Thursday 26 April 2018

Missed opportunity

One of the joys of working for oneself is that one can watch The Daily Politics and PMQs live, if one should feel the need.

Yesterdays PMQs was particularly acrimonious. Jeremy Corbyn gave an impassioned speech about the Windrush debacle, calling on Amber Rudd, or possibly Theresa May (some people aren’t quite sure which) to resign. 

The theme was that the Tories had deliberately created ‘A Hostile Environment’ for immigrants and that both legal and illegal immigrants were ‘caught up in the fallout’. It suited the Labour Party to conflate the two whilst angrily accusing the Tories of doing the very same thing. See how Dawn Butler MP operates on The Daily Politics (arguing with David Jones MP.) 

It’s impossible to get a straight answer out of her. She knows what she wants to say and she isn’t budging from the script. I’d like to know what Jo Coburn really makes of this performance.

Isabel Hardman describes PMQs here “The Maybot returns…” but fails to mention the potential elephant trap that the Labour leader set for himself when he chose to refer to the Stephen Lawrence affair and screeches in that old-man-Steptoe voice of his:  “we must stamp out institutional racism”.

You’d think, under the circumstances, that mentioning institutional racism was treading on dangerous ground. Unforgivably, Theresa May missed her open-goal-level of an opportunity to hit the back of the net. 

The most striking contribution, towards the end, came from Yvette Cooper. Looking a bit like a very indignant chipmunk, she blurted out a bombshell that could prove to be a big embarrassment for the government.

When I listened to Andrew Neil and Laura Kuenssberg giving their customary summary of what had just gone before (in case we lesser beings needed to have it spelled out it in big print for the hard-of-comprehending) they described something I barely recognised. More interested in Yvette Cooper’s intervention than anything else, harshly critical of Theresa May, it was apparent that they accepted Corbyn’s histrionics as par for the course, as they ignored them altogether; it’s as if they hold the current Labour Party to a different set of standards than all the rest. As if, like the Palestinians, Jeremy Corbyn and his followers have little or no agency.

As far as a gentler, kinder politics, this was not it. Jeremy Corbyn was rattled; near hysterical, while May’s manner was exaggeratedly condescending and painstaking as if explaining a simple principle to a very thick child (!) and the child was just not getting it. Both sides made a pig’s ear out of the whole thing, and everyone, not least the BBC, missed their respective opportunities, dragging the tone from poor to abysmal.


  1. I was listening rather than watching, but I heard it in its entirety. I thought it was the strangest of PMQs with both Corbyn and May skirting around the issue rather than addressing it directly. Corbyn endlessly banged on about a hostile environment, without ever explaining what he would do about the problem of illegal immigration - if anything at all. May, rather than take him to task about this endlessly repeated, in the pained voice you describe that the Windrush generation were not illegal immigrants. It was one of the most pointless series of exchanges I have ever heard. Can it be that politics actually gets in the way of common sense.

    As for Corbyn and “institutional racism”, I think he is so convinced he is in the right about the whole issue of anti-Semitism he can’t see the connection - nor apparently, the BBC. It’s probably not their sort of racism. Although May rather surprisingly let this pass, there were some very audible groans and mumblings (or whatever that noise they make is) from the other side.

    Laura Kuenssberg often picks on what seems like a rather esoteric point after PMQs. I can only interpret this as promoting her “insider” image for amazement of us plebs.

    1. Noticed a quirky new, potentially one-off, poster on BBBC called Teetering2 trying to get Ms. K pegged as a Tory in explaining the BBC's overall right-wing bias.


  2. I've noticed the BBC (along with most of the MSM) have indulged in some useful political amnesia, so they can no longer recall that it was revealed just a couple of weeks ago that Corbyn was a member of five, I think it was, dodgy "pro-Palestinian" groups (or similar) where full vent was given to anti-semitic tropes. He claimed to be unaware of this "coincidental" racism.

    1. The prevalence of sporadic Alzheimers on high in the politico-media world is a wondrous thing to see displayed by so many, so often.

      Such as a Diane Abbott cramming another foot in her spacious mouth seemingly excused either by her being black, a diabetic, or all three.

      Meanwhile the BBC top floor is at epidemic level post-Pollard.


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