April 1, 2023

PMQs Parliamentary sketch – Should elections be more like the World Cup?

Questions to the Prime Minister was back yesterday and kicked off with David Cameron offering the England football team the very best of British before their first world cup game in Brazil. The very best of British? before their first world cup game in Brazil? That’s a perfect politician’s good luck message – appearing to wish them luck to win, without actually wishing them luck to win.

I hoped the Prime Minister would go on to list the strengths and weakness of every player in the squad, before challenging Roy Hodgson to drop Wayne Rooney if he didn’t perform. Unfortunately it was straight into Parliamentary business – which doesn’t seem to include who should play on the wing for England.

Before turning the subject to the much less populist personal independence payment Katy Clark took the all-inclusive approach to good fortune, by wishing every football team in the world cup every luck, which proved that politicians are not out of touch and do know that the world cup involves football teams.

The PM was determined to get the personal independence payment right. This seems a good position to take, although it would be nice to think that this wouldn’t need stating as it might be the government’s position on every subject.

Edward Milliband got to his feet next. How would he phrase his good luck message? To England? To every team in the competition? Not at all? He came out with a relatively full-on message of good luck to Gerrard and the boys. Let me join the PM in wishing the England team the best of luck in the world cup. He was sure that the whole country would be behind them, which is an inflammatory statement for a UK politician to make in these times of possible Scottish independence – Anyone but England T shirts are currently available online, the message written over a Scottish Lion Rampant.

A high level of noise is allowed at PMQs. but when it got too much like a bar-room Speaker Bercow fired out some of his personalised put-downs.To Ian Lucas he managed this: I have told you that you need to go on some sort of therapeutic training course if you are to attain the level of statesmanship to which you aspire. To silence Ronnie Campbell he tried when you are eating curry in the Kennington Tandoori, you do not yell across the restaurant, don’t yell across the floor of this House. Ouch.

Mel Stride wished the England football team every success in the world cup, which gave the PM the chance to repeat his support.  Barry Sherman complained about the low level of political involvement, the turnout in recent elections and asked what could be done. The Flaneur has been pondering and here’s a suggestion. Make politics more like the world cup. After all, millions of people will willingly watch football all this month. Make the results of elections dependent in part on an inter-party football tournament. Of course it would be madness to decide entire elections on footballing prowess. But maybe 20% of MPs could be elected via the football pitch. Who wouldn’t turn out to see Ken Clarke in goal and Ed Balls up front? Political involvement would shoot up. It’s worth considering, I should write to Mr Sherman.




Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.