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Brown’s first Prime Minister’s Questions

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 12 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 12 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Gordon BrownI’ve just watched Brown’s first PMQs thanks to the BBC’s lovely Daily Politics vodcast / video podcast / podcast. (What are we calling them these days?)

The newspaper columnists seem to think that it was a clear Cameron victory: I disagree. I think Mr Brown held his own quite well. He wasn’t as slick, but in many ways that’s probably a good thing. I’d rather see stumblingly straight answers than answers that bear no relation to the question whatsoever. Brown certainly came closer to answering the questions than Mr Blair ever did.

Brown’s line about having been in the job for only five days wasn’t the best, but other than that, he held up pretty well. And Ming got to tell a joke, which was nice. Not a great joke, but a joke nonetheless. Not a sharp, to the point joke, but then when does he ever come across like that at PMQs?

The whole tone of the occasion was much less gladiatorial than in Mr Blair’s day. None of this “Well, if he thinks that, let me tell him…” – Well, I guess there was a bit of that with quoting each other’s front benches over ID cards, but at least Mr Brown’s responses were largely constructive.

It was interesting how much more of a presence Mr Brown commanded than Mr Cameron – and I felt that the latter looked a little more snide than usual. He needs to up his game to meet Mr Brown’s presence and gravitas. Though, interestingly, Mr Cameron is taller, which I wouldn’t have guessed. Random fact, but true.

Perhaps my favourite comment from all the coverage came, unusually, from Michael White:

…he lacks Tony Blair’s affable charm – his talent for bullshit, if you prefer…

Amen to that!

This 1,174th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

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