Posts Tagged ‘Revelation’
I never thought I’d live to report it, but this morning David Cameron received a unanimous round of applause on the allotments. A few days ago we scratched our ancient heads at his choice of the financial sector as the UK’s red-line for the EU negotiations. We still do, but what we hadn’t anticipated was his willingness to slug it out in the face of what amounted to bullying tactics by the Germans, French and almost every member of the EU. If this was a tabloid it would have Cameron asking ‘Just who do EU think we are?’. But it isn’t and I’ll content myself with admitting that he has surprised us all, not least those who saw him as a PR guru and little else.
Of course, given the attitude of his back-benchers, the Prime Minister had little alternative to doing what he did in demanding some return for his support, but a whole series of his predecessors have rolled over when ordered to do so by the EU big guns. He didn’t flinch and we all have seen pictures of the animosity shown by Sarkozy and others. Few of us will lay awake at the revelation that if we refuse to bend to their will, the French and Germans just won’t love us. One spokesman for the furious EU gang has said that we will face revenge. If my memory serves me well they have tried that before!
Apart from the sudden transformation of the Old Etonian into a David happy to take on the Goliaths, one new truth has dawned. Whilst it is difficult to forecast the future given that the problems of the Euro still look insurmountable, one thing is clear. In an attempt to win German financial support most of the other Euorpean countries are surrendering their sovereignty. The deal leaves Britain in splendid isolation and the time has surely come to ask ourselves just what are the benefits of being members.
Such Lib Demmers as still exist will insist that we gain from influence at the Brussels table. That has now gone and suddenly the ‘for’ column looks empty. Trade? Hardly since we currently buy more from Europe than we sell to it and, in any case, manufacturers on either side of the channel will never turn down orders. Indeed, the talk yesterday of the new EU bloc freezing out trade with China and the USA sounds like commercial suicide that we are well out of.
The ‘ against membership’ column looks a tall one. Our subscriptions exceed our recipts by a large margin, and our industry is handicapped by a mass of laws. Our island is over-populated and there is nothing we can do to prevent EU citizens pouring in. Our laws are repeatedly overridden by the European Court and our agricultural and fishing industries are at the mercy of unelected bureaucrats. Viewed objectively, rather than politically, it is hard to spot the advantages of staying in the EU that will now emerge.
For this gang of old codgers the most puzzling aspect of yesterday was the response of Ed Miliband. Clearly it is politically dangerous to shower your opponents with even faint praise, but his claim that Cameron has got it totally wrong automatically triggers the question as to what he would have done. So far we have heard nothing on that score and we are left wondering if he seriously believes that we could allow ourselves to become even more enmeshed in an authoritarian and undemocratic organisation that will progressively assume control for every sovereign nation’s affairs.
Inevitably today’s right-wing press is demanding a referendum. It is likely that Cameron would not be averse to that since being able to speak for the whole country would help him when he has to respond to the inevitable EU backlash. Little doubt about the nation’s verdict when asked whether we should remain in Europe, but it would spell the end of the coalition and, given the apparent view of the Labour Party, would trigger an election. At this very moment Mr Cameron is probably reflecting on the fact that Churchill took on external threats only to be dumped when the ballot boxes were wheeled out in 1946.
But would the Lib Dems and Labour seriously consider going to the country recommending that we sign up to a ’Merkozy’ regime? Do turkeys vote for Christmas?
IT’S TIME FOR YOUR FAVOURITE WEEKEND QUIZ!; 1. How many times did Joe Frazier fight Muhammad Ali? 2. What was designed and made in a variable form by Sikorsky in 1941? 3. The TV series ‘Spooks’ is about which organisation? 4. Who had hits with “One Night in Heaven” and “Moving on Up”? 5. Which “dog like” peninsula formed Canada’s tenth province in 1948? 6. What was Coco Chanel’s Christian name? 7. Quilp appears in a book about what kind of shop? 8. In which European country are the Pindus Mountains? 9. If a creature is demersal, where does it live? 10. In which county was the first Youth Custody Centre set up in 1908?
??????????? ANSWERS TOMORROW ??????????????
