Wednesday, April 30, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: What Did Axelrod Make of That?

“Guys, we’re going to need money. And a message. Attractive people would be good. Not you. Or you, you or you. And a leader, who’s the leader? You got a leader? The one down there now with the teeth and the finger jive? The eight-year-old? Okay, we’re going to need the army as well, does that work over here? Can we get the army? We’re going need the army.”

There are some out there hoping the American will make Ed Miliband into Obama. He made a start today. In the tributes to fallen troops he pronounced lieutenant as lootenant.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single stumble.

Oh, it’s a long way to go. Obama has a gift for elevated sentiments, if nothing else. That’s what got him into the White House. The audacity of soap. Big language. Soaring thoughts. Ed Miliband lacks the audacity of soap.

The Royal Mail sale, for instance. “Everything about this privatisation stinks,” he said. Stinks. Everything stinks. It’s the language of a disappointed child.

He had some debating points, including a joke – the man who ran the lucky hedge fund which got 20 times the shares of anyone else – he’d been George Osborne’s best man. How was it decided who got what?

It’s a good question, and would have gained purchase with a cool manner and forensic pauses. But Miliband prefers to go through his question-cycle in a fixed crescendo heading for his great climax: “Everything stinks.”

(more…)

PMQs LIVE: Back to School Edition

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Mr Gareth Thomas (Harrow West)

Q2 Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North) 

Q3 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) 

Q4 Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) 

Q5 Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North and Leith) 

Q6 Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West)

Q7 Mark Hendrick (Preston) 

Q8 Mr Stewart Jackson (Peterborough)

Q9 Katy Clark (North Ayrshire and Arran) 

Q10 Sheila Gilmore (Edinburgh East)

Q11 Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) 

Q12 Charlotte Leslie (Bristol North West)

Q13 Jason McCartney (Colne Valley) 

Q14 Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-on-Avon) 

Comments in the comments please…

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: Ed, the Final Victim of Miller’s Resignation

Six questions on Maria Miller’s resignation, or five questions and a peroration.

Is that what’s meant by “holding the Executive to account”? It’s just as well Recall isn’t in place, Ed’s feet wouldn’t touch the ground.

He fired five blanks, got two potshots off and finished with a summary of his discontent in four disjointed sentences. Viz:

1) “He just doesn’t get it.” (Did someone shout Bingo?)

2) “He needs to learn profound lessons about how he runs his Government.” (Does he? From this, the passing zephyr of an insignificant minister?)

3) “The Culture Secretary went not because of her bad conduct but because of her bad press.” (This must have been a line left over from the pre-PMQs planning session.)

4) “He promised in Opposition to be an apostle for better standards and he’s spent the last week being an apologist for unacceptable behaviour.” (It was the big line. Apostle/apologist. Ed put the ass in assonance.)

It wasn’t an easy topic, and while friends and foes will have different reactions, objective observers will agree the Leader of HM’s Opposition made a complete **** of himself. Too strong? A complete @£$% of himself.

(more…)

PMQs LIVE: So Long, Farewell Edition

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Nia Griffith (Llanelli)

Q2 Dr Alasdair McDonnell (Belfast South) 

Q3 Sir Peter Luff (Mid Worcestershire) 

Q4 Mr Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) 

Q5 John Glen (Salisbury)

Q6 Simon Danczuk (Rochdale) 

Q7 Mr William Bain (Glasgow North East) 

Q8 James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) 

Q9 Naomi Long (Belfast East) 

Q10 Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields) 

Q11 Paul Flynn (Newport West) 

Q12 Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) 

Q13 Jenny Chapman (Darlington) 

Q14 Mr Mike Weir (Angus) 

Q15 Mr David Lammy (Tottenham)

Comments in the comments please…

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: Titanic Fights in the Commons

Cosy capitalism against Socialism, sir. Public versus private ownership. Primrose Hill versus the Playing Fields of Eton. Tax cuts versus the Collective. Labour bellowing versus Tory barrage.

My niche interest is the fight between Better Bercow and Bad Bercow.

