May 14th, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: Miliband a Bit Intellectually Over-Confident

So, how did that go for your man?

A Labour MP: “Actually good, from where I was sitting. Confident. Picked the right issues. Gave as good as he got.”

“Off the record and seriously?”

“Kicked all over the pitch. And on the NHS. I’d be getting very depressed if I wasn’t already very depressed.”

Ed Miliband put some extra vim in it today, showed his emotions as real people do. Lamented the fate of giant multinational pharma corporation AstraZeneca. Filled his flask of tears and flung it at the PM.

Noble, daring, human.

Plaintive, incoherent, school-age egomaniac.

You know which you prefer, there’s no point in arguing.

Except perhaps on this one point.

He accused the PM of subscribing to “the old idea that the market knows best and doesn’t need rules.”

The idea that markets don’t have rules is nuts. There are cubic tonnes of rulebooks in play, regulating all markets. But for Miliband to imply that his own approach is about “rules” – my old tutor would have said, “Are you using that word in some special sense? Some … private sense?”

Miliband’s popular ventures – price restraints, rent restrictions, a change in the law to knock back Pfizer – they aren’t in any rule book. They’re the opposite of rules. They’re his unpredictable reactions to large public phenomena.

He’s probably a bit over-confident, intellectually, Ed. It takes him out of his circumference, and he thrashes about saying things he may or may not believe, without knowing whether or not he believes them.

It’s the trouble with intellectuals, or at least, the intellectually confident.

Speaker Watch

The appearance of Bad Bercow in the Fabricant clip (here) is most welcome. An old friend.

You can see the moment when he realises Cockerell’s cameras are there and, like a camera shutter falling, Good Bercow appears. “Silly man,” he says to Fabricant, as if indulgently.

A note from a live correspondent in the Gallery:

Cam entered, threw a pleasantry to Bercow and then wandered towards his place. Bercow, eager to return the pleasantry, leaned forward, talking as Dave left his orbit, oblivious to the Speakerly greasings. Bercow, realising he had been made to look silly, sat back in his Chair doing that nodding thing he does when needing to buttress himself.

With Cockerell’s cameras there, Bercow played it very straight, almost completely straight. Why doesn’t he always do it like that?

There are many dark psychological answers to that question and we shouldn’t approach them without rubber gloves.


  1. 1
    Ed Moribund says:

    Week before elections talking about something most people don’t give a flying fuck about (AstraZeneca) and getting a shoeing over the NHS (supposedly the Labour fail-safe option). Great performance, Ed.

  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    Errrrr, the public are just starting to realise the Government can’t do anything about pfzier because it comes under EU law, and has been surrenderd by the UK.

    I can’t think of a better example which demonstrates 9 days before the election how weak and powerless the UK government is in its own country.

    It is exactly what we should be discussing.

  3. 3
    jgm2 says:

    But seriously, what the fuck is Miliband playing at? He accuses Cameron of ‘inaction’ or being ‘uncaring’ when he, himself, was the person who removed the option for Cameron to make any action.

    Everybody knows this. It only needs the BBC to explain this rather than showing some carefully selected sound bites and he (Miliband) would be exposed as a risible political opportunist of the first water.


    I see the problem.

    Shut the fucking thing down.

  4. 4
    Ockham's Razor says:

    Marigolds and a large tub of Axel grease?

  5. 5
    Mr. Ed says:

    People are laughing at the thought of me becoming Pwime Minithter. They won’t be laughing when I do.

  6. 6
    jgm2 says:

    I can guarantee that outside obsessive political blogs it is the last thing anybody will be discussing.

    And I can doubly guarantee that the BBC won’t be highlighting that it was Miliband himself who removed the ‘public interest’ option to call in a merger.

    Despite all appearances to the contrary Miliband as being a gawky twat who just lucked into the job, he didn’t accidentally find himself in the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time to come through the middle stopping only to stab his own brother in the back. This blaming somebody else for a situation that you have created shows that he is truly the heir to Brown.

  7. 7
    Meeedja Meeedja says:

  8. 8
    Harriet Harman-Dromey says:

    Jokes about r*pe are okay if it’s a Labour MP who says it.

