Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Funny Way To "Lose" at PMQs

In the past few weeks there have been concerns, touted in the press and on the blogosphere, that Brown was finally getting one over on Cameron at PMQs; but some Tories batted this off saying that this was part of Dave's great plan to be soft on Gordon and help cement his position; after all, Brown is the secret to a Conservative landslide at the next election.

However today was a classic example of where Cameron wasn't interested in the win-lose-draw aspect. He had a fantastic issue - a news story in itself. A handwritten letter from Labour's Chief Whip Geoff Hoon to Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Chairman Keith Vaz saying that he hoped that Mr Vaz would get an appropriate reward for doing a policy U-turn and backing the government in the crucial 42 days vote.

Cameron went rather softly on it; and the media and bloggers picked up on this and said he let Brown off lightly. I don't think so.

Cameron was putting an issue into the public domain - he got the good soundbite out (tell the truth, don't take us for fools etc) and has really been at the forefront of yet more good Tory publicity.

If he has wanted to bash the PMs head in, he could have taken all 6 questions on this issue and massacred him. Cameron chose not to, because he had done his job. Rather like Blair when his sprung the Cranbourne deal on Hague back in the 90s.

So for once, PMQs isn't about winning - it's about a narrative to an excellent media story. The Hoon-Vaz issue will never be sorted (because we'll just never know what that ! meant) but that won't stop this government taking yet another kick in the balls - because if just confirms that view most people had already about this shabby 42 days vote.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vince Cable's Stalin to Mr Bean is the most memorable classic for PMQs,for me.

Politicans create images around the mere human, which Cable exposed comically, to a tee.

Can Cameron top Cable's with natural instinct and unpredictability, rather than office written soundbites, or does Cameron lack the barrister's cross examination precision of Michael Howard and Cables wit to nail old Brown pants at the despatch box?