Many OF us will have sat through company presentations in which the inevitable chart will come out showing who does what, where and with who, with arrows in all directions creating anything but a clear sense of order. Today’s PMQs was like that but with added farmyard noises.
Yes, rather predictably, MPs were at their most animated when discussing the chance of getting on TV, this time for televised leaders’ debates in the run up to the General Election.
David Cameron, sensing that he is not perhaps the man of the people he wants to be, is trying everything possible to get out of a showdown with Ed Miliband, and came up with the cunning plan of saying he would only agree to a debate if the Green Party joined the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems and Ukip for a night on the telly.
Here then we have the bizarre situation in which Mr Cameron is fighting for the Green cause, cheered on by the single Green MP Caroline Lucas, and telling Mr Miliband he is actually the one who is chicken for not wanting to debate with a lefty party,
Now, as he does this, Mr Miliband is being cheered on by right-wing Ukip MP Mark Reckless, while left-wing Labour troublemakers sit with Ukip and make chicken impressions at the PM.
Not to be out done, the SNP start their heckling, insisting a TV debate should include them, and backed by the nodding head of Ms Lucas, though no one else seems think that is a great idea, no matter how many fingers they hold up at the PM.
Mr Miliband tells the PM that in avoiding debates he is, as Mrs Thatcher would have it, “frit”. Mr Cameron insists it is the Labour leader running away from the Greens who is putting debates at risk, pointing out that the Greens beat the Lib Dems in the European elections.
The Lib Dems support a four way debate but also back the PM in coalition. To demonstrate this duality, Nick Clegg sits next to the PM and starts to heckle him as the PM rubbishes Mr Clegg’s party, though Mr Cameron also supports Mr Clegg in the coalition.
Good, now, as a viewer, you have the choice of seeing one debate with four parties minus the greens and minus Mr Cameron who will be represented by an empty chair, one debate with five of these parties, one debate with just three of them or one debate with just the two main leaders. Or, if you’re really lucky, no debates at all.
On today’s performance, the answer is surely clear?