PMQs verdict: How could anyone have “won” something as dreadful as that?


So much of the coverage of PMQs is focussed on the snap verdict. Who won? Who lost? I’m aware that this blog is as guilty as anyone for playing that game. So let’s make this one simple – nobody won today. How could they have, when the event itself was so deeply, stunningly, mind bendingly dreadful.

It started off relatively normal. Loud admittedly, but normal. Ed began with the NHS. Still normal. Cameron dodged the question. Still supremely normal. But something seemed to happen early on in these exchanges that soured the whole mood. Suddenly the pitch of the “debate” was vile, the noise overwhelming.

It’s often said (usually by the speaker) that the public don’t like the behaviour in the chamber. That they find it off putting, raucous and bawdy. Usually I disagree with Parliament’s diminutive referee, but today I was in his corner. ORDER, indeed. A few years ago I considered becoming a teacher, but was put off by the behaviour of kids in classrooms. On reflection this was a naive error – most ruler wielding teenagers are far more decorus and mature than our “honourable” members, on the evidence on today’s 30 minutes of hate.

Trust them to run the country? Either side? On that performance the public would be mad to.

The piece de resistance came near the close of the session when chief irritant and sub-tabloid punster Peter Bone rattled off another of his self-revertial “questions” about the now infamous “Mrs Bone”. Who outside that chamber gives a toss? Lord, give me strength.

The close of the “debate” between the two leaders saw the noise reach it’s crescendo and the two party leaders get off their final salvos. Miliband will be pleased to have squeezed out his “This is your poll tax” barb for the evening news, but it was Cameron who took the veritable biscuit, quoting Alex Hilton’s blogpost from last week. Fair game, you might say. And you’d be right, why not quote the odd blog now and again? (or every other week).

Well it’s always nice to meet a reader Dave, so let me be helpful and get you prepared for next week.

I think your performance today was a disgrace to the office of Prime Minister. I think your support of Andrew Lansley’s health reforms threatens to destroy the NHS. And I think your economic policies will create a lost generation – my generation.

Print that out. Pop it in your file and read it out next Wednesday at noon – that’s if you’re bothering to turn up. I kept it pithy for you so you won’t need to misquote me.

And don’t even get me started on the “fist-bump“…*shudder*

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