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Holy Hell! Simon Hughes asking a question about the NHS! Menzies Campbell did OK considering he was laughed at by every MP bar the Lib Dems. Blair looking angry. Arrogant against the Lib Dems. Not quite used to Cameron yet.

Hmmm. Campbell is instantly forgettable. Half an hour later and all I remember is an old man getting barracked...

Hughes asked a good question to attack Labour's health record from the left.

Mark Oaten is the big winner out of that encounter.

Blair made Campbell and Hughes look like a pair of fools.

PMQ's might have been entertaining, but that has nothing to do with Cameron. He was totally anonymous.

I don't think this tactic of his will work for long -- people will quickly tire of it and see it as affected and insincere (which I believe it is).

Blair seems very irritable when Cameron moves onto "his" ground... "don't start lecturing me, son" is a little unbecoming in a PM. As James M says, TB is not used to DC yet and is letting his irritation show.

Rich, I'm not sure the winner was Oaten - who was not in the House, but on the Daily Politics on BBC 2 - but the loser was certainly MC. Nervous, slow-witted, un-prepared, poor choice of question - what more do LD MPs need to know about his prospects?

I didn't watch it but Iran was the right question for DC to raise. Its nuclear ambitions are scary stuff and one of the most important global issues of the moment.

I think Cameron played it well today. As Micheal Howard said, he pushed him into an answer that made no sense.

Cameron needs to reserve the punchier performances for when he has open goals. I think in the past, our leaders have tried to hard at the angry style against Blair on issues not really deserving of it and Blair has flattened them.

Both Ming Campell and Simon Hughes asking questions AND sitting next to each other made them look completely ridiculous.

It was the most hilarious PMQs for a long while and all at the expense of the Lib Dems.

Cameron, frankly, was excellent. Adopting a less shrill tone gives the impression of stature and seriousness. As has been said, when the time is right and the opportunity arises we can use anger.

Ming the Merciless as Meaningless as ever. Do floating voters watch PMQ's? No. Therefore does a good or bad performance in PMQ's make much of an impact in voting habits? No. People on this blog who watch PMQs and avidly follow politics might be influenced by individual performances - your average voter will not be.

I keep trying to convice friends and family of the joy of watching parliamentlive.tv or BBC Parliament.

I don't have many friends.

I wonder why!

PMQs does have an effect on the mid week agenda, which then leads the political reporting on the television news. So in terms of effect on politics I think PMQs is significant in shaping voters impressions of what is happening in politics.

On a more general level PMQs is an important time for the parties to assess their relative strengths. It is possibly the only time during the week when the whole parliamentary party assembles, and the leader is asked to "perform" in front of his members. The success or otherwise of the exchanges in PMQs has an important effect on the morale of MPs in their own leadership, which will eventually lead into the print news in various ways and become part of the agenda itself.

Cameron was good, Tony is good. The libdems are effectively looking foolish.

Cameron might have to go back to issues like crime sometime soon..to reassure the electorate..

It would have been nice to see David Cameron mention Iran in a wider context; such as its persistant failure to live up to its obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and Convention on the Rights of the Child to which it is a signatory in both cases and yet Iran routinely sentences children to death and carries out execution on children. It might expose the hypocrisy of having fairly normal diplomatic relations with this type of regime.

Campbell was absolutely awful. I felt embarassed for him -- poorly chosen questions, no sense of humour or authority or incisiveness. Hughes had a better question and didn't come across as badly, but Blair was on great form steamrolling them. It always used to puzzle me when people criticised Kennedy's 'weak' PMQ performances. I always thought one of his great strengths was an ability to hone in on specific, weighty issues and to talk about them seriously and calmly (it played especially well by comparison to Howard's highly confrontational style).

People are naturally comparing Campbell to Davis, but the comparison that tickles me more is that of Laws to Willetts. How long until Guido Fawkes has to launch an appeal for sightings of the Yeovil turncoat?

Cameron was great, as usual. Measured, specific, constructive questions -- on AIDS in particular, it sets up a useful "I told you so" moment for a few years down the track. Good long-term strategy. I thought Blair was on good form today -- a sharp and witty performance.

I agree with most of the other bloggers.Cameron asked the right question (Iran) and in the right (measured) way.Personally I found the witty knockabout of the Hague/Blair and often Howard/Blair PMQs very off putting particularly when they were discussing serious subjects.Iran is no laughing matter and should not be treated as such.
I felt sorry for Campbell he was in a no win situation.His treatment by Blair confirmed my loathing of the PM who is a ghastly human being.

