Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Reshuffle takes UK closer to America, not in a good way, and misses the point of London 2012

Posted on 5 September 2012 | 8:09am

I woke up this morning to an avalanche of tweets in response to my asking on the way home from Stratford last night why the US, so dominant in Olympic sport, appear to be so relatively marginal in the Paralympics.

It is never possible to predict what will get a big reaction on twitter, but this did, and if I were to distil the answers, the general view from both sides of the Atlantic was that the absence of an NHS style healthcare system, poor welfare and poor appreciation of its importance, a governing philosophy that puts the individual ahead of the community, media attitudes that value mythical perfect looks, sponsors who do not want to be associated with impairment, and the paltry coverage of Parlaympic sport are among the main factors.

And then I thought … every single move in yesterday’s reshuffle is moving Britain in that direction. Rightward on health with the ludicrous appointment of Jeremy Hunt, who shouldn’t be in the Cabinet at all, and one of whose last acts as Culture Secretary was to try to remove the NHS section from Danny Boyle’s 2012 opening ceremony. Rightward on justice with Chris Grayling as far removed as it is possible to be in the same party from Ken Clarke’s decent-minded approach to issues of crime and punishment, and the need to understand we need a new approach on prisons. Rightward on the environment and Europe with Owen Patterson whose appointment will have thrilled the climate change deniers and the ‘all European legislation is bad’ brigade. Rightward at BIS with Michael Fallon in there to spy on Vince Cable and keep him off the telly. Rightward at transport with Patrick McLoughlin there to do whatever Mr Cameron tells him to.

As for DCMS – what a mess, and what a mass of wasted opportunities. There is not even a token Lib Dem (remember them) to check Maria Miller, who has been a poor disabilities minister and now takes on her new job with sport, equalities and disability effectively downgraded by lumping them all in under culture.

I bumped into sports minister Hugh Robertson last night – he still hadn’t heard if he was still in the job – and asked him why Cameron had not even considered making sport a fully fledged Cabinet post to build on the amazing success of recent weeks. I like Mr Robertson, think he has done a good job on the Olympics, he is a loyal minister and said nothing to undermine his leader. But my sense was that it was not even remotely on the agenda. A huge wasted opportunity.

Never mind inspire a generation. With their austerity obsession, their failure to tackle youth unemployment, their attacks on the poor, their undermining of the NHS, their cuts to universities and the things that help disadvantaged kids get there, their failure to face up to climate change, this is a government seemingly determined to lay a generation to waste.

I like a lot about the US. But I really dislike the right wing belief that universal healthcare is communist, climate change is a plot against business, everyone should stand on their own two feet (not easy if you don’t have any), abroad is bad, all tax is bad, prisons are good provided the conditions are dire, and all that jazz Fox News pump out day after day.

I loved the Olympics and if anything I love the Paralympics even more. Yesterday I saw massive queues to watch blind men play football; a packed stadium watch disabled women from Sweden and Australia hurl a ball at each other; a wheelchair tennis match as skilful and exciting as anything I have ever seen at Wimbledon; a man with no arms swimming faster than most of us could even dream of swimming; and of course David Weir careering round the track with the force and power that only great athleticism and human endeavour can bring. And I really do wonder if any other country in the world would have so many of its citizens clamouring to be part of it.

The government has missed the point of these Games, and missed the moment. The reshuffle takes the country backwards not forwards. It takes us closer to the America we don’t like and away from the America we do like.

And all because Mr Cameron does not have a clear strategy for the country, so focused on a strategy for his Party of throwing a few bones to the Right.

I’ll be channel hopping between the Paralympics and, with PMQs back today, the politics. Between sporting giants and Mr Cameron’s new team of political pygmies.

  • http://twitter.com/charliejorr charlie orr

    So that was the ‘difference’ :-)

  • Anonymous

    “a governing philosophy that puts the individual ahead of the community”
    You are wrong on this point about America – US individuals are far more likely to contribute to community assets and institutions than in UK, even to the point of leaving money to hospitals and museums etc rather than their own family – JP Getty, Bill Gates, the sage of Omaha etc

  • Sean Fleming

    Far too much for me to agree with here, without risking writing a response as long as your post.

    You’re dead right about the vile and blinkered obsession (my words, not yours – clearly) Cameron has with his idealogical viewpoint being the only thing that matters.

    Even viewed cynically, a smarter political operator would have spotted the golden opportunity presented by the Games (both sets) to reinvent themselves as the nation’s saviour – putting sport and disability at the forefront of a new, positive plan for the UK.

    Not Cameron. He has his own agenda. Or he’s dim and arrogant.

