Posts Tagged ‘PR’
As part of a long-standing tradition a number of the allotmenteers went along to the Rosemere Cancer Foundation Carol Concert last night. It is an excellent cause, the company was great and the mulled wine and mince pies likewise. There was just one difference this year, in my head at least I substituted wet for white in our favourite carol immortalised by Bing Crosby. Even at my advanced years I can’t recall many white Christmas mornings but I certainly can remember yearning for one. No longer! Over the past few weeks we have seen and shovelled enough snow to last a lifetime. Hate to be spoilsports but we animal carers would love to see torrential rain washing the last of the drifts away. It won’t happen, not least because under the pack snow are dozens of drains never cleared by the Council, but we should perhaps resist being downcast by the weather forecasters dire predictions since these are presumably the very people that promised us a BBQ summer as a result of which we didn’t build an ark.
But the Met Office is not the target for today’s dose of venom. I reserve that, not for the first time, for the politically correct brigade. I call them that because I am never sure as to who they are. Does the PR brigade comprise just three ladies with big hats all related to Mrs Bucket? Or are there zillions of them all working away as if at cracker jokes, each wracking his or her brain to come up with another wheeze aimed at offending anyone who has the timerity to claim that they have always lived here and quite like the customs.
What brought this on? A few days ago I went in search of Christmas cards. Being old fashioned I like the traditional nativity scenes but there were none to be had. One lady told me that her shop only received a small supply of the ‘Jesus’ ones, as she put it, and they sold very quickly. I found this curious and spoke to a pal who works for W H Smith. He estimated that only around 15 per cent of all cards stocked were of a ‘religious nature’. Apparently the wholesalers are nervous of giving offence to non-Christians. Have you ever heard such rubbish?
People are free to buy what they like and to ignore what they don’t like. In any case many of those who like the traditional Christmas story do not necessarily buy them for religious reasons. Whatever you actually believe there can surely be no denying that the story of the wise men , shepherds and all is the most beautiful story ever told.
But to me the greatest mystery is the identity of those who are supposed to be offended. A number of those who share our allotment life are of other faiths and all pour ridicule on the idea that traditions should be abandoned. Several of them love christmas and celebrate it vigourously in a secular way. The same goes for my newsagent who looks forward to the festival partly because it boosts his sales and partly because the big day is the only one of the year when he doesn’t have to sort newspapers at the crack of dawn. I asked him for his view of the PR boneheads. His reply was to the point; “they are bonkers”.
I happen to believe in that magical scene in that stable of long ago. But my self understanding reminds me that December 25th is not the correct date and I do realise that parts of the story have changed in the telling. I have no quarrel with those who believe otherwise and they should have none with my right to differ.
And those ladies in big hats should take a long walk off a short pier!
CAN’T TRUST CAMERON OR OSBORNE SAY LIB DEMS!
It seems that Uncle Vince was not alone in being gulled by reporters pertending to be constituents. Heidi Blake and Holly Watt also went along ( armed with tape recorders) to ensnare Lib Dem ministers Andrew Stunell, David Heath, Norman Baker and Paul Burstow.
Local Councils minister Stunell questioned Cameron’s sincerity. He remarked that he “didn’t know where to fit him on the sincerity monitor”. Commons Deputy Leader Heath believes that the coalition may prove to be a “disaster” for his party and comments that Osborne “gets up his nose and has no experience of how ordinary people live their lives”.Transport Minister believes that Nick Clegg has chosen to “handcuff himself to the prime minister”. He also said that the Tories were furious over Lib Dem attempts to thwart Rupert Murdoch, the Tory approach is to say “here you are Mr Murdoch, how much do you want?”. Care Minister Paul Burstow urged the ‘constituents’ “not to trust Cameron”.
And there is a whole lot more. Again it is difficult to believe that ministers were prepared to confide in total strangers. Of course even more amazing is what they said about their supposed partners. They were, Mr Baker said, “beyond the pale”, almost “akin to the South African apartheid government”.
What does Mr Cameron do now? If he repeats his public humiliation of Cable the whole coalition could collapse. If he does nothing his own backbenchers are going to create mayhem. Of course whatever he does will be supported by his stooge. In reality the LibDems need a new leader, one who will co-operate but maintain distance from Cameron. After all since so many Lib Dems seemingly distrust the prime minister the worst possible position for their leader is kneeling at the feet of the Old Etonian.
I wonder if the cabinet has held its Christmas party yet. If not it is likely to be a less than jolly affair!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. The Free French movement 2. Linus Pauling
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. What award was given to two Belfast women, Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams? 2. The comedian Sid James died in 1976. In which country was he born?
JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I must refrain from banging on about another freezing morning, and the problems of frozen water dispensers, lest you conclude that we allotmenteers are depressed. But I have to confess that we are sinking lower than a snakes belly. This morning it was a combination of a night spent watching the Australian batsmen belting England’s much vaunted bowling attack, followed by three of us having to chase a lot of irate hens who headed out whilst we wielded ice-picks. But when the papers arrived we discovered that, we who constantly moan about the mad political correctness brigade, have a new champion. Take a bow Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary and the Tory equivalent to two-Jags Prescott.
