What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

Archive for the tag “Jeremy Hunt”

I’m Proud of The BBC – Are Labour???

Back in 2010, Mitch Benn – a comedian and songwriter of nearly godlike genius if you ask me, had his biggest hit so far with “I’m Proud of the BBC”, extolling the very real benefits that we all gain from auntie.  Newsround, Newsnight, iPlayer website – the list went on and on. And it hit a chord with listeners and viewers across the nation.

Well, we’ll know what we had if we lose it. The recent reshuffle was nothing more than another stacking of the deck against public service broadcasting as we know it. True, Mr C has moved on, but the tune remains the same – beggar the Beeb, and give a helping hand to Fox – sorry, Sky News.

Does it matter? Well yes it does. Every Government since Harold Wilson has accused the BBC of bias against them, and many have threatened to emasculate the corporation. As part of the fall out of the Hutton Inquiry, the last Labour government may just have started the process. However it was not irreversible, and we are now in a much more dangerous situation.

After all of ten minutes thought, The Coalition decided to cut funding via a freezing of the Licence Fee, then to stop funding The World Service via the Foreign Office. Yes, our Government took one ;look at our greatest soft power asset and said ” fuck it”. And fuck it they have.

As jobs are lost across the corporation, Unions are leading a campaign to stop the cuts – UNITE, BECTU, EQUITY and others, posing an alternative to the cuts – savings on top salaries, and a proper, forward looking policy.

 So where are the Labour MPs? Who is standing up for one of our great national institutions? One that unites us all much more than lousy weather, class snobbery and football? They, shamefully, seem as quiet as the grave, and I call that an outrage of the first order.

 Maybe it is simply an unwillingness to talk about shared culture, or to sound anti- big business. Maybe this is some kind of twisted revenge for Paxman, The Today Programme and trying to be unbiased in its foreign coverage. I don’ honestly know, and if these are the reasons, it must stop now.

Just look at the people throwing mud at the BBC – The Daily Mail, Express, Murdoch, the Tory right and any weirdo who read Ayn Rand and never grew up…

Carlton TV gave us David Cameron, whereas the BBC has given us:

Round The Horne, Miranda, Who Do You Think You Are? The day To Day, Nigella, Panorama and Bagpuss, I Claudius, Absolutely Fabulous!

Sherlock, Fireman Sam, Bruce Forsyth and The League of Gentlemen, The Thick of It, Jeremy Hardy Final Score, everything on BBC Four…

And something that can never be replaced – Sarah Jane Smith – did I mention Doctor Who? 

 

 

apologies to Mitch Benn, hope he doesn’t mind…

 

 

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MUSICAL CHAIRS (YAWN)

Well, the reshuffle went well didn’t it? After all, the purpose of most team changes in modern politics is to get political nerds and journalists to concentrate on personalities, not policy. Mr Cameron has certainly managed that, after a fashion.

Sadly for the Coalition, there seems to be a paucity of talent and personality on the Treasury benches, and this is after only two years – hardly enough time for the attrition of government to wear the LibCons down…

Like the Budget, the 2012 reshuffle may very well be a gift that keeps on giving to the Coalitions’ opponents, internal as well as external.

Every decision made by every Prime Minister will have its supporters and detractors, yet it is astounding that on a day when the right wing strengthened its grip on power in Whitehall, David Cameron was attacked by the most popular Tory in Britain (& part time Mayor of London), Boris Johnson. Oh, and Iain Dale. The day before, David Davis put the boot into George Osborne over the economy. As it happens, many Lib Dems are also increasingly upset with “The Greenest Government Ever”, and its new fracking-friendly Ministers. It would seem that “The Ship of State” is not a happy one.

Little wonder that Tory supporters have gleefully jumped on the non-story that Wallace and Gromit do not always agree (gee, thanks SPADS).

