Since its inception in the 1950s, the constitutional convention known as Questions to the Prime Minister has altered in its purpose if not its format.
Both sides of the House use the media on a daily basis to spin their politics so the need for a Wednesday afternoon PMQ time to find out about policy is largely gone. We are left with a PR exercise where the leader of the opposition has 6 questions to undermine, contradict and infuriate the PM and score a few political headlines in the evening news. For the purpose of this blog I score the 2 leaders as if it were a football match, for it may as well be.
It is entertaining most of the time and even though real politics may be left at the door, issues of interest are mentioned. Recently the notion of Q&A seems to have been dismissed as Gordon Brown seems reluctant to fulfil his part of the deal (that would be the answers, don‘t think we haven‘t noticed Gordon). Present day PMQs is an exchange of speeches, incorporating relevant sound bites, on a variety of political issues.
The scoring involves the awarding of goals when a good political or personal point is scored by either of the 2 leaders. For example, the first match of the season was scored 3-1 to Cameron and the Conservatives. Cameron scored goals for his attacks of Brown’s fluffing of the election and the European constitution, while Brown gets a consolation for his European repost. To be honest, after the election fiasco there was pretty much an open goal for Cameron to attack Brown’s decision and his leadership attributes.
Those looking for a close race will be disappointed. Cameron is a far better orator than Brown and invariably wins. It could be argued that the scoring system in stacked in favour of the opposition leader but Blair seemed sufficiently able to hold his own.
PMQs…Its only a game…?