PMQs: banking system

Cameron and Brown follow their usual pattern of scuffling over cuts today. Cameron claims Brown plans real terms cuts from 2011, Brown claims real-terms rises in investment until 2012 an’ anyway the Tories plan to make cuts straightaway. Heads I win, tails you lose. It’s getting unbearable, listening to Brown. “We are the party of the many”. Ugh.

Cameron makes a rare slip, however, when he suggests that the reason Brown is so distrusted is not actually the recession – “there’s a recession all over Europe”. I have never in all my parliamentary viewing heard such baying from the Labour party, who take this as an admission that the recession isn’t Brown’s fault. It takes Martin two or three minutes to calm them down, by which time Cameron has had time to think of a riposte:

“They spend half an hour shouting on a Wednesday and then spend the rest of the week trying to get rid of him.”

A nastier, more vengeful exchange between the Tory and Labour leaders I’ve rarely heard.

Clegg’s questions bear on the restructuring of the banking system. The Prime Minister’s plan is to rewrite regulation –  does he not see that unless we fundamentally change the way we do banking, and separate high street domestic banking from international casino-style banking, the same crash will happen all over again?

But both types of bank failed! Brown replies, missing the point of the association so royally it beggars belief. This is exactly when we need a third question. Brown is not a terribly smart Commons operator, but even he can waffle for one answer. His blunders in response to Clegg’s questions, as with Cameron’s, tend to emerge in second and subsequent questions.

Two shots can be made to count, and Clegg sometimes does it with great aplomb when circumstances and the political narrative are favourably. He didn’t pull it off today. But then he probably didn’t think Brown could be so dense as to miss the point about the connection between high street banking and international banking methods within the same organisations. If Clegg had rooted that out in question 1, he could have had much more fun with question 2.

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  • Disappointed in Nick today. Maybe coming on the back of so many good performances he was due a day off.

    Brown is lying to the people, people are not fools. Even Michael White and Polly Toynbee know he is lying on cuts. So what is our policy ?

    Cameron seems to get off on baiting Brown. Some policies and substance would be nice for a change.

  • Jock – does that not need international agreement, otherwise you’ll just get Britain using a combination of $, €, etc.? Or am I missing your point?

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