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PMQs sketch: Tasered choirboys and hilarious failings

26 June 2013

26 June 2013

Shock news at PMQs. Miliband scored a hit. He succeeded in making Cameron look silly. True, he enjoyed his triumph a little too much, but his performance will have cheered his party enormously. For weeks they’ve had to watch their leader bungling at the despatch-box like an octopus trying to make a pancake.

Miliband’s weapon of choice: statistics. It’s hard to use mere mathematics to hurt a politician but Miliband handled his materials with deadly aplomb. He uncovered woeful failures in government programmes. And the revelations weren’t just bad. They were hilariously bad.

He kicked off with a statement from Michael Gove, last May, that ‘work would begin immediately’ on 216 schools. ‘How many have been started?’ asked Miliband. Cameron didn’t know.

Miliband: ‘One’.

In October 2011, he went on, the government promised to bring forward 576 infrastructure projects. ‘How many have been completed?’ Again, Cameron was clueless.

‘Seven.’

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Ah, said Cameron, but you can’t build a nuclear power station overnight. Miliband was waiting for him. Five of the seven finished contracts had been started under Labour. Finally he moved to the government’s guarantee scheme for home-owners which was intended to create 100,000 new freeholders. How many are there?

Cameron was clueless, a third time.

‘Just two thousand,’ said Miliband. ‘At this rate the government won’t reach its target until 2058.’ He finished his ambush with a handy laughter-line supplied by the Nick Clegg. ‘The gap between announcement and delivery is quite significant,’ said Clegg during one of his gaffe-ridden radio shows.

Cameron fought back with slogans supplied by his gag-writers. He derided the shadow chancellor for promising to spend and borrow more. ‘It’s not just at Wimbledon that people are calling for “new balls, please.”’

And he cited a survey revealing that half the population thinks Ed Miliband is a Muppet character. ‘Because he belongs in Sesame Street not Downing Street.’

But it was a query from Charlotte Leslie that prompted the session’s most dramatic moment. She accused Labour of creating a ‘sinister culture of fear and cover-up’ at the NHS. Cameron quoted Baroness Young, former head of the NHS watchdog, who claims that ‘huge government pressure’ led to medical blunders being suppressed for fear that Labour’s reputation might be tarnished. In plain English, lives were sacrificed to protect ministers.

It got worse. Cameron, still quoting Baroness Young, said the pressure had intensified after Andy Burnham became health secretary. Suddenly all eyes were on Labour’s front bench. Andy Burnham’s face was a picture. Specifically, it was a picture of a Tasered choirboy. Cameron stopped in mid-sentence.

‘The honourable gentleman is shaking his head,’ he said. And those around Burnham were doing the same. Their expressions, sombre and disbelieving. But where they showing solidarity with Burnham? Or outrage and revulsion at what they’d just heard. Given what we know of New Labour’s psyche – paranoid, arrogant and ruthless – it all rings horribly true.

The session ended on a cheerier note.  Ian Swales highlighted ‘the injustice’ of sixth formers being denied free school meals. And Stephen Mosley reminded the world that MPs suffer no such disadvantage. Indeed, he announced a slap-up party to be held in the Commons today to celebrate ‘national school meals week’.

Cameron tried to sound statesmanlike on the topic of free grub. A balance, he said, must be struck between spending the budget wisely and preventing obesity. In other words, the filthier the food the fewer the fatsos.

But my guess is that the nosh served at today’s school meal launch will be world-class.


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Show comments
  • realfish

    Miliband reverted to type today and returned to what he perceived to be the scene of his early PMQ successes; scouring obscure statistics to belittle and get ‘one over’ on Dave. Some may see that as a success, to others, me included he came across as an immature nerd trying to trip up the big boy. I sat open mouthed in disbelief, watching this would be Prime Minister, his over-excited laugher and premature congratulation – something that afflicts all teenagers at some stage in their life.
    This nerdiness says a lot about Miliband and about Labour. It shews that Labour’s fundamental flaw is still there; Labour’s detail obsessed, command and control, managerial style of Government, a culture and style of Government that ultimately that led to its failure.
    Miliband learned his stock in trade at the knee of Gordon ‘Tractor Figures’ Brown. Brown’s obsessive managerial culture had armies of thousands of Civil Servants scurrying round measuring and reporting everything that was demanded – and more. Some Departments had more people measuring things than producing outcomes. In my own Department, before the new Government called a halt to the madness, we were reporting 102 key performance indicators each month – not just the 6 key outcomes for which we were responsible, but for the all of the contributing processes and procedures as well.
    And of course Brown used these figures and this detail to tack and change course. Rarely did a month go by without a new initiative emerging. We and other departments ended up like spinning tops. Nothing was implemented properly nothing had a chance to bed-in before the next change of direction arrived. And of course on planet Brown, ‘what got measured got done’…even if it wasn’t!
    There was absolutely nothing strategic about Labour or about Brown and his government. No leadership, just control, instruction and detail. Brown the control freak had his nose in the detail – he had no appetite for the bigger picture and disastrously for the country couldn’t see it, couldn’t see beyond the short-term.
    Miliband’s ‘smart arsing’ today wasn’t a ‘hit’. It simply told us that he has no vision, he can offer nothing but the same old Brown, the same old Balls.

