What I saw – Prime Minister’s Questions (18 January 2017)

Just a day after the Prime Minister relayed her 12 point plan for the negotiation towards exiting the EU, the PM faces the house. Actually, ‘faces’ is a strong turn of phrase, I believe it was more like evades giving answers in a time when people can actually see her responses. As Andrew Neil pronounced, “we are still none the wiser”. But for me, I cannot begrudge the PM for keeping what we want quiet. There is a turbulent negotiation period approaching and to give away terms to your rivals is not the way to go. I honestly feel a bit of sympathy towards her on this issue. However, I also believe that, we the people, and the opposition (even if it’s in a weak state) need to challenge her consistently until we have the best interests of the UK going forward into these discussions with the EU.

Instead what we got today was a merry go round. Questions asked in a multitude of manners, in a sense to put the PM on the spot and receive an answer to their query. The PM evaded the questions in a begrudgingly brilliant way, but still dodged giving answers to all queries. I can forgive this, as said above in the instances of the EU, but not for all and every question. A one line retort cannot be good enough when the world is asking what the Conservatives plans are. Although I cannot place the blame on just the PM, even if the premise is all about her, I have to bring attention to the unsightly behaviour of some of the other members. The jeering is a soundtrack when a session is in full flow within a busy House of Commons. Constant noises, that not only would be inappropriate on a school playground, but should be widely disregarded in the workplace of the UK government. But onto her answers.

I was unmoved by all responses today, however a couple particularly caught my eye. Yet again one of the main issues which is circling the bowl of uncertainty are solutions to the NHS crisis. Theresa May previously proclaimed that doctors surgeries should be extended to a 7 day week to ease the pressure on hospitals and A&E departments. Although I am in favour of this, it is not the time to implement and it does not directly impact on the current issues. It seems like another of her evasive manoeuvres rather than digging deep and rolling up her sleeves to make this situation better. I believe we have to acknowledge that the Conservatives are in a power/majority to move decisions in their favour, including the continued privatisation of our beloved NHS. Therefore this is a time our MPs have to protect and fight against the big decisions (read more from our Unity political movement).

Another issue for me was when the PM was asked by the representative for Sutton & Cheam about the strikes of Southern Rail. Ms May’s response – as evasive as the rest – shone a clear light when looked at subjectively. Her response showed a complete disregard that the strikes are brought about from the intolerable position her government has left the UK in. Further more showing that her issue was with the workers and not with the rail company that has pushed us into this mess. The ordinary people are loosing out to increasing fares, poor working conditions and asked to continue without caring. Her response is misguided and shows us a door to where she previously came from, that she is still a Tory supporter underneath the ‘inclusive UK’ marketing exterior of her reign. A point which gladly brings me onto the preposterous nature behind the amount of football analogies heard. The connotation that MPs can relate to the working class by feigning interest in the beautiful game is astoundingly patronising. It not only alienates them further but adds distrust to their insincere commentary, further adding to the divide between the wealth-backed elite that represent our nation and the common voters.

Moreover, when asked by the MP for South West Bedfordshire about the phasing out of diesel cars from the Government Car Scheme, the PM responded proudly that a quarter of vehicles have already been replaced by petrol hybrid models. Maybe it’s just me, but with the acceleration of climate change this movement does not seem quick enough. This is a scheme that should be regarded as a privilege to have as part of your job. The UK government should be dictating when these changes happen and under what urgency they take precedent over. Aggravatingly this should be completed in a matter of months, which in turn shows the sluggish decision making of the PMs tenure to date.

Additionally, this slow tempo was highlighted when the PM was asked by the MP for Huddersfield, whether we are equipped for the accelerating security concerns of the world whilst not being a part of EU. Her response was unnerving, when the former home secretary read from the script writer’s hymn sheet and responded with the wily old, “continuing to support NATO” and “continue to work with the EU on justice and security matters”. Under security scrutiny this doesn’t feel like a reassuring response when decisions have to be made to secure the lives of our loved ones. The world is changing quicker than expected and unless we keep up with it, there could be disastrous consequences.