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  1. Politics
4 April 2008

Stormin’ Harman

By Paul Evans

The prospect of Harriet Harman facing the combined wits of William Hague and Vince Cable at PMQs this week had much of the blogosphere drooling into their branflakes. Recess Monkey, for one, reported Labour fears that she was going to be toasted.

But it was not the case, and after a strong and spirited clash with Hague, many Tories conceded that she had performed well, even managing to rebutt jibes about her recent donning of a stab-proof vest in Peckham. The Tin Drummer felt that she “she gave as good as she got from Hague,” while Iain Dale awarded her the day on points:

“If I was being kind to Mr Hague I’d call it as a high score draw but I think if I’m being honest, Harriet Harman just shaded it. Perhaps she should give Gordon Brown some lessons.”

But while Harman impressed, Speaker Michael Martin came in for another battering. Currently facing further probes around his wife’s cab bills, some felt he had another dodgy session. Anything Caron can do… (confusingly run by another unrelated Iain Dale) was distinctly unimpressed with the Speaker, who he wrote: “made a complete and total arse of things today”.

Scatterlings of Africa

As Zimbabwe stands teetering on the edge of an end to the Mugabe era, many bloggers have felt in emotional mood. Zimbabwe Today has consistently provided detailed and highly personal coverage of a nation in flux – and on Wednesday, Hope wanted to celebrate the impending end of Mugabe rule surrounded by family, but could not:

“We couldn’t look over to each other, share a beer and laugh, because in the few years this man has taken to devastate our nation, he has also managed to split my family and friends into the teeniest fragmented group. We are all over the world now.”

The NS meanwhile, scored an online exclusive with Stephen Chan’s fascinating report from the elections.

UK-based MDC activist Izzy Mutanhaurwa found time to poke a little fun at Harare’s once Zanu PF loyal Herald newspaper – which has already started “revising” its archive.

By Friday it was evident that Mugabe was in no hurry to leave office. With the prospect of a presidential run-off against Tsvangirai, offered some words of advice…

What have we learned this week?

That blogfans are sometimes a little too keen to believe everything they read. Scores fell for Guido’s April Fool prank post – in which he claimed that Boris Johnson was to take the despatch box for PMQs.

Across the Pond

Former Saturday Night Live funnyman Al Franken is currently seeking the Democratic senate nomination for Minnesota, and is frontrunner to challenge incumbent Republican Norm Coleman in this November’s race. In an additional celebrity twist this week, there is now speculation that one-time wrestling champ Jesse Ventura may also throw his hat into the ring.

Video of the week

As the Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern departs under a cloud – watch him face the greatest challenge of them all: Dragon’s Den.

Quote of the week

“It is not too long a wait before we finally know where we stand in the face of theft and tyranny.”

Petina Gappah, writing on Zimbabwe for Comment is Free.

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