PMQs SKETCH: No More Ladies’ Tennis

What very different reactions to PMQs. Some scored it all Miliband’s way, I gave it half and half, sophisticated pollsters registered everything in between and at either end.

It was, we can agree, less like the Ladies’ tennis we’ve been seeing lately.

Shouty Dave? Perhaps – but then the Speaker organises it that way by letting Labour barrack more loudly. Clever Ed’s cunning questions? Possibly – but there’s still no getting past the comedy teeth and the looming lips.

Ed claimed a consensus on the need to recoup cash from energy company profits – his price freeze or John Major’s windfall tax. John Major who had won a majority, unlike the prime minister. Laughter. Labour resurgent.

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PMQS LIVE Chat: Major Intervention Edition

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PMQs SKETCH: Just Press Record and Replay, Week by Week

They’ve decided it’s not worth preparing all morning for it and decided to do this week what they did last week.

If you think there’s “a cost of living crisis” you will have approved of the Opposition leader’s repetitions. He referred to the long term unemployed, the rise in energy prices, the Tory complicity in legislating for green levies, the energy company that has an “obsession with dividends” without being in any way interested in “getting prices down for consumers”?  But he had no answer to the rebuttal.

Cameron called it “same old Labour” but it may not be. Miliband’s price-defying approach hasn’t come to full maturity but it’s shaping up for something more deluded than Labour has attempted in living memory. Continue reading

SKETCH: How nice to be back among the familiar faces

The same 12-year-old making the same pantomime faces with the same fat dame beside him. She was pursing her lips and exercising her exopthalmia; the little one was dropping his jaw and letting his teeth out for a canter – they were both giving us to understand they couldn’t believe what they were hearing. It’s the commedia del arte school of politics, in which words are not enough. In the case of the Eds that’s both astute and true.

“He has no answer to Labour’s Price Freeze policy! He has no idea!” That and “the cost of living crisis” which “IS an economic policy”.

These are propositions that belong in the playground.

On the other side, the Prime Minister failed to wipe the floor with them. A mysterious failure, considering the resources at hand. He had a Miliband quote when he was Energy minister: “To deal with the problems of climate change, prices will have to rise.”

That powerful point – and others like it, such as economic growth, the IMF upgrade, Ed Balls “being wrong about absolutely everything” – got lost in the noise.

As a student of Blair, Cameron should realise that deadliness comes from quietness. It’s how Blair destroyed Hague – he was there, he will remember.

And one Labour point does need some attention from Tory theologians – why is it wrong to interfere in the mortgage market but not the energy market?

But neither was there the correct answer to “Why are energy prices so high?” (No answer is complete without the word “shale” in it.)

The Tory roar at the end showed the Speaker struggling to keep control. Maybe Simon Burns’ bid for deputy speaker is gaining popularity. It’s inconceivable that the Speaker isn’t working behind the scenes on Eleanor Laing’s behalf. It will be the best joke of the year if the House saddles him with his best – and most bestial – enemy.

Remembering Diane Abbott’s parting shot, Ed Miliband seems to be adding a little anti-immigrant nationalism to his socialist instincts. The balance is important, obviously, but that strategy has been electorally successful in the past, abroad.

PMQs LIVE: Birthday Edition

Stay tuned for Simon Carr’s first Gallery Guido sketch. Comments in the comments please…

Dave PMQs Jibe Helped By Former Tennis Partner Andrew Castle

The PM returned Labour MP Gloria De Piero’s attempt to crowd-source her PMQ on Twitter by referencing the awkward first reply to her tweet. It turns out that reply was from Andrew Castle, her GMTV colleague who used to be Dave’s tennis partner:

Game, set and match…

Another Short-Sighted Politician

PMQS LIVE: Brazil Nut Edition

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PMQS Live: Back to School Edition

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PMQs Live Blog: School's Out Edition

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PMQs Live Blog: Follow the Money Edition

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WATCH: Dave’s McClusterf**k Highlights

See also: WATCH: McClusterf**k

WATCH: McClusterf**k

Dave’s enjoying himself.

PMQs Live Blog: Who Runs the Labour Party Edition

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PMQs/Spending Review Live Blog

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PMQs LIVE: Dough Ball Dave Edition

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WATCH: Dave’s Tax Dodge Dishonesty

Brutal stuff from Dave on Labour’s tax avoiding donor:

“It is this government that is putting aggressive tax avoidance at the heart of the G8 agenda, and what do we hear this week from the Labour Party? They give tax avoidance advice to their donors.”

His bluster was the only highlight of a dull PMQs, though this is utterly dishonest from the PM. Miliband might be in hot water here, though the truth is that all parties offer tax avoidance advice to their donors, Labour, the LibDems and the Tories. As Guido reported last summer, Cameron’s own legacy scheme helps donors “reduce or even remove completely” the inheritance tax liability of rich Conservative backers.

All parties advise donors on how to avoid tax on their donations. Dave is in no position to take the moral high ground. 

PMQs LIVE: Yeo Adds to Unemployment Edition

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PMQs LIVE: Remember This? Edition

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DPMQs LIVE: Where’s Dave? Edition

Dave has decided that touring the States on a bus with Prince Harry is more important than allowing himself to be held to account in parliament. Despite the events of the past week. That means, farcically, it falls to Clegg and Harman to agree with each other across the despatch box this lunchtime.[…] Read the rest

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