    Either way, I believe he is bad for this country. My country. The country my sons will inherit will be in worse shape because of Cameron.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Right moves or a move to right?
    David Cameron´s first proper reshuffle changed some personnel, but not economic policy.
    The changes were not that big, but it seems the coalition has moved away from “liberal conservatism”.
    George Osborne, booed at the Olympics, stays despite 48% wanting him to go.
    Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are weakened.
    The cabinet is more male, white, southern and Oxbridge.
    Murdoch´s best friend Jeremy Hunt goes to health despite of Leveson.
    Mr Hunt will give the NHS to big corporations.
    Pro-European Bilderberger Ken Clarke goes. There will be a change in direction under Mr Grayling.
    Warsi is also replaced.
    IDS rejected the post of justice secretary to stay. £10bn more welfare cuts will be needed.
    Of course, change of personnel at the cabinet does not matter much.
    Britain is being run by the City bankers and the civil service.
    Rothschilds further cemented their control as Paul Deighton of the Locog fame went to the Treasury.
    Mr Deighton is a former Goldman Sachs banker worth £100m.
    Simon Jenkins wrote in the Guardian that reshuffles are good indicators of political weather.
    He also stated that Osborne is susceptible to the Bank of England and the banking lobby.
    George Osborne is also a member of the Bilderberg Group which sets the agenda.
    Top Round Table (elite lodge of freemasons) people meet annually.
    Next general election will be won by the party which can provide economic GROWTH.
    Plan A has led to a double-dip recession.
    Mr Osborne believes in neoliberalism. He thinks Britain has a supply-side problem.
    But we face a DEMAND problem.
    Inflation, investment strike, household debt and plan A have caused a weak economy.
    Growth can be created by TAX CUTS for the poor, INVESTMENT on infrastructure, bank NATIONALISATIONS and abandoning the plan A.
    Banks must also be reformed and neoliberalism ditched.
    We need Ed Miliband´ s responsible capitalism.
    We need real change!

  • Michele

    The last few days have really been lovely and I was glad that this film got repeated last week :
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/9450182/Paralympics-founder-Sir-Ludwig-Guttmanns-legacy-celebrated-in-BBC-drama.html
    I wonder whether Dr Guttmann could have achieved so much in Germany even if he’d not been forced to flee ?

    There was a fabulous interview on ‘my’ R4 the other day:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01m9n33
    with Mark Goffeney, an American guitarist (born here) who was born with no arms but has been playing and touring for decades. He had some great put downs for ‘more able’ people.

    I’ve also enjoyed some of the late night C4 ‘The Last Leg’, presented by a handsome Aussie smartrrrrrrrs whose mother used to decorate his prosthetic for him when he was a kid.

    Seb Coe to be ‘working with Dave’ re Legacy. I rather think Dave is hoping for reflected credit.

    I’m afraid I can’t remember who said something so right about the re-shuffle and Osbo staying put; TB and GB weren’t blood bros but that friction didn’t stop them each doing the right things in their roles.
    DC and Osbo are bosom buddies and that has stopped DC kicking him out.
    The country is being sacrificed for the sake of DC’s ‘take’ on loyalty and to whom he owes it.

  • Libdem

    The worst thing about the coalition is that they have followed Labour’s plans for post the last general election. They’ve borrowed and spent more money rather than reducing centralised expenditure.

    Come the next GE, the last thing any of us needs is a Chancellor with the name of Ed Balls.

  • Anonymous

    Do you really credit the reshuffle with that much significance Alastair?
    I agree with a lot in your post. I am a supporter of universal healthcare, both here and in the US. It doesn’t have to be the exact same as the NHS, there are German, Scandi, Singaporean systems to consider, though I am one of those who thinks the NHS does a good job, particularly for the poor and indeed those who would be poor were it not for the NHS.
    I certainly agree Hunt shouldn’t be in the cabinet at all, but along with Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson and Ed Balls he proves that those who say things like “Osborne is finished” are deeply wrong. These guys can get past almost anything. I can only think Cameron expects broadsides on health and Murdoch and has decided to draw fire onto one Huntish location.
    On the paraolympics, it contiues the success in that I did not think people would support it as well as they have.
    On America, I think that most tax is bad, certainly the optimum is somewhere between 10-30% of GDP and the US has way more tax than that.
    I think the American prison system is godawful in that, in common with most criminals, the worse a criminal you are the easier time you get. If you are a 6ft 5in 18stone murderer, then you have the capacity to bully other prisoners, take their things, rape them, live like a king, whereas if you are criminal of lesser stature, prison really is hell. Surely this should be the other way round?! Likewise if you have gang/mafia/paramilitary connections you will have a much easier time.
    On Owen Paterson, I am not a climate change denier but I do agree that all EU legislation is “bad” in that even if they come up with any good legislation, we should be independent and adopt it independently from outside the EU.

  • Anonymous

    Having thought about it more, I think this reshuffle is broadly positive. I always believe that Conservatives should govern as Conservatives, and Labour should govern, and oppose, as Labour. I despise centrist consensus politics. We have only had awful and mediocre prime ministers since the war, with a few exceptions who actually achieved something or changed things, Clement Attlee on the left, Thatcher on the right. I credit Blair with being the next most important but even then I don’t think he was as much of a centrist as people say, in a more nuanced way he was right wing in the right areas and left wing in the right areas, which is different than being centrist on everything.
    I think Grayling and Paterson are more conservative than their predecessors which is how things should be with a conservative government. Gove and IDS are conservatives.
    That only leaves the open sores of Health and the Economy.
    I think the government has such huge support on Workfare, a policy I despise, that if the economy stays flat (which I think it will) this will get them over the line in 2015. Hopefully I am wrong.

  • Michele

    You really are a silly sycophant but I doubt that even dave or tricky nicky would approve of that silly kneejerk ner ner ner-ism.

  • Libdem

    You’ve summed up yourself rather well there Michelle, no comment on the content just name-calling as usual.

  • Libdem

    I agree over your EU view, we should be outside but how on earth do you convince the main parties? It’s impossible for whatever reason with all 3.
    Yet Germany has managed to make a success of the whole thing so, my gripe really is with our own governments. British governments of all flavours are the real guilty parties for their total lack of leadership re. the potential of the UK; they’ve all been no more than tinkerers and the coalition is perfect proof of that.

