Coffee House

PMQs sketch: Cameron deploys his resources skilfully

14 May 2014

6:46 PM

14 May 2014

6:46 PM

Miliband’s approval rating among Tory MPs has never been higher. They roared with joy as he got to his feet today. A foolish grin spread across his face, and his lips revealed a mouth full of showroom-white teeth. Then he began to giggle, which was unnerving. Either he had a deadly weapon up his sleeve. Or he was about to resign.

‘I welcome today’s fall in unemployment,’ he said. The Tory cheers could be heard across the river in Labour’s Lambeth heartland.

Miliband has spent the last year on disaster-watch. But the promised calamities have inflicted no damage.  The slump? A memory. Inflation? Becalmed. The NHS? Don’t mention it. The bedroom tax? A dead issue. Even food banks, the cornerstone of Labour’s attack strategy, were quietly dropped from the debate.

Cameron taunted Miliband for his failure to raise health policy since last November. Back then the Labour boss had predicted a Christmas crisis caused by hordes of wheezing geriatrics expiring in mixed-sex broom cupboards.

‘He sat there day after day,’ said Cameron, ‘dying for it to happen. It didn’t.’


Miliband had the option to go international. Pick a crisis overseas and make himself look wise, sage and principled. But the fatcat call of Pfizer proved irresistible.

Pfizer’s courtship of AstraZeneca is like an arranged marriage between two sets of Tolstoy toffs. Miliband, the anxious dowager, frets about the serfs in the outlying cottages. Cameron, the gung-ho young heir, is desperate to screw the rich suitor for the biggest trousseau he can get.

Reality never encroached on the debate. This is because both leaders secretly want the opposite of their stated position. Miliband would like the deal to go through, and to go badly. Cameron just wants it to go away. Both used Pfizer to Pfib about each other Pfuriously

Cameron suggested that the bid demonstrates that every industrialist in the world is keen to gate-crash the boom now underway in low-tax, busy-bee Britain. He accused Miliband of ducking a meeting with the Pfizer chiefs so he could go campaigning in the local elections. Party before nation, in other words. Betrayal.

Miliband cast Cameron as a Thatcherite market-junkie. ‘Pfizer’s PR man’. He likened the deal to the Royal Mail sell-off which netted millions ‘for the chancellor’s best man’ and other Tory millionaires. Party before nation, in other words. Betrayal.

Cameron had a useful outing today, and deployed his resources skilfully, (that is with deft, professional dishonesty.) He blamed Miliband for powerlessness even though Miliband isn’t in power. He accused him of ‘playing politics’ with the issue which is like criticising a striker for aiming the ball at the net. And when Miliband attacked him for bungling the negotiation, Cameron just shrugged. Not me guv. He said he was restricted by a legal framework authored by Miliband when he was in government.

Here was Miliband’s chance. If the legal framework is useless, Cameron is a fool to retain it. If he leaves it unaltered, he’s a fool to criticise its inadequacies. But this wasn’t a day for nimble wits or memorable sallies. These two can wrestle each other to a standstill without breaking sweat. Had the Coalition not tampered with the constitution we’d be in the midst of a general election campaign today.

Miliband left the chamber with a face as glum as a wet bank holiday. Until he can turn good news into bad, and sunshine into thunder, his barren spring will continue.

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Show comments
  • John_Page

    No one mentioned that power lies not with the government, but with the EU, as Vince Cable admitted in the Commons the other day. So the PMQs exchange in the Commons was just as much a waste of time as this article.

  • Jayson Carmichael

    Ed is one of the most charismatic politicians around at the moment, but he needs to spell out policy better I think.

    • HookesLaw

      Have I stumbled into a Specsavers advert?

      • wycombewanderer

        It must be telemachus’s new sock puppet

  • pobinr

    Nigel sums it all up here >

    He can wipe the floor with the CamCleggiband smooth talking but utterly transparent lying establishment career politican robots. All from the same background & never done a proper job & all backed by big business left right or whatever they want to call themselves. Labour backed by big busines. The kickback being open door immigration to supply their big business party donors with cheap East Euopean labour >

    The EU is a capitalist’s wet dream brought to you courtesy of left right or just plain anyone who likes bribes [Party donations] !

    • HookesLaw

      Keep taking the tablets

    • Tony_E

      The EU is a corporatists wet dream. Those of us who believe in free markets realised this decades ago.

