Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Too many reviews, no time to argue

Share
Related Topics

Good grief, the Prime Minister's bad at arguing. He just asserts things. And any old thing that comes to mind. I'm going to invite him home and let him win an argument with my... I'm not sure exactly... if I turn my food processor on to medium, he'd beat that, you'd think? He'd keep up, at least?

When Nick Clegg asked him why he wouldn't act immediately to stop the scandal of 5,000 schools fingerprinting children he replied: "People in this country are reassured by the presence of CCTV."

That was the answer to both of Clegg's questions (neither of which mentioned CCTV). Clegg referred to the 1,000 intercept requests a day, the one million innocent people on the DNA database, and the fingerprinting of schoolchildren and twice the PM (moral compass spinning) demanded to know if the Liberals supported CCTV.

Harden your hearts, fellow citizens, pity is not the right reaction.

But first, there had been Cameron. Oh, we shall miss him when he is no longer leader of the Opposition. How many "reviews" has the PM commissioned since his assumption? Obviously he wouldn't say. "The answer is 52. One every four days," Cameron laughed. "No wonder he hasn't had time to open his post." He went through these reviews. "Reading!" Chris Bryant called out. "You have to, it's such a long list," Cameron replied without a beat. Bryant made a wet noise as the slap landed.

"Too many soundbites, not enough substance!" Gordon replied with a soundbite prepared a month ago. By Ken Clarke. "He's had weeks preparing his soundbites and they're still rubbish," Cameron taunted. It doesn't look exactly Corinthian but it had its own momentum there in the chamber. And it did come straight off the bat.

The PM's reviews aren't dithering, quite; they're Gordon's preferred alternative to Green Papers. Without the nuisance of parliamentary input. They're the opposite of dithering in a way: Gordon knows what he wants said, he appoints the people who will say it, and he can float proposals without risking the blame if they're unpopular. That's what modern leadership is.

Peter Lilley referred to the "line-by-line" promise the PM madeon the Lisbon Treaty scrutiny. It's turned out to be the most cynical manipulation of Parliament for party purposes. Not a word of the immigration, asylum and border controls has been seen by the Commons. Brown said that the House was considering it "day by day".

Brown's soundbite is: "We are long term, they are short term." But maybe they really are "day by day". If he is the king of long-term thinking, how come he nicked a non-dom tax proposal from the Tories one week, announced it the next and is suffering the second big disaffection of the City?

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Critics of Fiona Woolf say she should step down amid accusations of an establishment cover-up  

Fiona Woolf resignation: As soon as she became the story, she had to leave

James Ashton
 

Letters: Electorate should be given choice on drugs policy

Independent Voices
Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities