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PMQs sketch: Cameron kick-starts a Miliband recovery

29 January 2014

29 January 2014

Cunning work from Milband at PMQs. He played Syria like a fixed-odds betting machine and came away with a minor jackpot. Last week he had urged the prime minister to accept a few hundred of the neediest Syrian refugees. Cameron duly said OK. Today Miliband was quick to claim a victory for decency, for humanity, and for Miliband. ‘I welcome this significant change of heart,’ he said. Choice word, heart. He’s got it. And Cameron hasn’t. That’s the implication. Miliband tried the same tactic with the 50p tax rate.

When Ed Balls unfurled this this new policy he got a mixed bag of reviews. Economists put their fingers in their ears and ran around wimpering. The popular response suggested it was a top ten hit. Cameron’s task today was to point out that raising the upper tax-rate kills growth, throttles investment and puts talent into a limousine bound for Heathrow. Not hard. But he fluffed it. Perhaps Miliband’s recent spate of dire performances had persuaded him to shirk his pre-match training. If so it showed. Miliband’s question was simple.

‘Does he rule out lowering the top rate to 40p? Yes or No’

And Cameron couldn’t answer. Not directly. He said he wanted the rich to pay more tax. He said he favoured lower rates for middle-earners and the poor. And the Institute of Fiscal Studies, he went on, had trashed the 50p policy. Then he changed the subject and called Labour ‘the anti-jobs, anti-business party’. This equivocation was a free gift for Miliband who loves to capitalise on any hint that Cameron is a billionaire’s puppet. He can now portray the Tories as a gang of snooty oligarch-huggers who are hell-bent on stealing yet more dosh from starving orphans so they can lavish it on their over-paid parasite chums.

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Stroll in the park for Miliband.

To reinforce the point, Labour unleashed its Grim Oop North division (most of whom are doing rather nicely in their jobs-for-life down south) who set about embarrassing Cameron over his privileged past. Andy Sawford, from Corby, offered Cameron a job with ‘a rogue agency’ that pays less than the minimum wage. Scouser Steve Rotheram reeled off a blood-curdling list of social atrocities in Liverpool. People are scrapping for tins of beans at food banks while loan-sharks roam the back streets profiteering from child poverty.

‘When will he govern for the many not the few?’

In reply Cameron said this. ‘Let me correct the first thing that came out of his mouth – about child poverty.’ Not the happiest of phrases. Not the happiest of topics for Cameron. Labour will be back for more on this.

Lisa Nandy, from Wigan, was the star member of the Destitution Squad today. She name-checked Mrs Thatcher, and then she demanded that Cameron make a public act of contrition for the miners’ strike. She urged haste, as well, because some Wigan residents ‘have died waiting for justice.’ Shamefully, and rather brilliantly, her question knitted together two convenient falsehoods. First, that ‘justice’ obliges Cameron to apologise for the miners’ strike. Second, that the strike has some mysterious lingering ability to assassinate northerners 29 years after it ended.

Cameron got quite riled at this. He accused Arthur Scargill of failing to ballot the NUM membership, and he charged Neil Kinnock with letting Scargill off the hook. Typical Labour, he finished, they bungle everything and they never admit their mistakes.

A pretty lousy day for Cameron. Under no pressure whatsoever he kick-started a Miliband recovery.


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Show comments
  • Tony_E

    Yes, Cameron’s response was wrong. He should have simply said – If we believe we will raise more revenue from a 40% rate than a 45% rate, then what is the rate we will implement.

    • Mynydd

      Let us look at the figures, I earn £200,000 a year.
      £50,000 taxed at 45% is £22,500
      £50,000 taxed at 40% is £20,000
      When I was at school 22,500 was greater than 20,000
      £50.000 taxed at 50% is £25,000
      Again when I was at school 25,000 was greater than 22,500 and 20,000
      Of course doing these sum I have not used any fiddle factors, like saying I only earn £140,000, the other £60,000 is in an offshore account therefore not taxable.
      Mr Cameron’s response was wrong but not for the reasons you say, he is saying, fiddling your tax return to avoid paying the 50% or indeed the 45% rate.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        More rubbish from a Labour troll. Ignore.

  • callingallcomets

    This is a bit like those nobles at the Tsar’s court in January 1917 arguing about who should be allowed to stand next to him at the Imperial Ball

  • Paul

    “Perhaps Miliband’s recent spate of dire performances had persuaded him to shirk his pre-match training.”

