Coffee House

PMQs sketch: All Miliband has left is food banks and class war

11 September 2013

11 September 2013

Tough times for Ed Miliband. He looked pretty glum at the start of PMQs. Was he wishing that Syria had developed in a different direction? A few weeks of statesmanlike ‘unity and consensus’ – while Assad got his wrists slapped by a volley of Tomahawks – might have suited him better.

Instead he was forced onto the domestic agenda. And it’s turning into quicksand. All his best accusations have been sucked into the mire. He can no longer mention the following: flat-lining, Plan B, the double dip, the bedroom tax, the benefit cap, cutting too fast and too deep. As for his trustiest platitude – ‘a recession made in Downing Street’ – that now sounds as quaint as ‘dial-up’ or ‘Suffragette’.

Is anything left? Food banks. And class war. We heard plenty of both.

But first Miliband made a brave attempt to skewer the PM with a sharpened statistic. He and his team of figure-ferrets have winkled out a shock-horror graph which shows that prices have shot up faster than wages during 38 out of the last 39 months. Yes! 38 from the last 39. Not quite the talk of the bus queues and the bingo halls. But it’s something. Cameron retaliated with maximum force. Exports, up. Employment, up. Business confidence, up. And he dismissed Miliband as a leader who ‘went to Bournemouth and bottled it.’

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Labour’s backbenchers hammered the PM from familiar angles. Helen Goodman performed an act of mass-telepathy. She revealed that millions of parents whose children are jobless believe the PM is ‘out of touch.’ Kerry McCarthy rubbed salt into a suppurating wound: she mentioned food banks.

The PM still looks pretty twitchy when asked about electors queuing at soup kitchens like refugees. He repeated his favourite sound-bite that food bank dependency rose tenfold under Labour. (Is there any authority for this whopping spurt?) He added a fresh angle. He blamed New Labour – obsessed with publicity, as always – for suppressing the crisis by preventing Job Centres from referring needy folk to the food outlets. If true, this is a scandal that would make Mao blush. Not only did Labour starve the voters, it even denied them food that was freely available.

Gloria De Piero rose to grudging murmurs from her fellow Labour members. They seem to resent the presence of an MP whose beauty, youth, charisma, intelligence and popularity outstrip theirs so easily. It’s certainly no bed of roses being a fat old grouchy Labour non-entity, and Ms de Piero’s self-evident virtues don’t make matters any better. In future, she might placate her allies by wearing a Roy Hattersley fat suit.


She redeemed herself by asking a query that came straight from Militant’s Official Handbook of Victimisation. Was the PM embarrassed, she asked, to see the poor struggling while City fatcats slurp up juicy bonuses. Cameron sprung a surprise on her. Earlier today Ms de Piero had told Twitter she expected to be called at PMQs. One follower suggested asking, ‘How happy are you that the Labour leader will still be in place at the next election?’

Cameron quoted it and the Tories howled with glee. ‘Why reject that advice,’ he asked, ‘and yet listen to the advice of the shadow chancellor?’

Ms de Piero twinkled gamely back. She seemed to enjoy the joke. This, of course, is quite wrong. The proper response, as she should know, is to fix the PM with a scorpion glare and to mouth obscenities at him which a BBC lip-reader can later interpret for News at Ten.

The two Eds looked stunned. Their ashen, rigid faces were Easter Island grey. Suddenly they were staring across three thousand miles of nothing.


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Show comments
  • thanksdellingpole

    Good reply DC, left her gaping.

  • E Hart

    Osborne’s got a political and economic appointment in Samarra. There are now more estate agents and people working in property than we once had coalminers, or there were angels in the celestial host.

    This is not a recovery. It’s a property bubble and a short-term service-induced mirage which claims to be creating a rise in aggregate demand. This isn’t going to happen. Outgoings are rising and incomes are declining. There is also a huge debt overhang (£5,971 on average per household – ex. mortgage). If you stick in
    mortgages, it’s over 54k on average. Oh, and credit is tight to non-existent. As for the new jobs they are in the most part poorly paid i.e. subsistence+Primark.

    The best news of the week was the announcement by JLR that it is to employ 1,700 people in well paid jobs. The rest of the jobs are bubbilicious service positions created in the run up to Christmas or by call centres asking if you are happy that Sky, British Gas, EON… where able to do the job or provide the service you are paying them for. These jobs only work if you still live with your parents i.e. don’t have your own personal overheads. They are not the jobs upon which you build a thriving economy.

  • Keith D

    Class war? Labour have been at war with the British Working Class since 1997.Why else would they collude in their Ethnic Cleansing from our cities? Spin that.

  • Russell

    So Lloyd, apart from the fact you appear to have the hots for Gloria, Labour including the women of your dreams got well and truly shafted at PMQ’s!

