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Ed Miliband makes the best of a bad situation at PMQs

14 May 2014

Today’s PMQs was never going to be easy for Ed Miliband. The latest polls have put a spring in the Tories’ step and made Labour MPs jittery. And today’s job numbers — with employment hitting record levels — gave Cameron the perfect springboard from which to argue that the government’s economic plan is working. But, given all this, Miliband did relatively well.

The Labour leader went on Pfizer again, attacking its planned take-over of Astra-Zeneca. The issue suits Miliband as it allows him to make his big argument that the Thatcher/Blair consensus kept politicians and the markets too far apart. By contrast, Cameron is constrained in what he can say on the matter. He tried to make capital out of the fact that Miliband had turned down a meeting with Pfizer because he was too busy campaigning but this line of attack lost force with every repetition.

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There are now no more PMQs for five weeks. The next time the leaders meet, we’ll have had the European Elections and the Newark by-election. These will do far more than today’s session did to determine the political mood.

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  • Daniel, Oxford


    You appear not to have watched the same PMQs as the majority of posters here and your own Lloyd Evans. Very strange take on the proceedings!

  • @PhilKean1

    Another PMQs, and more reasons to curse –

    – the fact that Britain’s decline has been fuelled by the misrule of out-of-touch, ill-equipped, incompetent politicians from both extremes of the political spectrum.

    As an example, I give you the argument about whether Astra-Zeneca should or should not be regarded as an industry vital to the national interest.

    Labour : They say yes. We should keep the company in Britain to maintain our leading advantage in pharmaceutical development, and the products and jobs this company provides to the economy and the NHS.

    However, someone should ask Labour why Britain now has to import foreign nuclear expertise just to rebuild our electricity generating capacity, and why Britain also has to go abroad to buy the vital ammunition it needs to supply our armed forces.

    The reason is because Labour made NO effort to protect Royal Ordnance and Westinghouse – two British companies that one could argue were even more vital to the national interest than Astra- Zeneca.


    Cameron : Much disdain has been heaped upon Labour by Conservatives for their short-sightedness in allowing Britain’s nuclear expertise and technical infrastructure to dissipate.
    So, too, have Conservatives pointed out the fact that, in a war scenario against the wrong people, our supplies of ammunition would quickly be used up and resupplies from foreign manufacturers embargoed.

    So when I hear this, “free market”, “let the market decide” stuff from “Conservatives” concerning Astra-Zeneca, I can but hope that the incompetence inflicted by the elites of both left and right will soon be challenged by the emergence of a 4th political force.

  • Blindsideflanker

    Can anyone explain what the long term economic plan is?

    ‘Sharing the proceeds of growth’ was a joke of a long term economic plan that was scrapped.

    As to was the plan to balance to books by the end of the parliament, they got a third off the deficit before they lost interest.

    So what is this ‘long term economic plan’ . With Mrs T her long term economic plan was to get control of the money supply, sort out the Unions, get inefficient nationalised industries privatised, and improve our supply side economics.

    But can anyone explain what Cameron and Osborne’s long term economic plan is? If it rests on gooseing up the property market, well that isn’t a long term economic plan. Can anyone explain if there is any theory behind it?

    • HookesLaw

      Its controlling govt expenditure, its cutting public sector jobs. Its cutting corporation tax. Its cutting benefits and making work more realistic for the low paid. Its creating record levels of jobs where 90% of new jobs go to indiginous workers. its about free schools providing decent education.
      Oh, and its not peddling some short term easy on the eye fix.

    • Mynydd

      Mr Cameron/Osborne’s long term economic plan started off as a short term one, namely; we will maintain our AAA rating, and will balance the books during the life of this parliament. Having failed on both counts they have no plan, only the name, long term economic plan, nothing more. Mr Cameron talks the talk, but fails to walk the walk.

  • Grey Wolf

    British politics are fractured, therefore do not expect a party with a clear majority in 2015. UKIP will very likely take some seats too. It will be a hung parliament with another coalition coming to power.

  • MirthaTidville

    Next time they meet, they will both have had a drubbing so I expect it will still be the usual stalemate

    • HookesLaw

      IPSOS MORI shows UKIP down 4. Greens up 5. Don’t panic, I’m not sure I believe it either. But maybe the Saint Nigel comedy act is wearing a bit thin.

      • Grey Wolf

        Net satisfaction rating? Really?
        Are there other ways of saying bull-fucking-shite?

        • HookesLaw

          eff off yourself … as anybody cares about your opinion. Poor Saint Nigel – is he only blowing moonbeams out of his backside these days?

          • Grey Wolf

            Well, well, it’s not a long wait anymore. Another week and we shall see who is left standing.

