Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PMQs and Ed Miliband's Debut

David Cameron made a storming start when he was a novice Leader of the Opposition facing Tony Blair at his first Prime Minister's Questions, pointing at a clearly weary Blair and exclaiming that "You were the future once!" Well, now it was Cameron's turn to face a new Opposition Leader, although he has himself barely got his feet behind the Prime Ministerial Despatch Box yet, so weariness wasn't an option!

Several commentators called the exchange for Miliband - the BBC's Nick Robinson, the Evening Standard's Paul Waugh and the Spectator's James Forsyth for example. Certainly Miliband was considered, understated even, and rightly eschewed flashy statements or corny one liners. He came across as a man genuinely trying to get the truth out of the Prime Minister, and rightly focused on the child benefit policy, still one whose weakness doens't appear to have been properly explained or corrected by the government. Although there was a nervousness to his performance initially - or at any rate an apparent nervousness - he came across with sincerity. This is certainly not a leader to be under-estimated by the Tories. But whether or not he 'won' PMQs I'm not so sure. Cameron remained commanding and fluent, and appeared for the most part to be dominating the exchange. It's possible that expectations may have played a part in some observers' enthusiasm for Miliband, but you can always make up your ownm ind and go to the broadcast of the exchange here - it's near the beginning.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

No one has to "win" PMQ's. Genuine scrutiny of the government by the opposition isn't a gameshow.

GM said...

Tell that to the MPs, the commentators and most of the public. But I admire your purity!

Sam Woods said...

Is James Forsythe Bruce Forsythe's brother?