      Large corporations control the regulations in their own industries, and create a depth of regulation that they can easily absorb, but creates a huge hurdle to new competition from smaller entrants.

      One prime example of this was the regulations of abattoirs and slaughterhouses from the 90’s. They rules that there should be restrooms for drivers of HGVs, shower facilities and the suchlike. Of course, the butcher with a single room slaughterhouse, serving farmers from only a mile down the road or so, could not comply. They simply hadn’t the physical space to comply, even if they had the money.

      The inspectors came out and one by one shut them all down.

  • pobinr

    The political system in Britain is now one you would find in a 19th century colony or an autonomous region of a dictatorship with a PR facade of democracy.
    At its base is a political cartel created by first past the post, a monopoly of political donations from self serving big business cronies going to the cartel, zero independent control of what government does in relation to responsibilities and promises, zero local democracy and too little use of referenda, no local primaries, no MP recall, a sycophantic and tribal MSM which works to maintain the cartel and corrupt postal voting system.
    Overlaying this is rule by the EU superstate whose foreign laws are imposed on Britain by Westminster stooges and their quangocrats and bureaucrats.
    The results are clear :
    – our sovereignty has been handed over to the EU
    – Britain’s broken political system has disenfranchised the voters
    – the Liblabcon political cartel consensus has completely gone against the wishes of the British people on most fundamental issues. For example eu, immigration, overseas aid, state finances.
    – the cartel, run by the professional political class and MSM rely on spin, propaganda, PR , lies, deceit, to maintain power with absolutely no interest in doing what is right for Britain
    – endemic cronyism, nepotism in politics.
    -endemic big business lobbying in Westminster and in the EU to buy policies to benefit their businesses
    British politics and democracy are broken, the political,business, quangocrat and bureaucrat elite carves up Britain and the people for their own business, political and personal benefit and Britain will not revive until Liblabcon has gone

    • HookesLaw

      I said keep taking the tablets

  • pobinr

    People who vote Labour;

    (1) The regressed handed-down voting mentality, ‘Me-da voted Labour so I will’

    (2) Those who think ‘Labour will look after them’

    (3) The Workshy

    (4) Professional scroungers

    (5) Grateful immigrants who think the UK is one big free-for-all; maybe it is!?

    (6) The hyper-bloated public sector; Labour uses taxes to fuel loyalty.

    (7) The perpetual anti-Tory voters; ‘those f***ing Bankers, eh!?’

    (8) Postal voting fraud

    (9) Celebrities with little concept of the real world

    (10) TV Journalists

    (11) Union bullies

    (12) Socialist Workers ( A contradiction in terms)

    (13) The gullible

    (14] People who can’t forget the other lot used to send kids up Chimneys to sweep them

    [15] People who think Millions of Poles should be able to come here because 34 were in the RAF in WWII helping to make their country a fit & free place to live in so they could come & live here instead

    [16] People who think that to support their country all they need to is wave a flag while 11 massively over paid morons with England written on their T-shirts kick a ball around whilst at the same time the country they supposedly support is being given away by elected traitors to the emerging EU dictatorship!

    [17] People who think it’s racist to even question the merits of millions of people coming here where we have housing shortages, full schools, congested roads, NHS at breaking point etc

    [18] Brainwashed cloistered blinkered university over edumacated people who like being philanthropic with other people’s money

    [19] People who change the subject or who’s eyes glaze over when you tell them it was Gordon Brown who failed to regulate the banks & instead actually knighted two of the worst bankers

    [20] People who change the subject or who’s eyes glaze over when you tell them Gordon Brown flogged off 400 metric tons of our gold reserves & told the markets before hand so he got a low price for it

    [21] People who try and change the subject or who’s eyes glaze over when you tell them we now have the worst housing shortage since WWII because of Labour’s open door immigration policy

    [22] People who try & change the subject or who’s eyes glaze over when you tell them mass immigration of cheap labour drives down wages & takes jobs & homes whilst only benefitting slumlords & low wage employers and that this runs completely counter to their socialist beliefs!

    [23] People who’ve never had the stress & real world discipline of trying to set up & run a business

    [24] People that feel the need to go onto Question Time and earnestly-clap-the-loudest when someone makes some facile lefty comment.

    [25] People that don’t recognise that Labour nearly bankrupted the British economy on the previous time they were in office in 1979, and ACTUALLY bankrupted it on their last stint in office in 2010

    [26] The Polly Toynbees of this world who are multi-millionaires, who think that the rich should share more of their wealth with the poor, so long as that policy only applies to other rich people.

