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tony ennis
07-01-2009, 11:59 PM
I saw "Prime Minister's Questions" on a news channel the other day. It's where British politicians kick one another in the butt.

So, I ask our british pals, what exactly is happening when the opposition person stands up, says a word or two, and sits down. The PM responds, "I refer the Right Honorable Gentleman to the answer I gave some time (moments?) ago"?

quasi
07-02-2009, 12:57 AM
it is called "question period" under the Parliamentary system of democracy.

philbur
07-02-2009, 03:05 AM
It's actually called "prime ministers question time". It's a game of wits played by morons, yes I know itís a contradiction in terms but then thatís the British parliament.

The opposition (the party(s) not in power) get to ask questions that they think the answer to which will embarrass the PM/government. The PM then (often thinking on his feet) attempts to reply in a manner that turns the tables and embarrasses the questioner/opposition party. If the PM can't do this then he gives an answer to a question that was never even asked and hopes that nobody actually noticed.

The dodge the PM has used in your example is that he doesn't have a clue whether he has actually answer the question earlier but the onus is now on the questioner to look for the answer. By the time he concludes the PM has not answer his question the proceeding have moved on and the PM is in the clear. Neat errr.

Its great sport to watch and see who can be the most slippery while appearing to be intelligent, knowledgeable and caring.

Phil

PS: I think some of the more practiced politicians use this and other forums for training purposes, or at least they should. Evan would be extremely popular when they wanted a really tough workout.;)


I saw "Prime Minister's Questions" on a news channel the other day. It's where British politicians kick one another in the butt.

So, I ask our british pals, what exactly is happening when the opposition person stands up, says a word or two, and sits down. The PM responds, "I refer the Right Honorable Gentleman to the answer I gave some time (moments?) ago"?

Evan
07-02-2009, 04:51 AM
We have the same system in Canada. Question period is where the Speaker suspends most of the rules of decorum and the sides flay each other because they know it is the only part of the day's proceeding that will ever make it to the television news. They are speaking for the camera, not the record, and would really like to get some face time on the TV. It's pretty much a joke and has little to nothing to do with the conduct of business in parliament. The rest of the session is about as interesting as watching continental drift.

Swarf&Sparks
07-02-2009, 06:09 AM
Take yourself down to the video store and get the complete BBC series of "Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime Minister".


the Minister, Sir Humphrey and Bernard.

There is no better way to learn the finer points of the Westminster system.

oldtiffie
07-02-2009, 06:14 AM
Nice to see you back Lyn.

Swarf&Sparks
07-02-2009, 06:19 AM
G'day Mick.
Been busy with the EDM and some other electronics but I still like to drop in occasionally for a squiz ;)

oldtiffie
07-02-2009, 06:27 AM
Glad you're going well Lyn - all well at your place I hope.

You're needed here to stick your oar in and give it a bloody good stir occassionally.

saltmine
07-02-2009, 12:17 PM
In other words....it's similar to political debates in the US. Where two unarmed men engage in a battle of wits...

Cecil Walker
07-02-2009, 04:10 PM
Yep saltmine, most of our politicians are totally unarmed.... physically and mentally.

boslab
07-02-2009, 08:19 PM
essentialy its al smoke and mirrors, they say what they think the general public want to hear, the so called attacks on each other are very much like professional wrestling, contrived rehearsed and complete lies, the one thing in common with both the US and the UK is te fact that the country is run by the nameless faceless ones in the background, elections change ministers and senators but the grays are eternal.
the winning party give the best performances, like hollywood i think awards for acting are needed.
regards
mark

Asquith
07-03-2009, 04:07 AM
Lies, yes. Play acting, no.

Itís a bear pit. Having to perform in there is Ďcharacter-buildingí. Thereís an important democratic purpose, too: it focuses a politicianís mind on his arguments if he has to account for himself in that arena. Of course there are practised liars and others with impenetrably thick skins, but for the average politician it is daunting. So it should be.

Unfortunately all that most people see is a few seconds of knockabout dialogue and good soundbites, from the many hours of serious debate that go on daily. Unfortunately thatís where the skilled political leaders focus their efforts, arming themselves with good one-liners, confident in the knowledge that those few seconds are all that the majority will ever hear.

boslab
07-03-2009, 09:59 AM
aye, then they all sit down to a very civilised lunch together at the local eatery and double charge it as an expense!, no i agree its not 'play' acting, its serious acting along with the well developed ability to say an awful lot of words which on further analysis are meaningless, i have to say that on reflection the whole lot of them are worthless, parliament should have been dissolved untill they got thier act together, but there it was easier to sack the speaker, a handy scapegoat i think.
anyway hows the weather down south/west?
regards
mark