same backbenchers were left asking questions about the economy. There were two open goals today. Ed had Cameron in trouble on Leveson, but he totally flunked it on the economy.

What a dreadful waste.

What a dreadful shame.

The local elections are only a week away.

People vote with their wallets.

Can we have some focus?

Please?

  • Welsh Blogger

    Totally agree with you.

    Ed should have smashed this one and Cameron should have been knocked out flat. I am not the first person to say this, but, Ed is starting to come over as very weak. I don’t believe Labour will win the next election with Ed in charge, no matter how the good the lead the polls show.

    If we look back at recent history, you only need to go as far back as Kinnock to see how the polls can lie.

    Ed is just coming over as very weak and does not show any qualities of good leader. Hell, half the Labour voters in my local area don’t even know who he is!

    • http://twitter.com/KulganofCrydee Kulgan of Crydee

      It is shame. In a democracy we need an effective opposition.  Ed should have done much better today.

    • treborc1

      weak is not really the problem, it’s the way he comes over, Labour stated not to long ago about the rich public school boys, so the real question is labour against being rich, because most of the labour  front bench are well off, is it about public schools because a number of labour people went to public  schools.

      The real question is whether labour is working class or middle class, answer they are a middle of the road middle class party, not to many in Scotland or Wales see them selves as middle class.

    • Holly

      Ed is asking questions written by others,he also ‘sticks to the script’.
      I haven’t heard anyone, anywhere saying…Ed won it today.

      None of the main three parties have an easy task in front of them. The Coalition have several problems to deal with, in an uncertain world, economically. Ed has the past record of the last government to try to shrug off. He can/will never achieve this because of his proximity in that government, along with others in the shadow cabinet.

      I am a voter. I look at politicians as a voter. I try to be impartial when I come on here.
      I have said many times on here Labour supporters have a few hard choices, and a few rough years ahead of them. Labour need fresh blood, fresh younger faces, with no baggage. The only people who can get that for the party are the voters.
      I could be wrong though.

  • http://twitter.com/ladyloki Ladyloki

    Rather a harsh judgement on Ed’s tack today. I thought he did well to fit in the economy, Leveson, and Hunt and explore them in some depth- and he had Double-Dip Dave on the back foot with every question.  I watched with interest as he turned many shades of puce even Dulux never imagined existed.

  • keggsie

    I don’t know what planet you are on Mark but it isn’t the same as the one I inhabit. Is it the same planet as the rest of the Blairites and Tories are on – planet Zog?

  • keggsie

    Excellent performance by Ed. I also reckon the Blairites / Progress members are worried about Leveson. They too were in bed with Murdoch.

    • Mike Homfray

      And they largely share the same right wing pro-Market agenda. Murdoch does not support Labour as it is today and Ed is not attracted by that sort of politics.

      • ThePurpleBooker

        Are you a fool? Ed Miliband is a member of Progress!

        • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

          But last year Ed signalled divergence from the Progress position with these words:

          “We could just fight on his [Cameron's] ground and accept the terms of debate set by him. But that would fail. It would allow Conservative pessimism to shrink our ambition.” 

          • ThePurpleBooker

            Dave, that is not Progress’ position at all. No one in Progress wants Labour to fight on Cameron’s ground and accept the terms of his debate. Dave, you are just so bloody wrong. I mean what is worse is people like you who think that Ed Miliband is some Old Labour Bennite who wants to return the party to the 1980s, he isn’t. He is on the right of the party and he is a member of Progress (he wrote in the Purple Book, for goodness sakes)!

          • AlanGiles

            Well, I MEAN!

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            “what is worse is people like you who think that Ed Miliband is some Old Labour Bennite ”

            That’s not what I think at all. If colour-coding is any help then I’m Blue Labour.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            No, he wrote an introduction to the Purple Book as party leader, and I’d certainly agree he isn’t a Bennite, but he has made it pretty clear he isn’t New Labour either! He’s closer to Compass with a dash of Blue Labour if anything, if you look at his major themes and concerns

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          errr…no, he isn’t. Never has been.

      • GuyM

        “Pro-market”…

        More Homfray insights…. nationalise everything, put up trade barriers, go for self suficiency and protectionism.

