In this week’s thrilling instalment:
Prime Minister’s Questions
Ah, the cut and thrust of political debate! The opportunity for MPs of any persuasion to ask this country’s glorious leader anything they want to, and for him to answer fully! A valuable window for the public to look into, to discover the awesome power of Parliamentary democracy!
Reality check, people. PMQs is nothing more than an increasingly childish “na na na I’m not listening” playground battle of extreme boorishness. And as we get ever nearer the General Election, it’s only going to become even worse.
But wait (you say, having studied the title of this entry)! Irrational “Loves”?! What?!
Guilty as charged. I love this stuff. Politics has always fascinated me. I stayed up for the General Election of 1992, for fuck’s sake. And I was 14 at the time. Tragic.
Let’s face it, the term “Prime Minister’s Questions” hides the real truth of current PMQs, which is that while questions may be asked, what is asked isn’t necessarily what is going to be answered. Indeed, at present PMQs follows a pretty familiar pattern:
1. Labour MPs attempting to win the Order of the Brown Nose by launching puffball questions at Gordon Brown about how amazing he is, for which he’s rehearsed cunning answers that talks up his Government while simultaneously slagging off the Tories.
2. Tory MPs asking things that poke fun at Brown and his leadership style, which Brown doesn’t even attempt to answer and instead deflects the question onto something entirely unrelated, which just so happens to slag off the Tories.
3. Oh, and then there’s Nick Clegg, clearing the Chamber even as he attempts to relay sympathy to the latest family torn apart by losing their child in Afghanistan, and barely meriting a response from Brown, no matter the question asked. But what response there is makes fun of both Clegg and the Tories.
What I don’t understand about PMQs is that Gordon never actually responds to a serious point, instead deflecting the rays of questioning onto some kind of bizarro mirror that turns it into something completely different. And what I really don’t understand about it is that the Speaker of the Commons (John Bercow, Conservative) doesn’t have the Labour loyalty of former Speaker Michael Martin, and yet doesn’t use his authority to insist that Gordon actually answers the questions. Because he doesn’t. I guarantee that if you replayed PMQs right now, you would not find a single question answered at all. Instead, he plays the game that has always been played since the TV cameras were installed in Parlianment back in the 1980s.
It’s the age of spin. It’s an awful state of affairs.
And yet, as if it’ s a car-crash and I’m passing by on the other side of the motorway, I can’t help watching. I find it intriguing how the various parties prepare and counter each other over this half an hour every Wednesday by the bell-end techniques employed. The casual viewer would doubtless be appalled by the hilariously disrespectful behaviour of our public figures, and for good reason. But for me, it’s a game of “special” chess. I love listening to it. I love watching it. It’s brilliantly entertaining despite its obvious rubbishness.
And that’s why it’s an irrational love…
Wine alert! Wine alert! This post has been brought to you in association with Spar’s 3 x Merlot for £10 deal.