First press conference & First PMQs

May 12, 2010

There are all sorts of obstacles ahead for a coalition which has the word ‘liberal’ and the word ‘conservative’ in it. But watching the press conference today, seeing the amiability between the two leaders, you could be forgiven for thinking it would be far more stable than any treaty between Brown and Blair. Clegg looked a little nervous, sometimes overcome almost, and his eyes seemed to me to light up at the thought of meeting world leaders. He did try to meet Obama once, and people mocked him for it – not so ridiculous now.

No doubt we will be hearing a lot of the new politics narrative. Probably it will be quoted back at them every time a back bencher breaks ranks to criticise the other party, or every time there’s a political scandal ala Blair’s ‘whiter than white’.  But they need to change PMQs immediately, quite apart from the structural changes involved.

LD and Con MPs should be under strict orders not to jeer, not to shout anyone down, not to mock people in the way the LDs have suffered for so long…but not to respond when the opposition makes a jarring claim. Perhaps even to clap their own leader. Many MPs may think that simply to sit there quietly is beneath them, however in the future hopefully acting like children should be beneath them too.

Let it be just the Labour MPs who jeer this wednesday. Then we’ll see the press reaction and how quickly PMQs changes overnight. Lets make it something we can be proud of.

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