        No doubt wage controls, restrictions on money leaving the UK, secondary picketing, closed shops, mechalon levels of taxation and the like would be your manifesto?

        Just give all professionals and high wage earners the chance to get the hell out and you do as you wish.

        • RedSetter

          These are eccentric views for a member of the Labour party to hold.

          • GuyM

            I can only conclude you are a little bit simple in the head.

          • RedSetter

            You disparage the Labour party like a cuckolded husband disparaging his wife, knowing that she’s romping ecstatically with a more virile and younger lover. Instead of attacking her why not try to win her back? Return to the fold my friend and hold the red flag high!

      • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

        By “Ed” I presume you mean Ed Miliband? Do you know him?

    • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

      Good to see that the GMB trade union, through their conference, are set to propose an investigation into Lord Sainsbury’s ‘party-within-a-party’: Progress.

      http://www.leftfutures.org/2012/04/gmb-congress-to-consider-investigating-party-within-a-party-progress/#more-9437 

      • GuyM

        And the left of Labour isn’t and never has been a “party within a party”?

        Unite’s actions on trying to block PPCs who don’t subscribe to their view on cuts is what exactly?

        Personally I’d be happy to see you all go on some McCarthyesque witch hunt against “Blairites” and shift heavily towards a hard left wing set of policies.

        People like you Dave never seem to realise the UK doesn’t want “socialism”, whether it be via SWP, Militant, Scargill or other more insiduous factions within Labour. But you keep dreaming.

        • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

          Sorry Guy, but it’s not me who’s advocating “socialism” though I understand why you choose to misrepresent my views – it’s the lazy option.

          Tell you what – why not have a go at getting to grips with reality, rather than dealing in fanciful distractions – once you’ve overcome your habitual laziness you might get to like it.

          • GuyM

            So answer the question i think i asked you before… have you ever been a member of Socialist Workers,  Militant or any other similar hard left group?

          • Duncan

            Ruddy ‘ell it’s McCarthy!

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            Tomas de Torquemada would’ve been proud to employ him…

          • GuyM

            Still no answer eh Dave?

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            I don’t respond to impertinent interrogation.

          • GuyM

            I’m sure you don’t, so I’ll just assume you are or have been a member of a hard left grouping, it fits a pattern and explains a lot.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            The lazy option appears to be a compulsion with you.

          • GuyM

            It’s called an intuitive judgement based upon limited information.

            You have the feel of a hard left apologist.

          • RedSetter

            Are you or have you ever been a member of… the Tax Payers Alliance?

          • GuyM

            Nope, not now, not ever.

            I haven’t been involved in politics for a very very long time and never will again.

          • treborc1

             Is that a rule of the Tory secret agent, if you work for us on the labour party site, you cannot vote for us.

        • keggsie

           Militant were kicked out and quite rightly. As were the Alliance. And I hope they do the same with Progress if it is proved they are behaving like a party within a party. I have no problems with ‘groups’. I object to those groups being financed by high profile people who care not for the party – only their group.

          If progress is found to have a structure a- both political and financial which demonstrates they are a party within a party then they should be removed and their finances frozen and eventually incorporated into the main party.

          • Duncan

            The Alliance weren’t kicked out, they left…

            It was wrong to expel Militant and it would be wrong to expel Progress.  Our history is one made up of parties within the party, and it makes us stronger.  The more members the better – expulsions are stupid.  I disagree with most of what Progress say, but they are a legitimate strand of Labour opinion – as are Marxist groups like Militant: bourgeois liberalism and revolutionary Marxism have been in the party since its inception.  The concept of entryism only has a meaning to so-called “entryists”.  So, while some might talk about “transitional demands” and so on, ultimately if people join the Labour Party and campaign for a Labour victory that’s all to the good.

            I agree there are serious question marks about the approach of some to the mayoral elections…  But I don’t think that’s an organisational issue to do with Progress.

          • Duncan

            Actually, I might have misunderstood the previous message – I assumed “the alliance” was a reference to the SDP.  Did you mean Socialist Organiser?  If the latter, I refer you to my previous comments about Militant.

          • keggsie

             I knew the organisation as the Alliance – they were a right wing labour Party group that were expelled before Militant. As for the latter  they were a scourge and a party within a party.

