Tuesday, November 23, 2004

What a shower

Sitting resumed at 2:30. By tradition there are speeches by two back bench members to kick off the debate. One is usually an old hand - this year it was George Howarth. The second speech is usually by someone in their first parliamentary term so this year it was Meg Munn (previous years have included David Lammy and Oona King). There is usually a light hearted flavour to the opening two debates and today was no exception and Meg Munn gave us a fascinating insight to her post tap dancing shower.
(I shall try and remember to link to Hansard tomorrow)

These two speeches were followed by Michael Howard who was not at his best. Yes I am biased but I am curious to know how this his speech will come across on the news. He started to talk about restoring the pension link to earnings and a Labour MP pointed out the huge amount of money this would cost by 2050. Michael Howard steam rollered on but a second intervention (Gordon Prentice) pointed out that Michael Howard was in the Cabinet that first cut the earnings link.

The response?

Michael Howard retorted that that was the right thing to do then but restoring it was the right thing to do now!
Cue collapse of non Tory honourable members into hysterics whilst the Tory troops remained glum and stony faced.
How the Tories expect to have any credibility on this issue I don't know

Tony Blair was his usual self and was followed by Charles Kennedy who seemed to adopt quite a laid back style this year. At one point there was an interesting change of views between CK, T Blair and John Bercow. It wasn't a major point scoring exercise but seemed almost like a proper debate. It probably won't get much coverage but to me, moments in the House of Commons such as this are when we are at our best - rather than the political knockabout - which we can all enjoy but doesn't move the agenda forwards a single inch.