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What is David Cameron up to?

Nick Robinson | 14:21 UK time, Wednesday, 6 February 2008

David Cameron at PMQsToday at Prime Minister's Questions he labelled Gordon Brown a "hopeless dithering prime minister". The other day he labelled him "that strange man" in Downing Street. The leader who promised an end to ‘Punch and Judy’ has become more and more contemptuous in his attitude to the PM and, as a result, less respectful towards the office itself.

My guess is that he is thinking of that old American political strategists’ maxim "Define your opponent before he can define himself". In other words, he may be hoping that he can help form a negative impression of Gordon Brown which will stick fast in voters’ minds.

However, I recall David Cameron telling Tories to be aware that whatever they said would, in the end, tell voters as much about them as the person they were attacking.

Has he forgotten this or am I missing something?

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 02:45 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Peter Farrington wrote:

If Cameron is describing Brown as a 'hopeless dithering prime minister' then it doesn't seem to me that he is acting in any way disrespectfully to the office of Prime Minister, since his language suggests that it is possible and proper to be a hopeful and decisive Prime Minister. He is surely only suggesting that Gordon Brown is a weak occupant of the office, and many of us would agree.

I think he has picked his battle rather well. When up against Blair he was wise not to pick a personal fight, especially over the dispatch box. Now Brown is in the hot seat and seemingly unable to deal with the attacks he has changed his game plan. It seems to be working on the whole, although Brown has now been coached into giving a sound bite in return he still appears visibly irritated by Cameron's onslaughts.

Did you enjoy my skunk analogy on The Daily Politics?

  • 3.
  • At 02:55 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • gg wrote:

it is the beginning of the end of the end of Punch and Judy politics

  • 4.
  • At 03:01 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • jim brant wrote:

Cameron is just making himself look silly. It was bad enough at PMQ's, when he simply demonstrated that the 'all sound-bite but no substance' claim is entirely justified, but in the subsequent exchange over the Report on telephone intercepts he was even worse. After accepting the Report, he then went on to ignore its conclusion that the situation is far from straightforward and requires a lot more work. In his eagerness to press his 'dithering' charge, he wanted Brown to just ignore all that and take an off the top of his head 'political' decision. The man is just not up to the job of leading the opposition, let alone the country.

By the way, what on earth is wrong with this site? I confidently expect to see the '502' error message at least a dozen times before this post gets through - if indeed it ever does.

  • 5.
  • At 03:02 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Bill Rees wrote:

Cameron comes over looking like a public school playground bully.He should drop the nasty soundbites pre prepared by his spin doctors.Present solid thought out policies to state your case.The "SUNNY GREEN DAVE" image seems to have gone out of fashion with his PR team.

  • 6.
  • At 03:04 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Andrew Cox wrote:

It may be that he's realised that Brown is just awful at PMQs. All he seems to do is quote statistics. This makes him a very easy target. It's a shame - in his early days Cameron was genuinely positive in his questioning (and I'm not a Tory fan), but I suppose that one must aim for what works.

  • 7.
  • At 04:01 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Robin wrote:

is it wrong to tell the truth about our dithering Prime Minister?

as for 'sound bites' how about the no more boom and bust promise we had from the dithering leader now that Norhtern Rock has hit the skids? How about the education, education, education promise after ten years of lowered standards? How about the 52 reviews since coming to office six months ago; if Gordon Brown has to have a review every time he needs to do something he should not be in the job.

this government is sinking precisely because of Cameron's points. What for instance do we think the Prime Minister tells his peers at the G7 or in the EU when asked questions about policy "we're consulting on policy"???

  • 8.
  • At 04:04 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Alexander wrote:

I think that David Cameron is showing his irritation with the PM's passive aggressive style at PMQs.

It is not pleasant to watch and does neither man any favours.

But it is understandable that Cameron should show his contempt for the way that the PM handles himself.

The PM cut a solitary figure in the House today. His back benches very subdued. Absolutely no adrenalin there.