  9. 9
    Ed Moribund says:

    But nobody is discussing it. Farage hasn’t said anything about it, largely because he knows the problem isn’t EU law at all. The UK govt already has powers, despite the EU, to apply the “public interest test”.

    Again and again Miliband picks the wrong lines to attack on at PMQs. He must be grateful he doesn’t have to stand there and get slaughtered again for a few weeks now.

  10. 10
    Ellie-Mae (9) says:

    I think the beeboids are relying on the point that not everybody does know this, and most who watch their burblings believe implicitly that they are telling the whole truth.

  11. 11
    For anyone who wants to email Austin Mitchell about his ra-pe joke says:

  12. 12
    Blind_leading_the_blind says:

    Particularly when it’s not a UK company but a Swedish/UK company.

    Strange we didn”t hear much from Labour when it was being formed in 1999

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    Miliband’s “rules” seem to involve him intervening to fix things he doesn’t like. He seems to behave like a Latin American goon dictator who thinks he knows best.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Sniper says:

    Channeling your inner Monkhouse?

  16. 16
    D.I. Regan, Flying Squad says:

    Shatit you slag.

  17. 17
    D.I. Regan, Flying Squad says:

    I told you George. Watch him. He’ll distract and divert all day long.

    Guttersnipes the lot of ‘em. Sold us all down the river along with That Bastard Heath.

  18. 18
    Capitalist says:

    Excellent. It’s for shareholders who own the business to decide what happens. The last thing we want is politicians like Ed Mitterande trying to meddle.

    Seems normal in a Single Market that don’t let national regulators block deals they don’t like.

  19. 19
    Ockham's Razor says:

    Don’t shut it down. Sell it.

    Create a prospectus which retains the telly tax for 50 years.

    Make special offers to the likes of Unite, David Sainsbury, Mahmoud Khayami, Lord Bhattacharyya, J K Rowling from Fucking Scotland, Eddie Izzard etc that give a hefty discount for investments in excess of £5m.

    Raise £25bn and repay debt.

    Let them fill their boots with shares.

    Reduce the telly tax to £1.


  20. 20
    Meds in cupboard beside needle & thread says:

    This Pfizer & astra bull has gone on long enough. NO ONE gives a shit! Either a take over happens or it doesn’t. Do whichever soon. Boring!

  21. 21
    Ed Moribund says:

    But he’s talking nonsense there. The EU will likely back any UK blockage of the merger. Look at GE/Honeywell.

  22. 22
    jgm2 says:

    That was my point.

    That while everybody (here) knows it’s Miliband being purely opportunist the wider public will have no idea because of the ‘balanced’ coverage they will receive via the BBC.

    They’ll see Miliband having a go at CMD for not intervening, for not caring. They won’t show Dave pointing out that it was he, Miliband, who personally fixed it so that no fucker could intervene (even if they wanted to or it was appropriate to do so).

    What an utter fucking stitch-up between Labour and BBC.

  23. 23
    Jack Ketch says:

    Actually, Farage brought the matter up twice during last week’s Question Time, he was howled down by the Con/Lib-Lab/Labour/whatnots on the panel. When Umanna insisted on saying that it was the current government’s duty and nothing to do with EU, Farage pointed out that he was either wilfully lying or that he was pig-ignorant.
    Strangely, I cannot find a video clip of the moment.

  24. 24
    balder-wort says:

    The Daily Politics program reminds me more and more of the Camberwick Green musical box. However, instead of the final rhymed ending- ” Who is in it today?” question, pertaining to what political shills they have invited on, I am always more intrigued as to what colour Brillo’s hair will be.
    A dark hair day is always reserved for Tory or ‘Conservative’ put downs when Niel needs to collect another scalp!
    Please someone- pull the rug out from over him.

  25. 25
    Jack Ketch says:

    Found it.
    Farage pokes the pigs about 5.30 mins in.

  26. 26
    Gen John Sedgwick says:

    I am intellectually self-confident that they couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.

  27. 27
    BP says:

    Oh, it’s a joke now, is it?

