Wednesday, 1 December 2010

PM swats Miliband as "son of Brown"

That was a fairly emphatic win for Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions today. There was no hiding the gloom of the Miliband team or on the back benches, where Alistair Darling sat frozen-faded as his party leader tore into proposals to raise VAT and scale back welfare benefits.

The consensus is that Miliband chose the wrong jokes, the wrong lines and paid a big price for a weak rhetorical swipe at Cameron as a "child of Thatcher".

Quick as a flash, Cameron hit back: "I'd rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown". That wasn't his only win either.

The Cameron team where cock-a-hoop afterwards. One crowed, we're going to Zurich next week too. The thinking there is that Cameron, unleashed from the strictures of Westminster and the over assiduous preparation that goes into the half hour event, performs much better.

He flew back in from Switzerland at half-time in the World Cup bid so was only lightly briefed for the weekly tournament. And an off-the-cuff Cameron, being himself, is highly effective, as he proved originally in his defining speech to the Tory conference when standing for leader.

But while Miliband is left to lick the many self-inflicted wounds of the past fortnight - "blank page", two year policy review - Cameron ought to be careful too.

There's nothing more dangerous for a Prime Minister than hubris, says an wiser lobby colleague, who points out that Cameron unleashed has managed to insult the Speaker, the London Mayor in the last fortnight in speeches and has been charged by some commentators for failing to invoke the "dignity of the office" of Prime Minister.

Pride comes before a fall, and all that, but Miliband has to do better than wait for the Prime Minister to trip up.

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