PMQs: Calm down, Dave!

Miliband stank, and handed Dave a 1-0 victory. But again Dave showed too much Flashman and not enough statesman

by Prime Minister's Questions on 9 January 2013 12:36

The first Prime Minister’s Questions of the New Year was bound to create a buzz, especially coming hot on the heels of the government’s welfare reform victory yesterday in the Commons. Miilband's insistence that Cameron should, "Calm down" is really the takeaway from today.

Miliband leapt off on today’s story that the coalition decided not to publish the negative aspects of its Mid Term Review until today, widely acknowledged as a ploy to avoid negative coverage for itself.

A fair point one might say, but a pretty weak opener that highlights how Miliband et al aren’t all that keen to get into the ‘strivers vs skivers’ debate– a discussion which they perpetually manage to lose.

And who’s surprised? When polling shows that the public is overtly concerned about the British welfare system, Labour leaves itself open to its own usual clarion calls of “out of touch!” when discussing the issue.

Miliband then launched into a boring (we did advise such) rant about ‘wommin’, which largely went over the heads of those in the Commons, before moving onto the tax and welfare question. But he never nailed it down, flitting and slipping between taxation, welfare and the Mid Term Review. It wasn’t Ed’s most fearsome moment.

Cameron shot back, “while we’re talking about audits, why don’t we have a little audit of his promises?” as he reeled off incidents in which Labour has failed to present any coherent plans for the British economy.

“More!” cried the Tory benches. Miliband was suitably unimpressed, reverting to the Mid Term Review (safe ground), exclaiming, “He’s a PR man who can’t even do a relaunch”. Another line that failed to land.

Effectively, that was that for Ed. Quite the damp squib this week.

On fox hunting, Cameron was overly keen to take a partisan dig at the Labour benches, insisting, “The only little red pests I pursue anymore are in this house” – slightly too Flashman, and miles away from answering the question.

This was the general tone of Daves’s performance at Prime Minister’s Questions today. The PM seemed unnecessarily angry throughout.

When quizzed (and slightly knocked) on the question of Lord Marland’s resignation, Dave was ready with export statistics and a cheeky grin on his face, reflecting the question from Labour’s Chris Evans.

Lord Marland has been quoted as saying he liked travel, but he did not like dealing with the detail of his job. Evans aasked, “Can Cameron think of anyone else like that?” Someone in the chamber screamed, “Naughty!” and it all got a little weird from there.

Today’s PMQs resulting in a 1-0 victory for Dave, but not because he was particularly impressive, but because, quite frankly, Miliband stank. 

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