The vast majority of British voters have zero interest in Prime Minister’s Questions. Nor, once the initial novelty had worn off, would they have any more interest in watching People’s Questions. It’s only politicians who think the weekly interrogation of politicians is of major national significance.

Dan Hodge

Do we need a Peoples’ PMQs?

UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband recently floated the idea of a weekly “public question time” where an audience representative of the country would question the prime minister on any issue of the day. Miliband was a bit short on details regarding how this would work. Apart from stating that the audience should be representative of the country, the only other details he provided was that the public PMQs should be held in parliament at least every two weeks, but preferably weekly. On the surface, it’s an interesting idea, but it also raises a number of questions. First of all, how would these people – representative of the country – be selected? Would it be a completely random process, you […]

Coalition government is not a marriage

On 7 January 2012, Conservative Party leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg held a joint press conference, which you can watch here, to promote the Coalition government’s Mid-Term Review. That review lists what the government says it has achieved in meeting its coalition agreement and outlines further reforms to come. Both Cameron and Clegg stressed that the coalition would last the full five-year term. One of the stranger questions asked during the press conference was if the coalition was like a marriage. Indeed, when Cameron and Clegg held their first press conference together back in 2010 to launch the coalition, some of the press coverage read as if it should have been on the Society pages […]

Some interesting links

This blog’s author is rather swamped at work these days, and so I will take this opportunity to share with you some recent links that have caught my attention. 1. Is the tide finally turning for Nick Clegg? Having gone from everyone’s darling after the first ever leaders’ debates last spring to the most despised person in British politics, Nick Clegg seems to be getting some respect in the press these days, and from rather unlikely sources. First up is this piece in the right-leaning, pro-Tory Telegraph by Paul Goodman, wherein he writes: “Whatever happens, Clegg will be in the midst of it – polite, influential, under-scrutinised and enduring as ever, despite the opprobrium heaped on his head. (…) His […]

Coalition Works!

Media speculation in the UK over the health of the coalition began quite literally the day the agreement between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats was announced and hasn’t ever gone away. Indeed, as the referendum campaign on AV heated up and very public spats occurred between Conservative and Lib Dem ministers, many papers and columnists speculated that the coalition was on shaky ground (again). Following the release last week of an interim report looking at how the coalition was functioning,  some media chose to highlight whatever was negative in the report. The Guardian trumpeted that the “Deputy PM’s office ineffective, report on coalition government finds“, Public Finance bemoaned “What happened to collective responsibility?”, while the Telegraph reported rather dismissively “How […]

Link sharing

I’d like to share a few links with readers. Everyone’s favourite elections expert from down under, Antony Green, is in the UK at the moment – in part to observe the ongoing referendum campaign, and in part for a vacation. He has a provided a very interesting contribution to the British Politics and Policy at LSE blog in which he writes that the experience with AV at the Australian state level suggests that AV in the UK may not change the national picture of who wins seats that much, but will increase the legitimacy of MPs who otherwise could not demonstrate that they have local majority support. Human rights activist Jemima Khan has an in-depth interview with Deputy Prime Minister […]

Watch those open mics

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron were in Nottingham promoting the government’s budget. During a round of applause, Clegg was caught off mic saying to Cameron: “If we keep doing this we won’t find anything to bloody disagree on in a bloody TV debate.” You can hear it for yourself on The World At One. It’s at the 7:13 mark. Related Posts:Do we need a Peoples’ PMQs?Coalition Works!Media agendas?Not the best, but somewhat trustedOn truth in politics