So weak ? So what ? So whitewashed by Hansard

It is, for me, an utter disgrace that Hansard, supposedly the official record of everything that is said in the House of Commons (and Lords) can actually be doctored, altered and whitewashed to protect an Minister who so out of his depth started shouting abuse across the chamber in manner so unbefitting a Minister that it must have been an embarrassment even to his Labour colleagues.

What was clear to me from watching Ed Balls reaction to David Cameron was that he was not saying "so weak" , he was clearly, in my view repeating "so what" to Mr Cameron as he pointed out that the tax burden, under Labour, is at an all time high. I'm no fan of David Cameron, but he clearly won the debate with his retort that since Mr Balls is "Minister for children, he doesn't have to behave like one".

The sad thing is though that Hansard reports Ed Balls to have said "So weak" and not "So what", despite a number of people hearing him say clearly "so what", including those in the public gallery.

You have to ask if Hansard is there to tell us what happened or if it is there to report what the government would have liked to see happen. As usual, the speaker has shown himself to be absolutely useless in this matter, but then what else do you expect from him.


Gavin Whenman said...

Unaccustomed as I am to defending Labour ministers the video of the exchange does at least make it seem as though Balls is mouthing / saying "so weak" to Cameron : http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=NM6plAeFwUs (although this is after the first outburst which prompted Cameron's attack on him).

Norfolk Blogger said...

I disagree. I saw the same clip on Youtube and it looks like "so what"

John M Ward said...

The mouthing is hard to work out for sure, but the repeated shouting-out really sound like "So what".

Whether it will really matter a week or more from now is a moot point; but for this week, it does seem to have been Ed Balls' way of placing himself out of consideration for political advancement.

As Captain Mainwaring would have put it: "Stupid boy!"

Edis said...

I am deaf and lip-read regularly and for me Balls absolutely clearly mouths 'weak' not 'what'.

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

What Balls mouthed afterwards looks to me like "so weak." Like Edis, I am also partially deaf and have some skill in lip-reading as a result.

But we can't see his initial outburst: so whether that's what he said first is, of course, another matter entirely. It would be wholly in character for him to try and cover up his stupidity in such a way.

Even if it was, he showed atrocious judgement by bawling something that could so easily have been misheard and interpreted by a quick retorter like Cameron - and he's certainly ruled himself out for promotion any time soon (think of the Mail headlines for instance).