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Did anyone spot Quentin Davies sitting very uncomfortably next to Michael Meacher? Bless!

The Labour benches are very quiet again.

I often think DC's questions are a bit repetitive and - indeed I agree with Brown - very light on policy matters.

However, it seems the Labour benches feel DC's questions are hitting the nail on the head more than we Tories, sitting very subdued, which portrays a Labour party deeply unhappy with its leadership.

Cable very good again.

Not great questions so far from DC.

Last set of questions were a bit lazy from DC I thought. Maybe it's the pre christmas wind down, but Brown could have been nailed on Education standards, Early Release, Euro Treaty signing ect. Still, everyone has an off day.

Vince Cable was very funny again. I think perhaps because he has little to lose he is more relaxed than the other two.

It would be better if Cameron asked more questions on policy but, at the end of the day, Brown would not answer them so perhaps trying to embarrass/discredit him is the next best thing.

Brown was awful as usual. When will he learn that just repeating the same answer to every question really makes him look a fool?

I had the distinct impression Cameron was deliberately holding back, and was expecting him to come back again for a third round of questions to finally nail him. With the police actually demanding a right to strike for the first ever due to Jacqui Smith's manifest incompetence, with more personal details lost by government offices and with David Abrahams still dancing in the media's eyes, I was expecting Cameron to go for the jugular and instead we got some Foreign policy questions (which usually generate bi-partisan agreement) and then a repetition on both sides of slogans and catch-phrases, and Brown's "government instead of gimmicks" sounds better (alliteration makes for better media sound-bites).
So a Brown win by default.

As Nick Robinson said on the Daily Politics after, Cameron doesn't mind looking temporarily devoid of policy-related questions and originality if, in the long term, the accusations of dithering and incomptence from Brown and his government stick.

Cameron got his usual good soundbite at the end that may or may not go on the news, and that, as leader of the Opposition at PMQs, is all you can ask for really.

Brown's - 'he's all gimmicks, we're all depth' argument was as weak as anything again. It just doesn't wash any more. Labour are still fighting the old battle, the one that ended after the Tory conference and DC's excellent speech there. The events of the autumn extinguished most accusations that Cameron is a Bambi-esque lightweight.

Most voters perceptions of him have moved on. They understand he is no hefty politician of the old school or - fortunately - an idealist on a mission like Blair, nor does he pretend to be. What he is is a fighter who shares good solid conservative values that much of the country shares, with a strong resilience and no little charm behind his cherubic chops.

Brown and his cack-handed clan need to reasses how they attack DC over their mince pies, because by January their 'gimmicks' line will be even more past its sell-by-date.

A phyrric victory for Brown I'd say. He did at least manage a (rather awkward) comeback with the 'no substance' thing but will he really want that replayed on the evening news, with Cameron reminding the nation of his failures? I don't think so. Nick Robinson is right about that.

Giovanni - the questions on Kosovo relate back to DC's interesting speech about the region he made whilst in Washington. I think he did well in raising the issue as it's an important one that seems to be going unnoticed.

Also, he was never going to raise police pay. As Nick Robinson pointed out, if anything, the Tories would support Jacqui Smith's stance.

"Not great questions so far from DC."

Yes a pretty weak set of questions from Cameron.

WATO just replayed DC listing Gordon's catalogue of indecision and it came across very well, genuinely hitting home. The 'no substance' response came across as a jaded cliche. The next clip was Vince Cable's excellent riposte about tempting fate with talk of leadership contests. Ouch.

"Also, he was never going to raise police pay."

Why not? It was surely a question of how?

Eg Asking it like....The last 28 Police pay awards have been met in full, is the economy in such a mess that this Government has to now break this pay commitment? This would leave Brown nowhere to go with his answer!

WATO just replayed DC listing Gordon's catalogue of indecision and it came across very well

That's what it's all about. As Opposition leader, the best you can get out of PMQs is a soundbite that does the rounds on the news. Is anyone actually naive enough to believe PMQs is still the platform for real debate??

I thought it was a very poor show from Camerons.

Yes he'll get a soundbit - but so will Brown, I can see the newscasts repeating that substance line over and over.

He should have wised up after the first time Brown said it and engaged him on it.

Ultimately Brown comes out looking better for it, despite the fact his policy is obviously flawed in the extreme.

Cameron should have concentrated on the EU treaty shambles.

The whole Brown 'indecision' attack is a good one, but for goodness sake back it up with substance!

"The whole Brown 'indecision' attack is a good one, but for goodness sake back it up with substance!"

Or may be the problem was that Cameron got into the topic of Brown's indecision with a really lame approach, the thing about Miliband had no relevance to the issue he was raising.

