PMQs: Cameron stoops even lower

HOW telling that Dave chose to make a cheap, sneering political point about “planted questions” before echoing the Prime Minister’s tribute to our fallen troops. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that has ever happened before. Shameful.

UPDATE @ 1227: I’m grateful to Labourboy for pointing me in the direction of Hansard from 23 April 2008, when Dave’s first comments to the House were these:

Mr. David Cameron (Witney) (Con): I think that we should call this session Prime Minister’s U-turns rather than Prime Minister’s questions. I join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to Senior Aircraftman Graham Livingstone and Senior Aircraftman Gary Thompson, who were killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 13 April, and to Trooper Robert Pearson, who was killed on Monday. The whole country owes them a great debt of gratitude.

I’m sorry, I don’t care how much you hate the Labour Party or Gordon Brown, but surely no-one is going to excuse Do-Nothing making political points ahead of paying tribute to our troops? Surely…?



Filed under David Cameron

33 responses to “PMQs: Cameron stoops even lower

  1. Labourboy

    Actually I think it has happened, once. I’ll check me blog but I’m sure it has.

  2. Quentin

    I remember watching PMQs live on tv and as Blair, the then PM, paid tribute to those soldiers that had fallen the previous day, there was Prescott in the background grining and obviously sharing an amusing tale with the person sat next to him on the bench.
    So disrespect can be demonstrated on both sides of the House.

  3. richard

    It was in the same sentence, get over it.

    At least he didn’t lay claim to having saved the world…

  4. You’re absolutely right, Quentin – Cameron is clearly off the hook, then. After all, he’s a Tory, so how could he ever be in the wrong, eh?

  5. Richard – “At least he didn’t lay claim to having saved the world…”

    Yeah, that’s much more offensive than offering a tribute to dead British soldiers as an afterthought.

  6. richard

    To be honest I don’t think he was ever “on the hook”…

    Surely greater disrespect is shown to the process of PMQ’s by Gordon who seems to take great pride in never answering any of the questions he’s asked, except those that are planted by his toadies.

  7. richard

    @Tom : 12.50

    Given that your lot sent him out there to die, I don’t think that forgetting in which order he’s supposed to say the tribute is the major point.

  8. Martin

    Perhaps if Brown attended the arrival back in the UK of even one of the soliders killed in Afganistan then we could say he is paying correct respects.
    The rest is just platitudes.

  9. kardinalbirkutzki

    This is a shameful post in itself. Your party has quite needlessly sent our servicemen to war on a false premise in one case and for absolutely no gain in another. Furthermore, after a whole decade of reducing defence spending whilst increasing military commitments, you have left our troops in the combat zone with often defective and unsuitable equipment, exacerbating the loss of life..

    I really couldn’t care less what Call-Me-Dave thinks or says but, honestly, for a Labour MP to come out with this tosh is hypocritical in the extreme.

    You may well hate Cameron but could you not switch on your brain before trying to score cheap political points.

    Why don’t you log onto the following website, make a donation and simultaneously notch up a first for the UK parliament: an MP actually doing something worthwhile.

  10. Rapunzel

    I have come to the conclusion, having listened to and watched him quite carefully since his 2007 conference speech, that all those seemingly off the cuff and humorous remarks are in fact carefully and painstakingly rehearsed.

    This was blindingly obvious at today’s PMQ’s, viz the remarks about the photocopier and the headless chicken.

    So, he needs to make sure he gets them in before he forgets them.

    Ever watched small children in a school play? If they have a line, they just have to say it, even if the moment is wrong. Then they look really pleased with themselves for being so clever.

    His snide remark was very noticeable and must have embarrassed many.

  11. Richard @ 1254: Cameron also voted in favour of sending troops into Iraq and has always supported military action in Afghanistan. But you’ve proved my point – Tories will defend Cameron under any and every circumstance. There is literally nothing he could ever do or say that would provoke any criticism from the likes of you, even disrespecting British troops. Well done.

  12. Paul Williams

    I don’t think Labour are in any position to criticise here.

    Disrespect is shown virtually week after week on PMQs, when the opposition leaders try to pay tribute to fallen soldiers. MPs have to be quietened with audible shhh’s which doesn’t always work. Clegg especially gets a rough time, and whatever one thinks of Clegg as a leader, I do think his tributes should be heard in silence, rather than insults and laughter.

    I also remember, Tom, you ignoring on this blog the disgraceful responses of Brown regarding the sad case of Baby P during one PMQ’s.