Policy wise this is a huge disaster for the majority of us outside Westminster;

  • A Health Minister who believes the NHS is an “irrelevance”, yet puts his faith in Homeopathy.
  • Iain Duncan Smith secure at DWP with Esther McVeigh.
  • Expenses cheat David Laws rehabilitated and given Education.
  • “Woodentop” Gove still in place.
  • Kenneth Clarke shifted into number ten as a “wise head” – or Official Government Bagpuss impersonator.
  • Vince Cable further isolated at DTI, with only memories and a packet of Humbugs for comfort.

This game of musical chairs signals several things. Firstly, the “liberal” wing of the Tory party, to which our Prime Minister allegedly belongs, is pretty dead in the water. Secondly, even when Cameron panders to the right wing, they are not placated. They won’t be satisfied until there is a majority Tory Government, and until that time, Cameron will be under increasing pressure.The Liberal Democrats have in no way been placated by bringing David Laws back into the Cabinet, if anything quite the reverse.

After two years in power, many LDs are increasingly dissatisfied with this particular civil partnership, although there are a few Orange Bookers who may very well be considering a full-blown marriage. It means that between them, Ham Face and Little Nicky dare not, indeed cannot move either Duncan Smith or Cable, for fear of backbench rebellion.

Personnel changes in Government are supposed to revitalise policy and presentation. Unfortunately for HMG, in this Olympic and Jubilee year, dithering Cameron and Clegg have failed to do so. 

Is Cameron up to the job?

So, Jeremy Hunt is still in his job tonight, loyally deflecting the press from going for the PM and Chancellor, who, if the evidence presented yesterday is even partly true, are in the ordure up to their eyeballs. 

The much bigger question should really be whether David Cameron is actually up to the job of being PM. We know he likes it, and that it leaves him enough time for a spot of tennis. We know that he likes looking important, that as a practised PR professional he enjoys trying to sell British products (mainly weapons) around the world. Like Peter Cook’s TVPM skit, he is very good at travelling around the world on our behalf, and at our expense.

Yet whenever things go wrong, as they seem to do so often with this bunch, David Cameron at first denies any culpability, then blames Labour, then promises to stick by whichever minister has messed up, then relies on Nick Robinson to explain a way out of it. If caught out at PMQs, as he was once again today, it is the same old story – bluster, shrill and loud blaming of Labour, followed by turning puce and shouting some more. This is pretty much the only response that any Coalition politician these days, now that their magic cloak of economic competence is torn to shreds.

A one-time PR man for Carlton Television, you would be justified in believing that Cameron should be adept at selling the odd shit sandwich now and again, but the frequency of blunders leads me to think that there is a much deeper problem at the heart of the Coalition.

Along with the assessment of Barak Obama that he is an intellectual lightweight, I think we need to add some other facets that David seems to lack:

Firstly, he relies upon loyalty, yet, outside his own little group, shows none to anyone else. That goes even within his Party, let alone the Cabinet.

Secondly, he is not ruthless enough. Having given Ministers a seemingly free reign and watch them stuff up – on Forests, Jeremy Hunt, Pasty Tax and a whole host of issues, he simply cannot move quickly and decisively. In fact, the only time he has done so was in the taking away of responsibility for adjudicating the BSKYB deal from vince Cable.

Thirdly, he is lazy. Really man, stop wittering about your work-life balance, and pay attention to your job.

Fourthly, he simply does not seem to be able to act quickly, nor does he seem to have the mental capacity to deal with mistakes of his own making.

Fifthly, it is increasingly clear that Gideon Osborne is the brains of the outfit, which is disturbing, given the mess he made of the Budget.

Simply put, the time has come for both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to consider who really should be PM, because Cameron surely is not working…

 

 

The Return of Mr C

It seems that 2012 is the year of Olympic Omnishambles for the Coalition, and it keeps on coming.

Yesterday James Murdoch exploded a truth bomb at the Leveson Inquiry, and Vince Cable found out exactly how he was shafted, apparently by not only Jeremy (C)Hunt, but also George Osborne, David Cameron and Alex Salmond, to name but three.

It is highly likely that Jeremy will not be Culture Secretary for much longer. Yet it must not stop there, the documents implicate both George Osborne  and his advisor in secretly lobbying on behalf of News International, and against his own Cabinet colleague. Alex Salmond also rallied to the Murdoch standard, and unsurprisingly the Scottish edition of The Sun backs the SNP slavishly.