  • Anonymous

    I thought it was a good putdown that Call Me Dave used today, at least on a superficial level, when he said that he had his first choice chancellor whereas Ed Miliband had his 3rd choice!
    On a deeper level at least Miliband can say “I know Balls is crap that’s why I didn’t want him, whereas you actually did pick Osborne!”

  • Anonymous

    Even if you think that economically, Osborne has been a disastrous chancellor (as I do) you must see that it is politically impossible for Cameron to remove him now without conceding defeat to Labour? If he really thought that Osborne was awful, and if Osborne was doing anything that Cameron didn’t want him to, even then it would take an extraordinary act of courage and principle to remove him, and neither are characteristics I associate with Cameron.
    However I think he agrees 100% with Osbo on the economy, and I think they both feel it will be back to small growth by 2015, so they think they can win that way, whereas removing Osbo would ensure defeat. I’m not so sure, the Tories in Thatcher times managed to successfully replace chancellors a few times.

  • Gilliebc

    I was struck by how weak Cameron seemed to be at PMQs today. His body language told its own story. His head was down a lot of the time and he was very much on the defensive. Maybe he was trying to keep his temper in check.
    Regarding the reshuffle, the fact that the odious useless Osborne remains in place is very disappointing. But I realise if Cameron had moved him elsewhere it would have been tantamount to an admission of failure of the whole coalition government’s so-called ‘strategy’ on the economy. I would have liked to have seen the back of Mrs May also.
    This motley crew have only been ‘in power’ for a little over two years. But they have the overall appearance of a government that has been there for much longer. They are already scraping the barrel when it comes to new appointments e.g. Jeremy Hunt! They come across as a pro tem ‘caretaker’ administration and the sooner they are gone the better.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t know what the actual figure is, but for a first world country, the US has an amazing high percentage of citizens that do not have a passport. That must be the definition of inward looking and isolationism. George dubbelyew Bush’s world geographical knowledge showed it up, and he was in the hot seat.

  • Anonymous

    This reshuffle was next to nowt, nothing much in it, apart from the deckchairs being moved on this lot’s NHS Titanic. Jeremy Hunt? Frightening!

  • Anonymous

    “I like a lot about the US. But I really dislike the right wing belief that universal healthcare is communist, climate change is a plot against business, everyone should stand on their own two feet (not easy if you don’t have any), abroad is bad, all tax is bad, prisons are good provided the conditions are dire, and all that jazz Fox News pump out day after day.”

    Looking back over my posts here and elsewhere, where the USA is concerned I tend to be supportive. Having said that there is nothing in the above I would disagree with. I believe the attitudes, ssome of which go rather beyond the “Fox News right wing” are mainly the result of America’s history rather than any kind of conspiracy. That doesn’t of course mean that real people are not advantaged by it and others disadvantaged and comparing at the olympic and paralympic medals tables it does seem that the US disabled are among those dasadvantaged.

  • Anonymous

    Anyway, since no one has mentioned it yet, so I thought I will give it a go, the Accused last night – stop speaking to people Alastair! : )
    No, only joking. But again it was a large wedge of depression-making on a plate, but is necessary. Scratch under the surface of anything, as the HM prison service as here, and things are not always rosey. Politicisation of everyday things is a curse, when the battle is for them at the sharp edge seems to be how much can they sweep under the carpet, before someone notices.
    I have had at several times had contact with such young lads, and when you actually speak to them, let them drop their drawbridges, they are alright. Environment is when frustrations show, in various complex ways. But of course, some need more care, especially, as with last night, they go down one of those dark alleys within the mind.
    Howard Mark’s book “Mr Nice” is excellent to give an insight, when he was incarcerated in a US prison, for cross-border dope smuggling big style. Where he explains how he interacted with people he would never usually come across, in day-to-day life. It was as if either of us went into a dodgy pub in a dodgy part of a town we were visiting.

  • Michele

    I’m not sure anyone outside of the coalescence or the employers themselves has been heard praising Workfare so am not sure what you mean by ‘huge support’?

    I’ve heard people who, like me, despise the stupid correlation of it with SLAVERY, a gross cheapening of that practice. That is not the same as supporting it.

    Supporting it means agreeing with companies like Poundland and Tesco being subsidised by taxpayers.
    Not to mention, in the case of the former, exploiting numerus tax loopholes (along with importing goods that I doubt very much are all put through EU H&S inspections) and in the case of the latter further-enriching a criminal escaping justice in a country she has only that one reason for now living in.

  • Michele

    J P Getty Jnr also gave £5m to the Tories, would that have been regarded as charity? Yes btw, I would wonder the same about humongous donations to any party.

    The UK has gained a lot from philanthropists, my area’s surrounded by bequests from a Horniman, a Passmore Edwards and others.
    Their descendants must take pride in them, their names being carved in stone or on labels alongside paintings and so on.
    Others can take pride in their being preserved by today’s tax payers. until the last two years that is …. this Govt has put certain bequests in to redundancy and even considered selling some off, which should have some people spinning!

    Hoping not to sound cynical I’m not sure that charity (often to allow personal tax avoidance) is always altruistic. Sometimes it seems to have more to do with hatred of Govt spending, Govt decision-making and when it’s sent abroad to prop up political regimes that the rich person’s customers might not approve of ….. there’s something disjointed about it all.

