PMQs Verdict: Is anyone surprised by David Cameron’s scripted flippancy?

27th February, 2013 2:35 pm

Sometimes an entire PMQs is summed up by one excuse. Occasionally that’s because there has been a superb point made, or a slice of rapier-like wit has clearly won the day. But more often it’s because the whole session was a bit dull, with the exception of one slightly less dull thing. Today was very much of the latter.

Most of the comment in the Westminster/media bubble has been about Ed Miliband’s less than tactful response (“scraping the barrel”) when asked about Anthony Seldon’s recent hatchet job on Ed Balls. What Miliband obviously meant was that pulling out newspaper or magazine columns to attack Labour was “scraping the barrel” – but it evidently came across as an attack on the Staggers, regardless of intention. Fortunately they’ve taken it in good humour.

That Cameron would stoop to quoting an open letter/attack piece from a magazine with the history of the New Statesman should have come as no surprise to seasoned PMQs observers. After all this is someone who has previously quoted Luke Bozier and referenced Matt Zarb-Cousin’s tweets at PMQs. No quote is too small for the Prime Minister…

Yet this week the most engaging sections of the “debate” were with backbenchers. Not the back and forth between Cameron and his colleagues (those questions were deathly dull, and featured the word “Eastleigh” as if sampled on a loop), but those with the Labour backbenchers. Alas none of them thought to deviate away from their scripted questions to ask why David Cameron was sat next to the homophobic Welsh secretary, but there were poigniant questions on the Bedroom Tax and the disabled, culminating in perhaps the most inaccurate statement Cameron has ever made at PMQS (a heck of an achievement):

“This government always puts disabled people first” 

If only that were true Mr Cameron, but unlike your scripted remarks bashing Ed Balls, that was presumably a slip of the tongue, because the evidence points towards the disabled being disproportionately hit. Shame on you. Perhaps next week instead of boning up on the latest columns in lefty magazines, or the latest tweets from Labour researchers, you might want to read up on the impact your government’s cuts are having on the disabled…

  • http://twitter.com/citizen_colin Colin McCulloch

    Well said, Mark.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Cameron is so evasive, answering every question fielded by Miliband with a question of his own, perhaps Prime Minister’s Questions ought to be renamed Leader of the Opposition’s Questions. Eeek.

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

    I think the New Statesman’s constant negativity is ‘bottom of the barrel’ – Hodges writes for them, and the Seldon article from a public school head who we shouldn’t allow within a million miles of the party was another anti-Labour hatchet job. I’m planning to cancel my subscription if it continues

    • John Ruddy

      Have you already cancelled your subscription? Hodges resigned – as an occiasional blogger, not a regular columnist – in October 2011 when they didnt run a piece that was critical of Ed Miliband.
      I think the Seldon article was helpful, in that it showed out out-of-touch that side of the party is.

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

      I know they have terrible circulation problems and wondered who actually paid for it. Now I know.

  • http://twitter.com/Ceilidhann Kayleigh Anne

    It was pretty bottom of the barrel for Cameron to reference yet another tired “Blairite attacks key Brown aide” piece (it’d be like quoting Dan Hodges – pointless, predictable and not particularly effective given that Ed’s polling higher than Cameron), but seeing so many people say Ed should apologise to New Statesman was just sad.

    • David B

      Why should Cameron not comment on a newspaper piece regardless of the newspaper. After all it is in the public domain. Should Ed Miliband be stop from quoting, say, The Mail because it does not support Labour. More importantly Ed tried to be cleaver and completely messed up and Cameron slapped him down, just as Ed would have done if the roles were reversed. That is what PMQ is all about, and has been for some time.

  • Hamish Dewar

    Why does Labour go along with this charade?

    “Question number 1, Mr Speaker.”

    “I have had meetngs with colleages and others this morning and apart from my duties in this House, I will have further such meetings this afternoon.”
    Followed by rhetorical questions and non-answers.
    PMQs contribute nothing to the governance of this country.

  • Daniel Speight

    Funny how nobody quotes Luke Bozier anymore. What happened to all his mates? Fear of guilt by association I guess. Oh well, we will just have to wait until Hodges get caught up to something naughty.

Latest

  • Featured News Tessa Jowell slams the government for failing to build London Olympic legacy

    Tessa Jowell slams the government for failing to build London Olympic legacy

    Tessa Jowell has slammed the government for failing to build on the London Olympic Games to encourage children to play sport. Jowell is one of five people in the running to be Labour’ candidate for London Mayor. 10 years after London won their bid to host the Games, the mayoral hopeful,who was Minister for the Olympics, told the Guardian: “Instead of a generation of children being transformed by sport a generation of children have been robbed of the chance to discover […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured The idea of Europe

    The idea of Europe

    Almost 31 years ago the French President, Francois Mitterrand, and the West German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, visited the former battlefields of Verdun in north eastern France.It was a moment of deep symbolism: here, where as many as 750,000 men had died during World War One, the French and (West) German leaders held hands as the Marseillaise was played. Both had been personally affected by warfare. Kohl had lost his older brother during World War Two, while Mitterrand’s war years had […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Unite back Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour leader – with Andy Burnham as second preference

    Unite back Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour leader – with Andy Burnham as second preference

    Unite the Union has announced that they are backing Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour’s next leader. The union, one of the biggest in the country, have come to this decision following a debate of the union’s executive committee (which is made an elected body of 63 men and women from workplaces across the UK). This comes after a multi-union hustings on June 30th and consultation with members’ elected representatives from across the union. The union will tell members that the […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Shadow Chancellor: Labour’s aim should be to run a surplus in normal times

    Shadow Chancellor: Labour’s aim should be to run a surplus in normal times

    Chris Leslie has said Labour’s aim should be to run a surplus in “normal times”. In an interview with the Sunday Times, the Shadow Chancellor argued that this was important for Labour to gain economic credibility: “This notion that Labour just wants to throw money at issues, that’s not where we should be at all. I think Labour should aim to run a surplus in normal times if the economic circumstances allow. We’re past £1.5 trillion in terms of national […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured To win in 2020, we need to beat UKIP in the south as well as the north

    To win in 2020, we need to beat UKIP in the south as well as the north

    We know that we’ve got our work cut out to win a Labour majority government in 2020. Without a major recovery in Scotland we’ll need to win around 100 additional seats in England and Wales in less than 5 years’ time on an average swing of around 10%. We must take almost all these constituencies from the Conservatives because there are next to no Lib Dem seats left to squeeze. And, as I’ve set out before, we can’t tackle the […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit