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GIMSON Andrew Krieg

Prime Minister’s Questions lacks the charm of David versus Goliath. In David versus Jeremy, the bigger and stronger man almost always wins the crushing victory one would have predicted.

This does not make for a morally satisfying spectacle, and also lacks the element of surprise.

Today the Prime Minister used the charge of anti-semitism as a club with which to bludgeon his opponent. Again and again, he insisted the Labour leader must no longer be “friends” with Hamas and Hezbollah.

Mr Corbyn was not agile enough to dodge these blows.Nor did he manage to point out how outrageous it was of Mr Cameron to subject him to a grilling, instead of the other way round.

The grim expressions of the Labour front bench seemed to say: “Our man is so useless we cannot even bring ourselves to cheer him.”

The news out of PMQs was that the Prime Minister had “softened” his line on the admission of unaccompanied child refugees from Europe.

But here is a leader who does not dare to look as if he himself is soft. He feels too vulnerable for that, too much in danger of losing control, so uses these encounters to show what a hard man he is.

Caroline Lucas, the Leader of the Greens, invited him to explain what the past progressive tense is, and to set out his definition of a modal verb: questions which are just now being put to primary school children.

Mr Cameron replied that “the whole point of these changes is to make sure our children are better educated than we are”: a deft way of avoiding her challenge, though one might have thought his own schools were in many ways superior to those attended by his children.

And what of our children’s moral education? Are they to be taught it is perfectly in order to beat up opponents who are weaker than ourselves?

In an adversarial system, that is bound sometimes to happen. But one came away feeling one had witnessed an unsporting event. Time, surely, for Labour to let someone else have a go.

 

 

18 comments for: Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: one came away feeling one had witnessed an unsporting event

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