Part of the problem, watching at home,was the young Milliband's irritating 6th form demeanour. Why, one wonders, will Alistair Darling never be seen sitting shoulder to shoulder with his boss? I suspect that he has John Major style ambitions of his own and has no intention of going down with the ship should HMS Brown get holed beneath the waterline.

  • 9.
  • At 04:19 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Ian wrote:

Does a country want a PM that so frequently uses the lowest form of wit? May be it does. If so it says a lot about the British and that Cameron feels that is what they want and will accept.

Cameron approach is further damaging politics and the way poeple view politians. It's certainly not going to inspire a nation to great change and success.

  • 10.
  • At 05:11 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Nick,

I've been watching Prime Ministers Questions for sometime now, always liked the party antics between the leaders as they spar over the dispatch box.

Would like to know your comments and maybe a blog thought, on the way the Prime Minister is turning "PM Questions" into the "PM not answering Questions". I've become appalled in this lack of answering any questions by the leader of the opposition or the Liberal Democrats and even asking them questions.

When an issue of trust in important in politics in this country, I do believe it's time that politicians need to grasp that the people of this country want to hear hard fast answers to questions, and not the political spin that waffles out of their mouths.

Gordon's Brown performance on the dispatch box during Question time, after his initial mauling by David Cameron is not impressing me, or my fellow peers, and the lack of respect on what Question time is all about just shows how contempt this Government has become.

For the record I do agree with the Nick Clegg, that his "British" society has become more like Germany during the reign of the Nazi's, our freedom of movement which is tracked constantly and the intercept / bugging of people without the proper checks / balances is alarming.

I saw a news report the other week about Terminal 5 at Heathrow, with fingerprint readers and camera's to take pictures of people before boarding a flight for domestic flights...just shocks and alarms me.

Maybe David Cameron should join Nick Clegg and get the Prime Minister to answer questions on that, as the freedoms granted by the Magna Carta in the reign of King John sure look gone and forgotten for all Britons.

  • 11.
  • At 05:15 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

Cameron is right to target the man. Brown is indeed a ditherer whose dithering has cost this nation dear (£55 billion on Northern Wreck alone). Brown uses statistics in a ways which, to use parliamentary language, can best be described as 'inadvertedly misleading', deploying no end of 'terminological inexactitude'.

Cameron should do us all a favour and point out these flaws of both character and political practice at every opportunity.

Brown has been rumbled and if he doesn't like the heat he can quit the kitchen.

Perhaps Cameron is plugging into a general feeling in Britain that people should be in positions of power and responsibility on merit, not by inheritence, even if that inheritence is as contrived as that which allowed Brown to replace Blair. PMQs provides an opportunity for Cameron to highlight the flaws and weaknesses of the PM, his lack of merit. Perhaps he has received some coaching from the Shadow Foreign Secretary, who was rather good at the dispatch box.

  • 13.
  • At 05:35 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Sally C wrote:

When all your opponents can say is 'he is nasty' - you know they have lost.
Cameron is supposed to land punches. It is the PM'S job to defend himself and land them back.

The Labour press/backbenchers/ supporters would cheer with delight.
They evenmake out he has floored Cameron whenhe hasn't.
Pathetic from the Clunking Fist????

When the Prime Minister refuses to answer a single question what, exactly, is he supposed to do? Personally if I'd been David Cameron or Nick Clegg (and Cable before him) I'd have given up long ago with PMQs.

  • 15.
  • At 05:40 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • i.moore wrote:

"Cameron approach is further damaging politics "

I would have thought a Prime Minister who is unable to answer a simple question, then spends the whole time asking others for their answers when its questions to the Prime Minister, is the one who is damaging politics.
It also begs the question, in light of all the reviews and that as he has no answers to anything, why did he become Prime Minister?

