John McDonnell and The Little Red Book

John McDonnell took some flak when he produced Chairman Mao’s little red book from his pocket in the House of Commons on Wednesday, probably a first in the history of Parliament that the book has made an appearance. However it is not first time  that Chairman Mao has been quoted. The table below shows the frequency of mentions of the phrase ‘Chairman Mao’ since the 1950s. Continue reading “John McDonnell and The Little Red Book”

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Revealing ‘ah’ in PMQs

In a previous post I have argued that the house is a multi-faceted chamber with comments and background noise from members of the chamber combining with the current speaker to create a multi-modal discourse act. This is particularly important during Prime Minister’s questions (PMQs) when the performance of those taking part, particularly the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, can be just as significant as what they say. Support from members of the chamber at this time can often indicate how well the current speaker is perceived to be doing.

Continue reading “Revealing ‘ah’ in PMQs”

PMQs Watch

PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) in the House of Commons was back to its usual self on Wednesday with the prime Minister David Cameron going up against the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Harriet Harman. Harman is less confrontation and aggressive compared to her predecessor and former boss, Ed Miliband, so one might presume that she is somewhat of a sitting duck for David Cameron who has been noted for his own ‘bullying and adversarial’ tone at times. Harman however is sticking to her ‘soft’ approach and this seems to be having an effect on Cameron who seemed  less boisterous.

Continue reading “PMQs Watch”

Welcome

Welcome to this blog site – “Neutral Footing”. Here you will find academic commentary on political discourse with particular reference to the Houses of Parliament.

To kick us off, here’s a short poem based on the words of the current speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow:

Order Order!
We’ve got to listen in order to hear
There’s far too much noise
And shouting I fear
We need to make progress
Please do shut up
If you cannot calm down
Then I say grow up!

Mike Cribb, June 2015.

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