    [27] Those people that get increasingly upset that the UK economy is improving.

    [28] Those people that agreed with Ed Balls that current economic policy would lead to a triple dip recession and a million more unemployed, and who are now too stupid or stubborn to recognise that he was astoundingly wrong on both counts, and that he is completely clueless when it comes to economics.

    [29] Those people that criticise the fact that government debt has increased under this government, and who don’t understand what the defecit actually is and who was responsible for creating it.

    • Julia Jones

      I would have thought political debate would be more to the fore with less than 12 months to go before a general election, but as usual if you cant find anything good to say about your own party, revert to lazy stereotyping of another party. Was ‘Me-da voted Labour so I will’ supposed to be a bad attempt of a Labour Aldershot or Farnborough accent?

    • Colonel Mustard

      Just to correct Item 15 the number of Poles serving under British command in the Second World War was 228,000 by 1945. Not 34.

      303 Squadron RAF, named after the Polish-American hero, General Tadeusz Kościuszko, achieved the highest number of aerial victories of all fighter squadrons engaged in the Battle of Britain, even though it only joined the combat on August 30, 1940. The Polish pilots, representing about 5% of total Allied pilots in that battle, were responsible for 12% of the total victories.

      The Polish Resettlement Corps (Polski Korpus Przysposobienia i Rozmieszczenia) via the Polish Resettlement Act 1947 re-settled 114,000 Poles in the UK who did not wish to return to a Poland which had been taken over by a Moscow-sponsored communist government with more or less the same aspirations as Miliband.

      • HookesLaw

        Why pander to a sick barstreward?

        • Colonel Mustard

          Am I pandering to him? I thought I was correcting his unfortunately dismissive misrepresentation.

          • HookesLaw

            You think he cares tuppence about the Poles who faught and died fighting nazis?

            • Colonel Mustard

              He might not. I do.

              • Tony_E

                So do I – and I don’t think we have served Poland well by stripping them of their best asset post soviet rule – their young and able.

    • HookesLaw

      Those round little white things.

    • Kennybhoy

      Cunnus! 🙁

  • pobinr

    Labour now stand for cheap East European labour

    The NHS is struggling due to Labour’s open door immigration policy that’s continuing under the Cons.
    I work in a hospital I see a few Polish cleaners but no Polish doctors, nurses, radiographers, surgeons etc.
    4m more people here all wanting roofs over their heads & access to our NHS.

    Unsurprisingly immigrants on low wages contribute less into the system than they receive from it >

    So why do Labour support open borders?
    Becuase they are funded by big business like JML who donated £1.6M in shares to Labour to keep the flow of cheap labour coming in!…/Donor-John-Millss-gift-to…

    How the EU is destroying our democracy >

    If the Slabour party get elected then kiss goodbye to what’s left of your country

    • HookesLaw

      In the brown bottle.

      Remarkably there are far more nurses and cleaners in the NHS than surgeonsand I know of at leat one Polish surgeon.

  • Seadog

    Just a thought. When Miliband was elected leader, Kinnock said ” we’ve got our Party back again.
    When UKIP rule the roost, we can say “we’ve got our Country back again”.

    • HookesLaw

      UKIP will not rule the roost. The most they can do is give the nation to people like Kinnock

      • Mynydd

        What about the 4 cabinet ministers Mr Cameron has lost. You cannot make it up, the Immigration Minister personally employing an illegal worker.

        • Tony_E

          What about Baroness Scotland?

          • Mynydd

            Did Baroness Scotland employ an illegal worker? All I know is that if I employed an illegal worker I would end up before the courts. So why not the Immigration Minister. Yet again we have one rule for Cameron and his pals and another for the rest of us.

  • AdemAljo

    Good. Cameron can be as deliberately and professionally dishonest as he likes. He and his party deserve their current position for improving our country over the last 4 years.

    Lord knows Labour is just as deliberately and professionally dishonest even when they’re ruining everything, which is practically the entire time that they’re in power.

    • Frank.The.Tank

      Do you honestly believe the bilge that Cameron and co are spouting?

      Yes unemployment will be down if you massage the figures to meet your agenda which is what is being done by this administration and the same applies to health, economics and most everything else.

      Take the City of London out of the equation and everything isn’t as rosy as they would have you believe. Look at the world outside your door where you live, the picture it shows here is the very much the opposite to the one portrayed by the Con-servatives with a shortage of work for many and no wage rises for those of us that are working.