            Ordinarily Duncan I am opposed to expulsions. The party should be big enough to cope with different opinions. What I object to are organisations that on the surface purport to support the Labour Party but in reality do everything to undermine it. Militant and Alliance were two such groups. Progress is now another. But even here if these were just groups that argued for different things I wouldn’t expel. I draw the line when a group decides to deliberately finance its operations in order to deliberately force the Labour Party to move their way and when it doesn’t then start sniping and deliberately trying to bring down (in this case the leader) anyone opposed to it.

            If progress is found to be a party within a party then it should be expelled.

          • Duncan

            I have no problem with expulsions for serious reasons; it is incompatible with party membership (for example) to stand against an official Labour candidate – although not necessarily for all time!  But the expulsion of groups, or full CLPs, etc. are very questionable.  The party got very trigger happy with expulsions in the 80s and 90s and I hope we’ve grown up a bit since then.

          • keggsie

             Progress’ behaviour is serious. They are deliberately undermining Ed Miliband. But i can live with that – we just need to get another message across but as I said I draw the line at any group that is financed and structurally organised with aims and ambitions completely different from the party as a whole then I question their allegiance.

            I may be wrong here but I believe Progress financially is better off then the LP itself. That to me is very worrying.

          • Duncan Hall

             Well if that is true then that is a definite issue.  Progress should donate some money to the party!

          • keggsie

             Is Progress funded in the main by Lord Sainsbury.

          • Duncan Hall

             Well if that is true then that is a definite issue.  Progress should donate some money to the party!

        • RedSetter

          This is rather heated and overwrought.

      • treborc1

        yes and that’s not all the Union are planing to change either, the donation to labour which was cut last year will it seem be cut again.

    • ThePurpleBooker

      Rubbish.

      • WildMallard

        Hello ducks!

      • treborc1

        well we put ours in black bags

    • http://twitter.com/_DaveTalbot David Talbot

      What a desperate desire to smear sections of the Labour party.

      You can, of course, be a member of Progress and not a Blairite – or indeed the other way round. The second thing to note is that Ed Miliband himself is a member of Progress. He was also a Minister in the last Labour government and therefore, logically, “in bed with Murdoch” too.

      And what makes you think that only “Blarites” and “Progress members” were any different from other sections of the Labour party in their attitude, pre Leveson, to the Murdoch empire? The Brownites were frankly up to their balls in it for years desperately trying to destabilise Blair and have their anointed one crowned. They used Murdoch’s media just as much if not more than any section of the party.

      It’s disappointing, Keggsie, that on a day when news of such importance has occurred your first, default, and relatively stupid, remark is to attack other members within the Labour party without foundation.

      • Duncan

        Could somebody please explain to me the difference between a Blairite and a Brownite (other than just the desire for one or other to have been the leader)?

        • http://twitter.com/_DaveTalbot David Talbot

          Apart from the two man and their personas, there are – and were – policy differences. 

          Gordon Brown as the more statist, leftist Rawlsian and Blair as the evil, warmongering, right wing privateer – judging from the comments on this thread.

  • EoinClarke

    Outstanding performance by Ed Miliband.  On a day where the Tories enter a double dip recession, they are languishing in the very low 30s in polling terms & Jeremy Hunt/Murdoch fiasco looks set to erode their credibility further, Labour List choose to focus on Ed Miliband. Quite incredible.

    • http://twitter.com/KulganofCrydee Kulgan of Crydee

      Because Mark Ferguson is right. Ed M had Open Goal today.  Ed M should have stayed on the economy but he left it to PM to have the last word on it. 

      • EoinClarke

        Judging by your avatar, your sentiments are fairly predictable.  Sad that LL now finds common ground with the likes of you. 

        • http://twitter.com/KulganofCrydee Kulgan of Crydee

          I may not be a Labour supporter & lean to the right, I still firmly believe that in order for democracy to function properly we need an effective opposition.  Also, I want to hear what all the parties have to say (I don’t belong to one) otherwise, how can I make an informed opinion.  Labour MP @jonashworth:twitter who is local(ish) to me regularly engages. We debate often.  I don’t always agree with him, but on some things, I do.