In the welcome absence of precipitation galore we had more time to ruminate this morning. The leading question was whether our wives would leap to our defence should some idiot attack us with a custard pie. Sadly the conclusion was that they wouldn’t, in fact Albert went so far as to suggest that his would applaud. It says it all about the appearance of the Murdochs before yesterday’s select committee, it produced only one moment of excitement, the loopy pie thrower of old London town!
From the outset it was apparent that the Murdoch act had been well rehearsed. They will have been told to be contrite but to say nothing of substance. It will have been suggested that Rupert should play the part of of a vulnerable old man ruling over an empire so vast that he couldn’t possibly know what as going on. That worked well. Where it all fell apart was in the performance of Murdoch junior. He was distinctly unimpressive, almost a version of the duty manager one encounters when making a complaint about the lack of a plug in the hotel sink. He looked young and naive, and he babbled on in business speak without ever getting to the point. Clearly he is where he is simply because he is his father’s son.
But behind the facade erected by Dad one sensed real power. Occasionally he tapped the table, but he remained restrained. That in itself was quite an achievement given that his profession of respect for the lack-lustre committee is probably far from the truth. This is a man who has summoned prime ministers and presidents to do his bidding, and he is hardly likely to hold in awe people incapable of mustering either a cabinet or shadow cabinet post between them. Every now and then he paused for thought before barking out a single syllable reply, the power emerged.
But, perhaps predictably, it all proved to be a non-event. The only information remotely resembling a revelation was the fact that News Corp is still paying the legal fees of convicted criminals. At least that appeared to be the case since James spent over two hours remarking that ‘that was before my involvement’, ‘I don’t have the detail’ or ‘I will need to check on that’. Either he is the most ill informed chief executive in the universe or he was being evasive. Probably a bit of both and both men will have an infinitely more difficult time when they face real questionning under oath.
Equally predictable was the performance of Rebekah Brooks. She too is desperately sorry about all the hurt that has been caused, but like her former bosses she knew nothing. Clearly delegation in the Murdoch empire is total. That of course is entirely unbelievable, the idea that an editor would not ask how information was obtained is absurd and throughout the broadcast I kept recalling the ‘whistleblower’ who testified that the lady not only knew but demanded illegal intrusion.
Had it not been for the appearance at another parliamentary session by the senior now-ex police officers the much heralded day would have told us nothing that we didn’t already know. But the police have a knack of getting things wrong as illustrated by the fact that six bobbies accompanied the Murdochs into the room but no one thought to frisk the small public audience for pies, or much worse. It emerged that Neil Wallis, the former deputy to Andy Coulson at the News of the World, acted not only for Scotland Yard but also as an adviser to Coulson after the disgraced ex-editor was installed at David Cameron’s side!
That means that the NoW was not in Coulson’s past, as Cameron has always insisted, but that the connection lingered. It transpires that the two men were working together for the Conservative Party during the general election. This immediately raises the suspicion that the Conservative’s devastating knowledge of the weaknesses of Grumpy Gordon’s lot just may have been obtained illegally!
The other revelation arising from the interviews of the hapless officers related to an exchange of emails between Cameron’s chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, and the Met. These show that Downing Street was aware of the building scandal. We are expected to believe that Cameron’s aides kept this from him in his own interests. That sounds as likely as James Murdoch’s claim that he hasn’t had time to peruse the collection of emails that triggered the crisis.
Few dispute that our prime minister has shown a remarkable lack of judgement – yesterday Brooks once again talked of him as a friend and today the Telegraph has published a story of the second party they shared together over Christmas. There is now the possibility that more sinister revelations may emerge once trials begin.
All of which is incredibly frustrating. Today we learn that Lansley is taking the opportunity to proceed with £1 billion of NHS privatisation. Only the Prime minister can stop him and he is going to be preoccupied with his own skin. Being a spin-doctor supreme he will talk his way out of trouble for the moment, but storm clouds are gathering and the NHS will not be the subject of his nightmares! Today David Cameron has admitted that hiring Coulson was “a mistake”.
That may well prove to be the understatement of all time!
