Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Dispatch of the Day - 19th March 2008

Bit of an odd start this week, Cameron goes on China/Tibet and uses his second question to congratulate Brown on making the right decision over the Dalai Lama and not delaying the decision. Brown doesn't really know what to make of it and as he remains seated roars of laughter come from the Tory benches. It seems as if Brown may have inadvertently answered Cameron's second question on the Dali Lama before he had a chance to ask it. I don't suppose Cameron's plan was to praise the PM. Brown's quip about all his decisions being correct brings more laughter from all sides of the House (and my desk).

After only 2 questions Nick Clegg is allowed a stab at the PM and unsurprisingly brings up the issue of Gurkha's pensions and rights to remain the UK after bravely serving in the British Army. Personally I can't see much justification for Brown's position and his answer doesn't really give one. He jumps to Iraq for his second question, which I was surprised at. He should have stayed on the Gurkha question especially with the protests going on outside the House. Clegg seemed much more confident today and really had the bit between his teeth but his second question was batted away rather easily by Brown.

Cameron's second set of questions is more of the sort I had been expecting. With the economic bad news featuring in the media daily, there is no need to have a go at Brown on such issues. His questions hark back to previous ones, which Brown has failed to answer. So first up - the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and the whipping of the peers and the potential for MPs to be whipped on matters of conscience. I have previously expressed my views on this but still Brown refuses to answer saying that the party will decide in due time. Cameron snipes back at him before moving on to ID cards. Brown says he is still in favour (a pretty straight answer) but then follows this with a direct question to Cameron about compulsory ID cards for foreign nationals. Firstly, this practice is incredibly annoying. Secondly, it sets Cameron up (and weeks ago I made the same comment) for a easy goal - Call that election and you can have 6 questions every week.

Ed Balls, after his performance at the budget, gets nicely put in his place by Cameron - "nice to see him sitting quietly" - before he moves onto A levels. Cameron wants them to stay as the gold standard, does Brown? Obviously, there is currently a ..... wait for it....government review on the subject and Brown won't commit pas the review date. Now for the killer blow and an open goal for anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Google. David Muir is the new strategist at No 10, and can you guess the title of his favourite book? The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organisations. Everyone has a good laugh and Brown's reputation takes a big hit.

Brown answers by saying that Cameron has not gone on the economy or health service because the Conservatives 'have no answers to the problems of this country'. And what problems we have.

Result 1 - 2

Happy Easter

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