    I’m not trying to condone Cameron’s behaviour, just merely pointing out that those in glasshouses…etc

  13. richard

    I’m more than happy to criticise Dave or Gordon when they make mistakes. In this case I think this was more of a minor slip than a major mistake (and a swiftly corrected one at that).

    Yes, Cameron voted for sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyone who believed the blatant lies peddled by Blair, Brown and Campbell would have done the same.

  14. Quentin

    Tom, I’m not defending Cameron, just pointing out that disrespect does not only come in the colour blue.
    The way our soldiers are treated in many respects, housing, equipment, family life is an utter disgrace anyway and politicians from all sides should hang their heads in shame.
    You are the ones who have the power to change things.

  15. Simon

    Quite frankly I’m sick of hearing Gordon Brown pay tribute to our troops.

    If your Government gave a damn about our soldiers, they wouldn’t send them out to be killed poorly equipped and poorly protected.

    While you expect 4 soldiers on a night mission to share one pair of night vision goggles between them, your tributes mean nothing.

    While you repeatedly send out patrols in land rovers than offer no protection against land mines, your tributes are empty and meaningless.

    I think Gordon should just admit he couldn’t care less and don’t bother with the tributes.

  16. Jim Baxter

    ‘notch up a first for the UK parliament: an MP actually doing something worthwhile’.

    Let’s see. Top of the head time. From memory only, stay away from Google and it’ll be more convincing if only to me, especially if I get the names slightly wrong…

    Jack Ashley, David Steel, Jeff Rooker and Audrey Wise, Alan Clark for raising concerns about the protection of wildlife, Chris Mullin, David Winnock, Andrew Mackinlay, Leo Amery for services to saving the bloody country…

    … some weegie MP who raised the scandal of the lack of a memorial to the personnel of Bomber Command recently…

    Keep going Tom. If this is the best that the juvenile tw@ts can throw at you then you’re making headway. Missing vowels round: choose from a, e, o, or u. But not I.

  17. Jim Baxter

    … while still pure ragin… there was some other MP, forget his name, encouraged leaks from a chap in the FO by the name of Ralph Wigram. Mr Wigram, brave man, may have killed himself under the pressure from the ZanuCon govenment led by the well-known control freak Stanley Baldwin. MP though did a lot to expose how weak our defences were in the 1930s.

    Leave it with me. The name will come back.

  18. John

    Is it really that offensive to not start by echoing the Prime Ministers tributes to fallen troops?

    Personally I don’t care about this at all. Even if Cameron waited until his last question to say it I wouldn’t care.

    It’s not that I don’t support the troops, I absolutely do, and agree that it’s only right that their sacrifice be formally recognised by the very people who sent them there at PMQ’s. It’s just that the format or order that it takes is pretty irrelevant from where i’m standing.

    This isn’t because i’m pro Tory either, i’m more of a (Tony Blair’s) New Labour guy tbh, and would (grudgingly) say the same even if Gordon Brown chose to give his tribute a little later.

    Mr Mountain, meet Mr Molehill.


  19. wrinkled weasel

    This is a cheap shot and frankly beneath the very high standard this blog has achieved.

  20. The above comment @ 3:11 sums up what I thought when I read this. Tom, your blog is becoming less and less interesting as you keep having to ride on the party bandwaggon.

    Are you still so sure that your party will win the next general election?

  21. Donkey Kong

    Whenever Macavity goes to Parliament for Wednesday’s PMQ and tells us how sorry he is that the latest soldier has been killed in our two pointless wars, you have to remember that he doesn’t mean it. When soldiers were killed in the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher wrote personally to the bereaving families. Neither Gordon Brown nor his predecessor Tony Blair has had the courage to do this. Seeing that these are the two men who sent them to war in the first place, (McBroon was always keen to point out just how important he was in the government, after all) that is truly shameful behaviour. None of that was condemned by you though, Tom.

    Like Blair, Brown is everything that I despise in a politician – he repeatedly attempts to evade responsibility for blunders that happen on his watch, he fails to answer important and serious criticism aimed towards him and he only ever does something if it’s in his interest to do so. Everything is about Gordon, not about the interests of the UK. Whilst he was Chancellor, he was constantly attempting to cut military funding. His public defences of the military are notable in their absence. Months before the Iraq conflict started, it was claimed that Gordon had severe doubts about the reasons for going in. Did he quit, like the late Robin Cook, and make a devastating resignation speech tearing the Government apart? Of course not. He stayed completely quiet.

