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Jenny Willott is right about PMQs. It is dreadful

8 May 2014

8 May 2014

Oh dear, I don’t suppose I’ll get much support in these parts for what follows. But I’m sorta with Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP and Business Minister. She has stated that she hates Prime Minister’s Question Time “with a passion” and goes out of her way to avoid attending it. Her implication is that it is “too male”, and I make her right on this too – or, at least, PMQs epitomises the very worst traits of men. It is an objectionable, points-scoring charade of no value or meaning to anyone, simply testosterone-fuelled name-calling and bullying. So well said, Ms Willott. Obviously, the woman’s wrong about almost everything else in which she believes, I assume.

But taking for a moment the notion that she is right on this issue, and I think she is, why would she not concede that men and women are essentially different mentally, and that this difference is hard-wired? Because I bet she wouldn’t concede that.


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  • Darnell Jackson

    Where’s Liz?

  • CharlietheChump

    Far from being an opportunity to hold the PM to account PMQ’s has degenerated into a pointless series of minor spats and point scoring. We should do better.

  • Marcus

    Oh dear Rod: anti-women blog again!

    I am going to print this article and then print some other articles about women’s
    issues and then stick them all up on a glass pane.

    I will then invite a feminist to watch me join the articles up with arrows, using
    a white board marker, and in doing so scientifically prove that you are the
    nucleus for inciting violence against women.

    I’d be pissed off about that if I were you.

    • Mr Creosote

      I’d also be pissed off about the way in which Rod’s contribution to the programme (the only contribution worth listening to) was totally glossed over and dismissed by Kirsty Talk, especially when she took umbrage at the suggestion that it was a media-based, middle class female-victim-hood conspiracy.

      • Marcus

        The thing that really pisses me off is the concept that this
        was not desperatly biased and bad journalism. She actually thinks she is clever; but is like Fox news on acid. They keep promoting it as no.1 on iplayer!

        They get a guy who’s done one study involving some blokes in a pub. No one has repeated his data and the chances of you being able to isolate 1 variable in a study like that is….zilch.

        But nevermind that, so you get him on, you use the ‘draw some stuff with a device used for teaching’ trick (use ad nauseum, see above) to ‘prove’ his 1 study.

        Following this you turn to camera, take out all the caveats in what he’s just said and tell us:

        ‘If you allow someone to make a joke about ‘x’ in public, then even if you yourself don’t agree, you are complicit in encouraging violence towards ‘x”.

        Can you guess where this crap is headed? Terrifying.

  • Eyesee

    Of course she can be right even if she is a ‘socialist’ (I hope she is). In fact thinking otherwise is what is wrong with politics today. PMQ’s problems have nothing to do with it being men specifically, but also nothing to do with running the country or the good of the people. It is entirely a points scoring contest for the Westminster idiots who are hugely impressed with their own superiority. When Blair reduced it to half an hour of petty bickering it was to promote this, but also because he saw anyone being able to question him a personal affront. If it was an intelligent debate on differing ways to solve problems of concern to the nation, then we would be well served. But career politicians consider their ego and career exclusive of all else. All the U turns and policy failures of late are due to reality impacting the work-dodging ‘solutions’ proposed by these Wuckfit waste of atoms.

    • arnoldo87

      ” he saw anyone being able to question him a personal affront.”

      This really is absolute garbage. Blair didn’t reduce PMQ’s but merely turned two 15 minute sessions into one 30 minute session. At the same time he doubled the number of questions the Opposition leader could ask from three to six.

      He also introduced a monthly news briefing where all of the media had the chance to cross-examine him exhaustively.

  • wudyermucuss

    PMQ is,by far,the best comedy available.
    And,Ms “Too Male”,you have obviously missed Harperson’s enthusiastic sneering.

  • Hippograd

    But taking for a moment the notion that she is right on this issue,
    and I think she is, why would she not concede that men and women are
    essentially different mentally, and that this difference is hard-wired?
    Because I bet she wouldn’t concede that.

    It’s not to her advantage to concede that. If white men’s domination of certain fields isn’t the result of sexism and racism, how do oppressed groups claim that it is moral for them to be given unearned privileges and money?

  • you_kid

    This will not go away, the plebiscite is prepared for a circular Parliament in a five plus party state.

  • Pootles

    One part of an answer – stop televising and broadcasting it. Leave it to be reported in Hansard and the newspaper sketches.

  • Jimmy R

    PMQs was far better and far more relevant when it took place twice a week for a fifteen minute period rather than the current once a week half hour session. The only reason it was changed to once a week was because a certain PM found having to demean himself by having to attend the House of Commons an irritation and an inconvenience.

    The reason the two shorter periods of fifteen minutes was better and more relevant was that the questions usually dealt with things which had only just happened and the Leader of the Opposition had only three questions on each occasion meaning dragging out the same point again and again and again simply could not happen. Likewise with MPs questions, there was far less opportunity for either side to use their tame MPs to ask pathetic carefully planted questions serving no purpose other than as an outlet for party propaganda.

    Perhaps dumping the system and returning to the previous one might be the best solution to the current drawn out and tedious mayhem.

    • Bob Thomas

      Yep. He ditched one of the PMQs so he could give a Presidential-style press briefing every week instead.

  • The Masked Marvel

    She probably would, though, Rod, depending on the context. That is to say, depending on who is doing the comparing, and which characteristics are being lauded.

  • DougS

    “…. PMQs epitomises the very worst traits of men. It is an objectionable,
    points-scoring charade of no value or meaning to anyone, simply
    testosterone-fuelled name-calling and bullying….”

    Of course it is, that’s why the house is packed with MPs and visitors and shown widely on TV.

    It’s short on answers but long on evasion, sarcasm and snide remarks – great stuff – wouldn’t miss it for the world!

  • Grey Wolf

    PMQs are useless because they create an illusion of ideological-adversarial politics. In reality, Lab-Con are both metropolitan, bourgeoisie in nature with more ideological convergence than one would like to see. Also, its boring the way stock phrases get used over and over again…Ed M – ”Mr Speaker, he still doesn’t get it..”…Call me Dave – ”we are investing blah blah….”

    • kandanada

      Live, this week and every week, the Westminster Theatre Players.

  • Des Demona

    Remembering how completely out of place that shrinking violet Margaret Thatcher seemed at PMQ’s then yes it is definitely down to male testosterone and nothing to do with it possibly being an arena for point scoring and bullying by either gender

  • Agrippina

    You ought to go into a finance house or visit a high value fraud case. You will see that there are plenty of females who behave just as the males do. It is not a case of hardwiring, it is how one wishes to conduct oneself.

    There are many different ways to achieve the desired outcome, thus no real difference, just a choice in how to go about it.

    PMQ’s is just dull and boring a poor 6th formers debate, and by virtue of the fact that there are more males than females in the House, they dominate the behaviour!

  • cartimandua

    The question should be does the adversarial point scoring result in anything useful in terms of informing MPs? I doubt it.
    What one would hope for is evidence based debate.

    • Kaine

      It’s not about information, it’s about morale for the party, and having something to put in your newsletter for the questioner.

  • tjamesjones

    I agree she couldn’t. And I think she’d be wrong. But I don’t think this issue (are men and women fundamentally different, or are women just slightly weaker men), is ever going to go away. Because for certain people (largely women I suspect), when someone says “women and men are not the same”, they actually hear “women are stupid”. Never watched PMQs.

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