  • Libdem

    Must ‘confess’, not a Dave fan! He and Osbo have simply exacerbated the financial mess rather than getting to the heart of the matter. They’ve actually been cowardly, just as Labour would have been.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t the tabloids fit him up, say Osborne found down in King’s Cross or something, so Dave will have to shove him out? Or is that old hat now? I will sacrifice my old bum for the cause, if needed.

  • Anonymous

    Haven’t seen it yet, but I will watch PMQ’s when it turns up on beeb UK democracy, or whatever they call it these days. But I suspect the chickens are pecking at the back door of no.10, and what to come home to etc..
    Cameron will go down in history as the first castrated PM of this country ever, and it is due to his nurture, stuck right in the past, as these singing castratos from Italy,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxSlnE408Eo

    Yes, their balls were cut off when young lads, all for singing like either of us had got a footie ball in the nuts at ten yards at a free kick.

  • Anonymous

    OOPS, did something wrong there, got muddled in edits, I suppose, trying to put my spelling right, as usual, but the clickable pic didn’t turn up, so try again, and see what happens,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxSlnE408Eo

    Did that work?

    Ah yes, so it did.

  • Tracey Davis

    I guess , bottom line America …win or loss ….never can get things right for Britain…at least you didn’t accuse us of cheating. When will you learn…America ran away because of ths “colonial” mentality. P.S. We spend more money in one hour on our disabled…than you spend in a month!

  • Anonymous

    I’d accept that right wing Governments (foolishly) want charity to replace welfare, but isn’t it a bit of a large step to suppose that wealthy people even where sympathetic to such Governments, will actually oblige by giving to charity solely or largely to accomodate that?

  • Tracey Davis

    Sigh, and you wonder why our greatest ally is Israel?

  • Michele

    Why don’t you try making sense for a change instead of the childish tit for tat / ner ner-ism that my response was to?

    Labour’s plans were for over the period of TWO Govts, it has been stated again and again since before May ’10, as has the fact that at the moment the Tories keep going on about ‘the lowest interest rates ever’ ….. which they are not exploiting.
    They are not even using the cheapest ways of paying back debt (something that I doubt the two boys have needed to learn about at home and about which so many real experts are complaining).
    I do hope that any planning regulations they sweep away now they’re finally promising some investment will start in their very own back yards. Think it’s likely?

    It’s one ‘l’ btw, do you ever see what’s in full view?

  • http://twitter.com/Janiete Janet Edwards

    Ed M’s reply was far more intelligent: Ed Balls was right about the economy, Osborne was wrong.

    At the end of the day that’s what matters, all this personality stuff is superficial nonsense and distracts us from the real issues.

  • Michele

    It was nothing to do with a quality assessment; it was new-broom-ism.

    Thank heavens Alan Johnson had the modesty and sense to remove himself (despite your view that he should be leader – even if he would need to be forced at the point of a gun?).

  • Anonymous

    Eurythmics, Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox, did a brilliant song and vid including castratos in 1985 – I remember it well, I was at RAF Swinderby in Lincolnshire at the time, and time and places always reminds you of past exact dates, July it was, a nice summer, for a change.

    I can hear it now, booming out of one of those new fangled video jukeboxes that had just come out then, in the airmans NAAFI boozer, pennies for a pint. Those were the days.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCdneDxFRYQ

  • Michele

    You are daft :-D

    A Harvard Business School professor has just assessed Osbo with a D-

    Hold on to your hat …..

  • Michele

    Why is it that Americans never ever recognise themselves as colonialists?
    It’s there, it’s real, face it.

    Or would it necessitate leaving, upping sticks and handing all that’s been built back to the indigenous people as other colonialists have?

    Let’s see it then.

  • Michele

    That’s a very simplistic statement btw. Spending more in one hour, wow, on how many people and through how many insurance companies and profit margins?
    Get real please.
    It’s already been proved to a UK dolt on here that OUR procurement teams pay one fourteenth of what an American is charged by their hospital for a pacemaker part.
    Spending is proof of nothing; value for money and negotiating skills are what describe what matters ie: investment.

    Spend? Jeeeez. That is simply easy peasy and an idiot can do it.

  • Michele

    I’m not suggesting that many large pre-tax donations are to the same recipients that the donor thinks Govt would be funding anyway. Far from it.

    It’s the opposite; donors are saying words to effect of ‘I’m not giving you this portion of my earnings to pass on to where you, our elected Govt think it is most needed, I’m putting it elsewhere, a personal choice, in lieu of paying that amount as tax’.

    Obviously I’ve got double standards about it though, I’m far more relaxed about, say, TB’s or AC’s pre-tax donations than I am about someone like Vivian Duffield’s. It can’t be helped. I’m sure the formers’ behaviours would vary too, according to type of Govt; I’d imagine Mrs Duffield’s vary less.

  • Dave Simons

    I don’t think jazz should be sullied by association with Fox News!
    Tony Blair use to be accused of cronyism, but the appointment of Jeremy Hunt takes some beating. Alright he fiddles his expenses and lies about his relationship with Murdoch’s News International, etc. etc. – but he’s public school, Oxford, related to the Royals and has the right Team Cameron look about him, so we’ll put him in charge of that same Health Service that he tried to diss during the Olympics opening!