TODAY’S QUICK PUB QUIZ; 1. Where in your body is your scapula? 2. Canterbury stands on which river? 3. Who had hits with “God Save the Queen” and “C’mon Everybody”? 4. Sebastian Coe became MP for which constituency in 1992? 5. Which former colony was called the jewel in Queen Victoria’s crown? 6. What was the sport of Karen Briggs and Nicla Fairbrother? 7. Which Henry became king of England in 1100? 8. in the film “Mary Poppins”, Mary said she would stay until what changed? 9. Which Treaty on European Union was signed in December 1991? 10. Which surname links No 1 hit singers Jimmy, Paul and Will?
If, dear reader, you have been confused of late take consolation from the fact that vast numbers across the land have been likewise. The central processing computer which services many a blog has suffered what it describes as a “catastrophic outage” which sounds rather like an illness I once contracted in Nigeria. In other words it conked out. Yesterday parts of our site were restored and I ventured to put out a new blog. Hours later that too vanished into the ether. So this effort will be somewhat restricted on the basis that it too may never reach you.
Up until the ‘outage’ your daily offering had been literally that, with no break since May of last year. So I feel a compulsion to update you. Not that much has happened on the allotments other than more rain than visits the rain forests. But there was one bit of excitement, our latest flock of ‘Columbian Black Tails’ has started laying. They are around 24 weeks old and the eggs are small but its a start. Inevitably this triggered Albert into restarting his argument about which came first, the chicken or the egg. I always respond egg and he always then demands to know where the first ever egg came from. If any of you know I would love to hear from you!
The revelation that the new internet communications highway is not always as dynamic as we are led to believe has triggered a mood of grumpiness on my part. The mood was not improved earlier today when I found myself trapped in yet another motorway jam. I eventually tired of watching in my mirror the women behind me painting her face, and of gazing at the truck in front which proclaimed ‘keep moving, we do’ and switched on the radio. I was just in time to hear Prime Minister’s Question Time. Ye Gods, it sounded like the terraces at Millwall on a bad day.
But I did gain pleasure from the answer David Cameron gave to a member who asked if he was impressed with his government’s policy on the sale of forests. He replied with one word -NO. In other words the massive protest spearheaded by ’38 Degrees’ which already has over a half million signatures, plus the many mass rallies, has led to a U-turn. It has probably also led to his sacking Caroline Spellman! But why he allowed such a crass idea to see daylight is a mystery. It would earn no revenue and would endanger freedoms that go back through the mists of time.
I was less impressed with his defence of the Big Society, a subject which preoccupies the prime minister and is a mystery to everyone else. Every day we read of charities closing down as council chiefs wield the axe on all but their own astronomic salaries. And right now we are swamped with stories of the Banks, who caused the disaster, paying their senior people salaries and bonuses described by the Archbishop of York as obscene. It seems that in the Big Society some will be considerably bigger than others.
A couple of days ago I was chatting to a local Mayor who is a Lib Dem. We seemed to agree that Clegg et al have failed to grasp the concept of a coalition. Yes, the partners vote together if the government faces a vote of confidence but they meantime stand up for their own policies rather than act as lapdogs. Many of the worst right-wing excesses of this government such as the NHS reforms are clearly things that true Liberals oppose. So why the silence?
But there is good news on the protest front. The forests plan triggered middle England into action as never before. The British Medical Association is to hold its first emergency conference since 1992 to vote overwhelmingly against cooperation with reforms which most GPs believe will destroy patient care. Meantime another burgeoning protest group called ‘Cuts’ is staging demonstrations against Banks and major companies who are practicing tax avoidnace and ’38 degrees’ is running a massive campaign with Osborne portrayed as ‘The Artful Dodger’. Yes, it seems that he too is saving a cool million per year via tax avoidance.
We will never rival Egypt and its like, in fact many believe that given a revolution no one would turn up if there was football on the box. But at least the worm is wriggling if not turning. The millionaires in the cabinet won’t listen of course but at least we will release our pent up aggression. That is probably all we should do for I’ve had enough of catastrophic outages to last me a lifetime!
