Wednesday, 22 April 2009

PMQ's - warm-up for the main event

. It is rare that PMQ's is the warm-up act but with Alistair Darling's high-wire balancing act budget to come that was very much the case today. David Cameron rightly chose to lead-off on the economy and unemployment rather than 'Smeargate' Both sides traded figures and bantered on similar themes; Brown stuck to the familiar 'do nothing tack'. Cameron subtly shifted his line to what Brown is doing isn't working. He alluded to 'Smeargate' saying "another time we can talk about what your chief advisers have been doing" and the 'moral bankruptcy' of the Labour Party in response to Brown criticising Cameron's past role.

Cameron pushing for Brown to admit that he didn't abolish 'boom and bust' is not an effective tack I don't think; people want to hear about solutions in the here and now and not, at the current time, what has gone before or necessarily who was to blame. It struck me as a bit odd that Brown attacked Cameron for wanting to 'cut our way out of recession' when Darling is expected to announce £15bn worth of cuts.

Nick Clegg also chose to lead-off on unemployment. He challenged Brown to tell the jobless where his 'shopping list of new jobs' were being created. This put Brown slightly on the defensive basically admitted the million new jobs didn't exist but more would have been lost if the government hadn't acted. Clegg then moved onto attacking Brown for not delivering on his promises and Brown more easily rebuffed that question 'correcting' Clegg and telling him to wait for the Budget. Simon Hughes raised the question of Sri Lanka and was solidly answered by Brown.

Nadine Dorris pushed for a personal apology from Gordon Brown for 'Smeargate' which Brown easily gave; reinforcing his point saying what happened had "no place in British politics". All three participants performed solidly but it really was a case of being a warm-up act with the main event to come....

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