A little while ago I turned the TV on to get the lunchtime news, and was staggered to find Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 3 BBC Channels – BBC News, BBC Parliament and BBC 2 – and also on Sky news. I took a look at what was going on, and was seriously unimpressed. There’s a line in an old Billy Bragg song that refers to ‘those braying voices on the right of the House’ and it’s as relevant today as it ever was, with the exception that the braying voices now seem to come from all sides of the House.
It seemed to be less a matter of gaining useful information from the PM and his Ministers and more a sort of political ping-pong – soft shots from his colleagues, attempted bouncers from the Opposition party members. Just what is the point of this nonsense, and why bother broadcasting it over so many channels? Even with the two major issues of the day – the results of the Nimrod Accident Enquiry and the latest report in to MP’s Expenses, the whole thing still had the atmosphere of knock about farce.
Once upon a time this weekly political wrestling match might have had relevance – it may still have relevance today if the whole thing weren’t so clearly stage managed and organised to attempt to put the PM in the best light (difficult with the current fellow) and portray the opposition as witless morons (not so difficult with the current lot). It’s not made any more palatable by the follow up reporting from Sky News, I believe, where as much time was spent on the body language of the Prime Minister than on what he actually said! It was like watching ‘Lie to Me’ without Tim Roth or a storyline!
For our Parliamentarians, PMQ could be a weekly opportunity to show us how seriously you’re all taking the situation we’re in. It actually seems to be an opportunity for us to once again question why the Devil we voted you in in the first place. Folks, I seriously suggest you reverse the televising of Parliament – it really is doing you no good whatsoever.