  • 16.
  • At 05:42 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • G Adlam wrote:

Don't remember angst about Punch & Judy politics when Tony Blair was laying into John Major, characterising pecadillos in Tory members' personal lives as sleaze. Even he in retrospect regrets the extent to which he did so.
Brown last year was quite open about his desire to annihilate the Tories by decapitating the present leadership and consigning them to opposition for the foreseeable future.
Cameron has every right to use every weapon in his arsenal to bring down Brown.
Even if that upsets that unbiased bastion the BBC....

Nick

He's simply playing up to the fact that the BBC will always find room to cover his 'sub-prime prime minister' and Cable's 'Stalin to Mr Bean' style comments.

It's a bit off to let such comments dominate your packages for the Ten and then question why he's making them.

If you could persuade your bosses to drop the guff about Britney, Paris Hilton, this week's football signings and Heath Ledger to make room for a more in-depth report on the day's events in Parliament perhaps Cameron and Clegg could in turn focus on more detailed comments and questions, secure in the knowledge that they'd get reported?

  • 18.
  • At 06:05 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • jim brant wrote:

Cameron is just making himself look silly. It was bad enough at PMQ's, when he simply demonstrated that the 'all sound-bite but no substance' claim is entirely justified, but in the subsequent exchange over the Report on telephone intercepts he was even worse. After accepting the Report, he then went on to ignore its conclusion that the situation is far from straightforward and requires a lot more work. In his eagerness to press his 'dithering' charge, he wanted Brown to just ignore all that and take an off the top of his head 'political' decision. The man is just not up to the job of leading the opposition, let alone the country.

By the way, what on earth is wrong with this site? I confidently expect to see the '502' error message at least a dozen times before this post gets through - if indeed it ever does.

  • 19.
  • At 06:17 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • m owen wrote:

Clegg raised the question about the fingerprinting of schoolchildren in secordary schools. Brown failed to provide a coherent justification for this policy, instead we are treated to rambling, nonsensical unchallenged statement about upholding liberties.

Brown is no bloody good at PMQs, even with the usual quotient of planted questions and interventions from Speaker Martin. He has had 10 years to watch Blair operate at PMQs, and he has absorbed nothing, learned nothing and adds nothing.

Cameron seems to bring out the worst in Brown, frequently reducing him to the role of a snarling wounded bear, stabbing the dispatch box with a claw like hand.

  • 20.
  • At 06:39 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • valerie wrote:

No you are not "missing something". The opposition have become a team of second banana wannabes auditioning for "Mock the Week". They really do bring the whole house down - but not in the way they intend.

Look what happened to that great stand up comedian and potential Tory leader William Haig - reduced to after-dinner speaking for a living. What a wally!Cameron will go the same way. It's "Shameless" really: not big, not clever - and not very funny.

  • 21.
  • At 06:53 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Gillian McCulloch wrote:

Cameron has really run out of ideas if the best way he can try and regain support and votes is to call the prime minister "strange". Nick Robinson is spot on when he points out David's complete hypocrisy. Contrary to Cameron's beliefs, attack isn't always the best form of defence when you are trying to present yourself as a viable option for Prime Minister.

I wouldn't exactly call Cameron "normal" either, and if you think Brown is hopeless and dithering we can only imagine what Cameron would be like in power.

  • 22.
  • At 07:12 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • David wrote:

Of course he's "forgotten". He's the political leader of the opposition, and a politician: it's his duty to cash in in the evolving situation for the Government in making his own Party look every strengthening and adapting. Having had a difficult time confronting Blair, he's been able to smoothly confront Brown in a way that seems fairer than it actually is when you look at his previous stance.

It's all part of the game of politics, and in particular the PMQs.

  • 23.
  • At 07:29 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Bob G wrote:

No Nick you are not missing something. Cameron is attacking Brown in the same way Blair attacked Major 'weak' etc....He therefore demeans his or his opponents' office no more than any other politician.
You simply don't like it as you realise that Brown is doomed, like some Shakespearian (flawed) character, to defeat. For him defeat will be a failure to emulate his predecessor's huge workable majorities.
You must now seriously consider how your partisan reporting is starting to look to the next government, not the current shambles. It is in no way certain that it will be Tory but it is beyond doubt that Brown will not be its Prime Minister.

