Thursday, February 17, 2011

Forests PMQs - Less Questions and Answers and more a mugging

Wednesday saw Prime Minister's questions in the House of Commons. As a Tory I found it thoroughly entertaining, but I shudder to think what a Labour Party member would have thought. Now Ed Miliband is clearly a bright bloke but his performance on Wednesday was, frankly, appalling. He started by selectively quoting the former Cabinet Office Chief Economist, who was critical of the government on youth unemployment. Oddly enough, he left out the bit when the same man criticised the previous Labour government. The problem with quote mining is that if the other chap has the rest of the quotes then you can be made to look a fool. David Cameron did and so Ed was.

All I can conclude is that his question entirely came from a recent article in The Guardian, which, oddly enough, took a bit of an anti-government line. There was clearly no cross check with other media sources. Someone on Ed's staff needs a motivational talk at the very least.

Things actually got worse when Ed asked if the Prime Minister was happy with the proposed privatisation of England's forests. The answer was 'no'. Now it was obvious that Ed was not expecting this and so his follow up material was useless, but he tried to use it anyway, which was a very bad move. What he should have done is changed tack, thanked the Prime Minister for listening, asked for the timescales for a formal announcement, in fact just about anything other than use his prepared questions. He didn't, and was efficiently kebabbed by David Cameron as a result.

The same person on Ed's staff needs to consider that a question to the Prime Minister might not always yield the expected answer, or not. I am quite enjoying things as they are.

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