Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Opportunity Knocked

Imagine this.

You are a maverick, backbench MP from a minor party, starved of media oxygen since your last leadership bid.

PMQs comes around, as it does every Wednesday.

The green leather benches are packed, the galleries are full. Gordon is there. So's Dave. And Whatsisname, Nick something-or-other. The TV cameras are there, this is live on the radio. This is what Parliament should be.

Mr Speaker's gaze has alighted upon you and he has called your name, summoning you to the centre of the bearpit of the Mother of Parliaments.

This is your moment. This is your chance to skewer the Prime Minister, challenging his policies over the economy, the military, Iraq, Afghanistan, the chance to demand an immediate election.
You could make your name with this question.

Silence falls across the chamber.
Not just because half of them are trying to work out who you are.

You are on your feet, ready to dazzle with sparkling repartee.
You have it - a leftfield question that the big man won't be expecting.

Then you wonder why the whole House laughs at you.

And before John Hemming burbles something about the Labour Party not caring, he's wrong. we've been campaigning on this as well. In short, Travel West Midlands have re-routed the number 41 bus, taking it away from the centre of Acocks Green. As part of their re-routing, there is no now bus serving the Fox Hollies Leisure Centre directly, which has to be a stroke of genius on their part. Furthermore, the 41 now carries passengers to Shirley, close to the site of a new Asda superstore, rather than to the local shopping centre of Acocks Green. TWM have got it massively wrong, but this is not something that can be laid at the door of the Labour Government. I seem to recall John's new best mates, the Conservatives, deregulating the buses back in 1985.
Incidentally, Cllr Gareth Compton - a Conservative star in the making - reviewed the bravura Hemming performance on The Stirrer:

You made an absolute tit of yourself at PMQs, provoking howls of derision from all sides... You had an opportunity to ask the Prime Minister a serious question. Instead, you chose a stunt for a press release and another 'Focus'. It made you sound frightfully trivial I'm afraid.

I think Gordon was joking when he said that he was going to call an emergency Cabinet meeting, but he did promise to write to John about the matter.


john said...

Either I was right to raise the issue or wrong. You cannot have it both ways.

Was I right to raise the issue of the 1985 Transport Act and how it affects the No 41 bus service locally or not.

Elsewhere you have said this is an important issue. On your weblog you are saying it is not.

Mr Jackson said...

All else aside at least John has the balls to stand up and ask a question that people in the real world actually care about. Far too many 'questions' are self gratifying point scoring drivel that do nothing for the country and further damage the image of politics in the public's eye.

Anonymous said...

The question he asked was: "When will the rest of the country be allowed to use the same system for bus management as exists in London?" (source: Birmingham Post).

Do Mr Brown's flippant comments constitute an answer to that question?

"And before John Hemming burbles something about the Labour Party not caring, he's wrong. we've been campaigning on this as well."

"Campaigning" on this?
Hello, anyone home?

The "Labour Party" has provided the government, and could have re-regulated buses, at any time since 1997.

So the Labour Party is campaigning to, and ignoring, itself.

PoliticalHack said...

That wasn't quite the question that he asked. Prefixing it with a comment about a specific bus service made it look ridiculous. And if you pay attention to the answer that the PM gave, a fuller answer will be provided in writing in due course. This will be provided by the Transport team and John would have been better placed asking the question last week at Transport questions. He wasted his question on an apparently parochial issue.

It is important and I would welcome elements of re-regulation of bus services. It is one of the things that I would welcome Labour doing, but I don't - fortunately - make party policy.

john said...

The question I asked is clear on my weblog

I presume also you mean unfortunately rather than fortunately.

john said...

Correct URL

PoliticalHack said...

Nope, I definitely mean 'fortunately'. :-)