Corbyn's PMQs Gimmick Misses The Point of What Parliament is For

It was all so authentic, wasn’t it? So humble. So Corbyn.

Faced with his first Prime Minister’s Questions as leader of the opposition, Obi-Wan was not going to ask his own questions, or his party’s questions. No. The very idea. He was going to ask The People’s Questions.

He had, he told us, Emailed Some People (in a tone of voice which suggested that email was a new one on him) and asked them what they’d like to ask the Prime Minister. We weren’t told how these people were selected, what their politics were, or how the questions were chosen. The Left's love of rounding up a self-selecting elite and calling it The People never ceases to amuse.

But we shouldn’t worry about any of that tittle tattle because this was a new type of politics, apparently, shorn of theatricality.

The thing about modern democracies, is that it is never going to be at all difficult to find people who have nasty things to say about the government, and tough questions for it. This government. That government. There were even those who didn’t much care for the last Labour government. Corbyn was one of them most of the time.

The thing about asking individuals' questions, is that it entirely misses the point of what Parliament is forThe thing about asking individuals' questions, is that it entirely misses the point of what Parliament is for - something Jeremy should grasp given his long years there. It is not there to satisfy individuals. How could it? There are millions of us. It is there to formulate workable national policy.

Doing that, by necessity, will piss a lot of people off. So what we do, is that every few years we have an election, and the party judged to have pissed the smallest number of people off, or likely to piss the fewest number of people off, gets the gig for the next few years.

And while he boasted of 40,000 emails, he and his colleagues in the chamber had the backing of thirty million odd-votes. If anyone wants anything raised there, they can and do have a channel by which to get it done. It’s called their MP. It is in fact what happens.

Far from being The People’s Question Time, this beguiling gimmick was little more than an effort to turn Parliament into a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and, as such an even more wasted half hour than usual.

More about the author

About the author

Born and raised in Swansea West, one of the safest Labour seats in the country, David is perhaps unsurprisingly a High-Tory, Euroskeptic Royalist Libertarian with an unhealthy adoration for Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. As a result he is seldom pleased by anything that ever happens, and always on the verge of quitting the whole jamboree. A former Special Writer at the Wall Street Journal, he knew the crash was coming when he saw a piece about Louis XVI reproduction furniture "for your Winnebago."

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