Brown is Cameron's beard - by hiding behind him Dave makes himself look respectable.

Bear in mind that half the Conservative PP will happily rend him limb from limb if he does anything he doesn't like. Brown-baiting is his best option at the moment - he's given up trying to redefine the Conservatives and is hoping people won't notice until its too late.

  • 25.
  • At 07:41 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Philippa, UK wrote:

I cringed during today's PMQs. GB was simply awful and wooden. I listen closely every week and whilst this one was pretty dull all round, it was one of GB's worst.

All he did was quote stats - yet again, ancient soundbites (worthy of the Jocularity Delivery Unit @ Private Eye) and ask poor rhetorical questions. YAWN.

He needs a serious masterclass in debating society technique - which is very disappointing in a bloke with 10 yrs front line politics under his belt

Cameron is not on top form with such a vacuous opponent - it's just no sport at all. Bring back Prescott for at least a little mirth at PMQs!

...and I'd be interested in an analysis of GB's PMQ responses too - just how many questions has he actually answered from DC?

  • 26.
  • At 07:49 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Sally C wrote:

It is all very Brirish.
Kick a bloke when he is doing well.

It is just that some of us find it hard to sypmathise with the man who has used the worst sort of political tactics to take[not win] a job that he is very bad at.

  • 27.
  • At 07:57 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Justin wrote:

David Cameron only wants to be Prime Minister so he can use the office as a status symbol. He does not care about Britain or the British people. He only cares about himself. He will say anything to get elected. He demonstrates very little respect for people. He loathes the poor. He detests people who disagree with him. He has no principles. He has no values. He hates his own constituents - as demonstarted when he abandoned the country during the flood crisis last year. He even hates being leader of the Conservative Party - "I don't want this job. I want that one" he once said when asked about being Tory leader.
David Cameron is a career man who only cares about himself. But I will give him credit where it's due - he's managed to manipulate the Conservative Party for his own ends - using them as a stepping stone to a brighter future for himself. Greed. Greed. Greed. This is the word that best describes David Cameron. He is a very greedy and very obnoxious individual who, unfortunately, has managed to get very far on the back of being greedy. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was David Cameron who ate Nick's pancake.

  • 28.
  • At 08:01 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • m alexander wrote:

Yes Nick you are missing something...Point one..That strange man in No 10...He bites his nails to excess, picks his nose and eats the contents and makes statements such as ''British jobs for British People'' Is that strange enough for you?
Point two...Dithering..how many examples do you need..Non election, Lisbon Treaty, 52 reviews etc, etc.

Point three...It is Brown who is being disrespectful to the position of PM...He is simply not up to it...Cameron expected a cluncking fist and I think cannot believe that the guy is PM...You need to get out of the Westminster Village more often Nick...Speak to Mr and Mrs Joe Public..You may be suprised.
Martin

  • 29.
  • At 09:51 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • David wrote:

Brown's done nothing to reserve respect, and had quite openly displayed his dislike and disrespect of Cameron for some time.

But then, as this is the BBC, I don't expect this to have been picked up, since they treat the Conservatives in the same way.

  • 30.
  • At 10:03 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Breeze wrote:

Maybe he is overwhelmingly sick of Brown as are the majority of the great British public - but he wont let us vote him out before he tears up our country!


Yes Nick - you are right, Cameron "has become more and more contemptuous in his attitude to the PM and, as a result, less respectful towards the office itself"
But what else would one expect from a Tory toff? He considers that GB is his social inferior and shows it, that’s why he slyly refers to GB as ‘he’ and ‘you’ rather than the accepted ‘PM’ and demanded the PM ‘look me in the eye’ despite knowing the PM has lost the sight in one eye and has poor vision in the other.
As for the moans about not answering questions, those of us that have followed politics for more than a couple of months will know that it was ever thus, and if you, Nick, looked back to the days of Thatcher or Major you would find the exact same complaint, it goes with the job.
It has also been observed that Cameron is deft at asking questions (or specifically, asking Hilton’s questions) that cannot be answered either for security, commercial or pre-emption, so enabling him to lever in the pre-scripted sound bites, and actually, I think it's quite OK for the PM to turn questions back onto Cameron exposing his flip flopping and opportunism.