          • EoinClarke

            Kindergarten logic dictates the following. If we do not keep the pressure up on Hunt relentlessly, it will dissipate, he will survive and the long term damage to the government’s credibility over the Murdoch take over will be negligible. 

            Really, Ed should have given more focus to the BSkyB takeover. But along came a double dip, that will carry the headlines regardless of what the leader of the opposition says. Had Ed gone all 6 questions on the GDP figures, Conservative Central Office would have licked their lips with glee.

            The no.1 rule of politics is to always do what your enemy would least like you to do. Today, for Tories, that was to go after Hunt. It is the mother of all no-brainers.

          • aracataca

            Agree with all you say, Eoin – I really find it staggering that LabourList is criticising Miliband’s choice of attack.  

            Well, we’ll see how things pan out.  My hunch is that Miliband will be fully vindicated.

          • treborc1

            Boy if that was an attack, the battle is long gone, the country is running on empty and the Murdock’s are still making the Story, for a person who runs a media empire he must be laughing all the way to the News stand.

          • GuyM

            Or of course Hunt truly has done little if anything wrong, has clear evidence of follwing official advice and there is nothing other than a NewsCorp employee bigging himself up via 2nd or 3rd hand comments.

            I suspect you’d be very upset to lose your job on the basis of someone elses emails when there was no evidence against yourself. In fact dare I say if that were tried against a Union member they’d likely be threats of industrial action.

          • http://twitter.com/NSReynolds Neil Reynolds

            I am not so sure guy as as EM pointed out today, JH

      • aracataca

        The PM had ‘the last word’ because of the nature of PMQs – that is, Dodgy Dave has to get what what he thinks is a killer putdown in when he answers the Opposition Leader’s last question.

      • http://twitter.com/kb32904 KathyB

        Dave would always have had the last word – thats why he used the ‘all Labours fault’ mantra when Ed moved onto Hunt.

        People though can judge for themselves – every news channel will have the double-dip & Hunt is just another example of Daves hopeless grasp on his govt.

        Ed has been brilliant at PMQ’s for months now but he never gets the credit for it but today even Joey Jones of Sky has said that the clips of Ed will be shown time & time & time again because of the direct hits he made on Dave.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      Its not incredible, Eoin. Its par for the course

  • Mike Homfray

    I thought Ed absolutely nailed him today. Cameron had nothing to say about either topic

  • Arthur

    I like how this article turns into a little poem at the end. 

    • aracataca

      It works better as poetry than as constructive criticism.

  • GuyM

    The comments below are only to be expected of Labour loyalists, where as i think neutrals would look at it at and conclude:

    Milliband “you’re arrogant because you don’t agree with us” followed by “insult, insult insult”.

    Cameron “you’re useless, no one agrees with you and we aren’t going to change” followed by “insult, insult, insult”.

    I’m not sure how either can have any claim of “winning” the exchange, unless you have a preference for one insult over the other.

    I don’t see that the economy is a sure win for Labour even now, a lot of the country believes Labour put us in this position and that Milliband and Balls idea of borrowing more to spend more is retarded. It’s why I hope Hollande wins in France and tests to destruction the idea of increasing borrowing in a debt crisis.

    But anyway, todays PMQs was nothing more than 2 sides with battle lines drawn hurling insults at each other.

    I do find it funny though that Milliband thinks Cameron is “arrogant” because he won’t agree with Labour. Since when was it mandated that a government has to agree with an oposition on the economy, just after the opposition has been thrown out of government for screwing up the economy? Almost seems “arrrogant” to think that.

    • keggsie

       This article like all the others I have read by Mark Ferguson are really just another nail in the coffin of the closet Tories aka Progress / Blairites. He and they can’t help attacking Ed Miliband even when he is right or does something right. It’s about time Mark and his friends decide which side they are on – the side of the Tories or the side of the people who want ris of this torrid government.

      Given Blair’s recent comments on how this gvt are right on education and health just reinforces that he is and always was a Tory and joined the party to undermine it.

      And don’t give me “Oh he did win 3 elections.” That doesn’t wash when we lost 5 million votes from traditional supporters.

