Prime Minister's Questions have always been a stormy and bantery affair. Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders have always said, they want an end, to 'Punch and Judy' politics. This refers to the constant argumentative and confrontational time that occurs between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. Yet, for every statement, to make this affair more calm and peaceable, it hasn't happened.
Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are no different. Every time the two go up against one another, it's a time of fronting up. Both will have prepared beforehand trying to guess what will be brought up. Sometimes the responses each gives are unexpected. Neither Starmer nor Sunak will know how the other will react. Usually, it is Starmer who as the leader of the opposition, holds the prime minister to account, by a line of questioning. This questioning usually revolves around issues of the day. Issues that Starmer can hold Sunak's feet to the fire over.
Sunak, anticipating Starmer's line of questioning, will prepare his answers accordingly. However, Sunak may be forced to go off-script, as a question asked by Starmer may force him to think and answer in another way. Sometimes, Sunak will answer a question with a question. This then forces, Starmer, to go off script. And so it goes, such is the event, known as Prime Minister's Questions. Both politicians will be used to researching facts and figures. Sunak in his role as a hedge fund manager and Starmer as an ex-barrister. However, their teams will be the people who do the research. Finding out what can be used in PMQs both by Sunak and Starmer.
Both men are judged on their performances at PMQs. Some weeks it's Sunak who comes out on top. Other weeks, Sir Keir, comes out on top. Media outlets like Sky and the BBC discuss who did better on the day of PMQs. Just like a soccer/football game who scored what and when. Which team won and why didn't the other team do well? And in a way, the battle of Sunak and Starmer is like a gladiatorial event. Obviously, neither man is carrying offensive/defensive and hopefully, nobody, gets killed or injured. The gladiator reference is of course metaphorical, but as the two men stand there their words, are their offence and defence.
Does PMQs give viewers an insight into what kind of people Sunak and Starmer are? Well, the personalities of both men, do come through. Their policies and ideas are also on display or lack of. So, do these performances influence, voting intentions and polls? It's possible and probable they do.
Nicknames have become a sign of PMQs in the era of Sunak and Starmer. Sunak labels Starmer 'Capt Hindsight', in other words, always looking over his shoulder at what might/could have been. Starmer calls Sunak, 'Captain Catchup', in other words, Sunak is not totally aware of what is going on and needs to keep up with things.
Yesterday, as Sir Keir, went after Sunak, Sir Keir labelled Rishi as an 'inaction man'. In other words, Sunak may talk the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk, nothing happens. The original 'Action Man' doll will be remembered by people of my generation. A military doll that came with all manner of military equipment and uniforms. So, boys playing with the doll could invent all scenarios, for the doll to be involved with. Hence, when 'action' was required, Action Man was there to do it. It's possible Sir Keir, as a lad, also had an 'Action Man'. So by him, calling Sunak, 'Inaction Man' says it all really. In other words, Inaction Man is the reverse of Action.