    I’d guess he thought “do I really have to justify myself and Laffer to this pompous, finger-wagging plonker?”

  • toco10

    Lloyd Evans-given your name is it possible you may be a touch biased in this piece?If I was a Welshman which you may well not be so many apologies if this is not the case I would feel hurt by the pit closures but I would hope that I was mature enough to grasp the economic reality of events.

  • Saddo

    Saw it, thought milliband was useless as pretty much normal. Cameron must find it hard to motivate himself to respond to such dull rubbish each week.
    Milli’s only interesting feature is the white flash is his hair which seems to change every week. Sometimes its wide, sometimes its thin, today being a thin day.

    • Mynydd

      The only that motivates Mr Cameron is playing games on his tablet. The country wide floods certainly did not.

  • realfish

    With regard to Syria, as with most things, Cameron is left to make the best of a bad job. The rapidly deteriorating situation there and the vacuum that has allowed Islamist terrorist to gain a foothold is largely of Miliband’s making. This dangerous fool, out of his depth, used the vote on Syria to grandstand, reneging on agreements and stymying the West’s response, or in truth its options to respond.

    I will never forget his smirking delight after the vote that night; the schoolboy having ‘got one over’ on the big boys. But Miliband’s narcissism has come at the cost of thousands of lives, as Miliband gave Putin and his client Assad, the comfort and cover that they needed to continue their brutality, with impunity.
    A no fly zone, or the threat to impose one, may have made such a difference to those ‘barrel bombed’ in Aleppo. Kids that had been killed may be alive now.

    Miliband should hang his head in utter shame. He has no place in serious politics and certainly not on the world stage.

    • southerner

      Because our involvement in other wars in the past 20 years have been an unmitigated success of course.

      • HookesLaw

        Well I’m stumped – you had better ask Saddam Gadaffi and Osama that one.

        • southerner

          No need to be stumped Hooke mate. Go ask the Libyans, Iraqis and Afghanis.
          And if you think you’re going to win this one…..

        • Daniel

          They could have caught Peter Sutcliffe sooner if they’d just nuked half of Yorkshire after his third victim was found.

        • saffrin

          They’re dead. Is Iraq a better place?

    • Mynydd

      What about those Lib Dems and Conservatives who voted along side Mr Miliband. Are these MPs also dangerous fools and out of their depths?

      • realfish

        I have no doubt that there were people on all sides of the House who were of conscience, had integrity and a deeply held belief that intervention was wrong (some perhaps ‘once bitten’ by Bliar).

        I have no doubt that many more of conscience, intergrity and belief, understood the responsibilities they had to the people of Syria, to the international community, but most of all to humanity by at least retaining the option to stopping the slaughter and as we have seen since, the torture.

        The problem is, in reneging on the agreement that he made with Cameron to support the POSSIBILITY of an intervention, Miliband shewed that he was not a man of conscience or integrity. Rather he displayed, as he has done so many times before, the trait of a cynical opportunist, who would stab anyone in the back for his own ends. Not his brother this time, but the victims of Assad.

        I say once again, Miliband has blood on his hands. But as one of his Marxist heroes, Hobsbawm, once said, perhaps that’s a price worth paying.

        • Mynydd

          First and foremost the government’s responsibility is to the people of Great Britain. Bombing another country is an act of war, therefore it cannot be in Great Britain’s interest for our armed forces to become involved in the civil war in Syria. Please explain how Great Britain being at war with Syria would have stopped the Syrian anti-government forces slaughtering women and children.

          We have only Mr Cameron’s word that Mr Miliband had agreed to support an intervention, and who trusts him. It was not mealy a possibility it was about to happen that weekend and would have done so if Mr Putin not intervened.

          Mr Cameron/Hague from day one have supported the anti-government forces in Syria, not only with words but also with material. So when these Islamist terrorist slaughter and torture do Mr Cameron/Hague have blood on their hands.

  • Ruth

    Are you joking?

  • Chris lancashire

    These days I don’t usually bother watching this wonkfest. Unhappily, I caught the end and couldn’t believe it when a young girl from Wigan stood up and asked for a public investigation into atrocities against the miners (I paraphrase). The modern Labour Party seems to be comprised of youths (I include the leadership) who have no memory, no shame and take the British public for fools,
    In this case remember that Scargill was a nasty bully who, eventually, got exactly what he deserved. No rewriting of history will alter that in the Great British Memory.

    • Mynydd

      The question was why papers relating to Mrs Thatcher and the miners strike were held back.