  • telemachus

    The clash has now intensified amid extraordinary claims that the Baroness faced a revolt by her own staff over the way she ran the independent CQC, which has been in operation only since April.

    Now the Makhnovists have seized on it we have to spell out a little further why Cameron was unwise to quote the ex CQC chair

  • Colonel Mustard

    Baroness Young blows gaff on New Labour’s gagging of whistleblowers and whitewashing of life-threatening problems in the NHS. Usual suspects smear her. Any criticism of the aspirant single party state attracts ad hominem attacks.

    They just can’t handle the truth.

  • Adrian Wainer

    ” But it was a query from Charlotte Leslie that prompted the session’s most dramatic moment. She accused Labour of creating a ‘sinister culture of fear and cover-up “,.
    Lloyd Evans

    And of course the Tories and the Lib Dems would never do anything like that, LOL.

    http://www.thecommentator.com/ckeditor_assets/pictures/63/content_movahedian20121108124450187-1.jpg

    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7026/6764208129_e4e7a53a8d_z.jpg

  • David Cameron

    I see that our weasely Home Secretary has decided to bow to pressure from various Trotskyists and the extreme-Left and has banned Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from entering Britain.

    It appears that it is against the law anyone to say, what is manifestly true, that Al Queda is a manifestation of Islam.

    This woman is not acting in my name, or in defence of my freedoms.

    • HookesLaw

      Banned from speaking at an EDL meeting. Says it all really. She says Obama is the love child of Malcolm X. And that is the nice side of her. And about as sane as she gets

      • David Cameron

        And since when, in a supposedly free and democratic country, has it been forbidden to say things about Obama?

        I’d rather it was forbidden for Muslims in the UK to say that those who leave Islam should be murdered, but a large proportion of Muslims here have that view.

        So what is worse? Considering Obama is dangerous, or wanting to murder people?

        • HookesLaw

          Wanting to murder people is bad. Actually murdering people is even worse.
          Suggesting quite seriously it would seem that Obama is a love child of Malcom X and is indeed in cahoots with murderers is plain insane.
          I merely quote the least odious of her assertions and suggest that it is very wise to keep this creep out of the UK.

          Its sad that you pervert the truth, it merely gives credibility to the nutty tendency amongst the loony preachers. There is nothing in Islam which says apostates can be murdered and very very few I would suggest, as opposed to a ‘large proportion’, think that.

          But for this sadness I would think it quite funny that you are as twisted as the people you campaign against.

          ‘”Again and again will those who disbelieve, wish that they had bowed to God’s will in Islam. Leave them alone, to enjoy the good things of this life and to please themselves: let false hope amuse them: soon will knowledge undeceive them.”

          So says the Koran.

          • Adrian Wainer

            ” Wanting to murder people is bad. Actually murdering people is even worse.

            Suggesting quite seriously it would seem that Obama is a love child of Malcom X and is indeed in cahoots with murderers is plain insane.
            I merely quote the least odious of her assertions and suggest that it is very wise to keep this creep out of the UK.

            Its sad that you pervert the truth, it merely gives credibility to the nutty tendency amongst the loony preachers. There is nothing in Islam which says apostates can be murdered and very very few I would suggest, as opposed to a ‘large proportion’, think that.

            But for this sadness I would think it quite funny that you are as twisted as the people you campaign against.

            ‘”Again and again will those who disbelieve, wish that they had bowed to God’s will in Islam. Leave them alone, to enjoy the good things of this life and to please themselves: let false hope amuse them: soon will knowledge undeceive them.”

            So says the Koran. “,.
            HookesLaw

            ” So says the Koran. “,.
            Oh does it, would you have chapter and verse to reference your apparent direct quotation from the Koran ?

      • Adrian Wainer

        ” Banned from speaking at an EDL meeting. Says it all really. She says Obama is the love child of Malcolm X. And that is the nice side of her. And about as sane as she gets “,.
        HookesLaw

        Is Malcolm X a grey long nosed zeta reticulan ?