  • 32.
  • At 12:23 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • James wrote:

the difference is, Nick, he's in tune with the public mood.

  • 33.
  • At 01:56 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Gerry O'Neill wrote:

PMQ's are entertainment rather than reflective of the real work that goes on but I am surprised that Cameron does not try to use more humour in the exchanges. Brown is the dour, serious, cerebral Scot, while the Cameron tactics do not, to me at least, lend gravitas to his performance. He has an easier target than Blair who was quick witted and very good at the riposte. My biggest issue with today was the seeming inability of the Conservatives to expose Labour's divisions over the non-constitutional, constitutional treaty.

  • 34.
  • At 08:26 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Pete Crockett wrote:

Cameron is coming across as a rather odious individual who is unable to comprehend that slickness and soundbites are not the only leadership qualities that matter. Indeed, what he is displaying time after time during PMQs is a worrying lack of gravitas. (As an aside the smug Flashmanesque sneer is also far from endearing.) The reality is there are some of us who would prefer Brown at the helm in a national or international crisis. Indeed, Cameron's "Tory Blair" has no more appeal to many of us than the original Tony Blair.

  • 35.
  • At 08:30 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Matt wrote:

Since when has PMQ actually involved either proper questions or proper answers? While the two protagonists are hell bent on seeing who can pee furthest up the wall, it's never going to be anything but Punch & Judy politics.

  • 36.
  • At 09:17 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Philip Bannister wrote:

Mr Cameron is frustrated by a long serving government which now has no direction, no ideas, lacklustre ministers and an 'unelected' prime minister. But it is still a government with a big majority, and no matter what any opponent says, nothing is going to bring it down yet.

Maybe the Consevatives themselves have to try to be unpolite and caricature Mr Brown as a ditherer etc. because we only seem to have popular and funny satire when there is a Conservative government. Popular satire has always been a very good and refreshing thing in English politics and our present government deserves a good dose. Keep trying Mr Cameron, I hope Mr Brown gets his turn to ask you some questions in the future.

  • 37.
  • At 10:14 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Bryant Yates wrote:

I'm reminded of the former Australian prime minister, John Howard, and his devastating assessment that Kim Beasley, his opponent, 'lacked ticker'... you can argue either way as to whether this was a true assessment but once the idea took hold in the electorate it was highly corrosive.

I suspect that the same thing is starting to happen with Brown. The 'dithering' tag is potentially devastating, and unfortunately for him is gaining traction as Northern Rock, Metronet, data security, bugging and party funding hang around like a bad smell.

Most importantly, Brown is an unelected PM. I think if he'd gone for it last November and called a poll he would have won and been lauded for his democratic principles.

  • 38.
  • At 10:54 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Edmund Price wrote:

Less respectful of the office of PM? Is Cameron supposed to show deference or hold back when he attacks Brown? Nonsense. It is his job to highlight the flaws in Brown's character. And I guess he will keep doing it whilst Brown is so poor at responding.

There is no point Cameron asking serious questions on policy at PMQs because he knows he isn't going to get a serious answer anyway.

This jousting is pretty much all we can expect from PMQs. It is a shame that it is so one sided at the moment.

  • 39.
  • At 11:08 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Sally C wrote:

'Harden your hearts, fellow citizens, pity is not the right reaction.

But first, there had been Cameron. Oh, we shall miss him when he is no longer leader of the Opposition.'

Simon Carr. The Independent. 7 Feb 2007.

Does a man who has plotted against his collegues for 10 years to get the job [and so bad at it], deserve our sympathy?
Or do we deserve better?