      • Chris lancashire

        No, the question is why Scargill lead decent working men into a hopeless conflict for his own aggrandisement.

        • Daniel Maris

          The question is why did no politician put forward a sensible policy of providing a 10 year economic transition period for mining villages, to allow them to adjust and seek new sources of work following pit closures.

          I disliked both Thatcher and Scargill.

          • Chris lancashire

            We’ve had 40 years since then and there is still no “transition”. What exactly do you want? Perhaps half of the City of London relocated to Ebbw Vale?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Good question, well put. I suggest you ask it of Blair and Brown who were in power for three parliaments with an effective majority and plenty of funds. They had from 1997 to 2008 to manage that transition – 11 years. Unfortunately they were too busy de-stabilising Britains already precarious workforce with a disastrous education policy and importing several million new voters to ‘rub the right’s nose in diversity’.

            More interested in discomforting their political opponents than actually helping those who voted for them.

            • Mynydd

              Finally a Conservative who has admitted that Mr Blair/Brown was doing such a good job they had plenty of funds to spare.
              You seem to be confusing the right to work in the UK with the right to vote, they are not the same thing. When the Conservative Prime Minister Mr Edward Heath sign the Treaty of Rome and the Conservative Prime Minister Mrs Margaret Thatcher signed up to the Single Market they agreed to the free movement of labour, that is, unlimited EU immigration into the UK, the right to vote was not part of these treaties. You will find that only British subjects have the right to vote here in the UK.

              • Colonel Mustard

                “Finally a Conservative who has admitted that Mr Blair/Brown was doing such a good job they had plenty of funds to spare.”

                I have ‘admitted’ nothing you lying toerag. I wrote that they had plenty of funds. I said nothing about how they got those funds or wasted them.

                • Mynydd

                  Admit when you are wrong, workers from the EU and also from Non-EU countries are not allowed to vote in the UK, that right is for British subjects only.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Because such laughable fantasies are unaffordable and ineffective.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Here are lots of questions. The main ones, unanswered, are about Labour party links to the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

        http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2001/09/scar-s03.html

        (anyone reading this will be struck by the similarities with a certain Labour supporting troll here)

        http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/aug/29/margaret-thatcher-soviet-aid-miners

        • Mynydd

          I remember Conservative Prime Ministers visiting Stalin during the cold war.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Not the same thing at all. You must be the duty troll.

      • Holly

        Like any other papers, they are released after 20-30 years, unless of course they are to do with Blair and the Iraq war, that millions of Brits did not want.
        So before asking silly questions, with curious undertones, remember when chucking mud most of it, and a lot more, always comes back and hits you, and Labour in the face.

        • Mynydd

          So what is stopping the government releasing all the papers concerning Mrs Thatcher and the miners strike why hold some back? You might not remember, that there was a public enquiry into the Iraq where all, I repeat all, government papers were available and Mr Blair was subjected to a cross examination and held to account for his actions. So why not Mrs Thatcher and her government.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Why don’t you just write “Labour is always right and the Tories are always wrong”? Because that is the gist of every one of your stupid comments.

            • Mynydd

              It is not a stupid comment to state a fact. Sir John Chilcot was chairman of the UK’s Iraq Inquiry. The proceedings can be found on iraqinquiry.org.uk

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Every comment you make is ignorant and deliberately misleading. You are a Labour Party stooge and troll with nothing interesting or sensible to say.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The re-writing of history is precisely what the leftist collective in Britain is all about. They are going at that big time and their fervent wish is to see people who can actually remember the events they lie about marginalised or shuffled off.

      Personally I’d like to see a public investigation into the atrocities of the Labour party and its associates against the people of Britain. But that would probably take decades and cost billions.

      • Makroon

        The thing is, Kinnock was responsible and quite brave in seeing right through Scargill and his goons, but the current lot are just immoral opportunists who will do anything to grab power. They make Kinnock look virtuous – no mean feat.

    • telemachus

      Was or was not Scargill correct in his statement prior to the strike that the government was to shut down most of the coal industry
      He made a tactical error in not going for a ballot
      He would have won such and Thatcher would have been Heathed

      • Chris lancashire

        Incorrect. More rewriting of history. The NCB was losing millions digging coal out of the ground using outdated technology that nobody wanted. Scargill didn’t go for a ballot because he knew he would lose it. Instead he chose to embark on a wholly political strike which, thankfully, is outlawed today.