      • GuyM

        I note you don’t actually say whether you thought my critique of PMQs is wrong, merely that it upsets you that Mark or anyone on the left might actually not sing fullsome praise all the time for Milliband.

        As for where Labour are or should be on the political spectrum, I’d be more than happy for Labour to go as soon as they can towards the left and vacate any hint of being in the centre.

        Labour got short term growth by splurging spending they couldn’t really afford just before the election. They wouldn’t be able to do so now and one day I hope they are left in power to clear up the economic mess they create rather than luckily losing an election.

        • keggsie

           “Labour got short term growth by splurging spending they couldn’t really afford just before the election.”

          Still spouting the Tory crap the IFS debunked.

          As for your analysis of PMQs. It is always a show – that’s what it’s about. It’s theatre not politics. But Ed M got the measure of Cameron now. He is playing him like a fiddle. He is calm. That’s the whole point of it. Something you have evidently missed.

          • GuyM

            Now was it a Labour chancellor who said they’d need to be cuts “worse than Thatcher”?

            All milliband has is repeated “he’s arrogant” or “how out of touch”. Given his personal ratings are below everyone else, I think the public know Milliband for the lightweight fool he clearly is.

          • keggsie

            Darling was wrong then as this shower in government are wrong now. You don’t cure the ills we are facing now that are rooted in Thatcher and her neo liberal economic policies by using austerity measures. They didn’t work in the 1920s / 30s and they won’t work now. In fact they aren’t working – we are in another recession caused by this government. They are the one’s who have been running the show for the past 2 years. So don’t start ‘it’s all Labour’s fault’ again because its crap.

            As for Ed Miliband – I have warmed to him. I had my doubts early on but he has grown into the role now and will only get better. As for being a lightweight – that’s the Cameron / Osborne partnership. More like Laurel & hardy to be honest except it isn’t funny.

    • RedSetter

      As a Labour-minded person do you really think it’s helpful to write such things? If I didn’t know better I’d think you admired slimy David Cameron.

      • GuyM

        Dear me, you think I’m “labour minded”?

        You think I support more taxes, more spending, more debt and higher interest rates?

        Sorry I live in the real world where labour economic policy is a walking disaster

        • RedSetter

          If you’re not Labour-minded then why waste so much of your time commenting,  frenziedly, on an avowedly Labour-minded blog like this? Or are you just here to jeer? – like an out of place member of the Ku Klux Klan from the audience of an Oprah Winfrey show? I reckon you’re probably most likely a disenchanted Labour supporter who has temporarily disengaged himself/herself from the party. We’ve all felt like that from time to time.      

          • GuyM

            If you are labour minded why “waste so much commenting”?

            You don’t think your comments have any impact do you?

          • RedSetter

            Actually, no, I’m not puffed up enough to think that anything I say makes any impact on anybody at all. What little I write or say is only a personal opinion not a statement of received wisdom. Do you really believe that your comments are any more influential? And if so then in respect to whom?

          • GuyM

            Nope my comments have no impact on anyone at all, I just like challenging the stupidity of the “enemy” on their own ground.

          • AlanGiles

            the “enemy” on their own ground.”

            Because his life is so empty and vacuous he has nothing better to do with his time. I suppose we should pity him.

          • GuyM

            Whereas being a Labouroid makes your life so full and exciting?

            And I thought we  weren’t going to insult each other any more Alan, or do you really want to start it all up again?

          • AlanGiles

            Guy. It is a bit high-flown to refer to fellow posters as “the enemy”.

            If that is really how you feel, you really should leave us.

          • AlanGiles

            Guy. It is a bit high-flown to refer to fellow posters as “the enemy”.

            If that is really how you feel, you really should leave us.

          • RedSetter

            “…challenging the … enemy on their own ground.”

            Anders Breivik used much the same language before and after massacring 77 people by the bomb and gun in Norway recently didn’t he? Since when did having a different point of view qualify a man or woman as being an “enemy” in a democracy?

          • GuyM

            Socialism is my “enemy”, all there is to it.

            Any ideology that would seek to significantly redistribute the rewards of my Labours to others (Labour core vote funnily enough) is an “enemy”

            And 99% of the population could agree that what’s mine is theirs to take and still I’d so I didn’t agree.

