07 December 2005

Blaireron gets its first outing

In yesterday's post about the election of David Cameron as Leader of the British Conservative Party, I wrote that all eyes would be on Cameron's performance in today's Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) and how he decided to distribute the Shadow Cabinet posts. 24 hours later, Cameron has survived the former and begun releasing details regarding the latter. Here's the rub:

As regards PMQs, it would appear that Cameron has come through his first encounter with Tony Blair at the dispatch boxes pretty well. Cameron opted to go for a conciliatory, rather than a confrontational approach, in line with his earlier pledge to work to remove the Punch and Judy Show element of Westminster politics. And by all accounts he seems to have done so quite well, though not transcendently, with the results that a) he spent much of his time agreeing with Tony Blair and pledging to support him on various policies (Blaireron gets its first airing?), and b) he forced Tony Blair to seek to distance and differentiate himself from Tory policies. It's an interesting tactic, but one that seems to have worked rather well on its first outing. It remains, of course, to be seen how long this lovey-dovey, consensus approach will last.

This BBC News article offers analysis of Cameron's first PMQs performance and does this Times column, while this one (BBC News again) gives a point-by-point run down of what was discussed and by whom. From the first, my favourite quote, and the favourite of HB, who drew my attention to it (Cheers, mate) is this one:
In his first question time against Tony Blair, Mr Cameron was almost unnaturally even frighteningly relaxed, consensual and confident. That must be what the public school education buys.
I laughed hard at that one. Tony Blair, of course, is also Public School educated. Make of that what you will. And in case you're reading this post and thinking to yourself, "What the heck is Prime Minister's Questions then?", this is the concise explanation you need.

As for the announcement of the first Shadow Cabinet appointments, the big news is the return of William Hague, former leader of the Conservatives, in the Shadow Foreign Secretary role, while David Davis (Cameron's rival in the last round of the leadership battle) has been kept on as Shadow Home Secretary. This Times piece has all the details.