  • Libdem

    What part of “the last thing any of us needs is a Chancellor with the name of Ed Balls” don’t you understand? It’s obvious to everyone, apart from a few cranks, that he’s soiled goods and should be kept well away from the Treasury. Perhaps you need to change those rose-tinted glasses for a dose of reality………or perhaps it’s too late.
    I know where I’d put my money lol.

  • Anonymous

    Israel actually has a very good record in the Paralympics (even in this one they are doing better than they did in the Olympics) and hosted it in 1968.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree about Ed Balls being right. He was at the heart of the biggest economic disaster this country has seen since the 1970s, or ever depending what figures you believe.
    He said we needed to stimulate to grow. We did… we stimulated up until about 6 months ago, but got no growth.

  • Anonymous

    He is only one of the people that I think would make a good leader, Alistair Darling is another, David Miliband is my favourite – but I don’t think Ed M is too bad.
    The fact AJ doesn’t want it in some schools makes him a most attractive candidate rather than power-hungry-for-powers-own-sakes people like Brown and Cameron.

  • Anonymous

    Precisely, there is nothing between them. Even two of the most centrist US challengers in history have more between them.

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t have to be Workfare in current guise, but all the polls show that the public will support any policy that puts the boot on the neck of the unemployed. Thats why Ed does not oppose Workfare, actively supports it.
    Those who hate workfare hate it because poundland or tesco might benefit. Remove that element, which is very easy, and they’ll support it. This will mean the unemployed doing community service type work like criminals. Ironically while criminals have an easier time. Dark days in my view. This short term mob rule policy will come back to haunt us. I favour the carrot not the stick in terms of the unemployed.

  • Anonymous

    Tinkerers indeed. The UK would find it very difficult to copy for example the supply side reforms that the Social Democrat Schroeder used to supercharge the German economy in 2003 because too many EU rules would prevent it these days. And unlike everyone else, we would meekly abide by them.

  • Anonymous

    I’m all for making it easier to give to charity, but I have always thought it insane to suppose that charity can take the place of welfare. No sensible free market, small government economist gives such a view.
    I think anyone associated with this view makes an idiot of themselve, unfortunately the latest one I heard make the case was Boris Johnson.

  • Michele

    I don’t think Israeli Haredim or Parsim have any appreciation of foreigners being plonked in their midst but yes, it served at least the US oil lobby very well for several decades.

    I think you have missed what most of us take for granted from the title here. We know there are good aspects to US but are repelled by what the present ‘govt’ has selected to emulate.

    I hope we’re all lucky enough to have Mr Obama re-elected, wouldn’t life be wonderfully boring if things were clearcut enough for everything he does to be 100% correct?

  • Anonymous

    “I have always thought it insane to suppose that charity can take the place of welfare”
    A further contradiction to your usual “small state” view. Piling up aren’t they?

  • Anonymous

    “I have always thought it insane to suppose that charity can take the place of welfare”
    A further contradiction to your usual “small state” view. Piling up aren’t they?

  • Anonymous

    “…vid including castratos in 1985″ Wow amazing – since the last one died in1922 – see your video above. I have a recording by him (Moreschi) which is obviously very old as was he when he made it and misses the brilliance reportedly associated with the castrati. There have been attempts to reproduce the sound by mixing I think, a female soprano with a countertenor. That was I recall, how they did it for the film “Farinelli”

  • Anonymous

    “…vid including castratos in 1985″ Wow amazing – since the last one died in1922 – see your video above. I have a recording by him (Moreschi) which is obviously very old as was he when he made it and misses the brilliance reportedly associated with the castrati. There have been attempts to reproduce the sound by mixing I think, a female soprano with a countertenor. That was I recall, how they did it for the film “Farinelli”

  • Michele

    If a person is modest about themself it’s not a weakness, not if their reason is something other than fearing personal failure, more about not succeeding for the country.
    If only Osbo had the same capacity!

    AJ did not want the Chancellorship, he was being objective about his reach, he sees limits to what he’s mastered already.
    There’s sense in that (as well as in not being played).

    I don’t believe GB wanted power for power’s sake, he’s much more altruistic and benevolent than the media has given him credit for, they were too obsessed with the tittle tattle about a dinner in Islington.
    DM is my favourite too and his being yours kind of knocks the middle out of your professed preference for extremists.

    EM was the extremist in the leadership contest, he actually fulfilled his need to show something he thought was butch during candidate interviews on radio ….. durrr…… not even the sense or taste to leave it unsaid and assumed …. no trust for the electorate.
    Shiny Dave and his joke about fetching coffee was about as impressive (un).

  • Michele

    If a person is modest about themself it’s not a weakness, not if their reason is something other than fearing personal failure, more about not succeeding for the country.
    If only Osbo had the same capacity!

    AJ did not want the Chancellorship, he was being objective about his reach, he sees limits to what he’s mastered already.
    There’s sense in that (as well as in not being played).

    I don’t believe GB wanted power for power’s sake, he’s much more altruistic and benevolent than the media has given him credit for, they were too obsessed with the tittle tattle about a dinner in Islington.
    DM is my favourite too and his being yours kind of knocks the middle out of your professed preference for extremists.

    EM was the extremist in the leadership contest, he actually fulfilled his need to show something he thought was butch during candidate interviews on radio ….. durrr…… not even the sense or taste to leave it unsaid and assumed …. no trust for the electorate.
    Shiny Dave and his joke about fetching coffee was about as impressive (un).