How long before the Lib Dems start longing for Charlie(Kennedy of course)?

Blair was pretty awful at PMQs when he started but now has the confidence that experience brings but Cameron stymies him as the normal non-answer attack answers don't work - he even today found himself welcoming DCs support. It'll be interesting when Dave brings in a bit of Punch & Judy on a subject that Blair is open to attack on - will TB know how to respond?

Campbell & Hughes awful - and Oaten bad in his earlier interviews - looks like they are in for a few bad years.

Amused me this morning in Portcullis House. There was Menzies eating his breakfast when Oaten came in. I thought they may just politely ignire each other - but it was more a case of "we've got to be seen to be nice to each other" - so they meeted and greeted, laughing and joking.

Then 10 minutes later - who should appear but Simon Hughes - looking like he wanted to be seen "out and about". Unfortunately it took a while before he spotted a friendly Lib Dem MP to sit with. Perhaps that says alot about his leadership bid.

What fun and games!

I'll see if I can do something about updating the PMQ pic!

It wasn't Ming the Merciless' "David Davis" moment, simply because David Davis was seen in a critical light after his speech was compared with that of David Cameron. Ming didn't even have the consolation of being compared to a strong performer - Simon Hughes was equally abysmal!

I liked Simon Hughes.

James, is there something you need to tell us? Don't forget, you're amongst friends, just lie back on the couch. Tell me about your schooldays....

I think Hughes always comes over quite well. I tend to disagree with most things he says, but he always seems personable and genuine.

James - To me Hughes comes across in the same way as Ken Livingstone - seemingly personable and genuine (your words, and I concur), and I would agree that he seems affable and the sort of person you'd have round for a dinner party. As a prospective party leader, though, I'd rather inject spiders eggs under my eyelids before bungy jumping with a rope made out of moist one-ply toilet paper than let him near any sort of power. So I hope he gets the job - he might be our next big step forward.

Oh yes, I wouldn't want Hughes to lead a party I was in, but I think he's ideal as Lib Dem leader. He'll make their membership feel good about themselves (which is what they want, because they know they'll never exercise power).

The problem is, James, that with a hung parliament we might find ourselves talking to the sandal-wearing oddballs. This is the reason why I agree with DC's decapitation policy of wooing the reasonable wing of the LibDems. If Hughes gets the job and we recruit the best of the small amount of talent they have, then the rump of their party can have a cuddly socialist love-in and head off into electoral obscurity.

This theory that the Lib Dems will swing Left is tempting but there are two possible hiccups:

1)Hughes doesn't get elected. Party members might have the sense to realise that hughes is perceived as too left-wing. Plus a recent poll showed Campbell in the lead.

2)If Hughes is elected, he may realise the folly of swinging to the Left. Thay may lose just a few seats rather than loads, possibly problematic for the Tories if the next election is very close.

"Plus a recent poll showed Campbell in the lead."

And a Sky News poll of Lib Dem members showed Hughes in the lead. We know how their MPs will vote, but we can;t be certain of the veracity of membership polls (they don't have the same track record as with the Conservatives).

Geoff - "As a prospective party leader, though, I'd rather inject spiders eggs under my eyelids before bungy jumping with a rope made out of moist one-ply toilet paper than let him near any sort of power."

Keep this stuff coming :D

I think the longer a contest is drawn out, the worse Campbell will do and the better Hughes will do.

My bet is on Hughes. I both want him to win and expect him to win. And I think he's absolutely perfect for the vast majority of Lib Dem members and voters.

What's required for a Tory Leader just isn't so for the Lib Dems. Charles Kennedy was a successful leader for the Lib Dems even though he would've been a disaster as Tory Leader (he wouldn't have got near the job). But what appealed to Lib Dem members about Kennedy was the very fact that he was an unlikely leader; this allowed him to take a moralistic tone, and one which is completely devoid of pragmatism. Lib Dem voters don't want pragmatic, realistic policies (tough luck Oaten), they want mushy new-age moralism.

Hughes is the man.

I agree, John. Hughes says the sort of stuff that makes Lib Dem members feel good about being Lib Dems. They may look at Cameron - if the polls are to believed - and see a potential PM, but they don't judge their leader on those criteria, otherwise Kennedy would never have been chosen.

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