Is it just me or is Gordon Brown hopeless at PM’s question time? It’s a half hour opportunity every Wednesday for MPs to question the Prime Minister on policy or other key issues of the day, and it is broadcast. I bet the PM wishes it wasn’t. He’s done it a few times now and you would have expected a consummate political heavyweight like Gordon Brown to have got over his first day nerves now. But he seems wracked with tension as he steps up to the despatch box.
The early questions which are by custom lightweight are dealt with easily but when the smooth-tongued and rather quick-witted David Cameron piles in GB just seems to go to pieces. DC looks polished and well-practised and he’s scoring huge points over the PM every time, who just starts stammering and repeating phrases as if he were consciously trying to overcome a stutter and it makes his delivery terribly laboured. He tries a few obviously scripted gags which just don’t land. Today he tried to make light of DC’s claims to be regarded like Arnold Schwarzenegger and he fluffed it. If you want to check out the performance go to http://www.number10.gov.uk.
When Vincent Cable the acting leader of the Lib Dems got up to ask his couple of Q’s, GB tried another easy gag about soon everyone in the Lib Dems will have had a chance at being leader only to fluff it again. You could almost hear the groans from his own side who’ve grown used to basking in Blair’s accomplished despatch box performances. Blair cut his teeth jousting with the best wit in Parliament William Hague of course. There was a supplementary Q from Cable which he prefaced with an off-the-cuff remark about both he and the PM leading happily married lives. It ached for the PM to comment that in the light of recent revelations about the personal lives of leading Lib Dems, the acting leader must feel very lonely and to invite him to cross the floor of the house where he would surely feel more at home, both politically and socially.
But the moment was lost. So too I fear may Brown’s fearsome reputation as a solid politician if he continues to perform like a hapless Bobby Davro (sorry is that tautologous?). It would be far better not to rise to the Cameron baiting but just be even-tempered and to the point, slowly destroying his barbed comments with precise argument , even if they are delivered dully. If he continues on his current path, Brown could end up with PTSD too.