  • Michele

    Sorry, what do you mean with your ‘don’t understand’?
    I understand your words perfectly but I don’t agree with them.
    Do you need a dictionary for any of that or to have it re-posted in words of one syllable?

    The last thing any of us needED in May ’10 was your leader convincing anyone he was squeaky clean. He has ENABLED, he has been BOUGHT.
    I hope you understand every word of that. Last but not least just how the he** do you feel qualified to refer to cranks when away from a mirror? LsOLly
    There’s not much that’s as cranky as traipsing around flashing your yeller badge after what has come to pass with a few yellers providing what doubled a small Tory majority. :-P

  • Michele

    Sorry, what do you mean with your ‘don’t understand’?
    I understand your words perfectly but I don’t agree with them.
    Do you need a dictionary for any of that or to have it re-posted in words of one syllable?

    The last thing any of us needED in May ’10 was your leader convincing anyone he was squeaky clean. He has ENABLED, he has been BOUGHT.
    I hope you understand every word of that. Last but not least just how the he** do you feel qualified to refer to cranks when away from a mirror? LsOLly
    There’s not much that’s as cranky as traipsing around flashing your yeller badge after what has come to pass with a few yellers providing what doubled a small Tory majority. :-P

  • Michele

    It would not be possible to implement in places other than minimum pay companies, where actual employees can be further-objectified by the threat of easy swift replacement.

  • Michele

    It would not be possible to implement in places other than minimum pay companies, where actual employees can be further-objectified by the threat of easy swift replacement.

  • Libdem

    He was vilified at the time but now they can’t do enough to praise him as their economy is in a fantastic state! And all we’ve had in reality are wimps – feeling more like Victor Meldrew every day lol!

  • Libdem

    He was vilified at the time but now they can’t do enough to praise him as their economy is in a fantastic state! And all we’ve had in reality are wimps – feeling more like Victor Meldrew every day lol!

  • Libdem

    Think you’ve gawn orf on a rave there M, take a chill pill or have a strong g&t or as your mate Cameron once said ‘calm……………’, no won’t go there!!!

    And of course he was ‘bought’, you tried it too but he was too ‘expensive’ for your party. But so what, that’s the lot of the modern politician and the electorate; the politicians get what they want and screw the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    Oh good grief, there is always one. Have you heard of acting? I did say vid as well, so it is not present day real life.
    In the previous vid, someone called Timur Okutman, a male upper octave sopranist, but ask me, ummm, how he reaches that high,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHV4jh3QFjE

    Yes, it is acting, acting, Mr Gervais..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr9_5uZn6ds

    Hope this clears up any misunderstanding missing point pedantic by you.

  • Anonymous

    Very good piece. I know the Lib Dems are determined to hold tight to nurse, but it’s hard to see how this motley bunch can make it to 2015.

    I just caught sight of one of your twitter contributions and if you really are defending Gideon from the kindly hordes at the Paralympics I would like to see how you do it. Why they didn’t flay his buttocks is beyond me.

  • reaguns

    Believing charity will take the place of welfare is not a free market small government view, not according to classical or contemporary theorists.
    Therefore not believing in it is not a contradiction.

    I believe in the NHS or more broadly universal healthcare but I do not consider it a contradiction, though most people do.

    What other contradictions do you see “piling up”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rebecca-Hanson/100000257957519 Rebecca Hanson

    I think the closest they’ve come to recognising their colonial status is through Greg Mortenson’s books – where they recognise it in a positive way (honestly – especially in the second part of Stones to Schools).

  • Anonymous

    But 18th C Americans did not object to “colonialism” in the almost Marxist sense you (and Michele) mean it here and which would have met with utter incomprehension in the 1780s . They objected to “taxation without representation”. Many only took up arms against the empire reluctantly and many others not at all.
    Suggest you both read “the Cousins Wars” by Kevin Phillips – the title says it all.

  • Anonymous

    I think Brown unquestionably had a power hungry side. I think Brown also, unquestionably, had a side that wanted to help people, help poor people etc. The question is only that of balance and whether he let an obsession with his own cleverness and believing he was always right, get in the way of his judgement and ultimately harm the people he wanted to help.
    Regarding your comment on Dave Miliband, I suppose that’s a fair comment. I did indeed say many times that I prefer Conservatives to be Conservatives and Labour to be Labour… then I said that my favourite labour candidate was David Miliband, ie the most centrist one! With Blair as I said I think it was more nuanced than this, he was right wing on some things and left wing on others, often on the same things as myself. On David Miliband, I must confess I do not know his policies and ideals as well as I think I know Blair’s so I can’t claim this defence. Its a fair cop guv!

  • Red Robin

    Very true! There is always the possibility that he can be a sacrificial lamb (actually not a good analogy as nothing pure and innocent about this one) further down the line when the reforms all go @@@@ up!

  • Michele

    :-)
    If you’d heard the series of R4 interviews with each candidate in the weeks leading up to ’10 Conference you’d have heard DM refuse to answer one question. It didn’t seem to me to be evasion, it was tasteful and demonstrated he trusted the audience to know the very very obvious answer. No posturing.
    The next week EM did answer the same question.

  • Michele

    Nope yeller (soon to be buying a pale turquoise badge?) what ‘screwed’ all of us was voters like you thinking there was something altruistic about
    ….. ‘I’ll get in to bed with whoever I have to’.