      I tend to loathe all politicians but my particular dislike for the Conservatives is due to my not being able to understand how they can treat some sections of society with what appears to be such hatred.

      • AdemAljo

        Did you not hear about the recent 100k+ decrease in unemployment? Are you being deliberately ignorant are you just accidentally thick?

        Which group of liars do you support then? Labour?! Personally I’d rather believe the bilge coming from a political party that has tangible evidence of the stuff that they said would help the economy actually helping the economy rather than the bilge coming from a party that just lied and lied and lied until eventually they simply couldn’t be in power any longer.

        UKIP?! A bunch of total and unmitigated whack jobs?! When they’ve finally amassed a significant number of MPs please make sure to tell me. I’ll probably need digging up and reanimating.

        • Frank.The.Tank

          So, how then does the 100k decrease in unemployment balance out against the at least 266,000 claimants that are currently sanctioned and are not included in those figures along with those on zero hours contracts, many of whom have no work.
          As for which group of liars do I support, it is none of the above. Deliberately ignorant or thick?, well I’m neither but if you feel that insulting someone with a different opinion to your own backs up your argument then so be it.

          Assumption is always nine tenths stupidity but then you know that don’t you? Tell somebody something enough times and they may just be stupid enough to believe you which just happens to be the case with the politicians in this country.

          • AdemAljo

            So UKIP then.

            I couldn’t understand what you were trying to say about claimants. Basically, to fill you in, there are now over at least 100,000+ fewer people unemployed than there were before January. By this logic you would be able to assume that a certain number of this cohort will have been on benefits/the dole and aren’t any longer. You’re point about 266,000 or whatever doesn’t make any sense.

            Zero hours contracts works for many people. I was on a zero hour contract to January this year where that zero hour job allowed me to get a full time job as a result of the experience I gained. How’s that for looking outside my door.

            You clearly live in some pseudo-centrist bubble and refuse to accept good news at face value because you dislike the Tories arbitrarily because they are Tories. You clearly don’t like the fact that they’re able to actually give some good news for a change. This irks you. It annoys you. You wish it wasn’t true but it is. Much to my amusement.

            • Frank.The.Tank

              UKIP!….not a chance, nor Labour, Lib-Dumd, blah,blah,blah!

              The 266.000 that are sanctioned are not included in unemployment figures which they should be so in reality that wipes out the 100,000 and adds 166,000 to the figures.

              Zero hours do not work for many and the use of them is questionable but useful in massaging figures to read as you want them or good news for the more gullible….much to my amusement.

              • AdemAljo

                I get the impression you might be a few sandwiches short of a picnic…

                I don’t know where you are getting this magic figure of 266,000 or how you are trying to insert it into the drop in unemployment figure, which happens to be 133,000. I would recommend you read this BBC article because it will hopefully spell it out for you. A link to website I do not often frequent.

                Once you get your facts straight and stop making things up, much like Labour, perhaps we can have a solid debate.

                • Frank.The.Tank

                  I love a good picnic but the sandwiches are all there with mine I can assure you. As for your link to the good old right wing government mouthpiece aka Auntie Beeb…hmmm!

                  The figures are courtesy of Esther McVile, Iain Drunken-Smurf and co so go check them out…I did have a numerical slip on the keyboard and it should have been 236,000.

                  Too simplify things for you, here goes. Tory boy announces a drop in unemployment claims of 133,000 to which you need to then add the 236,000 that have been sanctioned yet despite them being sanctioned are still unemployed but hidden from the figures due to sanctioning to show the reduction, much in the same way that the labour morons hid those on incapacity etc.

                  The equation, simple as it is goes as follows – Dole figures minus 133,000 = a fall in unemployment then add to that the 236,000 sanctioned who are still unemployed and that equals an actual rise of 133,000.

                  All figures are supplied by your political party and also don’t include any of those on zero hours with little or no work.

  • HookesLaw

    Poor miliband, life’s tough when your supporters don’t think the sun shines out of your backside.

    • telemachus

      But they do
      And Ed B’s
      And Andy’s
      And Yvette’s
      A winning team for next May

      • Alexsandr

        a few idiots in westminster think they are winners.

        Ed B is an economic illiterate

        Yvette isnt much better

        and burnham should be in jail for Stafford.

        all led by a Plasticine cartoon model. (Sorry Nick Park. Unfair on Wallace) One who cant sort out the paedophile wing of the PLP.