The new iteration – I-Don’t-Hate-Tories – is a success. We should pay tribute to it, celebrate it rather than carp.

But Better Bercow can’t keep Bad Bercow in its kennel.

What must be going in that inner court of his, where he remonstrates with himself: “Your constant interruptions are just prolonging the proceedings. Your attention-seeking behaviour is childish, you need to grow up and the sooner the better. And the way you call Andrew Selous – the public detest it! Your electorate hate it! If you go on like this they’ll have you out after the next election!”

Good Bercow has been prevailing, but when provoked, Bad Bercow slips the leash.

We can thank Simon Burns for that. Or that corner where he sits with Alec Shelbrooke in a supporting role behind him. Anna Soubry, Tim Loughton and Keith Simpson, are all there or thereabouts, each of whom have had complex relations with the Speaker.

So, when Czaibhaggan MacDonagh fluffed her line about the “Bobby Tax”, it prompted heckling from the Burns Corner.

Out Bad Bercow slavered, fangs bared, to savage them as he only savages Tories: “Braying, and sneering and making rude remarks is the sort of thing the public despise!” he barked at them.

(more…)

Muppet Miliband and Balls

“You know what Mr Speaker, I will take a lecture from almost anyone in the country about the sale of Royal Mail, but not from the two muppets who advised the last Chancellor on selling the gold.”

An attack lined ruined only by the manifesto blunder by the PM – Dave claimed Labour promised to privatise the Royal Mail – actually they were going to part privatise it and keep the majority shareholding in the government’s hands.

PMQs LIVE: Leadership Rumbles Edition

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
Q2 Chloe Smith (Norwich North)
Q3 Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central)
Q4 Mr Jamie Reed (Copeland)
Q5 David Rutley (Macclesfield)
Q6 Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Q7 Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
Q8 Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton)
Q9 Chris Kelly (Dudley South)
Q10 Roger Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire)
Q11 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden)
Q12 Mr Alan Reid (Argyll and Bute)
Q13 Ann McKechin (Glasgow North)
Q14 David T. C. Davies (Monmouth)
Q15 Guy Opperman (Hexham)

Comments in the comments please…

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: Ed Enters Valley of Death

Reactions vary, but that looked to me like slaughter.

“A total demolition,” Ed Miliband said, and it was surely that.

His “energy price freeze” collapsed on itself like a factory chimney.

This morning, a power company announced it was holding its prices for 20 months.

That’s good news, they thought on Planet Ed. There wasn’t time to go through the consequences.

Ed led on it. Here it is, he cried, the very price freeze Labour has proposed.

His features took on a life of their own. He started to look like Tory Rory Stewart, who looks like a pre-op Miliband. It’s really not what prime ministers look like.

(more…)

PMQs LIVE: Sniff Edition

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire)

Q2 Stephen Pound (Ealing North) 

Q3 Derek Twigg (Halton) 

Q4 Jenny Chapman (Darlington) 

Q5 Mr Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West) 

Q6 Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North) 

Q7 Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) 

Q8 Mel Stride (Central Devon) 

Q9 Mrs Mary Glindon (North Tyneside) 

Q10 Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) 

Q11 Mr David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate)

Q12 Mr Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) 

Q13 Clive Efford (Eltham) 

Q14 Mr Adam Holloway (Gravesham)

Q15 Karen Lumley (Redditch) 

Comments in the comments please…

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PMQs LIVE: Warm Up Edition


Seen Elsewhere

Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC
No.10 Ambushed by EU Prosperity Tax | Times
10 Years of Guido | Iain Dale
Tory MP Tells Leftie Jon Snow to Retire | Guardian


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Rob Colvile reviews Russell Brand’s new book:

“Oddly, the person I feel sorriest for isn’t Brand himself – although he certainly comes across as a rather pitiable figure, projecting his own brokenness on to the world around him – but Johann Hari. Drummed out of Fleet Street for plagiarism, the former Independent columnist has washed up as “my mate Johann, who’s been doing research for this book”. For a genuinely talented polemicist, it would have been a humbling experience to have to treat this sub-undergraduate dross as the scintillating wisdom of a philosopher-king.”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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