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

  • News Labour’s housing reforms could be limited by spending restraint

    Labour’s housing reforms could be limited by spending restraint

    The scope of Labour’s housing plans may have to be narrowed in order to meet tight restrictions on spending, according to a review of the area commissioned by the Party. The review is led by Sir Michael Lyons, the former head of the BBC Trust, and the findings will be published in September. Lyons says that despite receiving evidence from housing reform lobbyists, “we can make do with existing resources”, reports the FT (£). Lyons has been tasked with planning […]

    Read more →
  • Featured It’s not just Ed. Their faith in competition makes all our politicians weird

    It’s not just Ed. Their faith in competition makes all our politicians weird

    It’s not just Ed. There’s something profoundly weird about our political class. Labour, LibDem and Tory, politicians seem to move in packs. They feel safe only they use the same ideas and language as the rest of the Westminster village, even when what they say makes no sense to the rest of us. The idea that competition between corporations is the answer to our society’s problems is a good example of this kind of bad political groupthink. The idea began […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Why Labour never won the argument over austerity and the cuts

    Why Labour never won the argument over austerity and the cuts

    On Friday last week, the day it was official the British economy had grown back to its size before the crash, the BBC World at One’s (WATO) presenter Shaun Ley started his interview with Ed Balls by asking: “Do you accept now that cutting public spending didn’t kill off the recovery?” It’s worth reminding ourselves how gob-smacking this question is. Every major organisation that examined the impact of austerity found the cuts had hit economic growth. This is why the […]

    Read more →
  • News Under the Tories, working people will have seen the biggest fall in wages since 1874 – says Balls

    Under the Tories, working people will have seen the biggest fall in wages since 1874 – says Balls

    Today, Ed Balls will outline in a speech how Labour differ from the Tories on the economy, in particular focussing on the dismal economic forecast for many if the Conservatives were to win next the general election next May. As part of the Labour leaderships’ series of speeches over the summer, which they’ve dubbed ‘The Choice’, Balls will speak in marginal constituency Bedford about the Tories inability to handle the economy in a fair way. He will say that  although […]

    Read more →
  • News Polling Jowell retakes lead in Labour London Mayor poll – but race is still wide open

    Jowell retakes lead in Labour London Mayor poll – but race is still wide open

    The Evening Standard have released their latest polling in the race for Labour’s candidate for London Mayor. Once again, Tessa Jowell maintains her lead amongst all voters, with 12% (up one point since the last poll a month ago) and Diane Abbott remains second with 8%, down one from last month. Doreen Lawrence receives 6%, David Lammy, Sadiq Khan and Andrew Adonis are tied on 4%, while Christian Wolmar, included in the poll for the first time (despite being the only […]

    Read more →