Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Cameron should start PMQs as he means to go on

Today will be David Cameron's first Prime Minister's Questions.

I am sure there will be much excitement among political watchers. Will he acquit himself well? Will he best the opposition? Can Harriet land a couple of blows? Will anyone trip him up?

I am hopeful for something else though. The last Prime Minister allowed PMQs to degrade to the point where I cannot remember him often answering the question. It was merely an opportunity to list the latest set of tractor statistics and make spurious points about the opposition. Also, he had a dreadful tendency to ask the leader of the opposition questions. It's not LOTOQs!

I hope that Cameron does a few things differently to his predecessor:

1) Answer the question! This might sound obvious and I am not so naive as to expect him not to try and make political points as he responds but in doing so he should try his best to answer whatever has been asked of him.
2) Stop with the planted questions. It gets so tedious hearing backbenchers invite the PM to agree with them how wonderful the government is. Cameron should have no truck with any of this.
3) It is a new parliament with well over 200 new MPs. There has not been a better opportunity in the last few decades to try and change the culture so Cameron should lead by example and discourage jeering and heckling. He did this a bit when he first became leader of the opposition but soon abandoned his attempts. He now has the chance to do this again from the position of PM. If he really wants a new politics, this is one way of trying to get it and to communicate to voters that the awful barracking that so turns them off in the chamber will not be tolerated.

Once he has a couple of PMQs under his belt the tone will be set and it will be too late. Today is the best opportunity to show that he really means to do things differently.

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