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 Freelancing needs a policy agenda of its own

    Freelancing needs a policy agenda of its own

    The self employed are often the ‘most entrepreneurial, go-getting people in Britain’ . That is what Ed Milliband said during his conference speech when he placed a commitment to the self employed and albeit freelance workers at the heart of his election pledges for the general election. One of Labour’s six pledges is to provide equal rights to the self employment. As Ed Mililband noted ‘two out of three don’t have a pension, one in five can’t get a mortgage. […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Cameron’s pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act shows he’s legally illiterate

    Cameron’s pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act shows he’s legally illiterate

    In a crowded field, there is one issue which can always evoke splenetic outrage in the Daily Mail and the Tory backbenches: the Human Rights Act. And so it came as no surprise that its abolition ‘once and for all’ formed an integral part of David Cameron’s speech to the Tory conference. He had a simple pitch: the UK government is being told what to do, not by its own Courts but by Strasbourg. So we need a British Bill […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Cameron’s Tax Cut is a Tax Con – but it’ll be popular, and highlights Labour’s missed opportunity

    Cameron’s Tax Cut is a Tax Con – but it’ll be popular, and highlights Labour’s missed opportunity

    David Cameron’s conference speech today was well-delivered, punchy and memorable. It had a clear top line to grab the evening news headlines, and his populist tax cuts will be the overwhelming focus of tomorrow’s front pages. This was cheese to Miliband’s chalk. Whilst the Labour leader appeared to lack energy last week, and his headline announcement leaked in advance (and wasn’t sufficiently headline-grabbing to grab headlines), Cameron was surprisingly pumped up, energetic and forceful. He was also doling out policy like […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Dismantling Britain’s despotism

    Dismantling Britain’s despotism

    The fictional town of Dunchester is the scene for a right-wing science-fiction novel by nineteenth century author H. Rider Haggard. It is also the site for a fantasy game used to recruit and train British civil servants. The Tory novel is about radicals trying to block experts and professionals from saving Dunchester from an epidemic of plague. The civil service game allows players to spend £20 million in regenerating a fake town with the same name. Players take the role […]

    Read more →
  • News Video “This is who we resent” – David Cameron lets slip what he actually thinks

    “This is who we resent” – David Cameron lets slip what he actually thinks

    Unfortunate Freudian slip for David Cameron during his Conference speech today: “This party is the trade union for children from the poorest estates and the most chaotic homes; this party is the union for the young woman who wants an apprenticeship; teenagers who want to make something of their lives – this is who we resent.”

    Read more →
7ads6x98y