We deserve better.

He would have crushed you if you blocked his way to the job.
Now he blocks Britain's way to better Government, to any Government.

Harden your hearts fellow citizens...now is not the time for pity.
Now is the time to put the needs of Britain before the needs of one man.

  • 40.
  • At 11:08 AM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

Cameron is accurately reflecting the contempt in which most of this country holds Dithering Brown.

That's why Brown will never, ever, win a general election.

I agree with Pete at 34 - Cameron is just stomach churningly vile and he demonstrates that every week at PMQ's.
I had to smile at the optimist on ConHome who thought that Cameron was responsible for losing the Cons the reputation for being 'nasty'! Most of us would be forgiven for thinking that he continually promotes and endorses it. And what does it say about a party that it needs 'decontaminating'? They've failed when they appeal to the likes of no 28 so lots more work in progress obviously.
Cameron polarises opinion, and I hope he continues to do so. Most decent people have got the picture and have already made up their mind, they may not love Brown - but they despise contaminated Cameron.

  • 42.
  • At 12:07 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • JC wrote:

Nick, why do you never seem to comment on Brown's woeful performances at PMQs?

Surely his refusal to answer even the simplest questions put to him is the biggest display of disrespect to the role of PM, to the House, and to the public...

With regards to Cameron's comments - not particularly 'high-brow', but he's not particularly wrong either, is he?

  • 43.
  • At 01:53 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • James C Midlands wrote:

Has Cameron forgotten somthing, Nick asked.

Yes POLICIES

  • 44.
  • At 02:04 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Albert wrote:

What can one say about a leader of a party that is seeing the 4th rejection by the majority in sight Nick?

Why did Cameron dither when he was advising Lamont in 1992, when Cameron could not decide whether to leave the ERM or stay because he thought that the UK economy could take the punches from the world currency markets?

H A U G H T Y comes to mind Nick!

  • 45.
  • At 02:08 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • MartinC wrote:

To accuse Gordon Brown of "dithering" hardly does justice to it. He's spent his whole time as PM playing catch-up policies and politics.

The PM seems desperate to turn PMQ's into Questions to the Leader of the Opposition and how foolish does he look when he refuses to answer a straight question but just fires it straight back to Cameron who answers immediately and aks him again.

  • 46.
  • At 02:43 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • jason wrote:

Cameron is simply telling the truth! And anyway, how can anyone be magnanimous or fair to an utterly dislikeable guy like Brown?

  • 47.
  • At 04:28 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • David C wrote:

It says a lot about the success of Cameron's technique that Nick Clegg's comments made the ticker on the bbc website not his. I also think the dither argument is not sustainable when what people want is more consultation. The last thing people want is knee-jerk decisions for headlines which was the accusation levelled at Blair's Government all the time.

  • 48.
  • At 05:34 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Jonathan S wrote:

Doing his job, as did Tony Blair all those years ago, highlighting certain traits in the PM's character so he is remembered for them rather than any of his talents.

Gordon Brown helps, of course, by displaying his fixation with statistics (usually manipulated),never answering the question, however clearly it is put, and harking back to the dark days before the new dawn ushered in eleven years ago, thus highlighting why his government is a bit of a shambles!

  • 49.
  • At 07:05 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Neil B wrote:

I've always taken Cameron's statement about "Punch and Judy" politics to mean not pointlessly opposing the government over policies that you actually agree with. I don't recall him ever promising not to provide vigorous criticism, especially when it is so obviously deserved.

  • 50.
  • At 09:59 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Sandra wrote:

Cameron is making himself look silly as he never seems to listen to what is said. I cannot be the only one who is heartily sick of the charade that is PMQ and equally as sick of the 'performances' being rated by the media for the public. The participants are aware of this and play up to it so that it is all a total waste of time and how any work is ever achieved is beyond me as all they seem to do is take verbal swipes at one another to cheers/jeers in the tv studios. The strange noises emanating from the green benches make me question that this place is serious about finding the best way forward for the country.