    He did not mention, pre-election, the bit about it being
    ‘………….ie: whoever promises me the biggest damond’……

    It might be acceptable if it had stayed fiction.
    Cam does have a lifetime of learning how to buy subservience.
    The bits about power and Cabinet had not been mentioned in ‘the debates’, Dave upped the game, using the public’s money to do so. I’m not sure what Nicky has achieved that means he keeps his role when similarly-used Warsi has lost hers but heck, NC does have a few necessary other votes behind him.

  • Michele

    It’s ‘gorn’ btw, from the root of ‘go’, as in ‘shooooo’.

  • Michele

    How does my post suggest anything about Marxism to you?
    Yes there is a lot to regret about empires but I don’t swallow the line that they all happened intentionally (how could they have?) or that after the passage of time were all/overall damaging – people can surely revert if they really want to (and really want to stop having something to complain about).

    There were times in the past when the effects were damaging but things have evolved, the whingeing should.
    People droning on for themselves on the grounds of their ancestors’ sufferings need to think about NOW and what is happening to others; they are after all trying to claim some kind of ‘honour’ about their complaints aren’t they?
    My inclusion of letter ‘u’ doesn’t mean USA is excluded from what I’m on about. It enjoyed the privacy of owning a quarter of the globe for a couple of centuries, it now has to act as if it does realise it’s only a part of it and fgs stop whingeing about the mad King that subjugated people here too, and for pitiable reasons.

    People explored, they travelled, just as we have the inate need to now, found new horizons, variety, landscapes, put down roots for a while if a place seemed empty, sometimes moved on after a rest (if they’d not been slaughtered by indigenous gangs that found them).
    As well plonking themselves down travellers did bring advantages to most places. I’m not meaning only British or Portuguese or Spanish or Dutch travellers but also those that had colonised our own ancestors centuries earlier (and thank heavens we don’t all drone on about them ad infinitum as our ‘cousins’ in the west and east do).

    I get fed up to the back teeth of people of today who try to seize advantage (or emotional compo if you like) for what their ancestors endured.
    We are where we are post-Anglo-Saxons and post-Normans and USA is where it is post-screwing the native American Indians for a few pennies and shoving all the Hispanics as far down to the desert as they could (and nicking their orange groves and all else that had not yet been found …. Gulf/Texas etc).

    India, China and SA are parts of BRICS as a direct result of being able to trade and what enabled that? Not the indigenous multitudinous languages.

    We all have to get over it already !!! :-)

  • Libdem

    How about saying you like watching good football and then supporting Man Utd!

  • Anonymous

    No clickable pic of Wicky and Elmo, finger trouble again,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr9_5uZn6ds
    It’s for charity, Mr Gervais, charlty!

  • Libdem

    No it aint, this is the ‘real’ definition below, thank you and goodnight:
    Gorn:22 up, 8 downOriginally an alien race of large lizard people in the original Star Trek that raided the outer colonies untill Captain James T. Kirk shot one with diamonds and improvised gunpowder. They are now known as extremely anoying blog or YouTube commenters that aren’t trolls but ignorant people who can’t understand humor or irony and are quick to troll rate. Much like the Gorn that Captain James Kirk so righteously shot, the are unemotional reptiles that hiss.

  • Anonymous

    Furthermore, did you hear that bloke that sang on Brits x-factor, or was it Brits got talent? Well, one of those shows – see if I can find a clip of him, quite brilliant singing it was.
    Ah!, here he is, Brits got talent show,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOIKs346Lww

    Any good mightymark? Not bad isn’t he? Impressed me at least, considering the show.

  • Anonymous

    The US does some good things, even if it is slightly late sixties Californian hippy drug induced, for instance, Star Trekkers from all around the globe are wetting themselves on the 46th anniversary of Star Trek today, as they do every year.
    As pointed out by google search here, with one of their clickable animated icons,
    http://www.google.co.uk/webhp?hl=en&tab=ww

    Captain Kirk was a fella, wasn’t he, and good to see the Shats is still doing well, 81 or something, but still carries on as if he is Captain of the ship, still has all his marbles and that, last I heard,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ErkeFA-QWk

    Yes, as Kirk said, go in peace – SHOOT TO KILL, SHOOT TO KILL!, even if he was played by a canadian : )
    http://www.williamshatner.com/

  • Anonymous

    The Shats, in a docu he did six years ago, introduced by his mate, Spock Nimoy, or whatever his ears are called,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjlF_iSo1Og

    Very very internally pisstaking funny it is, if you have that certain, some call it, tory-right usually, alien sense of humour. About 90 light years long the docu is, just a fart in time, at warp factor drive 69.

  • Anonymous

    All I saw were the Andrew Neil interviews. I agreed with Michael Portillo that the two Milibands were by far the two most impressive, so as long as Ed Balls or Andy Burnham didn’t get in I didn’t think it would be too disastrous either way. I thought DM did better than EM in those interviews, partly because he had left himself open to some vicious questioning and took a lot of Neil’s bait.
    Oh and I saw the debate thingy too. I thought DM did best in it all, though I was pre-disposed to like him best already.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t think I had confessed to that one?! I know I don’t get to see good football whilst watching Utd, that will only happen when Carrick hangs up his books, or when Fergie is replaced (no other top class manager has ever tried to buy Carrick so I’m sure he’ll be dropped immediately.)

  • Michele

    I wonder if David Laws gets the message Sarah Teather had apparently ignored, having abstained recently from votes that were supposedly whipped?

    Did Gove ‘do for’ her and have I missed Tricky regretting losing her?

