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PMQs: Meet ‘the dunce of Downing Street’ and the ‘muppets’

2 April 2014

1:34 PM

2 April 2014

1:34 PM

The increasingly personal bickering between Cameron and Miliband went on today for most of the session. After a bad tempered set of formal exchanges—with Miliband branding Cameron ‘the dunce of Downing Street’ and Cameron calling Miliband and Balls ‘muppets’—the two front benches continued to trade barbs as backbenchers asked their questions. At one point, Cameron even accused Miliband of laughing at the failings of the Welsh NHS.

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Miliband went on the sale of Royal Mail and the fact that the share price has shot up since the government sold it off. Miliband wasn’t quite clear whether he wanted to mock Cameron and the government for getting the valuation wrong or whether he wanted to call it something more sinister, ‘mates rates for his friends in the City.’ Cameron tripped up in his response, though, when he suggested that the Labour manifesto committed it to the privatisation of the Royal Mail. It did not.

One other thing that was striking was how disciplined the questions from the Tory benches were. All the questions from there were friendly and most of them were set up to let Cameron take a pop at Labour. It does seem that, for the moment at least, Tory discipline has returned.

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  • Ulysses Returns

    I don’t know about Dunces and Muppets in Downing Street or parliament but by Christ, the lefty muppets are out in force here today. I prefer to see Miliband as the plasticine Wallace though I accept Balls makes an excellent Miss Piggy – either way, I think Cameron has cleverly forever designated them in the publics’ mind as glove puppets with Len McLuskey’s hand firmly up their nethers.

    • Jambo25

      All you have to do is show where, in the 2010 Labour manifesto, there was a call for the privatisation of Royal Mail and that absolves Cameron from my charge that he was/is a liar.
      After that you can then try and work out why Cameron’s government has lost the UK public well over a billion pounds on the Royal Mail sale “Mates’ rates” indeed.

      • Colonel Mustard

        With Labour what you see is never what you get. You have to read between the fingers of Brown’s sleight of hand (from the 2010 Labour manifesto):-

        “• Tough choices for £15 billion efficiency savings in 2010-11.”

        Cuts when the Tories do it. “Tough choices” when Labour do it.

        “• Tough choices on cutting government overheads: £11 billion of further operational efficiencies and other cross-cutting (sic) savings to streamline government will be delivered by 2012-13.”

        Sell offs and privatisations when the Tories do it. “Operational efficiencies” and “streamlining government” when Labour does it.

        Brown was on record for part privatisation of Royal Mail in 2009 and was only stopped by his back benchers and the election.

        • Jambo25

          Once again dislike of Cameron’s government is being seen as support for Labour It’s not It is perfectly possible to thoroughly dislike both.

      • Frank

        Who cares, so Dave got this wrong, does not matter. What does matter is that the govt got shot of a mess before it imploded. If you have any money invested in RM shares Jambo I would sell them quick. A minor point, why are we calling this entity the Royal Mail now it is in private hands?

        • Mynydd

          The government sold the Royal Mail which in its last account year made a profit of £400m for a price of £2000m. That’s 5 times profit, you would not be able to buy Tesco with that ratio.
          It was a give away to conservative palls and donators. £1.4Bn may not matter to you but it does to me. Heads should roll.

          • Jambo25

            It’s better than that though Mynydd. The government took responsibility for the Royal Mail Pension Fund away from the company. It also split the non-profit making Post Office Counters away from Royal Mail as well. So, it nationalised the loss making bits and sold the high profit making bits to its city pals at a huge discount. I don’t think Frank knows a good thing when it shouts to him.

        • Jambo25

          Like most of the general public I would not have been allowed to purchase more than a few hundred pounds worth of shares even if I had wanted to. The vast bulk of the sold shares went to a relatively few big city bidders. Strangely enough it was some of these bidders who were allowed to recommend the price at which the shares were sold. Weird that those who are going to purchase the shares recommend a price way below the real market value and the government accepts it. Weirder still that over half of the Tory Party’s funds come from the city.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “PMQs: Meet ‘the dunce of Downing Street’ and the ‘muppets’”
    Muppets; upper case I venture to suggest.

  • Jambo25

    Cameron also came out with an untruth when answering Miliband. Andrew Neil demonstrated that there were no calls in the 2005 and 2010 Labour manifestoes for privatisation of Royal Mail contrary to Cameron’s claims. He’s a liar in the House.

    • HookesLaw

      Where were Labour going to get their 20 billion of promised asset sales from then?

      • Jambo25

        It still wasn’t in the manifesto. Cameron lied to the House.

        • Kitty MLB

          Labour lie with every poisonous breath, they lie when they say
          the Conservatives are wrong and that their socialist mumble jumbo
          is correct. They are the party of lies and deception-and never guilty of the odd slip up-Is that ok, dear Scottish Jambo.

          • Shazza

            Labour lie by omission – a prime example of this is their lack of honesty in their manifestos.
            Where did they say in any of their manifestos that they would open the borders to mass immigration including unskilled non-EU 3rd world people?
            Where did they say that they would destroy private pensions?
            Where did they say that they would massively and expensively increase the public sector?
            Where did they say they would sell off gold reserves at rock bottom prices?

            • Des Demona

              Huh???/
              Where did the Tories mention a rise in VAT to 20%, a tripling of tuition fees, £7 Billion of welfare cuts in the first year, – and what happened to ”no top down re-organisation of the NHS”
              Pot meet kettle.

              • Kitty MLB

                Dearie me, I am not going to dignify this with a response.

                • Des Demona

                  Suit yourself. It wasn’t directed at you anyway 🙂

                • Mynydd

                  That is because you have no response.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Quite perceptive of you. I am somewhat speechless.

