Punch and Judy politics

December 13, 2005 ,

WE'VE heard a lot about “Punch and Judy” politics in the last week.

New Tory leader David Cameron has said he wants an end to the panto antics at Prime Minister’s Questions. Tony Blair has said the same thing on many occasions.

If you ask the public they will tell you they agree, and that it puts them off politics.

The trouble is that Prime Minster’s Questions is the one event in parliament that the public actually watch.
All the hours and hours of worthy and considered debate are largely ignored in our sound bite culture.

The truth is that while PMQs can be childish and rowdy it actually serves a useful purpose.
When he visited the UK President Clinton expressed his relief that he didn’t have to face similar scrutiny every week in the US.

It is a good thing, not a bad thing, that the Prime Minster should be brought down to earth in the Chamber of the House of Commons with a good grilling.

Ultimately, however, this is not what decides elections.
William Hague, now back on the Tory front bench, was wildly considered to have bested Tony Blair every week at PMQs, but it made no difference at election time.

Ultimately, as David Cameron will find out, without substance to back up the one liners and insults, you won’t get very far in politics.

You need policies that are relevant to people’s lives, and as Punch would say “that’s the way to do it!”