I have never understood exactly what a Business Secretary does, and always felt that this was chicanery to induce into the Cabinet someone who has not been elected other than by the PM. There is an appearance, by the way in which Lord Mandelson issues statements, on behalf of the Prime Minister, that might even put the Prime Minister on the spot. I also believe that the Prime Minister’s makeup is reserved rather than bombastic, and it would not be at its best with a random set of questions. The one thing that I do not believe we need, and neither does Gordon Brown, is open debate, if it is of a knockabout variety that we are faced with week after week at Prime Minister’s Question Time. The American habit of having face-offs on TV, are being proposed here, not for the first time. I find them extraneous and confusing, because each of the contestants is doing its damnedest to avoid prickly subjects for himself, and doing his best to entrap his opponent in something similar. TV debates have a lot to do with personal egos, personal presentation, rather than subject matter. Often they devolve into people trying to shout one another down, and as far as I’m concerned, a waste of time because they are not answering the questions that I would like to ask. I suspect that the initial questions have been provided to the protagonists beforehand, and it is only when the debate is open to questions from the floor that it begins to liven up, but often those questions are not the ones we want answered.
Going back to Lord M, I wonder what the legality is in Parliamentary procedural terms, to have someone as influential as the current Business Secretary would appear to be, having all the appearance of being more than the Deputy Prime Minister, and one could be confused as to who was sitting on whose lap when it comes down to the pecking order.