Thursday, January 10, 2008


Gordon like Rabbit in Headlights at PMQs

My picture shows Gordon looking keenly at Tony as the latter conducts his last PMQs. But he doesn't seem to have learnt anything from such scrutiny. As I no longer have a class on Wednesday mornings, I thought I'd watch a session of PMQs right through just to see how Brown performs. The answer is... not at all well. Right from the start his body language, not to mention his spoken version as well, bespeaks a man not in control of the situation. He is fine when fielding questions from his own side- some of them no doubt planted anyway- but facing Cameron, the man who is actually in full control- is clearly an ordeal for him.

Taxed on ID Cards, he stuttered and started, like an old car on a cold morning. His head seems to veer away as if to avoid seeing his tormentor and he constantly seeks out his comfort zone of the economy and his famously impeccable record compared to that of the Opposition. Trouble is, that this record has been played so often even his own side are wearying of raising any loyal cheers. Far from being a 'great clunking fist' as we had been promised, Gordon lumbers around like an overweight elephant, presenting a barn door o0f a target for the nimble Cameron.

I noticed too that the Tories have improved their own act somewhat. Dave now slips in additional questions and sneers when asking his allowed number of questions, to maximise Brown's discomfort. Also, when Gordon tried to counter attack by accusing Cameron of delivering lines rehearsed in front of the mirror(didn't a journalist suggest this line of defence?), the whole front bench collapsed with laughter, much to Brown's evident mortification. Brown needs to work harder to combat his tormentors as he only encourages them at the moment. But I wonder whether he can ever acquire the lightness of touch needed to deflect these really rather pathetic attacks; I suspect handling PMQs is either something one has-like Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Blair or one lacks. For the first PMQs of 2008, I fear, one would have to place Gordon in the latter category.

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