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Thursday, 28 February 2013

The weekly visit to the Kintergarden.

 Questions to the Prime Minister.



 
Ed Milliband
David Cameron














 
Questions to the Prime Minister. The weekly excursion into the world of “Yaboo” politics where each side of the House of Commons can indulge themselves in mindless baying and snide remarks from one side, no doubt shouted in order to provoke reaction from the other side or to draw the “referee” Mr. Speaker to intervene with “Order, Order” or a phrase that Mr Bercow has taken to using over recent years of “The honourable member should calm down”.
Questions to the Prime Minister now demonstrates for around 30 minutes each Wednesday, everything that is wrong with British politics and why, generally, there is such disillusionment amongst many people in this country with the political structure. Scoring cheap political points or “landing blows” on your political opponents is not the way that we should expect our elected representatives to behave. In fact I would propose a plague on all your houses.
Prime Minister's Question's could, and should, be a very useful tool in the democratic process of this country and could provide the opportunity for backbenchers to interrogate the Prime Minister on his, or her, actions. All too often it becomes a forum for “planted questions” to be asked, giving the Prime Minister of the day, the opportunity to either goad the leader of the opposition or to “free publicity” to some new government proposals.
Yesterday's questions (Wednesday 27th February) were no exception to the usual circus. Cameron not answering Milliband's questions, except by asking questions of his own and Milliband pursuing  the cul de sac of, “Will he answer, Yes or No?”
This general preoccupation with point scoring amongst the members, leads to missing many issues which should be seized upon and expanded at the time. For example, in response some 13 minutes into the session from a question from Gordon Banks which related to food banks, the Prime Minister pointed out that the use of foodbanks “increased 10 fold under the last Labour Government”. A misleading response, seeking to score points and deflect from the issue.
The truth, which Cameron conveniently avoided in his answer is that in 2010 there were 79 foodbanks in the UK. Today there are more than 250.
Or to put it another way the number of people relying on foodbanks in 2008 t0 2009 was 26,000. In 2012 the figure was 128,607 and the estimated number for 2013 is predicted to be in excess of 200,000.
This fact should have been taken up at the time, or at least reported in the media, but as usual the issue became lost in the general “ya ya ya ya” from the Tory benches and the “No, rubbish nay” counters from the Labour benches.
All in all, an important subject to many people, but not it seems to the members of House of Commons (or the reporters from the media).It must be many years since a politician promised that the days of “Yaboo” politics in the House of Commons were over and that business would be conducted on a more professional level. A week is a long time in politics, and this promise has gone the same way as all the others.
A plague on all your houses.