        • Daniel Maris

          Yes, but let’s not forget the 50s and 60s when miners hugely increased productivity and were cruelly exploited – their wages not keeping pace while they worked in incredibly poor conditions which were severely injurious to their health (the coal cutting machine essentially created a highly toxic dust but they wore no protective gear).

          • Chris lancashire

            The miners were the best paid manual workers throughout this period – which of course was part of the problem. And you have figures to back up your claim that they “hugely increased productivity? No, because it didn’t happen.

            • Daniel Maris

              The miners’ productivity increased from 318 tonnes per miner in 1950 to 505 tonnes per miner in 1970 – an increase of 58%.

              http://www.ncm.org.uk/docs/collections-documents/statistics-in-mining.pdf?sfvrsn=2

              • Chris lancashire

                And an inevitable result as the most uneconomic pits were steadily closed and new open cast sites came on stream.

                • ButcombeMan

                  And more sophisticated machinery was used.

        • telemachus

          No
          Whatever the facts of coal, the tactical error allowed the Nottingham miners and others to work on and thus Maggie to claim moral victory from the start
          They could have shut the ports and airports

      • Colonel Mustard

        You remind me of Scargill and his history of flirting with Stalinism reads very much like you.

        • telemachus

          Scargill’s magnificent rhetorical oratory was something to behold

          • Colonel Mustard

            Oh, not as similar as I thought then. No one could accuse you of that.

          • Holly

            Labour love nothing more then state run death traps.
            They even managed to widen their expertise in this field to the NHS, during their last stint.
            Labour does not have anything to really boast about, because any ‘good idea’ is always ground down to a pitiful, badly managed, sub standard version of the original intention.
            Scargill today is just an old man to many, and a failed old has been, to others. He is not looked upon as a ‘hero’ in the numbers telemachus thinks he is, and not above being held to account either.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Particularly as it was a tissue of nonsense and dishonesty from start to finish.

      • kyalami

        Actually, Labour governments closed far more pits than Tory governments. Sorry to let facts intrude on a good story.

  • swatnan

    O, happy days are here again …
    Brilliant orchestration. EdM playing the concerned citizen asking questions politely and Dave just losing his cool, and Bercow having to come to his rescue, after getting a mauling from the Labour benches. And the more experienced Lab MPs lobbing inthe benders, all quietly and politely done. Today we had a decent PMQ;s and not the usual Punch n Judy rubbish. Dave did not like it one bit, and was cast as the screeching prima donna.

  • unsettledswan

    Gosh. Tosh.

  • David Kay

    i’m no fan of socialism or socialists like Cameron, but Cameron wiped the floor as usual with the Labour leader

    • southerner

      Who cares? Bunch of socialists staging left wing pillow fights.

      • Makroon

        You have a point. Evans writes an (over) long spiel on this non-event, drawing a bunch of fanciful conclusions. I often listen to PMQs, but I didn’t even notice this week’s version – which appears to have been eminently forgettable. This really is bubble cods-wallop.

    • telemachus

      Cameron Socialist
      When he lets his Chancellor give his rich friends a pay rise while displacing poor families hundreds of miles from home with changes in housing benefit

      • Colonel Mustard

        Taxing people less so that they get to keep more of the money they already earn themselves is not giving them a pay rise.

        The poor families, if in work, will have already benefited from the Coalition rise in personal tax allowances, something you never mention – like Brown’s punitive tax on the poor when he doubled the basic rate.

        • Mynydd

          More money in your pay packet is a rise in your income. The real poor working families are those in part time and/or are on zero hour contracts, where their income is so low they don’t benefit from the rise in personal tax allowances. By the way Mr Miliband/Balls have said that scraping the 10% tax rate introduced by Mr Blair/Brown was a mistake and they will reinstate it.

  • Shinsei1967

    Would have been a lot better for Cameron if he had simply said: “I don’t rule out any tax cuts”.

    • realfish

      or, ‘We will set tax rates that will provide the optimum yield for the UK’

      • an ex-tory voter

        But he can’t say that can he, because such thoughts and words spring from a bedrock of “conservative principles” and he does not possess those principles.

    • Mynydd

      He didn’t have a answer because he couldn’t find the page in his notes, and was to lazy to prepare for PMQs.

    • ButcombeMan

      What would Farage have said in the same circumstances?

      Probably. “I regard it as highly unlikely. our priority is to concentrate on the lower paid and middle income households”

      The problem Cameron has, is that he is not very sharp or politically astute and has others say, he seems extraordinarily lazy or sloppy in his preparation. The question was an obvious one.

