Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Prime Ministers Questions

I'll confess this now: I love PMQs. It's a real guilty pleasure to spend my Wednesday lunchtimes getting riled up at the latest round of sparring, lies and braying idiocy. My twitter feed goes in to sweary hyperdrive, and I get far too annoyed for my own good, but I can't stay away.

I don't know what it is that keeps me hooked. Thinking about it objectively, it's awful. It's scripted, it's childish, and frankly, it's downright disturbing that our legislators see fit to behave in the infantile, cat-calling manner they do at all. But it's like watching a political car-crash, I know I shouldn't look, but I do. I suppose that the only way I can justify it is that it's a great way to keep up with the soap opera that is Parliament.

There are a couple of games I like to play when I'm watching it. The first is to count how many times the Coalition MPs use the phrase "...that we inherited from the previous government" (bonus points if that is prefixed with "the mess"), and the second is to watch Nick Clegg and George Osborne while people are talking. Seriously, someone by now should have told them that they can be seen on camera - some of the faces they pull while listening can be very telling.

Week in, week out, PMQs never fails to fascinate and horrify me simultaneously, often leaving me either shouting at the screen, or sat open-mouthed in abject horror. Take this week for example, we had:

  • The Prime Minister leading a chant among his MPs ("Do they have a plan on the deficit? NO! Do they have a plan on spending? NO! Do they have a plan on health? NO!" etc.)
  • The Prime Minister (again) deflecting important questions with childish jibes about Ed Miliband defeating his brother David for the Labour leadership ("There's only one person here guilty of knifing a foreign secretary and I'm looking at him!" Miliband responded with "the more he brings my relatives into this argument, the more you know he is losing" - points to Ed).
  • Peter Bone MP (Con, Wellingborough and Rushden) asking a question which went: "Mr Speaker, 373,000 Daily Express readers want it, [my palm had already met my face by this point] 80% of Conservative members support it, the Deputy Prime Minister would love it and my wife demands it - the British people, Conservative supporters, the leader of the Liberal Party, and especially Mrs Bone cannot all be wrong. Mr Prime Minister, can we have a referendum on wether the United Kingdom remains in the European Union?". Cameron's response? "I wish my wife was as easy to please!". THE. DAY. AFTER. INTERNATIONAL. WOMEN'S. DAY. Oh, I'm sorry, I thought I was watching our elected representatives in the House of Commons, not some third-rate seventies 'comedians'. What? I was? Oh dear.
  • Louise Bagshawe MP (Con, Corby and East Northamptonshire) toadying to the Prime Minister with a 'question' inviting him to rejoice in the fact that thousands of jobs had been created in February, and all of them in the private sector. Well, Bagshawe - it would be very difficult to create jobs in the public sector, given that they have had their budgets slashed as you and your mates try to push your anti-state ideology by forcing everything to be privatised, wouldn't it?

That's a very brief list because there were far too many other things that annoyed me to write about them all.

With that all said and done though, I'll see you next week, yeah? I'll bring the popcorn and you bring the drinks.

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