Oh dear, you have to laugh…..I did say it was amazing Miliband could get up Brand’s stairs without tripping….Perhaps there were several takes for that glorious video judging by his fancy footwork tonight.
On Question Time Dimbleby gave Cameron a harder time than he did Miliband, often asking some daft questions but the audience, however the numbers actually balanced out, managed to ask difficult questions to all the leaders so in the end what came across was a reasonable interrogation for each of them….one point though is that Cameron went first and Miliband and Clegg were able to hear his answers which I think gave them an edge in their own sessions as they were able to react to what Cameron had said….Miliband making a joke about ‘the other guy’ and trying to turn what Cameron said to his own advantage.
Fraser Nelson points out that it is easy for Miliband to swan in and bluff his way...which is why Dimbleby should have been more on the ball to tackle him harder….
Fraser Nelson: Being cheered and whistled on the way out of that strange wee stage was perhaps the best part of that for David Cameron. He looked like a winner (for a short while). But it was a reminder about why the PM is always at a disadvantage: he has to spend his time defending his record, taking fire for every mistake his government made over five years. The others just talk about what they would do, about their hopes and theories: it’s far easier for them. And also all the audience hears about is Cameron’s problems, not his strengths. I can see why Cameron wanted to avoid this trial-by-television.
Miliband I thought had the easier ride from Dimbleby whose main barb was to ask about Labour’s rising debt before the crash…shame the BBC hasn’t been asking such questions for the last 5 years.
Miliband tried to swat such questions away with suggestions that such spending had been good…on hospitals and schools….might have thought Dimbleby would have been ready to ask about PFIs the huge costs of which are undermining so many NHS Trusts and hospitals now….the audience reacted with an outburst but Dimbleby didn’t challenge Miliband on that.
On Europe Miliband wasn’t challenged on the hypocrisy of his claim to represent ‘The People’ against ‘Big Business’ and vested interests….how can that be when his whole approach to Europe was based upon Big Business saying to leave Europe wouldn’t be good for their businesses? Miliband ruled out a referendum because Big Business doesn’t want one. The audience asked about the lack of democracy with Miliband deciding the issue all by himself on our behalf but I thought Dimbleby should have further challenged Miliband on that hypocrisy….which is blatantly obvious.
Miliband made a big play of saying he wanted to be the first PM to underpromise and overdeliver…..again why did Dimbleby not step in with the obvious question about the NHS and Labour’s promise to ‘Do whatever it takes to keep the NHS running’? Miliband was criticising Cameron for making unfunded promises and yet Labour’s promise is even more amorphous and pie in the sky.
Miliband categorically ruled out any coaliton and any deals at all with the SNP…now the maths would suggest that, if we have a Labour government, it will have to deal with the SNP to get legislation through…Dimbleby did press Miliband on his statement that there would be no Labour government if he had to rely on the SNP but Miliband was let off the hook on that major issue and not pressed nearly hard enough as to what will happen if Labour managed to form a minority government….especially as he seemed to rule out any coaliton with anybody at all saying he wouldn’t ‘barter away his manisfesto’.
Miliband was also allowed to make the usual Labour claim that welfare spending was going up becasue the economy was tanking….but the truth is that welfare spending is increasing because, in the main, pensions were increased and we have an increasing pensioner population and pensions make up the vast bulk of welfare payments. Not only that but spending is actually lower than in previous recessions and that is despite this being the worst recession in one hundred years. Not only were pensions increased but also spending on tax credits due to uprating…but also more spending on housing as private sector rentals increased, though if the government had to provide social housing the rents would have been lower but there would have been a hidden subsidy as well to keep those rents low….and who would fund the house building?
Many people think benefit spending is high because this country spends a lot on unemployed people and others who should ideally be in jobs. In fact, spending on pensions (£83 billion) is 20 times as high as spending on Jobseekeer’s Allowance (£4 billion).
The largest contribution was from the uprating of state pensions as inflation outstripped growth in earnings and GDP. Spending on tax credits and housing benefit also increased significantly, the former reflecting generous discretionary uprating (especially of the child element) and the latter reflecting growth in the number of renters and rent inflation outstripping earnings growth.
All in all not too bad a Question Time, the audience able to interrogate the leaders to the same degree….Dimbleby, in my opinion, letting Miliband off with an easier ride than Cameron…but not a great deal in it at the end.
Cameron came across fairly well…Miliband with his talk of equality and fairness, Big Business and ‘The People’ was just too naive and facile…making easy, feel good, crowd pleasing pledges that say little in the end and were more suited to the student union…..and a very obvious tactic of asking people’s names…too staged….but what to expect from someone who sought a bit of Brand’s star dust but also wanted the headlines that came, courtesy of the BBC….Ed ‘Miliband tells Russell Brand he’s ‘wrong’ on politics‘….very tough!
Should be an interesting day next Friday.
Now though we really get to see if there’s any BBC bias with their post mortems…will they spin it for Miliband?….not looking too good so far…..
Nick Robinson has his own take….Miliband again gets off lightly but Cameron is damned….
With David Cameron looking confident the Tories and the Tory press will claim that this was the night the election turned.
But – and it is a big but – the prime minister’s performance relied on either ignoring or dodging the hostile questioning he faced about welfare cuts, the bedroom tax, food banks and the morality of his policies.
Firstly the Tories have been on the up for a while now so this wouldn’t be ‘the night the election turned’ and Cameron didn’t dodge the questions…..he certainly answered on the ‘morality’ of his policies saying it was the moral thing to do to get people into work. As for the bedroom tax and food banks….standard attacks from the Left which neglect the realities and the facts….what about all those families who have to squeeze into tiny homes whilst single people live in homes too large for their needs? Food banks?….a Trussell Trust political game in the main….most recipients are in fact only in very occasional need when their beneifts have been stopped or delayed….not a result of economic failure….though I will admit Cameron waffled on welfare.