            • Kitty MLB

              Wholeheartedly agree, shazza. Might I add, when did they say they would run down their favourite
              sacred cow the NHS and make it a place where you ask:
              ‘ Are we safe in their hands’
              And when did they say they would wreck our education system, let down our youth, making generations unqualified for work.

            • Mynydd

              The conservative Prime Minister Mr Edward Heath open the borders to mass immigration when he signed the Treaty of Rome.

              • Shazza

                Not floodgates though. Mandelson is on record saying that Labour deliberately went looking for/actively recruited immigrants – why would they want to import unskilled 3rd world immigrants if not to ‘rub the right’s noses in diversity’?
                Well guess what, that same diversity is going to come back and bite you big time in the *** and your children/grandchildren especially the girls are going to thank you from the depths of their burkas. 70% of immigration during Labour’s Reign of Terror came from non-EU countries.

                • Des Demona

                  You really are quite out there aren’t you?

                • Shazza

                  Yup, on Planet Reality. You keep your head buried in the sand and pretend that we are all going to live happily ever after together.

                • Des Demona

                  If only. But I’m a realist. There are too many paranoid delusionists out there who think they are going to be burkafied by immigration to make that happy eventuality a possibility in the shorter term.

                • Shazza

                  You are correct in that it won’t be ‘in the shorter term’. But it will be in the not too long term.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Making us at the mercy of those who do not want to integrate
                  but intimidate and turn this country into a version of their own.
                  And they live in predominantly Labour areas.

          • Jambo25

            Cameron still lied to the House.

    • Des Demona

      Perhaps he should try the IDS defence tactic?
      ”No there is no actual evidence but I believe it to be true”

      • Jambo25

        We get the same thing on the ‘Yes’ side in the Scottish independence debate. We are all anti-English racists. No evidence but it is repeated over and over again.

    • HookesLaw

      Reading the Labour Manifesto is a bit of a laugh

      ‘At the heart of our growth plan is the commitment to a new high-speed rail line, linking North and South. Built in stages, the initial line will link London to Birmingham, Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds, and then
      to the North and Scotland.’
      ‘High-speed rail is not just about faster journey times. It will free up capacity on existing intercity rail lines, enabling more rail freight, commuter and local services’

      What do you think really was meant by labour’s mealy mouthed promise to invest in the Royal Maill? Was there a promise NOT to sell it or part of it off – as per the Mandelson plan?

      • Jambo25

        T still exposed Cameron as having told a lie.

      • James Strong

        You Cameroons are wrong on this.
        Cameron clearly stated something that is not true.
        His best course of action would be to admit it and correct it.
        As for the absence of a promise NOT to do something, that is a quite absurd defence.
        There was no promise in any manifesto NOT to bomb China.
        But if a government does bomb, on the grounds that they hadn’t promised NOT to …?

    • Colonel Mustard

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/gordon-brown/5279327/Gordon-Brown-to-press-ahead-with-Royal-Mail-part-privatisation-despite-Labour-rebels.html

      Selective amnesia on the part of Labour as always. And plenty of other crimes in the 2005 manifesto anyway:-

      http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/vote_2010/how+did+labour+do+on+its+2005+manifesto+pledges/3609602.html

      The NHS waiting times pledge also came with a cost in terms of elderly patient deaths.

      • telemachus

        Clever man this Osborne
        “The transfer of the £28 billion of assets from the Royal Mail pension fund to the Exchequer will free it from its crippling pension debts, ensure the pensions of hard-working staff are paid and help to bring in new private sector investment. Some would have been tempted to spend the windfall. I do not propose to spend it. Instead, I have used it to pay off debt.”

        This only represents a “windfall” for today’s taxpayers, but it is completely the opposite for future generations. Part of the reason why this wasn’t clearer at the time is that accounting conventions enabled the government to show the assets from the Royal Mail pension scheme as income on the government balance sheet (meaning they could be used to pay down the debt), whereas the additional liabilities are “off-balance-sheet”, so they are not added to the official national debt – even though to all intents and purposes they are another unbreakable financial commitment which future generations will have to respect.

        • Des Demona

          A £14 Billion pension deficit at the last count I believe?
          We get stuck with that so that the city boys make hundreds of millions at mates rates..
          Nice work if you can get it.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Talk to the hand Labour-boy!

      • Mynydd

        What about the right wing selective amnesia in that the last labour government reduced the basic rate of income tax to 20%. Lets us be clear in this case reduce means cut.

        • Colonel Mustard

          All you ever do is point the finger at the Tories whenever the crimes of your party are exposed.

          The last Labour government also abolished the 10p tax rate.

          • Des Demona

            Seems all you ever do is point the finger at Labour when the ”crimes” of your party are exposed.
            Who was it that first deflected away from the issue of the thread by pointing the finger at Labour?
            Let’s see……… oh it was you.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Not my party Desi-boy. And the issue was about Labour lies and dissembling to begin with.

              After all, that is why you are here.

              • Des Demona

                Are you sure? I thought it was about Cameron lying to the House that privatising the Royal Mail was in the Labour manifesto.
                Perhaps we’re not reading the same article?

  • HookesLaw

    So ‘mates rates’ was not a lie then?
    Miliband, in opposingt the sell off, was only doing the bidding of his master’s vloice – the trade unions.

  • Edward Harkins

    “One other thing that was striking was how disciplined the questions from the Tory benches were.” That implies some sort of managed discipline… and maybe that extended to the quite appalling braying, jeering and sneering that the Speaker more than once had to demand an end to … and that was clearly predominantly emerging from the Conservative ranks.

    • Mynydd

      Don’t forget the Tory back benchers are e-mailed with the question they must ask. You will also note that Mr Cameron puts on his glasses to read out the answer.

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