          • RedSetter

            So what you’re basically saying is that we, as individuals living in a co-dependent civic society, have little to no responsibility, one to another, as far as the health and welfare of others goes. 

            Hmm.

            The thing is if we do not pay taxes which can be redistributed from the fortunate to the needy we would end up living in a second Elizabethan age of unparalleled opulence for the few coupled with abject misery and suffering for too many. 

            As far as the 99% of the population agreeing with such an extreme outlook goes I think I ought to point out that at least 99.99999% of card carrying, top-rate taxpaying High Tories would take issue with you on this matter and consider your views to be beyond the pale for a modern, civilised western society to take seriously? Even in free-wheeling capitalist America next to no one
            would agree with such an impossibly outlandish position.

            Besides, supposing for a moment that you’re right and 99% of people do share your views why are you getting upset in respect to the 1% of the population that thinks differently and wasting so much of your time making silly posts on a site like this?

            Hopefully you don’t own any rifles or other firearms.

    • Slakah

      Barack Obama has partially committed to a stimulus based approach and it certainly seems as though the US is doing far better than our own good selves. Granted comparing the US to UK is a bit of stretch, but far less so than the Greece UK comparison. I certainly think many Countries of the EU will be watching with baited breath for the outcome of Frances approach.

      • GuyM

        i quite agree on France, which is why I hope Hollande wins, firstly he’ll screw the euro up a bit and secondly we get to see someone try to deal with a debt crisis through increased borrowing.

        If it goes arse end up then Balls will have to deal with reality.

  • http://twitter.com/bencobley Ben Cobley

    You’ve got to dig the knife in in circumstances like this, the guy is bang to rights.

    Tory “sleaze” like Ed referred to did its bit to get rid of the last Tory government. If this sort of thing continues, it will do for this one too.

    Also, the economy still isn’t a strong point for Labour, “We were right and you were wrong” is not an attractive message, and actually most people do not know what ‘recession’ is (except that it’s something about the economy which is not very good).

    Ed did good, very good, I thought. The more he comes out as the good guy against all those dodgy Tories on the other side, the better.

    • treborc1

      I suspect the people will have to wait a long time to see where Miliband is going to go, we will see when he comes out with his policies, which he said yesterday are a few years away.

      It will be his policies which decided whether he’s labour or a replica of New labour, as for the attacks on Murdoch lets hope we have no hidden emails waiting to be sprung about Milibands meeting.

  • mcquade

    Mark, you do realise that the vast majority of the electorate does not watch PMQs, don’t you? Even I don’t, although I follow politics closely. Labour hav egot ample other media opportunities in the coming week to bash the Tories on the economy.

    • keggsie

       I don’t think he does to be honest. I agree with you.

      • treborc1

         Not but the News and the media do pick up on what is said at PMQ’s and they can carry that as a major story.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LTOP6VJW4QPDDRI5H25JZZGAOU Allan

    Indeed. Totally reminiscent of the Westlands Affair in 1986 which absorbed the Westminster Village/media elites and political junkies like myself but was of little interest to the wider electorate. Just as Kinnock kicked past an open goal in the censure debate whilst John Smith made his reputation with a series of finely-honed questions Miliband wallowed in synthetic rage whilst Harman at least got to the heart of the issue especially when she raised the Ministerial Code which holds Ministers accountable for their advisors’ actions.

    Despite two Ministerial resignations and a battering of Mrs T’s credibility she still easily won the General Election the following year because the UK economy was booming and Westlands is now a historical footnote. Cameron is unlikely to have the advantage of a booming economy even in 2015 but Leveson will be even more obscure then.

  • http://twitter.com/ben_murray Ben Murray

    This isn’t the only occasion on which Labour can hammer home the failure of the Government’s economic policy. There’s plenty of time to do so. Most ordinary people couldn’t care less about PMQs – the test for Labour now is whether they can build upon the narrative that they have been creating, which is only bolstered by today’s bad economic news.

