PMQs: Sir Keir goes for policy when the crowd wants drama
Seeing the leaders debate each other so often should be a proud asset of our democracy. Instead it’s a boring charade where we learn more from what they don’t say rather than anything stated outright.
Consider Wednesday’s session, fresh off the back of Dominic Cummings latest online revenge, in which he shared texts appearing to show the Prime Minister calling the health secretary “totally f***** hopeless”.
Released shortly before the session kicked off, it seemed the perfect fuel to pour on the ailing fire that is Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership.
It was a chance to directly ask the Prime Minister whether he said something awful about his health secretary and discussed moving him during a pandemic that has seen the UK record one of Europe’s worst death tolls.
Instead of giving bored viewers the chance of some messy drama, Sir Keir instead went in on Mr Johnson’s admittedly disastrous policy on the UK’s borders.
Why score an open goal when you can simply talk policy at someone?
The Labour leader attacked Mr Johnson over the delay in banning travel to India, a criticism met with laughter and dismissal by a leader who appears to not believe in actions having consequences.
Mr Johnson insisted the UK had a really strong approach on the borders, called him Captain Hindsight for what feels like the thousandth time and accused Sir Keir of wanting to let the EU have control over the UK’s borders.
Sir Keir chose to go in on a subject that is important to the public, and one the UK Government’s handling of has seen the day of lifting restrictions moved back four weeks.
People care about it, but bringing up the Prime Minister’s numerous policy failures has the overwhelming impact of leaving the Tories at least ten points ahead in every poll forever.
Why not just have fun and treat the PM like a cheating boyfriend, showing the texts he knows he can’t deny? It’s not like he isn’t experienced at such confrontations.
Asking the questions that matter is noble, but frankly the process would be a lot more fun if Sir Keir sacked off the policy chat and accepted we live for the drama.
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