  • Michele

    When quoting it’s just common courtesy to credit your source, in this case UD.

    It was a simple correction pet and ‘gawn’ is the one that you should be bothering to provide a source for (in the absence – boo hoo – of thanking me graciously for the info).

    go / gone / gorn (as pronynced by peeps like Her Maj, those that also talk about their town and country hyces. Still with me?).

  • Michele

    Tricky nicky seems also to have shafted Teather, sacked for not giving in to the whip.

    Who’d’ve thunk it would ever come to this?

  • Michele

    I hope you realise what ‘Osbo’ means.
    It’s how ‘asbo’ is pronynced by most of those that want to replace them with ‘crimbo’.

    I don’t know whether the latter will allow the seizing of stolen property while the owner is banged up (something that is possible for simply disobeying the terms of an asbo in the case of crims that are damn ‘good’ at leaving little evidence of other, often more serious crimes).

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking, a better way for me to state my position re centrists vs old labour or conservatives, is that I think everyone should have an option to vote for what they believe be if far left, centre left, leftist tory wets like Cameron or right wing thatcherites, rather than be left only with wishy washy centrist candidates like I seem to favour :)
    We could do this with a different voting system, or if the likes of ukip and the green party gain more share. I think Cameron and Blair walk a tightrope, just about being right and left wing enough respectively to hold on to the base. Also people vote tactically, it there are people who prefer green, liberal or kip policies but still vote for one of the big two to stop the other lot getting in. I am quite impressed by the french system in this regard.

  • Anonymous

    But it is one such idea sometimes advanced – push currently state based activities over to charities and so shrink the state. Whoever said it had to be “classical”? – and as I say I’m far from sure it isn’t part of “contemporary” thinking.
    I note you admit “most people do ” see it as contraditory and I genuinely admire your honesty for saying so, however your problem is that if universal public prrovison works wth health, it seems very hard to say why it should only work with health and that may be why people see it as contradictory.

  • Anonymous

    Michele – you are obviously on a roll over this one and I return therefore only with some trepidation. By the Marxist sense I meant the idea that colonialism is an inevitable stage in the development of capitalism. Generally the USA is not seen as “colonial” outside of the US (wrongly – it did have a few island Caribbean and Pacific colonies) but is seen as “colonial” or more often, “Imperialist” in an economic sense – e.g. vis a vis influence over Japan late 19th early 20th C. My impression was that that was where your conversation was going.
    More important though I don’t disagree with much of what you say here though it seems contrary to your post to Tracey of 5 days ago (on 10/9 – thats 9/10 Tracey!)
    Or was that just pique? – should US folk who are not native amerindians really “up sticks” or should everyone “get over it already”?

  • Anonymous

    Michele – you are obviously on a roll over this one and I return therefore only with some trepidation. By the Marxist sense I meant the idea that colonialism is an inevitable stage in the development of capitalism. Generally the USA is not seen as “colonial” outside of the US (wrongly – it did have a few island Caribbean and Pacific colonies) but is seen as “colonial” or more often, “Imperialist” in an economic sense – e.g. vis a vis influence over Japan late 19th early 20th C. My impression was that that was where your conversation was going.
    More important though I don’t disagree with much of what you say here though it seems contrary to your post to Tracey of 5 days ago (on 10/9 – thats 9/10 Tracey!)
    Or was that just pique? – should US folk who are not native amerindians really “up sticks” or should everyone “get over it already”?

  • Anonymous

    Most people fall into a tribal pattern of thinking, that which you allude to here (not necessarily believe yourself) ie everything labour does is good, everything tories do is bad, or in this case I must either believe everything the market does is good, or believe the opposite. I do not see things like that and I have never read any free market theorist who does. I’ll go to Milton Friedman, often regarded as a standard bearer of small government free market thinking (in reality he is quite a centrist). He was arguably the most prominent free market advocate of the 20th century, yet he believed, as I do, that there are some things better done by government. For example in terms of monetary policy he was a hard left socialist.
    In terms of defence, law and order, he said that there was no way to do these things using the market, you needed the government. He said they would be done less efficiently because they were done by government, ie more expensively, but there is just no way to use the market for these tasks.
    With me I feel a similar way about the NHS, I know that the market would deliver cheaper healthcare for the majority of the population than the NHS does at present, appointments would be faster, cancer survival rates would be higher.
    But I do not trust the market to deliver adequate health provision for the poorest, nor do I trust that if we ditched the NHS we would go to a market system, we might go to a worse corporatist system such as the US has.
    I believe in the NHS, Milton Friedman does not, but then Milton Friedman believes in the Fed/Bank of England, I do not. You believe such things are contradictory, I do not! I don’t think it’s a choice between anarchy (nothing done by government) or communism/fascism/central planning ie everything done by the government.
    Regarding charity, I have heard people who know no better such as Boris Johnson, and a couple of people who should from think tanks and so forth say that charity would step in – I do not agree, and have never read this in any literature from classical or contemporary free market authors – if you know of any examples please state them.
    I do believe that if the state shrinks, private business will step in to create jobs, it always has, but the private sector will not necessarily step in to help those who cannot get jobs or refuse to take jobs, I would never trust this to charity or “the market”, I would leave it to government – but small government. With a smaller government we would have more money spare to feed the poor, and could have less bureaucracy and complication in the system (which I worked in). Another part of making the whole thing smaller, let’s face it, may be to actually reduce benefits.