Reasoned debate lost amid the end-of-term hysteria
A RED mist seemed to descend over the House of Commons yesterday as the final session of Prime Minister’s Questions before the summer break turned into a slanging match between David Cameron and Ed Miliband.
As temperatures rose, the Labour leader drew attention to the colour rising in the Prime Minister’s cheeks, taunting him: “The redder he gets, the less he convinces people.”
Mr Cameron struck back by telling MPs: “There’s only one person who’s red round here, and that’s Red Ed, running the Labour Party.”
Mr Miliband came to the Commons determined to remind voters of a six-month period which Labour believes has seen a succession of disasters for the government.
Rather than get into the details of the reform package, Mr Miliband reeled off an increasingly familiar list of charges against the Prime Minister which he hopes will define him in the public’s minds. Reminding Mr Cameron he is reported to have said he wanted to be PM “because I think I would be good at it”, Mr Miliband asked him: “Where did it go wrong?”
He accused the Prime Minister of losing control not only of his MPs but also of his temper in the Commons last night, describing Mr Cameron’s confrontation with leading Tory rebel Jesse Norman as “fisticuffs in the lobby”. Mr Cameron was “out of touch”, leading a government in “disarray” which had produced “U-turn after U-turn after U-turn” and “a double-dip recession made in Downing Street”, and was “blaming everyone but himself”, said Mr Miliband.
Perhaps aware that the timetabling of debate on House of Lords reform was not a subject on which the average voter feels much passion, the Labour leader turned his fire once again on Chancellor George Osborne’s March Budget, which Mr Miliband feels has undermined the government’s reputation for economic competence and fairness.
Mr Osborne had “made the wrong choices and stood up for the wrong people”, giving a tax cut to millionaires while raising taxes for pensioners, he said.
Mr Cameron responded: “We will never forget what we were left by the party opposite – they were bailing out eurozone countries with taxpayers’ money, paying £100,000 for just one family’s housing benefit, they had uncontrolled welfare and uncontrolled immigration, uncontrolled spending.
“Never has so much been borrowed, never has so much been wasted, never have so many people been let down. The country will never forgive them for what they did.”
All in all, it was not so much a session of reasoned debate as a mud-slinging contest with more than a hint of end-of-term hysteria.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West