        Alex Collier 1994 (7 of 12) Grey Aliens are Energy Vampires
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDXWboW8bVI

        • HookesLaw

          There are a lot of lizard headed men from Pluto hiding around out there. The nutjobs are on their case.

          • Adrian Wainer

            ” There are a lot of lizard headed men from Pluto hiding around out there. The nutjobs are on their case. “,.
            HookesLaw

            ” There are a lot of lizard headed men from Pluto hiding around out there. “,.
            Um right if they are doing their ” hiding ” in graveyards they need to be careful of that scorpion who bit the camel and when the man then kicked the camel the man’s foot melted.

            Dr.Zakir Naik – 25 mistake in 5 minute
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6j-qhjAvlA

    • Adrian Wainer

      ” I see that our weasely Home Secretary has decided to bow to pressure from various Trotskyists and the extreme-Left and has banned Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from entering Britain.

      It appears that it is against the law anyone to say, what is manifestly true, that Al Queda is a manifestation of Islam.

      This woman is not acting in my name, or in defence of my freedoms. “,.
      David Cameron

      The argument that Tories are scared of lefties and that is reason they act as Quislings to the Saudis in support Arab racial supremacist Grand Jihad is anything but the whole truth since the Saudis spend huge amounts of money in supporting their War against Western Civilization, Christianity and Judaism and folks in politics in the West who for example put their heads above the wall and criticize the Saudis or even do stuff the Saudis would not want are unlikely to end up getting a gift of the modern equivalent of thirty pieces of silver from the Saudis for their efforts.

  • telemachus

    So we are to take notice of Baroness Young
    A bitter bitter woman

    “A vicious feud has broken out over a Labour-appointed peer who unexpectedly quit as head of an NHS watchdog at the centre of controversy over shocking hospital death rates.

    Well-placed Government sources claimed that Baroness Young, chair of the Care Quality Commission, was ‘volatile and hot-headed’ and had sent abusive emails to colleagues.”

    • HookesLaw

      Shoot the messenger – ? Labour’s baroness criticises Labours health minister. Hard lines old chap the truth is out.

      • telemachus

        She berated the staff at CQC from setup and had to go
        A very bitter woman
        To quote her showed poor Cameroonian judgement

        • realfish

          I think that the Baroness must now be line for the same treatment that Labour dished out to;

          Mo Mowlam (allegations of psychiatric illness)
          Julie Bailey (secret psychiatric assessment / driven out of town)
          Pam Warren (attempt to dig dirt / slur)
          Dr David Kelly (Exposed, vilified and ?)
          Mrs ANO – Wife of Tory Shadow Minister (McBride)

          You cross this lot at your peril. Labour might pretend to be democrats, but the Stalinist tendency remains deep in their DNA and lurks, barely in check, just beneath the surface.
          When it comes to the real nasty party, Labour leaves the Tories for dead.

          • telemachus

            Those who let their bitterness get in the way of something as important as our health deserve all that is coming
            PS there is enough on record about Kelly to make your slur in bad taste

            • realfish

              Bad taste?
              Remind me. Just who was it described Dr Kelly as a Walter Mitty character? and why?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Ha ha! Definitely a pattern there. And the resident troll is now referring to my “cerebral decline”. They cannot bear dissent but must always try to shut down opposition.

  • HookesLaw

    In fact Milibands selective use of dubious statistics will probably come back to haunt him and it makes you wonder why he cannot bring himself to ask more meaningful questions.
    If five of these infrastructure project were started under labour how could cameron have brought them forward. They could only be ‘brought forward’ anyway if they existed to bring forward before 2011.
    (in fact Miliband was only recycling a Feb 2013 Independent headline)

  • Jimble

    Why did Andrew Lansley threaten to sack CQC whistleblower and board member, Kay Sheldon?

    gu.com/p/3gzhh/tw

    • Colonel Mustard

      Why hasn’t there been a full public enquiry into the cover-up activities of CQC under New Labour and specifically Baroness Young’s assertions that Burnham and other New Labour ministers bullied her into whitewashing scandals?

      A “sinister culture of fear and cover-up” sounds very New Labour.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.j.simpson.393 David Julian Simpson

        because they did not you old fool, if you can’t do any better than this may i suggest that you do not post on here again as you make yourself look an idiot

        • telemachus

          I recommend proscription

        • arnoldo87

          Don’t be too hard on the old chap – he often gets confused after his afternoon nap.

      • Jimble

        Why don’t you ask the ConDems about why there hasn’t been a full public enquiry, as they have been in power for nearly 3yrs.

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