Wednesday, 10 December 2008

PMQ's - 'SuperBrown' to the rescue??

. David Cameron used his first question to "ask again" about getting banks lending, asking if Gordon Browns recapitalisation had failed. Gordon Brown rather grandiosely claimed to have "not only saved the worlds banking system" but claimed that not one saver had lost their deposits in Britain. Howls of laughter from the Conservative benches were followed by David Cameron claiming that Brown had "forgotten about the businesses of this country".

Brown retorted that the Tories were clinging to the "failed policies of the 1980s". He said that the loan guarantee scheme only covered 0.2% of business lending and continued with his tack that the recapitalisation scheme was "incoherent" and had to be changed. Conservatives are obviously calling for something similar to what we are in the form of government underwriting lending. This is a key contradiction in the Conservative narrative; on the one hand they are attacking excessive borrowing but on the other calling for more intervention. Brown can exploit this and repeat his 'do nothing' charge to good effect. Brown illustrated this by quoting Cameron as saying the Conservatives would "spend no more money".

Alan Simpson asked about the prospect of a Tobin Tax. Brown said this was "not implementable". So, we came to Nick Clegg who cited an example of a single mother who came to see him; unwisely, given his nickname of 'Cleggover'. More howls of laughter. Clegg said that she was carrying a bundle of letters from the government asking for tax credits back; Brown brushed this aside by promising to look at an individual case. He called for a system of purely fixed payments as tax credits were "bureaucratic and unfair". A knockabout about the relative benefit of tax credits ensured with various sets of figures being bandied.

Overall, Clegg's performance was ineffective this time around because Brown got off lightly promising to look at the individual case. Also, his 'revelation' about the number of women he has slept with meant didn't exactly lend authority to his question. He said he could bring figures to the table but wasnt as precise as Brown was which also undermined what should have been an effective point.

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