STAMINA is one of the most important qualities needed in ministerial office and a prime minister must have it in spades. There have been times in Tony Blair's premiership when he has looked drawn and exhausted but as he sees the finishing line ahead he seems to have found a new vigour. A week ago he was heading for Washington and tomorrow he will be in Brussels for the EU summit but yesterday at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons he showed no sign of weariness. If he has found a solution to the problem of jet-lag won't he share it with the rest of us? David Cameron has yet to learn that the more detailed the question he asks the less likely he is to score points with it. Yesterday he alleged that the Defence Minister, Des Browne, had misled the Commons about changes in “accumulated turbulence” allowances for the British armed forces, by claiming incorrectly that no one would lose money. Mr Blair embarked on an extremely thorough explanation of the changes, saying “I've spent most of the morning getting this clear”; it lasted five minutes and the House was restive but he concluded categorically, “No one loses, everyone gains.” Mr Cameron had wasted most of his question quota on this topic and was left with a feeble pre-scripted: “He's a lame duck. Why doesn't he give us an early Christmas present and tell us when he's off?”


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