  • sarahsmith232

    what has Labour got to throw at the Tories? nothing that isn’t going to register as having to be paid for by increased taxes. all of their holier than thou ‘far greater concern for the poor’ act is just a reminder to everyone that the moment they get back in Council Tax, Petrol Tax and Alcohol tax is going to sky rocket to increase their welfare spending. so this should be them onto a loser, an act of lunacy?
    it’s neither here nor there. they’re pursuing their 35% policy. they and the Lib Dem’s have made sure that the constituency boundaries remain skewed to their left-wing favour. we no longer live in a democracy, Labour only needs 35% to get in, Tories need 40%.
    Sadiq Khan has worked out that ‘any future majority government will only be possible with the support of ethnic minority voters’. they know they all vote Labour and have sussed that their vote ‘will decide’ 168 seats in 2015 so are aggressively going after them.
    there are still the millions dependent on welfare through their Northern client state that will vote for them, come what may.
    when G.Brown was as unpopular as Miliband they were all having kittens. they were an on edge, nervy,fearing the worst political party. note the difference? they’re relaxed ’cause they know they can wing it.

  • HookesLaw

    Class War – the last resort of the scoundrel.

    • David Lindsay

      What does that make David Cameron, George Osborne and the truly vile Michael Gove, to whom it is the first resort, the default option, the only know tactic?

      • HookesLaw

        More invention. Gove is brilliant not vile. He is giving children a chance of a decent education after years of dumbing down under Labour. An education which will allow them to make something of themselves.

        Tories are not embarking on a class war. The nutjobs criticise them for being too wet. They do not like Cameron because he is a compassionate conservative.

        • David Lindsay

          Completely deluded. This is the harshest, most spiteful government in modern history, and Gove is the perfect embodiment of it, even more than Osborne, which is saying quite something.

          • HookesLaw

            Of course it is not.
            Its cleaning up labour’s mess which year after year spend more than the econo0my could ever hope to generate in revenues. Then the chickens came home to roost.

            You are another blind bigot

            • David Lindsay

              Well, then there must be a lot of us about, because good luck selling that on the doorstep after five years. Good luck with it now.

              • HookesLaw

                Tories up 4% Labour down 3%

                Yorkshire Post report (British Social Attitudes Survey) –
                ‘ATTITUDES towards the unemployed have hardened dramatically in Yorkshire over recent years with a majority of people now believing benefits are “too high and discourage work”, a major new study reveals today.
                In a significant boost to the coalition’s controversial
                welfare reform programme, a survey of people’s social beliefs published this morning reveals 54 per cent of people in Yorkshire think unemployment benefits should be reduced further – up from less than a third in 1986.’

                • David Lindsay

                  It’s not me whom you need to tell. It is the apparently dumbstruck, tiny majority-holding Tory MPs from that among several other parts of the country.

                • David Lindsay

                  Tories up 4% Labour down 3%

                  Still a Labour lead.

                • Chris lancashire

                  At this stage of the Parliament Labour should be leading by 10 points or more as you well know, But they’re not. Thank goodness.

          • Dougie

            Well, I guess it takes a deluded man to know one.

      • fozz

        Why does it matter if you’re a particular class? Those who mind don’t matter; those who matter don’t mind.

        • David Lindsay

          I quite agree. “A platform broad enough for all to stand upon,” and all that.

          But this Government is not of that mind. All class war in this country has always been waged by the Right. But never – no, never – with the present ferocity.

          • Chris lancashire

            The only class war is in your and others of the Left’s minds.
            It’s sooooo last century.

    • The_Missing_Think

      And plebs.

  • 15peter20

    “He can no longer mention the following: flat-lining…”

    Errr yes he can. Miliband’s problem isn’t that the Tories have done very little to revive the economy, it’s that he and his front bench are useless and have no ideas.

    He could, if he wanted to, also mention the public/private debt bubble pyramid scheme that is the Help to Buy scheme.

    • HookesLaw

      It is not a debt bubble pyramid scheme.

      Only someone with a magic wand can revive the economy out of thin air and I do not see Harry Potter on either front bench.

    • telemachus

      The tactics are working
      Lying low
      *
      Come a week Monday you will hear a blast of exciting rhetoric from the hard talent; Andy, Ed B, Yvette, Steve T and the rest of the all star cast
      Come down to Sussex

      • disqus_XQa38TJ8yu

        The sad thing is that you sound as if you sincerely believe this tripe. The ‘blast’, if any, will be of hot foetid air peppered with lies.

        • telemachus

          As do all forward thinking and reasonable folk

      • Colonel Mustard

        “a blast of exciting rhetoric from the hard talent”

        Which is a long way to write the word LIES.

      • Harry Perkins

        Ed B is always good value and Andy Burnham hard hitting.
        Contrast that with the Osborne and Hunt dull equivalents.

