Wednesday, 30 January 2008

PMQs 30 Jan 2008

I await Hansard's "definitive" version of what was said in Prime Ministers Questions today, but I could have sworn that Michael Martin (the incredibly pro-Labour Speaker of the House) said something along the lines of "let the Prime Minister answer in his own way". This was when Gordon Brown was singularly failing to answer a straightforward question from David Cameron as to whether Gordon Brown will be allowing Yusuf al-Qaradawi into Britain. Gordon Brown's first reply was "an announcement will be made soon.. we do not expel people from this country other than through proper judicial processes...". David Cameron came back pointing out that "This is not about expelling someone, this guy wants to come to our country... thinks that gay people should be executed and encourages people to turn their bodies into bombs... Does the Prime Minister think that Yusuf al-Qaradawi should be allowed in or not? A simple one, yes or no" Once again Gordon Brown "He is not in our country, the issue is (pause to look at briefing notes), the issue is, the issue is should he (jaw sag and some anguished chewing). Now Speaker Martin interrupts the laughter from the opposition benches at Gordon Brown's inability to answer (or possibly understand) a simple question. "Allow the Prime Minister to answer the question... Order, in his way" Cue laughter from the opposition benches and even a smile from Speaker Martin. When your tame Speaker is laughing at your inability to answer a simple question, even Gordon Brown must realise that he is a laughing stock.

Even the front bench toadies have stopped looking at Gordon Brown with feigned admiration. Harriet Harman tries not to look at him and the sixth former on the other side of him, I think, just looks embarrassed.

The other interesting question came from Vincent Cable. Vincent Cable answered a straightforward question about the economy, negative equity and a return to boom and bust. Gordon Brown's answer contained some strange statistics that just did not ring true; I believe that Gordon Brown may have been comparing (as he so often does) apples and oranges.
"Mortgage repossessions are a fifth of what they were over the last few years over the 1990s" - bad English but his choice of periods is of course comparing a period of artificially credit enhanced boom with that of a period coming out of recession.
"Mortgage rates have averaged 5% when they averaged 11% before 1997" Over what period did interest rates average 11% before 1997? What were interest rates in 1995-1997 for example?
"Avoided any quarter of recession over the last 10 years" I wonder how long he will be able to boast of this?

I also heard Gordon Brown resort to his favourite soundbite "Opportunity for all, not just for some", only the once this week.

Gordon Brown did as he likes to do resort to accusing David Cameron of just using rehearsed lines; the words - pot, kettle and black come to mind.

I have just realised that rather like an England batsman trying to pick Shane Warne's "wrong-un", I can now spot when Gordon Brown is lying - it's quite easy - his mouth is open.

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