Thursday, 26 February 2009

Parris is right. The Commons struck an off-note.

My deep sympathies go out to David and Samantha Cameron for their loss, and of course there is no implied criticism of them in what follows. But Matthew Parris is right in writing in today's Times that the Commons got it wrong yesterday.

Firstly, it elevated the importance of the grief of the political class above the grief of the rest of us; Oborne has said they have more in common with each other than they do with us, and they demonstrated it yesterday. The life of a Fusilier in Afghanistan, or a black teenager in Peckham, is worth no less than the life of a politician's child - but yesterday's gesture gave a very different message to the nation. It was self-indulgent and divisive.

Secondly, there is no place for mawkish saccharine sentimentality in the business of making laws and holding the government of the nation to account. A work colleague lost her husband just after Christmas, but we didn't send the whole office home for the day. During two world wars when MPs were losing sons in battle and families in the blitz not one sitting was suspended. They knew something MPs today seem to have forgotten - they are there to do a job for us, not for their own benefit.

Yesterday was the political class at its self-obsessed worst. It was wrong, wrong, wrong.

23 comments:

Sue said...

Agreed. It was very self indulgent and almost distasteful!

Savonarola said...

It was a bad call.

Cameron should have insisted that PMQ's proceed and appointed Hague to deputise along with apolgies for his absence.

Two minute nationwide silence for the media creation Jayne Goody on her pasing. What have we become. A 60 million reality show covering Land's End to John O Groats.

Sickbag please.

Newmania said...

I quite agree R and thank goodness you have said so . I particularly did not like the manipulative statement by Brown . Vince Cable got it right . Short.

Well done for this !

Henry Crun said...

Not sure I agree, Raedwald. The business of Parliament did continue yesterday, it was only the half hour of PMQs that was cancelled. But let's face it PMQs is nothing more than pantomime.

Personally, I'm relieved that there was no PMQs yesterday and my blood temperature remained well below boiling point. Just one more week without the saggy faced bastard wittering on about "do nothing this" and "lessons on economics that" and " we supported it, they opposed it the other". I long for the day when Dave finally loses his temper, marches across the floor, picks up the mace and batters Brown full in the gob...I'd pay good money to see that.

Umbongo said...

I note that Speaker Martin cancelled PMQ as a mark of respect for the deceased child when, of course, it was a mark of respect for a member of the House - David Cameron: the child has no standing in the Commons nor in the country.

Also, as HC notes, PMQ is a pantomime as long as the speaker allows the PM to get away without answering any of the questions. What we missed yesterday would have been Brown not answering questions from Hague rather than not answering questions from Cameron.

AProlefrom1984 said...

A difficult one. You're braver than I in your comments. Prayers to them all the same.

AProlefrom1984 said...

I kind of see why you & Parris have made your point. But there's a time and place. It's bit like going to a funeral and criticising the bereaved for buying an expensive coffin.
Maybe both of you should have kept quiet.
Interesting that objections are from Cameron's own side.

Budgie said...

AProlefrom1984 said..."Prayers to them all the same."

You don't pray TO the Camerons, you pray to God, for the Camerons. If, of course, you think Ivan Cameron is more worthy of your prayers than all the other hundreds who have died in the last few days. That you know nothing about.

Budgie said...

AProlefrom1984 said..."Prayers to them all the same."

You don't pray TO the Camerons, you pray to God, for the Camerons. If, of course, you think Ivan Cameron is more worthy of your prayers than all the other hundreds who have died in the last few days. That you know nothing about.

Young Mr. Brown said...

I too believe that you are right.

Perhaps it is simply yet another sign that Britain is changing, and that the important thing is not to care, but to be seen to care, and everyone is terrified of appearing uncaring.

Guthrum said...

The Conservative Club down here has its flag flying at half mast for God' sake

Anonymous said...

It's a complex one. Yes, in theory, the death of any individual (especially one who is not a member of the house) should not suspend the business of parliament.

On the other hand, parliamentary business was not suspended - only PMQ was cancelled.

Also, consider this: how would we react if PMQ had continued as normal? Consider the nature of PMQ - it is partisan name-calling and little more. What would we be saying right now if it had gone ahead and Broon had, as usual, attacked Cameron and the Tories for being out-of-touch and a toff?

I don't think we'd have been particularly kind to Broon. I think we'd actually be very hard on him - we'd call him a callous prick for continue with business as usual despite Cameron's loss. We'd take it as another example of Broon's emotional autism and inhumanity.

The alternative was to have PMQ go ahead but keep it sedate and polite and with none of the usual anger, insults and back-and-forthing, but doing so would have been tantamount to cancelling it.

There is really nothing that could have been done in this case that *wouldn't* have resulted in criticism and complaints. Business as usual would lead to shrieking about uncaring callousness; cancelling it leads to the complaints we see here; having it go ahead but keeping it polite would have been a halfway house with the disadvantages of both and the advantages of neither.

Also, Budgie, you're a fucking tool. A six year old child has just died. How about a tiny bit of respect?

JuliaM said...

"I long for the day when Dave finally loses his temper, marches across the floor, picks up the mace and batters Brown full in the gob...I'd pay good money to see that."

Oh, it's about the only thing he could do that'd win him my vote!

"Perhaps it is simply yet another sign that Britain is changing..."

Not for the better...

Anonymous said...

@JuliaM
Oh, it's about the only thing he could do that'd win him my vote!

I'm not sure any sane person would want your vote, you twittering halfwit.

Shuggy said...

My son is about the same age as Ivan Cameron so I feel for his parents but you speak the truth here. Well done sir.

JuliaM said...

"I'm not sure any sane person would want your vote..."

99.2% of political representatives would crawl over broken glass for it!

Of course, 67.9% of statistics are made up on the spot...

Anonymous said...

Anon 17:48 said: "Business as usual would lead to shrieking about uncaring callousness; ... "

Only from dimwits. Hague was already lined up to take over from Cameron - quite rightly this would give Cameron space for grieving - and parliament could have carried on normal business.

Anon 17:48 said: "Also, Budgie, you're a fucking tool. A six year old child has just died. How about a tiny bit of respect?"

There are 6 year olds dying all the time, why so weepy about this particular one? You've just been gulled into thinking you have a personal relationship by the TV, when actually you don't - what a moron.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

Do men usually take two weeks leave of absence on the death of a child ?

Henry Crun said...

IEBOC...speaking as a parent, I would think it would be a lot longer than 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 23:36

I don't even watch television, you worthless dolt.

For the record, I have not wept over Ivan Cameron but, unlike you and your fellow travellers in this thread, I'm not guffawing over his death either. In fact, I don't guffaw over the deaths of any children.

You can stop puffing up your pre-pubescent chest and take your "I'm so callous, I'm an enfant terrible and a total badass" schtick and fuck right off.

Budgie said...

I don't know how that happened but Anon 23:36 was actually Budgie.

Anon 13:43 said: ".. unlike you and your fellow travellers in this thread, I'm not guffawing over his death either."

Show me where I have "guffawed" over Ivan Cameron's death.

It is not a question of being callous, you have no personal relationship with the deceased and neither do I. Stop being a pompous whinger having too many 'Diana' moments.

John B said...

"Only from dimwits."

or 'the electorate', as they're also known.

AProlefrom1984 said...

to Budgie - sorry, typo - pray FOR them, I meant. But you get what I mean anyway. And no, Ivan isn't more important than the other 6 yr olds, but his death did touch me all the same as I knew his story. Whatever we think of Cameron's politics, he's been super with his son and it's unspeakably sad to go through what they did. Again, I'm bemused that it's his side having a go, all lefties and human beings did cry with Cameron and his family.