    For once I thought a British politician was telling the truth about the Americans.

  28. 28
    Jock says:

    “Intelligence is quickness to apprehend, as distinct from ability, which is capacity to act wisely on the thing apprehended.” Alfred North Whitehead.

    Remind you of anybody?

    Ed may well be intelligent but he lacks ability. He has the wit to identify telling issues but seems wholly incapable of coming up with any feasible solutions. Or maybe he is less intelligent than he thinks and can’t distinguish between an issue requiring resolution and a bandwagon on which to jump.

  29. 29
    Ed Moribund says:

    Nobody serious in politics watches QT any more. But much as it hurts to say it, Chucky is right. The EU would back up whatever decision HMG takes, as it has done in the past when states have had the balls to stand up to it.

  30. 30
    Village Idiot says:

    …..The “Establishment” is really running scared,and the contempt that whatshisname,and Cockburn hold UKIP with is palpable!.A pathetic attempt at smear,with very little gravitas,about a 21yr old,who has many conflicting opinions,changed in a very short time,coinciding with the euro elections!Nothing to do with being a student at LSE?
    ….Roll on 22nd May,when we can show our contempt for the”Establishment”, which has let down this country and sold their souls to the EU Devil!

  31. 31
    What does this button do? says:


  32. 32
    Oh, really? says:

    Mr Speaker Bercow, Wittol of this parish.

  33. 33
    Always moving in 2π radians says:

    Too right. Would AZ be allowed to takeover Pfizer by the US Government?

  34. 34
    Dougie says:

    The public interest test only applies to a very short list of specific things, like national security. It doesn’t apply to chemistry.

  35. 35
    Dougie says:

    But people are worried Pfizer will cut British research jobs. You know, like AstraZeneca did when it closed its Cheshire research facility and cut 550 jobs last year.
    So, basically, Ed is worried Pfizer will take over AZ and then act like AZ. Mmmm, I see his point …

  36. 36
    Anonymous says:

    Cubic ton surely? I’ve never heard of a cubic tonne.

    And how big is Eds circumference?

  37. 37
    Tom Catesby says:

    I think any government who was seriously interested in the public good, could well argue that a secure British based drugs industry, backed by sound well funded research, is in the best long term interests of this country and any take over by a foreign company with the track record that Pfizer has for example and therefore, is not in this country’s best and most secure interest and should be refused.

  38. 38
    Lundbecko says:

    AZ have been shedding UK jobs and outsourcing manufacturing to Chindia for years. What goes around and all that…

  39. 39
    Chas says:

    Just watched the replay of PMQs. Flanking Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman and Ed Balls looked like they were shitting pine trees. It’s all over bar the adenoidectomy.

  40. 40


  41. 41
    Ed Millipede says:

    Wacists! Ukip are all wacists. And the tories are wacists. And everybody who disagrees with me is a wacist.

    I have a towering intellect.

  42. 42

    No company, unlike governments, do not employ more people than they need.

Seen Elsewhere

Liz Kendall For Leader | Indy
Bashir Booted Out By Respect | Respect
Americans Try Haggis | Guardian
Page 3 and the Art of the Self-Pity Statement | Guardian
Steven Woolfe For UKIP Leader? | Asa Bennett
Mohammed — in Pictures | Speccie
Leon Brittan’s Accusers Must Show Their Evidence | Dan Hodges
New Saudi King Renames Roads While Body Still Warm | TechnoGuido
In Davos, Carrying a BlackBerry is a Status Symbol | Business Insider
New Labour in Peep Show Quotes | Telegraph
Here is What a 7 Way Debate Sounds Like | BBC

Find out more about PLMR AD-MS

George Galloway says of his former Respect candidate the UKIP MEP turned Tory, Amjad Bashir…

“Clearly Bashir does not have any real political principles or commitment, only naked opportunism and self-interest. He represents the revolving door principle in politics. The Tories are welcome to him because he will cause them embarrassment. Fortunately Respect was able to act before he did it to us.”

Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:


AddThis Feed Button

Guido Reads

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,716 other followers