Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Dispatch of the Day - 27th February 2008

Quite an odd PMQs today. Aberrant in fact.

Unusual tactics from Cameron and a very vocal Labour team.

I'm really not sure what to make of today's exchanges. A little bit clever by Cameron? Possibly. A totally inept performance showing a lack of direction and planning? Possibly, but in the world of PR, advisors and stage management I doubt if there wasn't a plan. He appeared to be acting innocent and subservient, looking to Brown for leadership. Will anyone buy Cameron's innocence card? No, but he has been rather cunning today by the repeated subtle suggestion that Brown is scared of more transparency of MPs expenses, scared of allowing his Cabinet a free vote of the constitution, scared of letting the country have a vote. Brown, having just got used to dealing with Punch and Judy, didn't really know what to do with himself when faced with faux innocence and subversive suggestiveness. I certainly didn't see this coming, I bet the Labour lot didn't either.

Cameron gave Brown a number of chances to show himself to be taking a strong lead (both as Labour leader and PM) which he failed to take. However, I don’t think Cameron managed to score an obvious goal.

Also notice today, no script in front of Captain Cameron.

Today saw the return of the Lib Dems to the House but Nick Clegg’s confidence staged another House of Commons walkout. He was roundly heckled by Labour MPs today in a bid to knock him off his stride. The sickening smirk on Brown’s face as he got up to speak indicated he relishes the chance to bully someone at PMQs. As with last week Clegg raises worthy issues but he fails to make an impact on the House.

Result 0 - 0

It was nice to see today that the smell from the dispatchoftheday skunk has caused Cameron to at least raise the issue of MPs pay and pension. This issue which now engulfs the whole House including the Speaker has fallen slightly from the media, however, Nick Robinson's reporting has certainly ruffled a few feathers.

The comments feature on the blog has now been fully enabled, so anyone can post a comment on the dispatchoftheday analysis.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Dispatch of the Day - 20th February 2008

The dispatchoftheday skunk is still wandering the halls of the House and everybody is still ignoring it. The speaker of the house, far from driving it out, has seemingly been feeding it titbits and the stench is getting worse. Thank goodness he is in charge of the 'Union of Turkey's Christmas Committee' looking into the subject of MP's expenses.

Pretty dire today, the first question from Cameron on more mishandling of data is met with news of, guess what, another Government review. Joy. The 2 leaders trade slogans with neither getting anywhere.

The half time interval sees Captain Clegg come to his feet and bluster his way through the Northern Rock issue. Not an assured performance and he will need to improve. Good to have the issue raised in the House and Brown provokes Cameron into using his remaining questions on it.

Cameron goes on the offensive regarding the freedom of information issues of the nationalisation. His supreme leader jibe is lifted from the pages of Private Eye and his topical Castro comparison fails to land a blow as he gets visibly cross. Brown swats him off quite easily, the killer question wasn't quite there today. Even if it was, it wouldn’t have been answered.

Result: 0 - 0

The table

Position.... Team..... Won..... Drawn... Lost...... F.... A..... Points..... Form

Mr Cable told you so...

So the Rock has eventually been nationalised, more dithering from the Reds. We shall see if the prisoner scandal takes over from this at today's PMQs. Whenever I see Darling and Brown sitting on the front bench I am reminded of General Melchett and Captain Darling from Blackadder Goes Forth. In that spirit here is a quote from Captain Darling (Blackadder Goes Forth: Episode 6) just before he goes over the top, which is appropriate for the other Darling as he waited to give his press conference (image BBC).

“I made a note in my diary on the way over here. It simply reads - bugger.”

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Dispatch of the Day - 6th February 2008

That skunk I spoke about last week is still wandering the halls of the House of Commons, the MPs must spend a lot of time with pegs on their noses as at PMQs everyone is still pretending they don't smell it. My political skunk got a mention on The Daily Politics today and raised a chuckle from Nick Robinson and Andrew Neil!

As expected no mention of expenses today. Cameron led on a subject about which I have often wondered, the number of reviews the Government sets up. Cameron gave a figure of 52 since Brown came to power, which is quite a lot. Again this was a cover for an attack on the PMs dithering over just about any issue you can name. The attack, which was a little nastier than usual, included a couple of jokes about Peter Hain's permatan, Brown not opening his post and needing more time to think about his answers at PMQs. New questions on A-level exams (once again Brown refuses to answer a straight question and sends questions back the way of Cameron - why does the speaker continue to allow this?). And so to the punch line - "This is a hopeless, dithering Prime Minister". At the start of the season Brown may have been flustered by this but he seemed to deal with it a little better today although his sound bites (one borrowed from the former chancellor) fail to land a significant blow on Captain Cameron. Having said his response was less flustered, he did appear physically irritated by Cameron as he spoke.

On the subject of Brown asking questions to Cameron I say this - Call an election and you may well get your chance to do it legitimately. In fact you will have 6 questions a week.

Again a bit of a disappointing performance from both sides and the referee today. There has been a bit of disquiet regarding the officialdom of the House recently, although no team members dare utter a word on the record.

Result: 1 - 2 (but only just)

The table

Position.... Team..... Won..... Drawn... Lost...... F.... A..... Points..... Form