To those on here who think "Bottler Brown" won I have one question,, why the big silence from his own side,,
After all football supporters cheer when their side scores a goal and/or wins a match.
The same is true in all other gladitorial contests,, however all these competitors, whether they win or loose have one thing in common, the guts and courage to compete.
The bottler on the other hand is little more than a contemptible coward.
The pictures of him smirking like a fool and glad handing real heroes (our troops, the same people he and the rest of his socialist cronies, have routinely treated with disdain and contempt,are little more than a vile stench in the nostrils of decent people.
Now, contrast the real courage of our troops getting shot at,, with the Bottler now (after the alleged dairy clash) sneaking off to Lisbon to sign a treaty in a hidden room,,
Well Bottler can hide all he wants when the going gets tough (not like our troops), but he will never be able to hide his cowardice and treachery from the public.
As for those critisisms of DC, s performance today,, perhaps he is wary of the saying,, "the danger of kicking a pile of S''T is that some can land on yourself"

I had a feeling Cameron would lose, it was kind of a trajectory. He needs some fresh input to reinvigorate his questioning next time, and hopefully he can buck the trend and come back very stringly next week.

Perhaps resting the Flashman persona for a while is the reason behind DC's lower key this week?

No PMQs next week (I don't think).

Plenty of time over the Christmas period to reassess the approach to PMQs.

I think DC is trying to extend the government incompetence and drift theme up until Christmas, in a way it's going through the motions before the holidays, trying to wring as much juice out of the theme as possible.

Obviously, after a month of it, and without any new bad headlines for Labour, it's beginning to wear a little thin.

I should imagine DC knows this, and after Christmas there will be a new approach.

Isn't a pretty weak set of questions the inevitable result of watering down your ideology? If you cave in on health, education and tax - promising to match Labour's ruinous spending plans - what on earth is there left to say? This is why the recent staggering series of Labour gaffes could, if the tories are not careful, dwindle away in the public mind.

Open goals missed on education, police pay, Nimrod accident, sleeze/corruption and more.

One of the reasons for recent success is that the Tory party has pulled itself together and scored from Labour's many open goals. I hope we are not going back to the 1992/2005 years where we can't be bothered to score off Labour.

John F - You are quite right, this was clearly a DC victory and to suggest otherwise is bonkers.

The reason why DC won PMQs yet again are four fold:

1. Brown’s bumbling answers, typified by his attempt at humour when answering Vince Cable.
2. Brown was mocked by DC, Cable and others, showing that he has lost authority in the House of Commons.
3. Whilst the Conservative benches cheered on our leader, the Labour benches fell silent.
4. If you have a quick look at the left wing press Guardian, BBC etc they all say that that Brown lost and Cameron won.

I would agree that DC could have been even more devastating, but with the next election probably being 2010, this is a marathon and a sprint.

Vince's retort to Browns barb regarding leadership was razor-sharp. Hes done very well despite a slightly iffy first few appearances and he eventually settled in well.

Reading the press today, including Simon Hoggart in the Guardian the general consensus is another defeat for Brown. I didn't get that impression from reading this thread, I guess I'd better watch it before commenting in future.

Yeah, I just read the Simon Hoggarth column too and that had me scratching my head. Did we see the same PMQs? Or have we Tories got so used to Cameron taking Brown down in knock-outs that we can no longer recognise the victory at points?
Still, if Labour's un-official party newspaper is saying that Cameron has won then that should be encouraging. Then again, considering how wrong the Guardian regularly and routinely is about pretty much everything, perhaps we should worry?

Reading the press today, including Simon Hoggart in the Guardian the general consensus is another defeat for Brown. I didn't get that impression from reading this thread

I think the problem here is that people are making the assumption that a poor performance by Brown equals a "win" for Cameron, and vice versa.

That's not necessarily so. It's perfectly possible for them both to be hopeless on the same occasion. Or even for them both to score some points.

The latter is rarer, of course, but I am inclined to agree with those who argue that Brown is gradually getting a bit better at it... still plenty of room for improvement though...

Why would you want Brown to improve Vernon? He's proving already to be a very poor PM presiding over a cabinet of incompetents.PMQs should be used every week to illustrate that to the electorate.

I think Cameron's doing something quite subtle.

He must know that Brown is an inverse class snob and gets furious when Cameron gets personal. Comparisons with Blair especially (B Team! Brilliant) must really rattle him.

Unlike Blair, however, Brown is incapable of cutting off his own emotional feelings and getting on with it clinically.

Get Brown angry and he can't think straight. If he can't think straight he makes mistakes (and I dare say goes back to his office and sulks for the rest of the day)

I suspect that this exercise wipes out a serious chunk of Brown's week due to this.

Cameron must never be seen to be doing this of course, but it's clear that he is doing it.

Other posters are right - Cameron does need to do policy at the box, but I think needling Brown is also of immense value.


Pity d.c didn't say anything about Brown doing another bottle job, and seding the boy to sign the treaty.

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