        • Keith D

          Burnham? He certainly hit the NHS patients hard enough.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Hunt is underrated.

          Burnham is vastly overrated – except in deviousness and incompetence.

      • dalai guevara

        Be careful, you are deliberately listing the chaff, not the wheat.
        Only someone with a hidden agenda would do such a thing.
        You are in fact quite “unreal”.

      • E Hart

        Hilarious. Not only are they lying but they are low lying. I’ve got no time for the Coalition’s re-modelling of Britain on the lines of a banana plantation but Labour is the worst kind of political invertebrate – the entitled, useless and opportunistic.

        The unions should should drop it and start again. It would make more sense for them to fund partnerships and co-ops with the political levy than it does to fund this regressive shower o’shite who’ll never deliver on anything. At least they would be doing something that provides jobs and adds value. When was the last time Labour did anything for the British people? 1945-1951? The mid-60s? The rest of the time – up until Blair got rid of the pretence – it did its best to avoid being anything it said it was in its constitution and sided with the carpetbaggers and rentiers to turn the country into non-productive sump.

  • toco10

    Labour are becoming increasingly depressed and isolated as Red Ed flounders and the economy shows real signs of a prolonged revival.Good times for the UK are always a disaster for Labour who prefer to see the voters unhappy and struggling rather than happy and prosperous.Tough for Red Ed and his trades union paymasters!

    • David Lindsay

      the economy shows real signs of a prolonged revival

      No one believes that. Whether or not it is true, no one believes it, so no one is going to vote as if they did believe it.

      MP after MP fawned over Cameron today from safe seats in the South. Tories sitting for key marginals in the West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire, all of which have rising rather than falling unemployment on today’s figures, were deafeningly silent.

      • HookesLaw

        West Midlands? (not to mention Merseyside)
        Jaguar Land Rover announce 1700 new jobs. £1.5 billion of investment providing an additional 24,000 jobs in the supply chain.
        JLR -11,000 new jobs created in the last 3 years.
        Millions billions in exports.

        • David Lindsay

          Not the overall figures published today and over which everyone in the Home Counties media is crowing so much.

          And even what you cite, well, no one believes you. No one is listening. Everywhere that wasn’t rich already, the voters have made up their minds about this Government, and absolutely nothing can no happen in order to change those minds. Not a thing.

          Marginal seats, pretty much by definition, are not in places that were rich already.

          • HookesLaw

            You are the one whistling in the dark.
            24,000 jobs in the supply chain. £1.5 billion new investment. All on top of previous huge investment by JLR and a huge amount of investment in the car industry elsewhere.

            Nobody listening? IPSOS MORI (today) Tories up 4 Labour down 3

            • David Lindsay

              But Labour still ahead. As it has now been for three years. Give that a moment to sink in. The next General Election is over.

              A Prime Minister who cannot get in his own Cabinet to turn up and vote for his war, or sack them when they don’t, and a Chancellor who would be hated and totally disbelieved even if he put everyone on a million pounds a month. Finished. Utterly finished.

              As for Miliband’s personal lack of popularity, who cares? What matters, what alone matters, are voting intentions. And those have been perfectly clear in Labour’s favour for almost the entirety of this Parliament, with concrete confirmation of them every time that actual votes have been cast.

              • HookesLaw

                More delusion. The vote was not for a war. Cameron refused to lie like Blair and Campbell.

                • David Lindsay

                  Ooohhh, it still stings, doesn’t it?

                  No least (not only, but not least) because the whole thing has exposed Cameron’s total – absolutely total – lack of any clout at any level of his own party.

                • HookesLaw

                  Yawn yawn yawn. Dream on. Its all you have.

                • David Lindsay

                  More than Cameron has. He has Ministers, from his own party, who hold him in such abject contempt. Tomorrow, it will be a fortnight. None has been sacked, and one has been on Any Questions.

              • Fraziel

                Wishful thinking. History tells us that labours lead is nowhere near enough mid term to ensure a majority come election time and the more people see and hear of the truly appallingly weak,weird sounding and looking Miliband as well as sleekit distrusted Balls the more they will turn away from labour. There is a very definite move away from labour at the moment and even with their unfair built in advantage in our rubbish electoral system i doubt they will get a majority. The tories probably will not get a majority but anything less than a win for labour will be an utter disaster and humiliating for them.

                • David Lindsay

                  Too late.

                  Who is going to win, then? Well, there you are.

