Sometimes I think my television has totally different programmes beamed to it from those seen by the TV commentators.
I’ve just watched Prime Minister’s Questions. It was real exciting stuff. At times the background noise from the backbenchers almost drowned out the speakers, and when it ended poor Michael Martin simply could not control the uproar as Members rushed to leave the Chamber.
David Cameron chose to ask his permitted questions on the disgraceful news about the 25 million personal records lost by HMRC. That was absolutely the right decision.
I thought he did outstandingly well. Each of his questions was sharp and to the point, and contained good soundbites, which people will remember. In particular the comment that Broon tries to control everything but actually can’t run anything. I thought he riled Broon, especially with the later questions.
He asked if the Prime Minister would accept any responsibility as he had been in charge of the overseeing Department until very recently, and during the time when a number of previous lapses in data security had occurred. (Of course, they promised then that measures had been taken to see such a thing could not occur again!) Broon completely ignored the question and went on about reviews again. No way he was accepting any responsibility. And he keeps on about the reviews looking at the security of data in the private and public sectors. It’s the public sector we’re concerned about. If we don’t like what the private sector is doing we can go elsewhere.
But that Red Petticoat was showing again at the BBC. I’m disappointed with Andrew Neill in The Daily Politics today. He’s not usually as pro government, anti opposition, but this morning he started the bias. He declared that Broon had done well; Cameron’s shafts had not hit home; by apologising and announcing reviews Broon had taken the sting out of anything that Cameron threw at him. Margaret Jay naturally snatched at this, and maintained that Broon had done well, had not been at all damaged, and that Cameron was just an opportunist. The Conservative present was Chris Grayling. Now Chris Grayling has been one of the stars of recent months. He is like a tiger in his pursuit of the government, holding them to account, and is a good performer. But he was given very little chance to speak. Then comes BBC Political Editor, Nick Robinson, hotfoot from the Press Gallery – because of a power failure the programme was being conducted outside in the cold on Abingdon Green – and he was just so partial. He maintained Broon had done well, and that Labour backbenchers were pleased with him, and certainly didn’t have any unease about the PM’s performance. Cameron had certainly not won the encounter today.
Next, Stephen Dorrell appeared. Andrew Neill drew a comparison between the Broon government now and the later years of the John Major government, and asked Stephen to comment as a senior minister in the Major government. Now, I have to declare that I am and always have been a Major fan, so I’m glad that Stephen drew a distinction between the two governments, pointing out that Major always backed his ministers.
But then two things proved that my television had not been showing a sanitized version of PMQs just to please me.
Co-presenter, Jenny Scott, read out a selection of e-mails from viewers. Without exception they condemned what has happened at HMRC and condemned the government. That’s what ordinary people think, who are not part of the BBC leftie political hothouse.
And then reporter, Ann Alexander, arrived. She had been talking to Labour backbenchers as they left the Chamber. She said that they were all very worried about what has happened, about the consequences for their constituents, not at all convinced by what Broon had to say, and that there was a feeling of very deep unease on the Labour back benches.
So, what about Broon’s reviews? He really is obsessed with them. Anything that comes up, he sets up a review. Well that means he doesn’t actually have to do anything, he just announces another review. How ever many must there now be that have been set up by Broon?
So he sets up reviews rather than doing anything, and then he had the cheek to accuse Cameron of being all talk and no action. It’s obviously escaped Broon’s notice that it’s supposed to be the government that takes the action; the opposition are somewhat hampered in that it’s not their job, they can’t take action.
On a different subject, there was also a piece on hospital superbugs. Cheryl Baker, formerly of Buck’s Fizz, had a short film about Maidstone Hospital where her mother-in-law had died as a result of contracting C.Difficile. Naturally she feels strongly on the subject, particularly as her father-in-law is now in the same hospital. Co-presenter Jenny Scott then questioned her about the case, and, would you believe, felt bound to list for us all the things which the Labour government has done to try to put things right! Shame they haven’t worked! More bias!