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  1. Politics
26 October 2007

Without actions, the words just ring hollow

Both Brown and Cameron have delivered some rather fiery speeches, but words must precipitate action

By Owen Walker

Anthony Wells gives a detailed analysis of the latest YouGov poll putting the Tories three points in the lead. He describes the results as “horrid” for Brown, but says it is not great reading for the Conservatives either: “The past month may have improved the Conservatives’ polling position in voting intentions, but these underlying problems haven’t gone – 65% agree they don’t really know what Cameron in power would be like, 60% say it is hard to know if there is any substance behind his words.”

Iain Dale offers a typically partisan review of Brown’s performance at PMQs, on Comment is Free, which he begins: “When the Guardian rings you up and asks you to write about Gordon Brown’s performances at prime minister’s questions, you know the PM must be in trouble.”

He goes on to sum up various leaders’ performance in the weekly debate, noting: “Yes it can be a bearpit, yes it can be shrill and yes it can be unproductive. But it’s a wonderful way of exposing the political weaknesses of a politician, whether they are prime minister, leader of the opposition or leader of the Liberal Democrats.”

Following Brown’s speech on civil liberties and Jack Straw’s deliberations on a prospective bill of rights, Obsolete observes: “To go with a cliche, you wait ages for a decent speech on policy and then two come along at once.”

In a summation of both, Obsolete believes they have compromised with the tabloids. But he concludes: “Overall though, this was a good start, and an encouraging break from the past 10 years of hardly hidden contempt for the ‘civil liberties brigade’. These words however must precipitate action, otherwise Brown will fall even further into the currently deserved sobriquet of bottling it.”

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All is not well behind the scenes in Westminster. Kerron Cross tells of an encounter with Bill Cash MP over a lift, while Tom Watson has infuriated an eminent doctor by hogging the computers in a Whitehall library.

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