Wednesday, 7 April 2010

PMQs: What the Apolitical Saw and What They Weren't Told

Cameron came out on all the old Tory favourite dog whistle issues: helicopters in Afghanistan, taxing pension funds, NI contributions as a 'jobs tax' but most of all the 'business leaders agree with us not you' line. He sounded up for it, quite slick and very confident. But it was definitely a 'Alpha male' type confidence, which can so easily rebound if the country should decide that, no, actually, it doesn't want a Rugby captain as PM.

Brown came back with too much detail - and a very slight semi-stutter which makes him sound as if he's hiding a fear - but basically said, " Ya boo sucks, we sorted out Northern Rock and you funked it". Which is true, but electorally uninspiring I suspect. He tried to turn Cameron's anti-Blair jibe - "He was the future once" - back on the Tory Leader, but I don't think it worked. But he did a fairly good job in turning Clegg's attempt to blame the big boys for failing to reform party funding into an anti-Ashcroft diatribe. As we went down the batting order he seemed better and better, swatting away questions from other MPs with his 'I'm a Scottish bank manager and can quote lots of figures' act. Is he John Major with a Presbyterian backbone?

But I think he is genuinely frightened by Cameron and this may yet be the key factor which wounds him in the eyes of the apolitical majority. It's one thing not wanting a Alpha Male to take risks with your livelihood, it's another to trust a man who sounds scared of the challenge.

Meanwhile Paul Mason cuts to the chase: the difference between the - equally unconvincing to him it would seem - Labour and Tory plans to deal with the deficit:
"...what the Conservative proposal does is alter the ratio between spending cuts and tax rises from about 66:33 to 80:20 by the end of the parliament."

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