      That said, it was interesting to listen to PMQs on R5 then turn over and listen to the account of it on World at One.

      The Beeb, true to form, did not actually report what Cameron DID say (and repeated) about concentrating on the lower paid.

      That was left by the Beeb until PM, when they played his speech.

      The whole thing COULD have been spun to say “FUTURE TAX CUTS TO BE FOR LOWER PAID. SAYS CAMERON”.

      But that is not the way of the BBC we all pay for.

  • alabenn

    One of Cameron`s problems, he slaps this pillock down one week , gets a couple of good poll results, stops bothering and lets the cur jump back up and nip him on the butt.

    • Ian Walker

      Hague repeatedly bested Blair on a Wednesday lunchtime, and it made not a jot of difference come election day.

      I’d like to think your observation was in fact a clever ploy to keep little Ed in charge – lest Labour get rid of him and promote someone either competent or likeable – heaven forbid both! Sadly I suspect that it’s no such thing.

    • Mynydd

      One of Cameron’s problems is as you say, he’s lazy

    • Paddy

      Yes but Miliband is starting from a low base.

  • telemachus

    Cameron really is a meandering obfuscating school bully
    We can be glad that Miliband last week shamed him into the U-turn on Syria
    But he cannot come clean on his plans to allow Osborne to give another 5% pay rise to his rich friends

    • http://www.facebook.com/alan.douglas.1042 Alan Douglas

      Too childish to bother with a reply.

      • telemachus

        So what is the 40% tax answer

        • Shinsei1967

          If Labour thought it fair for the better off to pay 40p tax, 18% Capital Gains Tax and have generous tax free pension savings arrangements then difficult to argue that a Tory regime of 45p (poss 40p), 28% CGT and restrictions on pension savings are less fair.

          • Chris lancashire

            Exactly right although we should be asking why parties are competing to tax the wealth creators out of existence.

          • telemachus

            Come on
            What about fiscal probity fairness and the recession

            • Colonel Mustard

              Brown introduced the 50% rate when the recession was already over, according to you . . .

              • Mynydd

                Yes quite right the recession was over when the 50% rate was introduced as part of the plan to reduce the deficit. 2009 Q3 had positive growth so ending the recession. By the way the growth remained positive until 2010 Q4 when it went negative following Mr Cameron/Osborne first budget.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Well you have almost managed to tag every comment here standing in for that other Labour troll telemachus. Your masters will be pleased.

                • Mynydd

                  I just like to set the record straight, such as, 2010 Q2 growth was 0.7% It took Mr Cameron/Osborne until 2013 Q2. to achieve this growth.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  And has been explained to you on numerous occasions that growth was totally unsustainable representing the last binge of borrowing by Labour to pump up the economy ahead of an election. It was utterly dishonest and done on the interests of Labour not the country you ignorant troll.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Well that filthy scumbag Gordon Brown was happy with a 40% tax rate for 98% of the time during the Labour Party junta of 1997-2010. He introduced the 50% rate at the last possible minute to discomfit the Tories. Typical of shabby piece of filth like Brown.

    • Adam

      Even if said ‘pay rise’ yields more for the Treasury in tax receipts?

      …or is punishing successful people actually the prime objective here?

      • Colonel Mustard

        It is not so much ‘punishing successful people’ as demonising amorphous groups – ‘bankers’, ‘the rich’, ‘Tories’, etc., – in order to stir up a wave of envy and hatred to propel them to power. The imaginary tax take is just a weak justification to waste more money that doesn’t belong to them. The clue is in the way telemachus refers to money not stolen from the people who earned it as a ‘pay rise’.

        I believe the technique was successful in 1930s Germany too.

    • wycombewanderer

      How do come to view that as a payrise?

      If a burglar leaves a turd in your bed is that a capital gain?

    • David Kay

      telemachus, what absolute complete and utter rubbish. Miliband didnt shame Cameron into a U Turn on Syria, Its was the real political leader of this country, Nigel Farage who leads the true Party of fairness and compassion; UKIP

    • HookesLaw

      Cobblers. We already have refugees from Syria. We are spending millions helping Syrians close to their homes. We are helping a few very special cases.
      All we have got from Miliband is a load of humbug from a vile hypocrite who turned his back on helping Syria when he had a chance.

      • Mynydd

        It was another U-turn by Mr Cameron, we are giving money and that’s enough.

    • callingallcomets

      Actually, old bean, Farage was the first party leader to try to shame Cameron into admitting a few refugees…funny how you “forgot” that…I wonder why?

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