    And he wonders where his perception as Macavity style figure comes from? Strange how this all changed when he became Prime Minister. In November 2007, he said that he would do his “duty” for the military. This was, of course, just his way of trying to get a quick newspaper headline after being torn to shreds for bottling the general election. Funny how he never said anything about his duty to the military as Chancellor, isn’t it?

    You lot are the very last group of people who David Cameron should be listening to. And this is coming from someone who thinks Call Me Dave is an idiot.

  22. Johnny Norfolk

    Just who sent our troops in in the first place. You need to think about your collective responsibilties befor you critisize Mr Cameron. It was your man who said a shot would not be fired.
    Again look to your own before critisising others.

  23. As I said, Johnny – Cameron’s a Tory, therefore is entirely blameless for anything he ever says or does.

    Be honest: if the prime minister had stooped to politiking before paying tribute to the troops, you would be spitting blood.

  24. Rbrto

    Playing politics with the military is something that sickens me, what this country in how it treats those who use their lives to serve the nation is shameful and a scandal, coming from a family that had several of its young men lay down their lives in defence of the nation I’m ashamed of how the Government and the Country has treated its veterans and serving soldiers over the years.

    We have the unions, student unions, teaching unions, activists, media, politicians et al constantly attacking the military day in day out, while the young men and women at the front dutifully carry out their services under the constant threat of death, half starved of kit, crap gear, years of cut backs with new investment being mutton dressed up as lamb, underpowered and stretched around the world. The Navy, RAF and Army have been all been thrashed about by those that gleefully shriek against them, the same people who claim moral superiority because they “read the guardian” or watch a few plays in the west end. Yet would never contemplate sacrificing their lives to protect the public.

  25. Jay

    …And I’ve just heard a report on the sufferings of our nuclear veterans within which group there is a significantly higher incidence of premature death and of defects in offspring. Although other countries such as France are paying compensation to their people, in acknowledgement of the fact that the risks that these men were running were known to those in command but not to the men themselves, our Government is fighting compensation claims and will pay only if it’s proved that they’re legally obliged to do so.

  26. Jim Baxter

    The underfunding of our military personnel is a national disgrace. It is the biggest disgrace of our times because we should have total control over it. It has cost the lives of many good people in recent times who would still be alive had they not been betrayed by successive governments, including the present one, who seem able to finance anything in any quantities apart from equipment for those who have volunteered to risk their lives in the service of our country.

    It seems that there is a systemic and chronic problem in our defence procurement. Our successes in WWII were in our aircraft – our tanks in were a sick joke – we had to rely on Shermans at El Alemein. HMS Hood had inadequate armour. There seemed to be something wrong with our bloody ships at Jutland.

    Why does this scandalous disregard for our bravest young people persist? Is it all about money? I fear so.

  27. Matt

    In fairness this looks worse in print than it sounded at the time. He probably should have paid tribute first though.

    Tom – do you think that PMQs is the right place to pay tribute to our servicemen? It’s a pretty punch-and-judy time. Do you think there might be a more respectful place to do it?

  28. Donkey Kong

    By the way Tom, I can’t help but think back to the time that the PM used the Baby P case to accuse David Cameron of playing politics. That was an utterly disgusting episode, yet I don’t recall you posting on your blog to condemn him at the time. Funny that, innit?

  29. Andy

    Tom, I’d call it a mistake by Cameron. He screwed up.

    But this ‘paying tribute’ charade is utterly ridiculous, and it disgraces both the soldiers’ good names and ruins PMQs. How can anyone believe that the PM truly feels a sense of loss? The problem is now that it’s impossible for the leader of any of the parties to NOT pay tribute to the fallen, which is just crazy.

  30. I suspect – though I can’t know for sure, of course – that the families of dead soldiers would prefer for a parliamentary tribute to be paid to their loved ones. That being the case, I don’t think anyone else’s opinion on the practice matters.

  31. richard

    Personally I’d imagine that Gordon’s impersonal and monotonous weekly tribute to the fallen means very little to the families of the soldiers who’ve died defending our liberty or the soldiers themselves.

    It’s always worth quick scan of the AARSE (unofficial Army Rumour Service – to see what our squaddies actually think.

    The most complementary comment I could find about the current government was that ‘our boys’ wish that more Labour MPs were like Harold Wilson.

  32. Colin

    What a load of tripe Tom.

    If brown wants to pay a tribute to our troops, he could properly fund the armed forces.

    No, I didn’t think so…

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