Mike Smithson off the telly has posted at his site Political Betting that he thinks Gordon is cutting down on his PMQs sittings (both by reducing parliamentary sitting time and by avoiding it by visiting other countries) and that he thinks this is constitutionally dangerous because PMQs are a key instrument in the PM's accountability.
I'm not entirely convinced this is the case - he missed, I think, four PMQs events in 2008, although he didn't actually miss any during his first six months (when things were going pretty easy for him). What I mean is that under Brown, PMQs has become a half hour of bashing the Tories and Tory policy at every available opportunity (and shoehorning even more in). Brown doesn't actually answer any questions from opposition politicians and uses the vast majority of his response time (on live, terrestrial TV) to propagandise against the Conservatives. Where does accountability come into that?
Meanwhile Brown is instead in Iraq, shamelessly abusing the army in an effort to appeal to the masses. This time he's set a date for Iraq withdrawl - after the suggested spring election. (Yes, I am now convinced they are preparing for a spring election, but this time Labour insiders are sensible enough to shut up about it. Another example here; having been threatening to wreck my friend's life for twelve weeks, they have realised that alienating voters at that particular time might not be such a great idea.) It doesn't have anything to do with the job being done (it isn't; we have a duty to protect Iraq's citizens after the shambles we made of the occupation) it's just being opportunistic. Hopefully he will chicken out of a spring election and this will bite him in the arse.
And what would the soldiers be coming back to? Either redeployment to Afghanistan, or a nasty recession (just as WWI veterans did). Plus a disgusting lack of public sentiment (thanks for nothing, Polly Toynbee).