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY; “All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed”…..Sean O’Casey “The people in hell – where do they tell people to go?”……Red Skelton “Maybe this world is another planet’s hell”….Aldous Huxley “What do you think of modern civilisation? I think it would be a good idea”….Mahatma Gandhi “”Beware of the man that picks your dresses for he wants to wear them”….Erica Jong “I won a competition. The prize was a year’s supply of Marmite – one jar”…..Tim Vine “My mother wanted me to be a nun. It’s steady work, they supply the uniform, and you’re married to God – at least he’s home every night”…Dorothy Zbornak
QUIZ WILL RESUME SHORTLY!!!
I had imagined that the term ‘Prince of Darkness’ was one coined by Peter Mandelson’s enemies and that even they took great care not to utter it within his earshot. It seems that I was mistaken for the good Lord uses the term himself in the TV advertisement being used to plug his memoirs. In fact every aspect of the publication is bewildering. Once upon a time memoirs were the works of old men or women who, some 20 or so years after the event, felt free to reveal inside stories. Now it is happening within months and one cannot avoid wondering how on earth people work together when knowing that every word is being noted with a view to early revelation. Presumably they resort to being extremely cautious but how that fits within a supposed ethos of teamwork is hard to fathom. But the implications of this particular book are far greatert than that.
We all realise that politicians refrain from telling the whole truth but now we realise that their deception goes much further. An election campaign is pure theatre and we are hardly surprised that every Party claims victory to be in sight even though they know that the chance of it is akin to snow in mid-summer. We even understand why David Cameron and George Osborne were not candid about the extent of the cuts they planned for had they been so the reaction of the electorate would have been such as to ensure that they were not now in a position to make them. But the work of the Prince of Darkness suggest that the levels of deception go much, much deeper.
If his account is accurate thousands of hours of film and air and ink expended on Westminster are now exposed as a useless illusion. If that is so politics and political journalism faces a supreme crisis of purpose and confidence. Can we ever again believe anything we read or hear and is there any point whatsoever in journalists passing on what they believe is true but which in fact is a fairy story? The book gives many examples which support an answer of no. Let us take the story of what happened in Downing Street, one that contradicts all that we had been told.
If we look back at more than a decade of TV, radio and newspaper interviews, in which Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool himself was often prominent, we will find an insistence that Tony Blair never agreed a leaving date with Gordon Brown, that reports of a difficult relationship between the two men were nonsense, that there was never a plot to force Brown out of the Treasury and that in the run-up to the 2010 election the Cabinet was united behind the Prime Minister. The book tells us that these were all charades. Blair, we now learn , had agreed at a dinner in John Prescott’s Admiralty House apartment in 2003, to serve only two terms. We also gain the picture of Blair cowering from the screams and abuse of his next door neighbour, someone he described as ‘bad, mad and dangerous’. Yet Mandelson was amongst the heavyweights to use the airwaves to discredit the claims by Andrew Rawnsley in his book ‘The End of the Party’. I distinctly remember his sighing with theatrical exasperation and dismissing tales of Brown’s tactics as irrelevant waffle. As for the officially ridiculed tale of a coup to force Brown from theTtreasury we now learn that his Lordship and Blair were partners in ‘Operation Teddy Bear’ to drop the Scot from his influentail Treasury post.
And it gets even worse for not only were the politicians lying to us, they were lying to each other. The Prince recalls Blair continuing to deny to him that he had agrred a date at the Admiralty House dinner and then ‘much later’ suddenly admitting that he had indeed offered to leave before 2005.
It would be quite wrong of me to claim that I dislike either the book or its author. Ever since my childhood I have loved pantomime and its scary villains. I even enjoyed the ad with Mandelson leaning back in his armchair telling of the two men and the Prince. I enjoyed the implication of scary manipulation, I loved his Edwardian garb. But -and it is a big but- I found myself wondering if the whole political scene has become rather like a film such as ‘The Usual Suspects’ or the TV serialisation of ‘Lost’. In those the plot centered around an illusion. What you saw never happened, all the dialogue meant something else. Only the final scenes revealed the real truth.