We are a mixed bunch on the allotments, people of all religions and none. but we all enjoy Christmas. In fact the tree will be decorated any day now, the fact that it stays in situ throughout the year makes the task an easy one. We all share another sentiment too, we loathe the busybody PR brigade who have done so much to harm race relations in this country and who have the gall to believe that they have the right to tell everyone else what they can and cannot say or do. In recent years they have targetted Christmas or Wintermass as the ghastly crew insist on calling it.
This year has seen them scaling new heights in lunacy. Birmingham’s annual festival has been renamed Winterval and Lambeth council sparked fury when it ordered its Christmas lights to be renamed “winter” or “celebrity” to avoid upsetting “other faiths”. Rochdale Council provoked more rage when it decided to celebrate Eid and Diwali also, even though those Hindu and Muslim festivals have already come and gone. The lists goes on and on.
Now at long last a minister has had the guts to speak out. Yesterday Eric Pickles said that “we should actively celebrate the Christian basis of Christmas and not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalise Christianity and the importance of the birth of Christ”. He went on to warn Councils that ” The war on Christmas is over, and the likes of Winterval, Winter Lights and Luminous deserve to be thrown into the dustbin of history”. And he hadn’t finished at that. Eric went on to stress that shoppers want to see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, carol services and nativity scenes”.
Small wonder that John Midgely, founder of the burgeoning Campaign aginst PR, described Mr Pickles as a “breath of fresh air”. Small wonder too that his sentiments were echoed by leading church figures. The popular Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, believes that Christianity is being wiped out of public life in the name of equality. The bans on Christmas are, he believes, part of a drive to censor Christianity. And no one can accuse Dr Sentamu of being a racist!
I have yet to meet any member of the ethnic community who feels in the least offended by Christmas celebrations. They are not the people responsible for the ever growing chorus of disapproval. That is down to the nauseating busybodies who should shut up once and for all. I am sure that the vast majority of Brits treasure Christmas, and all it represents and entails.We needed a champion and big Eric is the man.
The Christmas story is the greatest story ever told. We sometimes forget that the calender we use is based on a birth that took place 2010 years ago. No story in the history of the world has influenced so much and so many. And one doesn’t have to be religious to acknowledge that irrefutable truth.
Whether we like it or not our country is now a multi-cultural one. But that doesn’t mean that we should change our treasured festivals or customs anymore than we should expect people of other faiths to change theirs. Tolerance should mean acceptance without interference and Eric Pickles may just have started a revolution in reverse. One in which we ignore totally all talk of political correctness.
In reality there is no such thing. Simple courtesy and an ethos of live and let live is all we need provided that the law is observed. And if it isn’t there should be no variation in the response of the authorities whatever the colour of the offender!
TIME TO TACKLE THE PROFITEERING POWER SUPPLIERS!
The Energy Regulator Ofgem has failed totally in its task of regulating the financial trickery of the privatised power companies. Many still remember the various privatisations of the Thatcher era when we were told that competition would drive prices down. In reality there has been an almost unholy alliance amongst the various suppliers and the customer has been robbed again and again.
At a time when many are struggling to meet their bills, and with winter here, the suppliers are announcing massive increases. Dismiss their lies about increased costs for gas, when those costs fell they didn’t pass any reductions on.
British Gas is a classic example. Its annual profit per houshold is now £90. As recently as September it was £65. Like the other suppliers they treat their customers with utter contempt and if Ofgem are not prepared to step in the government should appoint a new regulator.
BANKS ARE THE PITS OF THE WORLD!
Richard Brown is head of savings at HSBC and has staggered many by publicly chastising the public for its failure to save. Yesterday he remarked that only a minority are doing this and said that the public is “burying its head in the sand”.
Perhaps he should consider the possibility that because the rates now offered to savers are virtually zero, people have decided to hold the cash at home. The only advantage of saving with a bank is now security against burglary, there is no monetary case for saving.
I have an account with Barclays. The interest rate has just been reduced to well below 1%. I realise that, having won the green light from the government, the Banks have to find cash to fund their ever increasing bonuses and salaries, but they shouldnt be surprised when I and millions of others decide that we would rather fritter our cash away than help to fund their largesse!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. The United Nations 2. One of the states of India
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; Where did Charles Haughey become prime minister? 2. Which Asian country did the USSR invade in 1979?
Mark Borkowski, a leading public relations expert was quick to give us what sounds the perfect summary of Tony Blair’s sudden largesse. It was, declares Mr Borkowski in this morning’s papers, ” a stroke of PR genius-probably the best PR stunt I have seen all year”. The expert goes on to describe Tony Blair’s ‘brand’ as a toxic one but offers a crumb of comfort to the former Prime Mimister who will be pleased to know that the move will ‘deflect a certain amount of criticism, it is a genius move”.
