PMQs Verdict: This was the prawn cocktail PMQs – but the unpleasant main course is still to come

December 5, 2012 12:35 pm

The PMQs before a major statement is always a little bit pointless.

Today’s was better than most, but still bland. If this were the starter before the main course of the Autumn Statement, it would be a prawn cocktail. A bit dull, not very filling and reminiscent of the 1980s.

Miliband went on the cut to NHS spending and the 50p tax rate – predictably but perfectly sensibly. He was playing the old tunes and playing to the gallery. And by gallery I of course mean the evening news, which explains why his final question wasn’t even a question at all – it was something like “The Tories are awful and can’t be trusted with the NHS”.

I paraphrase slightly, but only a wee bit.

Cameron by contrast was on bullish form. How he must wish that he could deliver the Autumn Statement himself, instead of his sickly sidekick. His voice may rise in volume and the redness of his face brings mirth to the Labour benches. But it never cracks and wheezes like Osborne’s. He never sounds like he’s about to just give up and stop. And he never sounds (quite as) smug.

But with the starter out of the way – which is all this was, no pretence (and why I make no apologies for the brevity of this verdict) – it’s time for the main course. PMQs will only serve to provide clips for the Autumn Statement coverage. That’s the meal today, not this paltry offering.

And what’s George Osborne serving? We don’t fully know yet.

But I wouldn’t want to eat it…and yet the country will have to swallow it.

  • Dave Postles

    He proposes to claw back £3.7bn from benefits, but £1bn from the most affluent. Is that fair? He obviously also doesn’t recognize that the price of food will increase inordinately, especially bread.

  • Dave Postles

    Britain open for business with 21% corporation tax? Really? Will that make such headway with Google, Amazon and so on?

  • ovaljason

    Plenty of us warned that Ed Balls would be a disastrous Shadow Chancellor.

    Only the most tribal will claim this is an acceptable response.

Latest

  • Comment No child should live in danger. Now is the time to end violence against children

    No child should live in danger. Now is the time to end violence against children

    Every five minutes somewhere in the world a child dies as a result of violence. These tragic deaths are not just confined to the war zones that dominate the news. Too often they happen when children should be safe –at home, at school or in the communities where they live. Today’s new report by Unicef UK outlines how violence is now a leading cause of serious injury and death among children. In Bangladesh, more than 20 per cent of girls […]

    Read more →
  • Europe News How would an EU referendum pledge affect Labour’s support?

    How would an EU referendum pledge affect Labour’s support?

    A poll conducted for the Daily Mirror by ComRes has found that most Labour-leaning voters aren’t bothered whether or not the party pledges to have an EU referendum. The poll saw 2,000 Labour-leaning people asked how the party’s stance on an EU referendum would affect their voting intention. 13% said it would make them more likely to vote Labour, while 7% said they would be less likely to do so. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people (67%) said that an EU referendum […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Labour’s London Primary must be as accessible as possible

    Labour’s London Primary must be as accessible as possible

    The two-party system is on the way out. If there is a political lesson from the last two months, then that is it. The SNP’s popularity in Scotland and the rising stock of UKIP south of the border tell a clear story of people fed up with politics as usual. They are sick of the tribalism, bored of the politicking, tired of trying to work out who stands for what. They want something different: to be treated honestly, listened to, […]

    Read more →
  • Comment “An important contribution to the immigration debate”? The poisonous rhetoric of Cameron’s Lords nominee

    “An important contribution to the immigration debate”? The poisonous rhetoric of Cameron’s Lords nominee

    Andrew Green has been nominated by David Cameron to be a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords. Previously an ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia, and former Chairperson of Medical Aid for Palestinians – it would seem that Green is a relatively uninteresting appointment. That is, until you spot the last (and current) job on his CV: founding chairperson of MigrationWatch. MigrationWatch describes itself as an ‘independent and non-political think tank‘. But the  group – which on its website declares […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The Government should listen to the Commons on recognising Palestine

    The Government should listen to the Commons on recognising Palestine

    The vote last week by the House of Commons in favour of the recognition of Palestinian statehood was an historic one. True, it has no immediate impact on UK Government policy. But it’s symbolic and long term significance should not be underestimated. Sometimes symbols matter. Its significance has certainly not been lost in Palestine and Israel itself, where it has received considerable attention, not least because of Britain’s historic role in the region. Although the Conservative/Lib Dem Government, much to […]

    Read more →
7ads6x98y