And it started off so well. Some jibing about football, and a joke (I know, a joke!) from JC about Davy Caz forgetting which football team he supports – does he support three now? this 41 minute long PMQs was one of the most unusual I’ve ever witnessed, but while Jezza seemed to liven up, Davy seemed to be under the impression the allotted time was really his to ask the same question over (and over, and OVER) again.
Bros’ before Hos’ Hezbollah
While Jez was trying to ask some pretty standard questions to the prime minister about the proposed cuts to youth and adult social service, it proved a bit too much of a genuine question, and DC launches into an attack of Jez, wanting to know if he’s still mates with Hamas and Hezbollah. (Here we go.)
Explainer: Jeremy Corbyn used the word friends, in an internal, informal discussion in Westminster, to describe the organisations in a general sense, and to recognise them as part of the peacekeeping efforts. He publicly stated he did not support any racist organisation both in the house and via televised interviews, also condemning groups who do but has not specifically retracted his comments as of yet. Read more information about it here, here and here.
This whole segment is what has made this edition of PMQs so interesting and has astounded journalists, broadcasters, politicians and members of the public alike. Whilst watching it myself, I couldn’t quite believe my ears. David Cameron might have thought it necessary to bring up Corbyn’s comments in light of the anti-Semitism that has been found in the Labour party (pending investigation) but the extent he went on about it was ridiculous. Although Jez’s first responses were really rather wet, he does after the second or so time, state that he nor the Labour party is affiliated or condones the anti-semitic and hateful opinions of terrorist organisations. But no, Davy keeps going. It actually started to make me think that he had nothing better to say, as he focuses on the actual questions being put to him for, maybe five minutes? Just mumbles a little about the new living wage and an increase in employment, but nothing directly about the cuts. In fact, his attitude towards it was appalling and felt like something you’d see across the pond at a Trump rally rather than the lower house.
I did however, find myself, (probably alongside many other members of the public, Jez supporters or not) wondering why Jez didn’t just succumb and withdraw the comments, but after further reflection, I realise the situation is actually more complicated. Overtly withdrawing the comments live in PMQs or even at all would be political suicide. It would be bowing down to Cameron and his tirade of bullying, something that would be used by conservative spin doctors for years to come and would most probably have been something Jeremy couldn’t come back from – leaving him with no option but to do his best to explain his (poor) choice of language and reaffirm the attitudes of his party.
Personally I don’t think there is any leeway in racism and no matter how heartfelt the apology, it needs to be properly investigated and eradicated, and for the record I would not identify myself as affiliated to any major political party, but I don’t think Corbyn is anti-semitic, nor do I think Labour as a whole expresses anti-semitic sentiment. The issues here are made solely by the individual, and might I point out that there have been many reports based on the ingrained racism in the conservative party, so where does that leave us as a whole.
Yes we Khan
Maybe if DC had spent less time on semantics rather than helping to tackle the problem of anti-semitics and racism within the entire house, he may have been clued up to the way his party are operating a guerilla-esque smear campaign against Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidatefor London Mayor. Though DC of course refuses this is the case, he did spend another five minutes systematically smearing the Labour MP for Tooting, basically arguing that his religion and proximity to (conservative) extremist thinkers means he shares those views. Wow DC, way to show you’re not racist. Corbyn has conducted and investigation into the Labour party, shouldn’t the Prime Minister do the same for his?
Incase you’ve been living under a rock, up and down the country on May 5th there are council and police commissioner elections. This is a local government election. Councils provide services and facilities to thier constituents. You will be voting for candidates you feel can run your local council efficiently. Tomorrow, there are a third of council seats up for election. Many of these are held by Labour. Though there is no official information on candidates by law, you can find out more information via your local government, or via this very handy article.
Therefore of course this issue is going to come up. DC started the discussion with the hope that the increase of Conservative candiates means Labour will most likely lose their seats, though that was pretty much his only input on the subject. However, as Corbyn points out, 9 of the 10 most deprived councils are set to see cuts higher than the national average, with 8 facing cuts more than 3 times the national average. This would mean less money for youth services, adult social care and those in areas of the greatest need. Are we not all in it together anymore? DC seemed pretty hellbent on ignoring all of this, even though current statistics show that the use of foodbanks has risen and 1.25 million people are unable to provide themselves with basic living essentials. Although we have seen an increase in some aspects of the economy, these benefits seem to be going to those who don’t need them – cutting high income tax and ignoring corporation tax for large companies. When will the economy trickle down to us?
Maybe JC should have taken a stronger stand with this instead of council elections, but I still doubt we would have gotten a straight forward answer from the Prime Minister as long as he was hellbent on deciphering the rules of friendship. Although DC’s opinion towards letting in child refugees seems to have gotten more lenient, he still poses himself against the Kindertransport (who have urged Cameron to accept 3000 child refugees) and continues to claim that taking child refugees from working democracies such as France and Germany would just be insulting to them. How about you consider the needs of scared and at-risk children instead of the politics of diplomacy?
At this point in the year, it’s almost impossible to go a day in Westminster without this being brought up, but this PMQs did raise some interesting points about it. Its clear from the questions and language being used, that a lot of DC’s own party do not agree with him that we should remain in the EU. One question was veered towards the EU being an unstoppable super power where democracies are pitted out to fight each other – another arguing that wages would surely get higher if we were allowed to implement an emergency break on immigration. DC stuck to his guns though, expressing his opinion that we would instead be better off in a reformed European Union and I do, for once, agree with him.
Leaving the EU would be business suicide. It would not raise wages, it would cause major companies and businesses that bring in trade and revenue to leave, we need to be much clearer on the economic circumstances leaving the EU would bring. We would make ourselves a pariah in the international market place, and would probably be out of pocket by billions of pounds.
Hello Mr Speaker.
What PMQs would be complete without speaker Bercow having to scold one of the naughty boys for getting a bit too overexcited?
Hexham, shame on you. Didn’t you know our political system has barely changed since the Victorian era and therefore you should act like a good little boy and be seen but not heard? (exact quote guys) Maybe they should all take up pub jobs for a year and see how their constituents actually live. He even told Campbell to quieten down and take up yoga. Now we know why speaker bercow is so calm. The one person he did not interrupt however was Davy himself, but instead let him run rampant like a tyrant throughout. Forgive my confusion, but I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be DC asking the questions, unless he’d like to step down as Prime Minister.
Alls well that ends abruptly
The quote of the day though has to go to David Cameron, in a lighter hearted moment, he accused Gary Lineker of avoiding the question, in response to him broadcasting match of the day in his underwear after a shocking win from Leicester City FC, claiming that questions were not dodged in this house. Right, apart from the fair few you dodged yourself from HM leader of the opposition… I could write for miles about how this little quip is actually such a scathing lie that is should cause his resignation, but after all that I just don’t have the energy.
A tiring one indeed, and the ending a little unclear. The result of the London Mayoral election as well as Council elections will give us more scope to the prominence of either party, as well as the ongoing investigations into racism, but realistically DC needs to stop shouting and prancing around and put some actual effort in when it comes to running the country. Stop dodging the question and answer it.