Many would also like to know the name of the “Libdem MP, a former Sky employee” mentioned as also lobbying for his former masters. I bet it isn’t Simon Hughes, but apart from that, all bets are off…

Throughout this scandal, Ed Miliband has played his hand well, acting on principle as well as with good instincts. His backing of Tom Watson does him and The Labour Party credit. He compares very favourably with, say the Mayor of London, who firstly called the hacking allegations “a Labour plot”, and has consistently sought to downgrade Operation Weeting and the associated corruption investigations. He and Kit Malthouse have behaved with naked self interest throughout.

Gutting The World Service – & Then Dinner With A Murdoch…

Am absolutely disgusted that any Government, of any complexion could let this happen. The BBC has a worldwide reputation, earned over decades, for the honesty and the depth of its coverage across the world.

Unlike Radio Moscow or its US equivalent, throughout the Cold War, the BBC not only covered stories worldwide with journalistic impartiality, but provided an honest picture of Great Britain to the whole world – warts and all.

Now is the time to email Jeremy (C)Hunt and deluge him with protest.

Although he will probably be too busy, chowing down with a Murdoch, whilst the Lib Dems are nowhere to be seen…

Email the following addresses: Hunt in Parliament – huntj@parliament.uk

DCMS – enquiries@culture.gis.gov.uk

Get going…

Ham-Face and The Dirty Diggers Son…

Is it really appropriate for the Prime Minister to hold a “private” (e.g. secret) dinner with the son of Rupert Murdoch over Christmas, whilst the Government prepared to make a decision as to whether Daddy can take over the whole of BSkyB???

When will fatty answer to Parliament about this????

The silence on this issue from certain parts of the media speaks volumes…

Exactly what was discussed? Why was this meeting held in secret???

What did Jeremy “Mr C” Hunt discuss in HIS private meeting???

Smells very bad people…

The Hulture Secretary…is he really such a H*nt?

Much hilarity caused this week by James Naughtie and Andrew Marr using the correct term for a Tory Minister…

Yes, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt (sic) had his name and title mixed up in a repeated gaffe on BBC Radio 4. It was worth the licence fee on its own.  It also reminded me of Sir Trevor McDonald (then head of the Better English Society) doing the same thing with “The Kent countryside” a decade or so ago.

Malapropisms and Spoonerisms like these tend to get the Daily Mail reader very cross indeed, but hardly fall into category of real obscenity, although it got me thinking about how we treat this fine old Anglo-Saxon word.

“Cunt” is a word, unchanged in its meaning since at least the Middle Ages, and is to be found in Chaucer ( “quente”). It is virtually the last taboo word in our language, heading the list of officially bad words at the BBC. it is also fittingly rhyming slang for James Blunt, so I guess poor Jeremy will have to be nicknamed Mr C.

The reason for its lasting shock value may have something to do with its low origins, and the fact that at the lower end of the scale I have heard it used almost as punctuation. As a description of the Vagina, it is certainly nasty, but as a description of a woman, it is truly dehumanising. Think about it for a moment – and compared to the male “dick”, it is so much worse – now think about why this is the case.

In The City of London, there used to be a short road named Gropecunt Lane, where centuries ago brothels had flourished. Around ten years ago, some Multinational moved in, and the supine Burghers duly changed the name, something I regret, as the oldest profession, unlike banking, can at least be an honest trade. Perhaps they should have just omitted  “Grope”?

I once went out with a strident feminist who was waging a one-woman campaign to reclaim “cunt”, in the same way gay activists reclaimed “queer”, and some black nationalists tried to reclaim “nigger/nigga”. I have to say that I dont think this really works in these three cases, but  it is certainly better to have the honest words out there rather than Bowdlerise the English Language, thus making discourse into a minefield, negotiable only with a PC map.

So heres to “the C-word” and all good honest obscenity. No apologies to James and Jeremy – both of them are utter Hunts.

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