Perhaps we shuld be grateful for these memoirs for we can be quite sure that the deception we encounter is practised equally by every political Party leadership. It is utterly honest in revealing that nothing we are told is honest, that everything is not just slanted or censored but often completely untruthful. There is nothing we can do to change that but it does point to a new approach to every political interview or article that comes our way. We should stop listening to or reading them. Unless we enjoy fiction there is nothing to be gained and our opinion of politicians is already at rock bottom so we needn’t feel too let down.
Small wonder that Jeremy Paxman so often displays incredulous face -pulls. He tries hard to penetrate the spin and the lies but probably knows that the task is a hopeless one. Sorry Jeremy, I am your greatest fan but there is simply no point in watching you try to seek truth from those who no longer know what it is.
THE NEWS ON THIS FRIDAY; Over 660’000 applied for a University place this year, of these 225,000 will receive rejection slips XX A universal flu vaccine that protects against most strains will be available within a few years, Scientitsts have announced XX Oil has stopped flowing into the Gulf of Mexico following the latest capping XX Crime is at its lowest level for three decades XX Highest earning graduates are to pay more as part of a major shake-up of Universities
THINGS I LEARNED YESTERDAY; Frank Field ,MP, former Labour reformer, is 68 today XX At Churchill’s insistence the layout of the Commons was retained despite the rebuild during the Blitz and is designed to provide inadequate number of seats to ensure that ill-attended debates appear well-attended and to force any MP wishing to change affiliation to literally cross the floor of the House
Blackpool, the team tipped for relegation from the Championship, yesterday delighted fans and neutrals alike with an amazing display of soccer at Wembley. After going behind twice they stormed their way past Cardiff City to a place in the Premiership, arguably the strongest soccer league in the world. There were many stars on the day but none more dazzling than manager Ian Holloway.
His team is far from the highest paid in the Championship but they have something others can only dream of, an unquenchable team spirit. When one bleeds they all bleed and the colour of the blood is tangerine. What Ian Holloway has done is to prove time and again that eleven men playing daring and utterly committed football can match any other eleven however mighty or highly paid they may be. Someone should bottle the Holloway spirit and market it not just for football but every aspect of life.
Blackpool’s average attendance ths season was only 8,611 and their Bloomfield Road ground has barely been modernised since the glory days of Stanley Matthews some 57 years or so ago. The ground capacity is a mere 12,500 and the total wage bill would not even cover the amount paid to many a so-called Premiership superstar. The players still wash their own kit and the only fat cat in Blackpool resides in the nearby zoo.
Ian Holloway could prove to be the best thing to ever happen to the money-mad Premiership, the future of which is questioned by many who, having noted the collapse of Portsmouth, now realise that many others are on the road to ruin as a result of paying players more for a weeks work that a brain surgeon can earn in a year. Ian was quick yesterday to wonder ‘what have we come to’ when money is regarded as the most important thing. He has no intention of making millionnaires, he is content to train to perfection a team rather than an expensive collection of inflated egos.
In every way the man will be a revelation in the Premiership where managers bite their nails to the quick to justify fools gold. His self-deprecating one-liners are a delight. ‘I love Blackpool’ he says ‘we are very similar. We both look better in the dark’. And his players clearly love the guy. If some managers described his team as being ‘as ugly as sin’ the lawyers would be in action but not here.
I suspect that many of the ‘big’ clubs will not find Bloomfield Road an easy place to visit. I suspect that the team that Ian Holloway created will easily confound the critics again. Above all I suspect that many clubs hovering dangerously on the financial edge will begin to ask themselves why they need to spend a fortune on players, not to mention their agents.
It was wonderful to hear the estatic Holloway talk about morality yesterday. That is not a word we hear often in the upper echelons of soccer. He and his team have won millions of fans to add to their tangerine army. This man and his friends, the description he uses for his players, will enjoy wide acclaim next season as they set out on Mission Stage 11.
And the near bankrupt, money obsessed starrs will have some explaining to do when they collect their limousines from Blackpool Fair car park after a good tanning from Ian and his friends!
Coming up; CANCER..A RAY OF HOPE!