Coffee House

Insults fly at PMQs

12 December 2012

1:40 PM

12 December 2012

1:40 PM

Today’s PMQs was visceral stuff. Ed Miliband accused the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of being Bullingdons Boy who were taking decisions about ‘people they’ll never meet, people, people whose lives they’ll never understand.’ Cameron gave as good as he got, attacking Labour as the ‘party of unlimited benefits’ and said that Miliband ‘only stands up for those who claim.’

These exchanges over the decision to limit the increase in working age benefits to 1% in the autumn statement cheered up both side of the House, the Lib Dem benches looked a bit glum though. Labour and the Tories are both comfortable with these battles lines—convinced that the public is with them.

One other thing that was striking today is just how personal things are getting between the two front benches. Ed Balls gleefully waved an IFS chart which led Cameron to declare that Balls ‘’like bullies all over the world can give it out but can’t take it.’ Miliband shot back, ‘have you trashed a restaurant recently?’–a reference to the Bullingdon Club. Later in the session, as Balls and Miliband, gossiped on the front bench, Cameron crossly complained that Miliband was ‘catching the disease from the Shadow Chancellor of being unable to keep his mouth shut for more than five seconds’.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Maidmarrion

    The Labour Party tactics are to insult and denigrate – they have no other.
    In Scotland that is the weekly farce projected by the leader of Labour in Holyrood at FMQs – some press officer or some researcher has suggested this in the absence of policy .
    Very sad for the people but maybe ,just maybe they are waking up to the ordure spouted .
    We need a wee revolution!We need to be more like the French who take to the streets to make their point.

  • eeore

    If only people in the Tories had a brain.

    The Labour party is riddled with nepotism, instead of going Daily Mail and spouting crap about ‘unlimited benefits’, just name the family links within the Labour party, and particularly in the shadow cabinet. Those are all jobs that could be done by others who have an real idea of how real people live.

    • TomTom

      Labour became a bourgeois fiefdom in 1945 with the Shawcross, Laski hangers on and became simply the Reds to oppose the Blues with the Orange-Yellows flitting between. It is all about personal advancement and enrichment and policies for sale

      • TomTom

        Let us not forget Ben Summerskill as part of Labour’s Aristocracy now writing legislation for Stonewall as part of the Lobby Sector undermining democratic accountability.

  • barbie

    I watch the daily politics show every day, and on Wednesday’s when PM, QT is on. Today it was like a circus, and if people abroad watch this kind of behaviour then what must they think. Its just striking a blow at each other and he public is fed up with it. What we should be having is more detail about the autumn statement, and explaining the detail of the benefit changes that are coming in April. Many people are unaware and will have a shock when reality hits.
    Diabetics who don’t take insulin, now have to provide the glucose testing strips themselves, at a cost of 50 @ £25.00. A lot if you are a pensioner. Testing blood glucose is important to control diabetes, if not, other health problems can arise which in the long term cost the nation more. This is another thing this government as done, in the name of cuts, while we see the green taxes bill going up by Davey this week, foreign aid now over 15 billion per year, while our own suffer. I think MPs have enough to debate about instead of insulting eachother.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Actually people abroad love it. And if you have ever watched the howling tedium of, asy, the European Parliament (unless our Nige is doing his stuff) you would know why.

      • TomTom

        People abroad love Benny Hill….I am not sure they know the difference, many here don’t

  • Paddy

    Balls is a busted-flush……looking more and more desperate.

    He is so frustrated and full of bluster that he is telling the interviewer
    what questions to ask.

  • Terence Hale

    In politics if the cupboard is full one should empty a few skeletons out. Today 12/12/12 Mr. Cameron did not do just that. With his stubborn refusal to allow an inquiry in to the Mr. Finucane affair to clear the air. This will tax him for some time. From body language and linguistics of “talking on the spot” giving the impression of having something to hide. To say the minister knows nothing is nonsense like saying Mark Thompson knows nothing about Savile. A “εἰρωνεία eirōneía” by not knowing they were not doing there job, by knowing they were also not doing their job.

  • TomTom

    Time to close the curtain on this Puppet Show. It has nothing to offer but Schoolboy Debating Club antics. there is no resolution of the nation’s serious problems to be found in this gentleman’s club on the Thames. It has no real relevance.

  • Andrew Taylor

    He should have asked Moribund if he had trashed any countries recently

  • HooksLaw

    Sounds like Labour have run out of ideas. Balls knows all about University ‘dining clubs’.

    • telemachus

      Yes but he has the wit to use this to his advantage

      • TomTom

        How ? He became a journalist and married the daughter of a minor trades union leader. Then he worked with a demented twerp who got hoodwinked by the Banks and gave them the keys to the Treasury. Hell, Balls is as dim as he looks

        • telemachus

          Yvette is a powerhouse of almost equal dynamism as her charismatic husband

          • telemachus

            PS I assume you too post from an iPad?

          • TomTom

            third-raters both

    • TomTom

      Not Dining – he was simply at piss artist at Keble which is such a tedious college even withoutv a nonentity like him

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Balls is the Millwall of the political world; nobody likes him and we don’t care.

    • telemachus

      You are wrong wrong wrong
      He has a naturally attractive turn of phrase and wit that in 10 years will have such as you hailing him as the new Churchill

  • Sarge

    One point -who nicked the most tax off low earners in the last 15 years? Will Ed understand the lives of those people? Do they visit his mansion?
    Desperate stuff – even telemachus might sound reasonable in comparison to that kind of argument.

