Brown v Cameron

Gordon Brown has had a poll jump according to yesterday's Observer. This is to be expected - people like new things - but unfortunately the Observer neglects to give its margins of error. A 3% rise could actually be static if there is a 1.5% margin either side. Still, I'm feeling pretty good about things.

If we look at the Conservatives' website, we see David Cameron saying
"Everyone knows who the next Labour leader is. So why does the country have to put up with seven weeks of paralysis?"
This all from the man who wanted to end Punch and Judy politics. Everyone does not know who the next leader is - it will probably be Brown, but we have this little thing in the Labour party called democracy. He goes on, declaring that we have a
"We've got a Home Secretary splitting his Department in two when he's already resigned….a Foreign Secretary negotiating a European Treaty she won't be around to ratify"
and lamenting that
"The Government is now paralysed."
The two don't quite sit with me. He is saying both that the Government a) is doing things and b) is not doing things. I am no logician, but the two seem incompatible. Mr Cameron also confuses politicians with the Government. The Civil Service will trundle on - yes, policy formulation may be on hold, but all the various other functions of the State will continue.

Any party in power has to change leaders, and that means a handover period. It happened in the run-up to Thatcher's departure. This is cheap politics - point scoring, rather than trying to have a debate. We also see this in the Hon. Member for Witney's appearances at PMQs last week. He asked the same question - whether the reorganisation of the Home Office is a good idea - four times. I am entirely happy for him to continue this, as it gave Tony Blair and would give Gordon Brown three good opportunities to make his own points.

Much as I am partisan, we do need scrutiny of Government and not point-scoring. It was an opportunity for some searching questions; instead we had schoolboy debating. It's probably good for Labour against the Conservatives, but I don't know how much it does to improve the quality of democracy.


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