The replies below it are great, particularly this one...
Five tests which must be met before the lockdown can be altered were set out earlier this month.
The first four have either been met or are close to being met. The fifth hurdle, which ministers have always said is the most important, was described on official Government documents on Monday as a confidence that “any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections”.
On Tuesday the wording was changed to say the aim was to avoid a second peak “that overwhelms the NHS” - making it easier for ministers to say the test has been met....
I must admit I facepalmed when I heard that.
I'd have paid him to do that.KevS wrote: ↑Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:49 amTo be fair to Raab, Laura K did the same thing to him in a briefing a few days ago, asking what criteria would need to be met for lockdown to be eased minutes after he had unveiled the five criteria that would need to be met for lockdown to be eased.
I'd have said "Weren't you fucking listening?"
It goes like this (I know, I've been part of the process)
Most insightful, thank you. I'm beginning to understand how Magic Grandad was a consistent let down at PMQs.Malcolm Armsteen wrote: ↑Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:34 pmIt goes like this (I know, I've been part of the process)
No10 thinks about the likely questions to be asked at PMQ. Some of these are obvious but outlier questions have to be anticipated. Answers to those questions are written by senior civil servants in the appropriate departments and sent to No 10 where the appropriate political spin is applied. These are written up (that's what's in the PM's folder) and the PM reads (hopefully) and learns (even more hopefully) the prepared answers.
No10 thinks of the likely follow-up questions. These are passed to less senior civil servants (ie me) to write a paragraph answer, there will be lots of these, but the are still submitted to No10 and spun, polished and put in the folder. A good PM (Tony Blair) reads and remembers these. A bad one (Boris Johnson or Raab) probably doesn't, but has a series of 'common lines' to follow. Which is why, very often, the answer doesn't fit the question - it's just a common line. These are also passed out to friendly MPs, which is why you see message-mirroring. An intelligent (sic) MP puts the common line into their own words, a stupid hack (looking at you, Nadine) just puts it out unchanged.
No10 also writes a series of friendly questions and prepares answers for them. The questions are then 'suggested' to friendly MPs. Sometimes the even less-than-Dorries-intelligent manage to all ask the same question, No10 doesn't really have time to co-ordinate this (the process starts on Monday) so it's down to Sir Bufton Tufton to notice that Billy Cash-Bones has already asked it and come up with his substitute question. Unless he is so dim he doesn't have one, and so dim he just goes on with the prepared FQ anyway...
Similar goes on in LOTO's office, anticipating answers and coming up with supplementaries, suggesting questions to opposition MPs and so on. Similar comments about dim MPs apply, and of course the opposition doesn't get civil service support, so is at a huge disadvantage, especially when you have a LOTO like Allotment Jazz who won't play the system and whose communications operation is too dire to get to grips with a difficult task. Alastair Campbell was excellent at it, and Blair in opposition leaned heavily on him.
So what you are seeing is a hugely orchestrated performance, which can be influenced enormously by the personalities involved. Johnson doesn't engage, it seems, and simply blusters from common lines, Raab tries to get on his brief but is hopeless and Starmer is consummate, as you'd expect, as it sums up the skill set of a QC.
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