Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ya Boo Ya

At Aberdeen University, myself and some of my friends liked to entertain ourselves by mocking the public school crowd.* It wasn't difficult. Conversations like this were common:
Ya 1: What are you doing over the Christmas break, Tarquin?
Ya 2: Daddy's taking us all to Cortina d'Ampezzo, ya.
Ya 1: Super. I went there last year. Cortina is simply divine and the shops are wonderful.
Ya 2: That's what daddy says. And the prices keep the proles away so you don't have to put up with those ghastly queues at the ski lifts.
Ya 1: Ya, that's a joy. I really hate to queue with the great unwashed...
OK, I exaggerate slightly but only slightly. We called these people Ya's because they tended to say "ya" instead of "yes" or indeed "aye" as is common in Aberdeen (can you taste those sour grapes?). For some reason, most of these people appeared to come from Edinburgh although that's really neither here nor there.

I was reminded of this today while watching Prime Ministers Questions. Two public school boys having a friendly chat and all that. Cameron wants to take the "punch and judy" out of PMQs apparently; instead of ya boo, we're going to get ya ya. That's a novel approach.

Well, sort of. As I remember, that's exactly the attitude adopted by Blair when he took over the leadership of the Labour Party, is it not? And, if memory serves, PMQs are now held in one 30 minutes session on a Wednesday instead of two 15 minutes sessions on Tuesday and Thursday because Blair said it would lead to more serious debate and less theatrical posturing. The public have had enough of this pantomine, he said. How long did that last? Cameron's new approach is likely to last just as long.

As I write this, the BBC news front page offers a link so you can "watch the clash" (sadly, this doesn't lead to a live performance of London Calling). I have to say that the media are as much to blame as the politicians for the confrontational nature of British politics. They want a fight and they're going to get one, whether the participants are willing or not. I doubt DC is going to be able to do anything about that.

Anyway, I thought the boy done OK. He really did silence the Labour benches with "The government chief whip shouting like a child. Has she finished, have you finished?" I very much doubt that she, or anyone else in the Commons for that matter, has finished shouting like a child. It'd be like expecting children to stop doing it; it's just not in their nature. We can but hope. All in all though, a decent first appearance from the young pretender. I still won't be voting conservative but then I doubt anyone thought I would.

Just one other thing about PMQs while I'm here. Is there any point whatsoever in sychophantic Labour MPs standing up and slavishly asking if "my right honourable friend will agree with me that we are great and the party opposite is rubbish"? These desperate for promotion toadies could at least put in a bit of effort to try to disguise their intentions if nothing else. Is that really too much to ask of our elected representatives?

* I'm mostly a product of the Scottish state education system. I did attend a small private international school in the Netherlands for the last three years of my education (my father's employer paid for that) because there wasn't really any other option available. I've got an International Baccalaureate, which I still can't spell without looking up, instead of Highers or A levels if anyone's interested. I certainly wouldn't consider myself to be public school.

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