go ahead. ask him…

by santoki

Prime Minister’s Question TimeI don’t know if any of you watch C-SPAN. I don’t, but I don’t have cable either. With that said, it was on some random holiday that I came across my latest obsession: Prime Minister’s Question Time.

Every Wednesday at noon local time, the Prime Minister stands and answers questions from other MPs. It begins with a question about his day. Something to do with Parliamentary process I think. Anywho, what follows are questions ranging from local business closings to questions about the war to questions about football. The PM flips through this insane binder of facts so that he might answer to the best of his abilities. Sometimes, he answers long, pointed, leading questions with his own diatribe. Sometimes, he just says “no.” Always good for a laugh.

Question Time is rhetoric, politics, and grandstanding at its best. Seriously. I would love to see our President stand up to criticisms raised by the Senate Majority Leader on a weekly basis. When the PM and the Leader of the Opposition get into it, the entire room joins in. The two are argumentative, witty, and passionate. There is yelling, booing, and cheering. It is as if any moment a food fight might break out. Admittedly, I don’t always understand what’s going on, but it is completely riveting nonetheless.In watching, I am beginning to understand a few things about the British government:

  1. The leaders are vetted by an entirely different process. It would seem that the PM is the politician of politicians. What they end up with is an extremely effective mouthpiece for the majority. While not necessarily my cup of tea, there are definite advantages to the Parliamentary system.
  2. The empire is small. It is so odd to hear Tony Blair speak about the number of hospital beds and waiting room times in specifics. As an American, I have a completely different conception about the role of the PM. In my brain, I had always put him on the same level as the President. I think that I might be seriously mistaken.
  3. I love the idea of the Shadow Cabinet. It sounds so sinister. I know it isn’t but all the same. In seriousness, it seems like a great way to come up with alternative policy options to those of the majority. Though, by all of Blair’s accounts, it doesn’t sound like the opposition has come up with many policies of its own.
  4. Tony Blair and David Cameron are sexy when they yell. Love alpha males!

I suggest that if you have a half-hour to kill here and there, take a look see. Completely mesmerizing.