Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday, (followed by the Prime Minister’s statement, then debate, after which a vote took place in respect of a snap General Election), was such a loud, bawdy and undignified affair, that I am sure the historic Hellfire Club would seem more sedate in comparison.
Even whilst the whole session was taking place, TV breaking news was scrolling across the bottom of the screen, all elements competing for attention.
Earlier, scrolled during a preliminary political discussion elsewhere, then later confirmed in Parliament, we did discover that the ‘SNP (were) to abstain from voting for a General Election’ so Nicola Sturgeon, who has accused Mrs May of playing political games, is rolling the dice for another game of her own.
During Parliamentary debates another news bulletin scrolled – that George Osborne had resigned as an MP.
Dennis Skinner, being Dennis Skinner, wandered down some muddled incongruous memory lanes, but not without a moment of humour. The Speaker, John Bercow, asked Mr Skinner to face him when he spoke to everyone, but the retort was given ‘you were busy speaking’. Mr Bercow smiled and clarified he was replying to an illustrious Member of the House.
The substance of Mrs May’s comments reaffirmed her commitments as given in Lancaster House. Nobody really wanted to listen as everyone on opposite benches, and around, wanted to ‘have their say’ and ‘have a go’ at The Prime Minister.
Mr Corbyn was without that rare vision he portrayed some weeks back, when he spoke from the passion of his heart and this time just relied on quoting facts and figures, so golden opportunities were squandered or wasted again.
When everyone threw accusations at her about U-turns, she astutely had done her homework and was able to retort to the person making their remark, that they had voted against their own Leader (Mr Corbyn), so how can they expect the Country to vote for him. That reply, it has to be said, came in useful a few times.
One person hurled a disrespectful remark at The Prime Minister regarding the fact she was a Vicar’s Daughter, so did she not have any guilt about being untruthful. The Speaker intervened as it was ‘unparliamentary’ language so had to be withdrawn and rephrased, which it was.
Mrs May stressed that the Country needed a strong economy, a strong defence, and a strong stable Leadership but this was being thwarted by Corbyn, Farron and Sturgeon. It sounded a lot like the Three Witches – Hubble Bubble toil and trouble as they stir the cauldron of an evil broth.
Inbetween the cut and thrust, one or two MPs managed to squeeze in some domestic issues – such as news of a charity event and stilt walkers going to make their way to No 10 in the near future, so asked if The Prime Minister would ensure a representative meet them. She joked that at first when hearing of this, the thought occurred to her that it was a ‘tall order’, but of course she would ensure they would be welcomed.
Another news bulletin scrolled across the screen, that Mr Juncker had said Brexit negotiations will begin after election. Now he tells us!!!
At one point Mrs May commented that those who abstain from voting are endorsing record of Conservative Government. I do hope that arrow finds its mark in Bute House, Edinburgh. Ouch!
Tim Farron is petulant at the best of times and had some heated statements to make, as well as goading to try and ignore, including one bizarre question that a disembodied voice kept asking of him ‘do you think it is a sin to be gay?’
Mrs May when speaking to the House started to say “Now is the time…” This caused the SNP MPs to cheer, she smiled, said “Wait for it…” Then continued “…to put aside their endeavours for Scottish Independence.”
Everyone slated The Prime Minister for not agreeing to participate in any TV debates but she responded that she would be meeting people in every part of the UK and debating the issues with them directly.
Angus Robertson, SNP, addressed The Prime Minister with a comment that not all opponents are saboteurs, but rather have a mandate which should be respected. He went on to blame an inept Labour Party for causing the General Election and accused Mrs May of running scared of a TV debate. She responded by saying that last year the people decided to leave the EU and that the Scottish Nationalists want to use this House to frustrate this process. Then The Prime Minister remarked yet again that she will be campaigning in every part of the UK.
Although the name of the MP was either not given (or was quickly superseded by scrolling news), I was however pleased to hear the remark by this Member of Parliament that history will note this whole mess of events was initiated by Mr Cameron.
The vote after the debate was 522 in favour of a General Election and 13 against. Those presumed to be the 13 against came from the Labour camp as SNPs were to be abstaining from voting.
I do hope that the voting paper has a definitive question and/or options thereon this time, e.g. Brexit (meaning clean break whatever), and other alternatives, as we all will need therapy soon if things keep being challenged and/or overturned…though that said, I am sure those who voted Leave the first time around, did vote to get out of the EU pdq without any strings whatsoever.
Today’s Parliamentary session was a very poor example of democracy, more suited to songs from a tavern whether men, or in some instances, sadly, also women were doing the yelling, though there was a moment of singing or chanting audible therein.
It left me thinking that these people are running our Country, yelling and shouting over speakers with no respect regardless of rank. Yet they are yelling for a TV ‘debate’ – many do not even know the meaning of such a philosophical concept.
Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine