Published on October 30th, 2013 |
by Oliver Campbell
Prime Minister’s Questions: Labour look increasingly weak
As David Cameron described his government’s success in relation to the economy he repeated one of his favourite phrases, calling the opposition ‘same old Labour’. Whether or not this is an accurate observation is open to debate, however it was indeed ‘same old Labour’ in this weeks Prime Minister’s Question’s as they again focused on the issue of energy prices.
The debate that followed initially seemed like a direct re run of last weeks Prime Minister’s Questions. Ed Miliband again called for a price freeze which he argued would help thousands of people who are looking at the heat or eat option as winter approaches. Cameron responded by calling the price freeze a ‘con’, directing the problem of rising energy prices at a lack of competition and green levies.
However despite similarities with previous debates, it was clear that the Prime Minister had moved away from the intervention he had called for last week. This lead nicely into Ed Miliband’s quip that Cameron had gone from ‘Rambo to Bambi’ in four years, and that the Prime Minister was merely acting as a PR for the big six energy companies.
Importantly though the reason for Cameron’s shift is due his government’s strengthened position. Recent figures indicate that the government has created a million more jobs since coming to power, contrasting with the Labour party prediction that a million jobs would in fact be lost. This led Cameron to point out the falling deficit, falling unemployment and growing economy, and it was clear that his colleagues had been asked to put forward questions which would emphasise this fact. One MP alluded to the 10% increase in car production over the past year, which Cameron reacted to gleefully, lauding companies such as Nissan and Toyota, describing how such involvement was leading to a reindustrialization of Britain.
This renewed strength was emphasized further by a of a lack of response from Labour, with only one MP quizzing Cameron on the economy, asking what he was doing to counter continued youth unemployment. However Cameron’s response was confident and controlled, agreeing that ‘more is needed to be done’ and that his party are acting on this, pointing to the one and a half million apprenticeships created under his government.
Impressive stuff then from the coalition, and as the debate moved onto HS2, Labour looked increasingly like a party caught in the headlights. Cameron made his stance clear stating that it is crucial for this ‘important infrastructure scheme’ to go ahead, contrasting with the opposition whose attitudes towards HS2 are mixed with no clear direction. This week Ed Balls toured radio stations saying that it would not happen. His leader however is a supporter of HS2, something emphasized by his spokesperson, his friends and other shadow cabinet ministers. Cameron’s point that Miliband is ‘too weak’ to make an outright party statement on it seems to be justified.
This session of PMQ’s therefore showed a weakened Labour party. Miliband is beginning to look more and more like the ‘one trick pony’ that Cameron calls him as he continually reiterates the need for an energy price freeze. The rising energy prices are undoubtedly a problem and Cameron seems to be doing little to counter the actions of the Big Six. However Miliband is not helping himself by standing so ardently by a policy, which looks increasingly like the ‘con’ that David Cameron calls it. Labour need direction and they need to look at the opposition for inspiration. This week the coalition had a plan implemented successfully by the Party whip. Throughout today’s PMQs, Conservative MPs continually asked questions highlighting the strong economy. Labour’s whip on the other hand must have been on holiday this week as party policy was weakened and inter party disagreements highlighted. Labour need a rethink.