Prime Ministers Questions : A review

Slate has an amusing review of our beloved PMQ's.

On the barnyard noises the author comments, "curious to think that such an anarchic noise might issue from the very people who, though common, exemplify rule-boundedness."

Blair's certainly got an answer for everything. He's a peppy little winner. After each question, he springs to the podium—he must take his seat between times—and launches into rapid patter before he's even reached the mike. He talks fast and jauntily; having, in seconds, registered the question and formulated his reply (often a dodge), he gives his stutter-free replies with a half-smile, like a quiz show contestant on a roll. When forced to name which methods of improving health care ("targets") he would forgo as too expensive, he toed his line with the virtuosity of Gene Kelly, neither advocating overspending nor suggesting heartlessness toward the sick—all while not answering the question one bit.

The author concludes that "Blair rarely says anything more substantial than Bush does in press conferences, and he gives far less insight into geopolitical strategy than the allegedly tight-lipped Donald Rumsfeld gives in his." On point 1 I broadly concur but would point out that Blair endures this every week that Parliament is sitting whereas Bush isn't known for his frequent press conferences, additionally Blair speaks in sentences, in English. As to the Rumsfeld reference and geopolitical strategy I think the difference is diplomacy.

Posted by Paul at July 17, 2003 02:48 AM |
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