The fact that the only sort-of-praise to appear amongst the early reactions to the announcement of Blair’s gift to the Royal British Legion comes from a practitioner in the dubious art of public relations says it all. It is hard to imagine that this is other than an attempt to repair a damaged reputation, it is equally hard to imagine that it will succeed, history will surely conclude that the God-fearing Mr Blair mislead a nation in pursuit of international glory and caused the death of vast numbers in a futile war.
Some grieving relatives have suggested that the Legion should refuse the gift of the outcome of Mr Blair’s forthcoming memoirs but this seems illogical. The charity should surely accept money from the Devil himself since its sole aim is to help those wounded in the war who now face a desperate future. There seems to be great confusion as to how much it will actually receive in this case, as with everything that the late Prime Minister does there are many unanswered questions. Does the donation include the advances paid? Is it free of tax? What are the tax benefits to the donor? The list goes on but the simple fact remains that the important fund needs every penny that it can get to offset the lack of adequate support for heroes from government.
Of course Mr Blair is hardly making a huge personal financial sacrifice. He is thought to have made up to £20 million from consultancy, private companies and public appearances since leaving office in 2007. As well as lucrative advisory roles for JP Morgan and Zurich Financial Services, he also set up Tony Blair Associates, which receives payments for advising both the Kuwaiti government and Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi sovereign fund. Former Prime Ministers are supposed to provide details of their income after leaving Parliament. But Mr Blair has fought a two-year battle with the independent scrutiny committee to keep secret his job with UI Energy Corporation, a South Korean oil firm.
He also commands six-figure sums on the international after-dinner circuit, where he is usually booked through the Washington Speakers Bureau whose stable includes his friend George W Bush. One speech alone in China earned him a reported £200,000. So it all adds up to a fortune made off the back of holding public office, not a crime but something that renews the stench surrounding our political classes of late. How big a fortune is unclear because, to quote Mike Warburton, a senior tax partner at the accountants Grant Thornton, “his network of companies make it impossible to establish his earnings. They are opaque and we don’t know where the money comes from or where it goes to, but at the end of the chain you have a company that does not file accounts”.
But whether he can easily afford it or not will the gesture mark a turning point in the realationship with a nation that once loved him and now regards him with at best great suspicion? Unlikely. Lindsey German, of the Stop The War Coalition, says that it shows that Mr Blair is worried about adverse publicity. She storms that “he lied about the Iraq war, refused to express any regret at the Chilcot inquiry and his attempt to salve his conscience will be of little comfort to those injured or who have lost loved ones”. The popular Falklands veteran Simon Weston, who these days campaigns for ex-service personnel, added that “if he donated £460 million it would not be enough to wash his hands clean of all the blood”.
In a strange way I almost feel sorry for Tony Blair. He is now hounded much as Dr Kelly was by the circle that surrounded the then Prime Minister. When, together with a group of Doctors I met him soon after his landslide victory I came away impressed. He seemed different to other politicians, he appeared open and caring, fearless almost. I can only conclude that he was a good actor with no self understanding or that at some later time he became infatuated with power and the prospect of being twinned with the most powerful man on earth. Undoubtedly Bush would have invaded Iraq anyway but perhaps Blair had fallen in love with the idea of being a world leader.
Perhaps we will never know what really motivated this flawed man. But we should remember one thing, he did not do it alone. At any time during those frantic weeks leading up to what Nick Clegg calls an illegal war either his Ministers or the Conservative opposition could have stopped him. They chose not to and their claims that he misled them do not ring entirely true. They must have known that no weapons of mass destruction had been found even before Dr Kelly revealed it.
Maybe our reactions will change over the passage of time but right now it is impossible to see this donation doing other than to bring even more condemnation for Tony Blair whose only virtue is that he stands by his decsion to go to war unlike many who shared it. But every black cloud has at least a small silver lining and some much needed money is on the way to help the setting up of the Battle Back Challenge Centre, a place made essential by a tissue of lies and the betrayal of a nation.
NEW PRIVACY LAW?
Britain could be on the way to getting its first privacy law to stop judges creating one by stealth through the courts. Lord McNally has suggested that the right to privacy could be enshrined in law after a number of celebrities were awarded so-called ‘super-injunctions’ to gag the press.
We will doubtless hear howls of rage from the campaigners for freedom of speech but the media have brought this situation upon themselves with the endless stream of ‘revelations’ about the private lives of familiar people. In the vast majority of cases there is no question of serving the public interest, the sole motive is to boost circulation by pandering to voyeurism.
But there need to be safeguards to avoid genuine public-interest stories being suppressed. Had such a law been in force at the time, would we ever have learned of the scandal of MP’s expenses?
DID YOU KNOW? The expession ‘sleep tight’ derives from the days when occupants of feather beds found themselves sinking into a hard, airless fissure between billowly hills. Support was on a lattice of ropes which could be tightened with a key when they began to sag. The practice ended in 1865 when spring mattresses were invented but the term sleep tight lives on.
YESTERDAYS QUIZ ANSWERS; 1 Benny Hill 2. Kermit
TIODAYS QUESTIONS; 1 Which President of Cyprus was forced into exile in 1974? 2. What voyage did Kenichi Horie complete in 1974?