          • MirthaTidville

            Do you know what the difference is between Hooky and Telemachus folks?…simple Telemachus is always unfailingly polite. Thats why we put up with his brand of horseshit as opposed to yours

  • dmitri the impostor

    Ed looks as if someone has just given him an enema of extra cold Guinness.

  • Tom Chance

    Cameron was well-prepped with the latest unemployment figures on every opposition Labour MP’s constituency. Effectively ignoring all their questions by throwing local employment figures back at them.

    And a busy day for #LongTermEconomicPlan – referenced in at least half the Tory questions.

  • davebush999

    IPSOS/MORI poll out showing Labour ahead by 3 points. Premature tory elation?

    • HookesLaw

      Possibly. But then there are usual MOE caveats. Several different polls showing either a tory lead or level would seem to give a strong indication of a neck and neck situation. And the trend is towards the tories.

      BTW – that Ipsos MORI poll does not add up. It only gived Tories 31 and Labour 34 and UKIP 11. Where have the votes gone? They say to the Greens. Do you believe that?

      • Mynydd

        My way to view the polls is to compare what the partys rating is now against that achieved at the 2010 general election.
        Conservatives; 2010 36.1% (no overall majority) now 31% down 5.1%
        Labour; 2010 29% (lost seats) now 34% up 5%
        Lib Dem 2010 23% (lost seats) now 9% down 14%
        Make what you want of these figures, to me they say;
        Conservatives will not be the largest party.
        Labour will be the largest party and could well have an overall majority
        Lib Dem will be wiped out

        • HookesLaw

          It depends which poll you believe. Others show Tories on 34 – 36.
          With a coalition there is no ‘protest party’ other than UKIP. But even with Ipsos we see the govt party on 40, 6 ahead of the opposition.
          Thats not a good base for Labour. The trend is against them. I hope it continues.

          • Mynydd

            As noted the comments we are using are the latest IPSOS/MORI poll figures issued today. From the comparison I have made you could also conclude: Mr Cameron’s Conservative party is not performing as well as it did in 2010, whereas Labour under Mr Miliband is performing better than they did in 2010. The Lib Dems under Mr Clegg have collapsed.

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              What seems to be missing from this conversation is a sense of what opinion polls tell us. They are a snapshot of opinion at the present time. They are not a prediction of what will happen in 12 months time.

              • Mynydd

                I agree that the opinion polls are just a snapshot of opinion, therefore you cannot judge how any party is performing by comparing one snapshot with another snapshot. What I have done is to use the known results of 2010 general election as a solid base line against which to compare the latest opinion polls.

                I also agree that opinion polls are not a prediction of what will happen in 12 months time. What I am saying is;
                Conservative party (Mr Cameron) is not performing as well as it did in 2010,
                Labour (Mr Miliband) is performing better than they did in 2010
                Lib Dem’s (Mr Clegg) are performing well below 2010.
                The conclusion I have come to is, Mr Cameron has more ground to make up if he is to win an overall majority than Mr Miliband.

                • Ooh!MePurse!

                  Yes, a sensible approach to take.

                  Blimey! A reasonable exchange of views without resort to personal insults. Doesn’t happen on here enough.

  • starfish

    Did he declare an interest on the pfizer issue

    Or are party donations by astra zeneca irrelevant?

    The way that the whole issue has deteriorated inro an ” eeevil Yankees pillage brave plucky brit company ” is rather depressing

    Is no one capable of objective analysis?

    • Mynydd

      An objective analysis is to consider if the boot was on the other foot, with AstraZeneca making a bid for Pfizer. You can bet your bottom dollar the American government would say no it’s not in the countries national interest.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Your knowledge of US business law and takeover rules is clearly deficient so I would just shut up if I were you. Have you any conception of the value of UK business interests in the U.S? It is a two way street you fatuous Labour Troll.

      • Chris lancashire

        Good to note that yesterday the UK’s Shire took over California’s
        Lumena Pharmaceuticals – without any US Government intervention.

  • alabenn

    Miliband was dire, his ceaseless witterings about small details of political life, just show he has no depth and no idea of what is happening, nor does he appear to have any idea of how a country is run.
    A Prime Minister in waiting would not be making a central plank of his campaign, scare mongering about takeover bids and possible very small savings on electricity bills.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Agreed. As if this idiot understands the first thing about business. He has no possible conception of what makes a good or bad business deal, takeover etc etc yet feels free to pontificate and succeeds only in reinforcing his credentials as a loathes of wealth creation, aspiration, ambition and freedom of choice.

      • telemachus

        I am heartened to see the triumphalism that is creeping into the posts and the replies
        Cameron is increasingly becoming Rowntree in “If”
        If you remember the end of that film, that is where we are headed if folks do not ditch Cameron soon

        • Inverted Meniscus

          The type of analogy one would expect from a Fascist Labour Troll. Go and pollute the Guardian instead.