  • The_Savage

    Get stuck in Dave. Pitty about gay marriage though.

  • Jebediah

    Yeah because the fratricidal son of a Marxist professor is such a man of the people.

    • telemachus

      Forget Miliband
      You need to watch and learn from Charismatic Balls the Magnificent
      He clearly has the ability to get under Cameron’s skin

      • Colonel Mustard

        “He clearly has the ability to get under Cameron’s skin”

        That’s a quality to be admired? Oh, I forgot. Of course it would be to you.

        • telemachus

          I thought, Nico, that that was what politics was all about

          • Matthew Whitehouse

            It’s actually about improving the lives of people. But you are tribal in everything you say…

            • telemachus

              Look Matthew it goes without saying that the caring politicians which I support spend their waking hours fathoming ways to get the best deal for the totality of our citizens

              Low cunning is often necessary for those like the current junta whose aim is to make life comfortable for themselves and theirs

              • telemachus

                I read this earlier today

                Dictators and corrupt regimes in the Middle East and Africa are now holding their breath as young people began inspiring one another via the super information highway to usher in a peaceful transformation of the old older replete with human rights abuses.

                We cannot rely here on social media to topple Cameron and Clegg

                We need the sort of thing Nico- the Colonel- advocates elsewhere on this thread

                ‘– “trumped up charges” to destroy a legitimate political party eh?’

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I am not one the Greek Colonels! If you can’t address me correctly you horrible little man then don’t address me at all.

                  And I suggest you check out Guido Fawkes to see which party taxes the poor more and the rich less.

      • Kevin

        Watch your own Balls.

        • telemachus

          The more I see of this man the more I lament that we have left the economy in the hands of the Incompetent Osborne
          You can just feel the economic competence that sadly we have to wait another 2 years for

      • A Skiver

        The last charismatic leader Labour had was Tony Blair. I recognise that even I can’t stand him. Balls is a turn off in the mold (literally) of Gordon Brown.

      • Rahul Kamath

        The visceral & personal hatred the Bullingdon boys show for Ed Balls can only mean he is doing something right. They wouldn’t care so much about him otherwise.

        • Jebediah

          Dodgy logic; because prat A hates prat B, it doesn’t stop prat B from being a prat.

          • telemachus

            No but it makes him a prat of respect

        • TomTom

          Oh I don’t know Keble Balls had his own Club of drunkards and buffoons called “Steamers” which funnily enough is what AfroCarib gangs fo on Tube trains…….—Schools-Secretary-Eddie-Balls-dressed-German-officer.html

          • telemachus

            Recalling those heady times, a female contemporary of Balls said:

            “They [The Steamers] used to rate women on their physical appearance. It was … nonsense, and some of the women in college found it ridiculous. I thought it was stupid rather than malicious. But it was sexist, and showed a lack of respect for equality and diversity.”


            “showed a lack of respect for equality and diversity”

            Oh so that is why Nico and friends dont like him

            • TomTom

              Shows what a dolt Balls was. Mark Zuckerberg started a software package to rate women and ended up with Facebook – but that was Harvard not some provincial slown dressing as a Nazi at St Pancras Annexe in Oxford

              • telemachus

                Oh I don’t know boy done good
                Number 2 in traditional labour

                • TomTom

                  and a huge obstacle to credibility

      • TomTom

        under his foreskin

    • Colonel Mustard

      I don’t think Miliband is inherently nasty himself but clearly he is under the influence of the Balls/McBride/Watson school of politics which confuses blunt instrument smearing and greasy pole climbing for reasoned and persuasive argument. Sad really. Sad for Britain.

      • telemachus

        I think you meant that as an anti Balls post
        But in truth you emphasise where the engine and soul of the party are

        • Colonel Mustard

          Yes indeed – smearing and greasy pole climbing with a hefty does of lies, hypocrisy and double standards. You can’t defend the indefensible telemachus, let alone promote it as a good, especially here. The Labour party is poison.

          One would think the down arrows – and you get far less than you deserve because of the Speccie’s rigged system – would be a clue for you.

          • telemachus

            Politics is a dirty game and I trust Ed Balls to do it well

            • Colonel Mustard

              Like “trumped up charges” to destroy a legitimate political party eh? You are beneath contempt but your hypocrisy and double standards serve well as a demonstration of the truly vile Marcusean approach to leftist politics.

        • AdemAljo

          Are… are you Yvette Cooper?

      • Malfleur

        Yes, those politicians are not only nasty in themselves, but the cause that nastiness is in other men. That also applies, sometimes, to trolls.

        • telemachus

          We only ever read of the Tories as the Nasty Party
          This site and you usual site as well as the Daily mail are instructive as to why

          • TomTom

            Go away and cry then….

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Cheap, but effective. The Cameroons always recoil from that characterization, and immediately stumble into their next policy disaster. The Millipedes prosper as long as the scrambling and stumbling carries on, and conservative principle and sobriety are eschewed.

    • Paul

      Wholly agree – Miliband was pitiful (and he’s getting far too personal with his insults), and needs to wander more often around the slums of Primrose Hill to assess lives of poor people. He seems to think that all he has to do to become PM is rile Cameron with cheap and nasty wisecracks.

  • rasputin

    this is the mother of Democracy. ‘kin hell man, we are doomed.

    • swatantra

      This puerile badinage often passes for wit and humour in the Commons. MPs are a queer lot. They all need to grow up or get better scriptwriters.