                • Fraziel

                  I
                  think we will get another hung parliament with the tories the largest
                  party. labours vote will fall away as people realise that not only do
                  they have few policies but the policies they do have go against public
                  opinion. The fact that there is a great
                  deal of suspicion about Balls and that Miliband is so useless as well as
                  coming across as weird will be a big factor too.That and the improving
                  economy. The more the British people see and hear of Miliband (
                  especially when he talks unscripted where he talks
                  this odd type of gobbledygook that is actually hard to understand ) the more they will never ever see
                  him as a potential prime minister.

                  labour are, imo, heading for disaster
                  in an election they should have found a cake
                  walk. To be 3 points ahead in the polls at this point in time is nowhere
                  near good enough. I do hope that the eniquity in the electoral system
                  that gives labour a huge advantage will also be addressed after the next
                  election. It is the right and fair thing
                  to do regardless of your politics.

      • Reconstruct

        Er, during the last month, employment in Yorkshire rose 15k. During the last year it has risen 53k. Yorkshire employment is now the highest it has been since 2010 (when my data starts) and is up 106k from Jan 2010.

        • David Lindsay

          Not the official figures published today.

          If you don’t believe me, then ask any of the Tory MPs there. But good luck getting them to open their mouths.

          • dalai guevara

            Oh dear, these figures!
            All I need to do is walk the streets, see the amount of hardboard on shop windows, count the latest BMWs and Golf model series no longer cruising the streets, observing that ALL joyriders and petrol heads have disappeared, note that the Ibiza parties now happen in warehouses of Trafford and Slough, as the underclass can no longer afford to go.
            That’s my data set right there.

            • alabenn

              The underclass have never voted Conservative, they barely vote Labour as laziness is their default mode, now Labour cannot bribe them with believable promises of Danegeld they will just stay in bed.

              • dalai guevara

                Ah, perhaps – a positive POV.
                If the underclass were irrelevant, then there would be no need to worry about riots.

                • alabenn

                  To the vast majority riots are irrelevant except in hardening their attitude to immigration.
                  The time to worry about riots will be if they become white driven against immigrants, otherwise people destroying their own nests does not really bother them.

                • dalai guevara

                  Oh dear. I urge you to watch this short (non-violent) clip.
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W2HzkAL7Dk

                • Tony Quintus

                  The only reason the riots were a worry is because the Met refused to put them down, when they acted properly and actually did their jobs the rioters melted away and did not return.

                • dalai guevara

                  yes, further proof, now discussed in the oldest British publication, that when you announce job cuts, people get upset. People with batons, that is.

                • Fraziel

                  Perhaps if the met wasnt full of five foot nothing female coppers in their early twenties who were absolutely sh*tting themselves they might have been able to do something. I seem to recall they were told to not interfere at times and just let the rioters get on with it if it was property they were destroying. They had only to step in if someone was in danger so tough luck if that was your house they were setting on fire. Welcome to the new politically correct London policing by 6 stone short women who couldnt arrest sh*t never mind a rioter.

              • David Lindsay

                The underclass have never voted Conservative

                They were how you won in 1992. You actually went round the houses in certain wards warning the occupants that Labour planned to put them back to work, or into work for the first time. It was literally a matter of “Vote Tory To Keep Yourself On The Dole”. And they did. Thus did you procure your unexpected victory.

                • alabenn

                  Your dribbling`s get more infantile by the day, do you seriously expect anyone to believe Tories would actually go around these areas to try to get them to vote.
                  Desperation in your posts becomes more tangible every time someone mentions polls closing.

                • David Lindsay

                  They did it, all right. And it worked for them.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Glad to see you maintaining the strong tradition of Kinnock’s 1992 campaign.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_Jennifer%27s_Ear

                  Telling lies to win political advantage. Do Labour actually do anything else when not in government?

                  And then once in government they continue telling lies to hoodwink the British people and undermine the opposition.

                  Labour, the party of lies, liars and lying.

                • dalai guevara

                  Come on Colonel, that was a great piece of spin.

                • David Lindsay

                  It was a matter of fact. Well and widely remembered in the places where no one official ever asks.

                • dalai guevara

                  I do not doubt it. The Colonel cannot have it both ways.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  For the purposes of this discourse I am only concerned with the promiscuous lies of the Labour parteh.

                • dalai guevara

                  Promiscuous? I thought this was imported?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Yes and Lloyd George knew my father. . .

                • Chris lancashire

                  And in some wards they used pitchforks and bayonets too.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  Didn’t work in Blaydon, Consett, Ashington, Peterlee etc etc…

          • HookesLaw

            ONS
            The number of people in work increased by 69,000 in the quarter to June to 29.78 million, the highest since records began in 1971.
            The figure is 301,000 higher than a year ago, giving a rate of 71.5%.

            • Chris lancashire

              It’s no good you know. Hard facts that challenge their prejudices are just ignored and replaced by class war tripe. I do admire your continued stamina in strewing real pearls in their path.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Who is this ‘No one’ of whom you (regularly) speak? Friend of yours?

  • David Lindsay

    Because food banks are a non-story.

    Obviously.

    And nothing to do with the class war being waged by the Coalition and its press.

    Obviously.

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