        • telemachus

          This team not only has the charisma lacking in their counterparts
          But they care
          They will engineer us back towards a fair society

          • AdemAljo

            I’d like to engineer you into a prison cell and the embrace of a large man named ‘Barbara’.

          • glassfet

            “They will engineer us back towards a fair society”

            They couldn’t engineer a train set

            • telemachus

              They did engineer the longest continuous period of prosperity for a century

              • glassfet

                A decade long Ponzi scheme that burst and left misery for millions.

                Let’s hope they never do it again.

                • Alexsandr

                  that our grandchildren will have to pay back.

                • Mynydd

                  I would remind you that Mr Cameron/Osborne/Clegg have doubled the National Debt which our grandchildren will have to pay back. Also remember that Mr Cameron/Osborne/Clegg said in 2010 that by 2015 they would stop adding to this debt, because they will have balanced the books, no more deficit. They now admit this will not happen. Mr Cameron/Osborne/Clegg have now given a cast iron/pledge that the deficit will be cleared by 2020, which will stop the National Debt increasing, however, they have not said what the debt will be in 2020. So it will not be our grandchildren paying it back but our great, great, grandchildren.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Yes but they dd not create a£168 billion structural deficit and shrink the economy 7.4%. On the contrary we now have the fastest growing economy of all major western economies with record employment growth. But you just keep telling fatuous lies like a good Labour Troll.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  A ludicrous argument. You are the people bleating on about cuts. Where do you think the money comes from to pay for all the Labour largesse to its client groups?

              • Colonel Mustard

                “No more boom and bust” boomed the Labour idiot who bust the country.

                • telemachus

                  I cannot remember Richard Fuld said that

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You can pretend as much as you like. You can try and distort or erase the historical record as much as you like. All you do by that is to demonstrate the ultimate dishonesty and self-serving self-delusion of Labour and its advocates. And the truth is still out there.


                • Mynydd

                  At least under Labour we had boom, under Mr Cameron/Osborne/Clegg it has been only bust.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Which ignores the effort they have made to recover from Labour’s economic disaster. For the sake of the country. Whilst all you goons care about is your bloody party.

                • Mynydd

                  You seem to ignore the world about you, or are you saying Labour was responsible for the sale of sub-prime mortgages in America and then ordered American Banks to package them together as AAA products, and then ordered British Banks to buy them and put them on their books as AAA assets.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Most of it happened in a London with American banks taking advantage of the ineffective banking registration of Brown and Balls.

                • Colonel Mustard


                  Put another record on. Brown’s economic record is well understood by most sensible people outside the Labour party.

                  But of course the bloody perfect Labour party is never wrong, never makes mistakes and never apologises. It is ALWAYS someone else’s fault.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Another lie. We are the fastest growing economy of all major western economies.

              • HookesLaw

                No they inherited a sound economy that had been growing for 5 years.

            • glassfet

              In hindsight, I realise my assertion that they could not engineer “a train set” was perhaps not entirely fair.

              They couldn’t engineer Lego.

              • glassfet

                Sorry, I’ve done it again.

                They couldn’t engineer Duplo.

          • Alexsandr

            and the DDR style dictatorship you said you craved on another thread here. dissenters vill be shot!

            • telemachus

              I say again
              The illustration of the Honecker regime was not a statement of admiration
              It was a comment that someone downtrodden atbthevbottom of the heap in this country would welcome the egalitarian society
              Not everyone looks at things the same way

          • wudyermucuss

            From Ed’s millionaire mansion.

        • Mynydd

          Let us look at winners and losers, At the 2010 general election 36.1% voted Conservative, however according to the latest poll their rating now is only 31%. For Labour the figures are 29% in 2010, now its 34%. One can concluded from these figures Mr Miliband (% up) has out performed Mr Cameron (% down). This is not Westminster talk, this is the general public.

      • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist
    • AdemAljo

      I don’t feel sorry for him at all. He connived to steal the Labour throne from his brother and is now presiding over the most embarrassing poor Labour performance since Kinnock. He deserves every single indignity that gets fired his way, the soppy little pinko.

      • HookesLaw

        But it was more than that. It was a fight between Blairites and Brownites. These people are totems as much as personalities and it was a defeat for any semblance of resaon in the Labour party. It was a victory for a drift back into a socialist twilight world. Supporters from that other party from the Twilight Zone want to gift them into power.

    • Wessex Man

      How would you know with your’s stuck up Dave’s?