Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Scots to the fore at PMQs

Big Scottish presence through the entire half hour of Prime Minister’s Questions today. We, the media, rarely record it but on each occasion there is a death in the armed forces in Afghanistan or Iraq, and it is almost on a weekly basis, the leaders of each party pay tribute to the fallen. Today it was Marine Alec Lucas, from, Peebles, who was mentioned by both Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

David Cameron is pretty fluid at PMQs and may have won his set but it was Gordon Brown who dominated the session, raising a laugh for once and trashing the Tories with another lecture on economics.

The Scots dominated in the questions too, if only because the Conservatives have been asking the same questions - did the Prime Minister cause boom and bust - for the last three weeks.

Following on from his peroration on Newsnight John McFall, chairman of the Treasury select committee, rose to ask the Prime Minister to get all the bankers in the land into a room and bang their heads together on starting to lend money.

“You need to get them into a room and collectively and simultaneously ensure that they resume that lending,” said Mr McFall, reflecting the parliamentary anger on this issue. Dennis Skinner punched a clenched fist into an open palm for those of us who are hard of hearing.

It was Ian Davidson, Glasgow South West, who delivered the punch of the day- claiming the “rich kids” on the opposite side didn’t get the seriousness of the economic situation. “Would you agree that it is easy for those who have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths not to want to do anything, and that real people want some action taken,” said Mr Davidson. “Will you tell us what you are doing internationally with other countries to get us out of this crisis?”

This gave Gordon Brown an opportunity to mention, in passing , that the G20 will meet in London on April 2nd and that one Barack Obama will be present.

Off the subject of economics Tom Clarke, (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill) asked about troop deployments in the Congo. When Siobhain McDonagh (she has Scottish friends) rose to ask a question it was only confirmation that the Labour troops would now die in ditch for the Prime Minister they had written off less than six months ago.

Mark Lazarowicz,(Edinburgh North and Leith), rose to complain about credit card cheques, “the most pernicious ways of trapping vulnerable people into debt”, and the Prime Minister said the Business Secretary would look into it.

No intervention from the SNP but Angus Robertson (Moray) has his teeth into this U-turn on duty on whisky - up to 8% but now down to 4% so he’ll be having a go at Alistair Darling (Edinburgh South West) in the ongoing debate on the PBR

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