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

  • Featured Scotland Labour will implement Smith Commission proposals in first Queen’s Speech, pledges Miliband

    Labour will implement Smith Commission proposals in first Queen’s Speech, pledges Miliband

    Ed Miliband today said that the vow he made to radically devolve powers to Holyrood during the referendum campaign had been ‘signed, sealed and delivered’ by the publication of the Smith Commission’s report yesterday. He told an audience in Glasgow this morning that Labour would fully implement the proposals set out by the report in the first Queen’s Speech if elected next year. You can read Mark Ferguson’s take on the Smith Commission’s report here. Miliband said: “A vow was […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Diane Abbott expected to announce she will run to be London Mayor

    Diane Abbott expected to announce she will run to be London Mayor

    It’s rumoured that tomorrow at London Labour party conference Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney and Stoke Newington, will announce that she will run to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London. Abbott  was Shadow Minister for Public Health until last year and has been the Labour MP for the north east London constituency for twenty seven years – where she doubled her majority in 2010. Prior to becoming an MP she was elected to Westminster City Council in 1982. […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Government is broken – Labour need to use the digital revolution

    Government is broken – Labour need to use the digital revolution

    People are shut out of government and they know it. Government is broken. The British state is not fit for purpose. They both need a radical re-design. I’ve been running Labour’s policy review and we asked two fundamental questions. What do we want government to do? And what role can digital technology play in creating a government that will better serve our country? The answers were pretty simple. We need a new way of governing our country that gives British […]

    Read more →
  • News It’s “unbelieveable” Cameron has recommended Lansley for top UN job, say Labour

    It’s “unbelieveable” Cameron has recommended Lansley for top UN job, say Labour

    It’s rumoured that David Cameron has recommended former health secretary Andrew Lansley for a senior position in the UN. When health secretary – before he was replaced by Jeremy Hunt in 2012 – it was Lansley who oversaw the Government’s extremely controversial Health and Social Care Act 2012. He then became Leader of the House of Commons before being replaced by William Hague, meaning Lansley is no longer in the cabinet. He also announced that he would be standing down […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Politics after the Big Machine

    Politics after the Big Machine

    Jawarharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of independent India was giving a speech in a bus factory. Nehru’s topic was ‘the place of the big machine’. It was 1955, the era of big industrial projects and the centralised state. Perhaps, his audience expected Nehru to celebrate massive mechanisation, to praise the beauty of the gigantic, but it was Gandhi’s birthday, and Gandhi’s argument had always that politics had start with the local and the individual. ‘Perhaps’, Nehru said, ‘the biggest scheme […]

    Read more →