  • James3010

    it is difficult for point scoring on the economy to stick when Ed & Ed were front bencher’s in the previous govt that screwed it up, it is difficult to score points on Murdoch when your party was as complicit in  wooing and siding with him for 15 years. meet the old boss just the same as the new boss who replaced him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

    Interesting observations – and absolutely spot on. I recently attended a meeting with a PPC who shall remain nameless. This person is seen as a very influential figure on the left and they spoke eloquently about all the subjects that would make the audience feel warm – government cuts, the NHS etc. Then came the Q & A and I pointed out the one issue that had been ignored was the most important – the economy. Everything else, though important, didn’t really matter if Labour was still behind on this issue. I got the usual line “too far too fast” but earlier the candidate had started by making a joke about not knowing what a deficit was. As I said, they are seen as very inluential in left-wing circles. I echo Mark Ferguson – can we have some focus please.

  • Jono

    Why would he devote 6 questions to the economy when there is this one-off opportunity with Hunt? Ed still isn’t strong on the economy as he could be. PMQs won’t change that. What he is proving is he can be strong on other factors like this.

    • Jono

      PS. Loved his performance today.

  • ThePurpleBooker

    Ed Miliband did well, but he did talk about the economy and won the economy. Btw, you do realise that Ed Balls will just destroy Osborne during Treasury Questions. Don’t worry…

    • GuyM

      Ed Balls would have trouble destroying a sandcastle.

      • ThePurpleBookie

        I don’t understand why any Labour-minded person would make such a juvenile “My dad can beat up your dad” kind of comment. Surely as a person who is Labour-minded you should be drawing attention to George Osborne’s spectacular economic failure? The first double-dip recession since the oil price shock in the 70s and all that. Osborne is, after all, Chancellor of the Exchequer! 

        • GuyM

          Firstly I’m not “labour minded” and secondly that criticism is funny given you wrote about your view that Balls would “destroy” Osborne.

          The spectacular economic failure is down to those who left us in this position int he first place…. i.e. Labour.

          • trotters1957

            This is your 11th post on this thread alone.

            Aren’t you ashamed that you waste so much time on here?Your children are neglected whilst you air your infantile nonsense.

            Social services should be informed.

          • GuyM

            My children are teenagers, old teenagers at that and far happier not to have parents sitting having meaningful “chats” all the time.

            The only thin infantile though is Labour’s economic policy… borrow more, tax more, spend more….. infantile, like those who support it.

          • RedSetter

            You’re definitely a closeted Labour supporter. Don’t be ashamed of your secret inclinations. 

          • GuyM

            I think you are being deliberately obtuse.

            I’ve never voted Labour in my life, the closest I came was for Blair but couldn’t bring myself to do it.

            I’d not vote for hte current Labour shower under any circumstances. If it were a choice between the scum of the BNP and Labour, I’d abstain, that’s how little I think of Milliband and Balls.

          • RedSetter

            Be all of whatever it is you are, my friend. Come out of the closet into the sunshine, find release, and finally be happy.

          • RedSetter

            Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much…

          • RedSetter

            Well I hate to intrude into private grief but Balls has just be proven to have been completely correct about the danger of a double-dip recession while George Osborne and the OBR have shown repeatedly to be serially wrong! – on everything!

  • http://twitter.com/all_thats_left_ All Thats Left

    I think Mark, that you are being a tad unfair on Ed M – and god knows I’ve criticised him myself – but, today, the story will be all about the government’s failings, so it doesn’t really matter that he wasn’t able to deliver some kind of coup de grace to Cameron. The reality is that today has probably seen the Coalition reach their lowest point yet. 

    We expand on this in the following piece: http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/2012/04/has-the-coalition-reached-a-new-low/

  • Hireton

    Oh Mark I think you were watching PMQ’s in a parallel universe.  Ed M had Cameron on both the economy and Hunt.

  • Amber Star

    The Leveson/ Hunt thing will be over by next week. The problems with the economy are not going away any time soon. Ed made the right decision.

  • billbat

    Yet again Cameron should get a Red Card for Time Wasting with planted questions. The questions are long-winded and Cameron spends ages giving a prepared answer followed by a sound-bite.

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  • Slakah

    David Cameron has finally put the final nail in Hunts coffin. We all know what happens when our PM offers his full support to someone.

  • http://twitter.com/DamianBuckley1 Damian Buckley

    Fair play, Ed was very good today. He dwelt a little too long on Hunt rather than the economy, but he was assured throughout. 

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