Posts Tagged ‘PMQs’

Dave, Boris and Parliament Square: Ian Austin seeks the truth

10/12/2010, 02:40:07 PM


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PMQs is no playground. Parliament matters.

26/10/2010, 09:50:47 AM

by Dan Hodges

Does the House of Commons matter? Not the institution per se. Temple of democracy or den of inequity? On that you pays your money, or Stephen Byers’ cab fare, and takes your choice.

The chamber itself. Amphitheatre. Cockpit. Arena of the absurd.

There is a fashionable perception that Parliament, in all its forms, is now an irrelevance. Purists bemoan the callow tenor of its discourse. Modernists its arcane, anachronistic traditions. The right sees a shell, gutted by the faceless bureaucrats of Brussels. The left an inflexible monument to establishment orthodoxy.

In a way, all are right. And all wrong. What happens in the Commons chamber changes nothing. But it influences everything.

Take last week’s CSR. One of the more widely covered political showpieces of recent years. Wall to wall live coverage on the TV news channels. Six, seven, eight pages cleared in the national broadsheets. Not a Chilean miner in sight. (more…)

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Siôn Simon on Ed Miliband’s first PMQs

13/10/2010, 01:14:18 PM

All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Not for a moment have I missed sitting on the green benches. Not for a wistful split-second have I wished that I had the choice again. As I’ve watched them twist and turn in the Westminster wind, and remembered how it feels, there’s been nothing but relief that it isn’t me any more.

Until today. Ed Miliband’s first prime minister’s questions was a great parliamentary moment. A performance of such assurance and aplomb on the first day of such an inexperienced leader that it will be long remembered.

All new party leaders begin by promising an end to the punch and judy style of traditional PMQs. They never mean it. Substantively, Miliband doesn’t mean it either. It’s not a debate; it’s a fight; and he wants to win. But presentationally – and may the ghost of Frank Johnson forgive me for the phrase – he just changed the game.

At a stroke, by simply willing it, he halved the heat and pace of what has always been a stupidly uproarious affair, and effortlessly took control.

At first he seemed so slow that one feared the worst. But he held his nerve and within a minute was completely in command of the occasion. (more…)

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