  • 51.
  • At 10:03 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Tim Dieu de Bellefontaine wrote:

Brown is an incompetent dithering buffoon. How can you deal with an idiot like that? Describe him for what he is of course. It's not Punch and Judy, it's reality.

  • 52.
  • At 09:49 AM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Bob Baker wrote:

Most of these comments are missing an important point; David Cameron's namecalling may cheer up the faithful but it is a huge turn off to young voters for whom PMQs are probably the only glimpse they get of DC in action. Children are taught in school to let other people have their say, listen with respect and argue their case, not to resort to abuse. No wonder politicians are so disrespected.

  • 53.
  • At 04:07 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • geoff wrote:

Its a good question Nick and clearly one most of the posters here dont really understand.

Let me have a go at answering it though.

Cameron isnt as far ahead in the polls as he needs to be, and most polls show a narrowing that indicates the government is not in the kind of terminal decline the Conservatives would like to portray them as.

This gives Cameron one key problem. People will still listen to Labour and Brown and that allows them to fight back, to grab the agenda at times (e.g. as gordon did on health at the start of the year) and to cause problems for Cameron.

This situation is unlikely to produce a Tory victory.

What Cameron needs to do, and this now is his window, is try and drive a wedge between GB and the public. If Cameron can make GB appear strange, dithering and distant now (1-2 years away from an election) he can undermine GB's ability to speak directly to the electorate.

That would be a prize which would last right through to an election. The damage cameron is doing himself (and it is damage to look quite as aggresive and vile as he does in the chamber at the moment) he bets, will be a distant memory come election time.

So its worth the trade-off

  • 54.
  • At 04:21 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Jill wrote:

If people don't act in the next election to vote out these bumbling, incompetent fools, just because they have such a chip on their shoulder that they think everyone in the conservative party is a "toff" and is out to get them, I feel sorry for them; they will get a government they deserve. I totally agree with Neil B

  • 55.
  • At 06:58 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Chris Gudgin wrote:

Cameron is acting like an arrogant bully and in turn giving politics a ban name. He is also consistently getting away with using words like 'you're' when referring to Brown, making his attacks sound even harsher when he should be addressing the Prime Minister through the Speaker.

  • 56.
  • At 09:16 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Robinson you're asleep. Brown is just awful and not just at PMQs. He is not up to the job and actually was a poor Chancellor as is now beginning to unravel - he was just short-termist for political gain. I watch PMQs every week these days and simply cannot believe how bad Brown is - he never answers the question, he quotes stats which no-one believes, he practises his own put downs to Dave just as much if not more than Dave practises his to him. The reason it is good viewing is just like Gladstone and Disraeli, it is obvious that the two leaders absolutely loathe each other. So I ask myself, who would I rather have Sunday lunch with and at the moment I'd pick the buffoon Dr Williams ahead of Brown!

  • 57.
  • At 04:18 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • john wrote:

David cameron is all words and no substance. you know the old saying What goes around comes around, and I am sure he will get his come uppance.

  • 58.
  • At 04:35 PM on 11 Feb 2008,
  • David Cooper wrote:

I have been a Labour supporter all my adult life, but have been growing disillusioned by the way things were going under Blair and are now going under Brown.

Unfortunately, neither of the opposition parties has done anything to attract me to their fold. I have placed my X against the Liberal Democrats locally, where they have been in control of the council in recent years. However, they still write to "update" me as though they are in opposition and Labour are still the big, bad who won't do anything to help ordinary people.

Nationally I am undecided, but neither Clegg nor Cameron seem capable of stringing together a good argument why I should vote for their party, or why they would make a better fist of running the country. Cameron in particular seems to lack any sense of urgency in telling me what he wants to do should he be fortunate enough to be PM.

If there were a GE tomorrow, I would feel forced to abstain which, as someone who has never done so before and believes it is our responsibility to vote in every election, I find somewhat unpallettable.

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