        • alabenn

          It is not triumphalism, it is desperation, anything negative about the Miliband idiot, the credulous fools like you, the middle class wankers in government, local authority parasites with overpaid non jobs, these are the people who put their narrow sectarian interests before the rest of the country, that light you and your weak minded followers thought you could see at the end of the tunnel is hopefully, an express train coming to wipe out, you and your treacherous kind.

          • telemachus

            You underline my point well
            Everywhere we turn we are led to understand that a Labour defeat next May is guaranteed
            Keep it up
            There will be a lot of disappointed folks round here on May 8

    • Mynydd

      Mr Cameron now agrees with Mr Miliband that the energy market is broken, that is why he has order an investigation into it. If you think it’s about small savings on electricity bills, you are so mistaken, and just shows your ignorance of such matters.

  • 2trueblue

    Cameron could have mentioned that the recent ‘advertisement’ ‘ showing vegetables displays Liebores ignorance as to how VAT is actually raised, or that they wish to mislead the electorate?

    • Mynydd

      I remember Mr Cameron’s Party Political Broadcast when he said ‘we are paying down the debt’ when he knew it was going up.

  • Swiss Bob

    “The next time the leaders meet, we’ll have had the European Elections and the Newark by-election.”

    The leaders will be meeting, whether thick Ed will be there is a completely different matter.

    • HookesLaw

      Don’t say that. but anyway the question is bhow long can Farage last in his slowly disintigrating party. Does anyone think that the way he selects his MEPs means they will be any more inclined to attend for votes any more than the present lot.

      UKIP is nothing more than the plaything of a few rich bigots. Some of them only out for a joy ride. UKIP are making a good case for state funding of political parties.
      ‘Ukip faces a “cash-for-Euro-seats” scandal after forcing MEPs to donate large
      sums and threatening to bar those who refused from standing again, its
      former deputy leader says.
      Ex-Ukip insiders have also raised concerns that the party favoured wealthy MEP candidates before this month’s European elections.’
      (The Times)

      • Swiss Bob

        If you weren’t so scared of UKIP you wouldn’t bother posting this drivel.

        • HookesLaw

          Truth hurts I see. Major kipper donors get gifted easy seats. Imagine if that happened to a real political party what the fuss would be.

          • Tony_E

            It does. The LIb Dems also do this.

            My understanding is that it is an agreement between UKIP EU candidates and the leadership that a level of the ‘expenses’ that arise from their position should be processed to the party centre.

            If this is the case then I don’t see the problem with this as there has to be expenditure from the party to support candidates in elections.

            The blunt truth about the smears that UKIP has suffered over very small issues is that the old parties are simply frit. They would do better to press their own message rather than go negative against UKIP. What their leadership is saying about the EU is largely correct, and that’s hard to argue against.

          • Mynydd

            What about the 4 Conservative ministers in Mr Cameron’s government that have been forced to resign.

          • starfish
  • Hello

    It’s like Ed always said: “First they beat you, then they fight you, then they laugh at you, then they ignore you”

  • Tony Quintus

    The way the polls are going this may be the last time we see Ed Miliband at PMQs period, if Labour come 3rd in the EU elections the party will shred itself before we even get to Newark.

    • Hello

      Doubt it. There’s a strong sense of apathy coming from the Labour party these days.

      • DavidL

        Indeed; and the Labour Party, whilst excelling at fratricide, doesn’t go in for regicide, unlike some other parties.

        • Hello

          That was twenty four years ago. Get over it. It’s not as if Tony Blair left of his own volition.

          • DavidL

            I can think of three incidences of Conservative regicide in my lifetime: Heath, Thatcher and IDS: and Eden just before I was born. Always good to get the facts sorted before you pitch in, old fruit.

      • Tony Quintus

        Apathy is one thing, watching the Tories laugh and smile while they walk into the next government cycle to remove Labour’s in built electoral advantage and scrap a big pile of Labour seats in the boundry review is something else.

  • swatnan

    Good show Ed!

    • HookesLaw

      Yes, fingers crossed by tories hoping he is able to keep it up.

    • Swiss Bob

      All hail the Dear Leader!

      Even if he is a complete duffer, and that’s according to people in his own party.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Yes if the preposterous gibbering idiot continues on this manner, we can wVe goodbye to the Fascist scum of the Labour Party.

      • Mynydd

        Fascism – a system of extreme right-wing dictatorship – Oxford Dictionary. So how can Red Ed be a fascist. Grow up.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Ignorant troll. It is not right-wing it is any extreme authoritarian regime. The Labour Party fits the bill perfectly. They are Fascists.

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