I'll steer clear of Aalen, I think.
Labels: war on terror
It was claimed that while Mr Brown was on his feet yesterday, Mrs Blair walked past the Communication Workers' Union stall and said with a wave of her arm: "This is all rubbish."She was then said to have turned to two people near the stall and said: "Anyway, you lot should be supporting Alan Johnson".
Thought I'd go for a trawl through those with op-ed online and find out:
The Chancellor put up a strong performance. So it was a pity to see it overshadowed by Cherie Blair’s farcical one-woman protest.
If Mr Brown was trying to place a vast plaster over Labour’s (self-inflicted) wounds, he largely succeeded.
"Gordon Brown attempted a spectacular evolution yesterday - and although he did not fully succeed, his address to Labour's conference left him as the frontrunner, still, to succeed Tony Blair. A poor speech might have broken him and a brilliant one might have made his arrival in Number 10 a formality. This one was neither of those things.."
Gordon Brown's speech to the Labour Party conference was not, despite all the advance billing, the speech of his life: it was nothing like the prime-ministerial tour de force he had delivered the year before. But then it did not need to be. It was a thoroughly competent and confident performance, which did more than enough to stake his claim to be the party's next leader and the country's next Prime Minister.
"Like most job applications, Gordon Brown's speech yesterday to the Labour Party conference in Manchester attempted to tell his audience what it wanted to hear. So the Chancellor was at pains to mend fences (in public at least) with Tony Blair, to reassure the Blairites that he was still New Labour to the core".
He certainly avoided the sort of banana skin that upended David Davis's chances of leading the Conservatives last year, but did he do enough to see off potential challengers and look like the man to take on David Cameron? The carefully stage-managed 175-second standing ovation cannot be regarded as a litmus test,
Then there was the text of the speech itself. Given the importance of the occasion (billed as "the speech of his life" by the media), it should have been possible for Mr Brown and his speechwriters to produce prose that was less tired and hackneyed...He would, he said, "relish the opportunity to take on David Cameron", but there was precious little in this speech that would give Mr Cameron cause for concern.
Depending upon work etc I might watch Broon's speech later on, and given how mightily dull it will be, I think it could be livened up with a bit of buzzword bingo.
So some near certs:
Any mention of his sprogs
Olden but golden:
Forward not back
New Labour, New Britain
Not so likely:
'My friend Tony/Charles/Alan/Stephen'
I'll eat my hat if he says it:
I have no ambition to be Prime Minister
Croydonian is my favourite blogger
Any other suggestions?
"Speaking about the renewal of Labour's policy agenda he said: "It will not come out of one person's head." Mandelson added: "We need to include all the talents.".
He added that Labour should "applaud the leader who has delivered us three successive election victories". I'm an 'EU citizen' Peter - are you representing me?
"If we don't cheer our prime minister, why should we expect anyone else to?"
He added that Labour should "applaud the leader who has delivered us three successive election victories".
I'm an 'EU citizen' Peter - are you representing me?
Animal Aid is cock-a-hoop as after months of putting the squeeze on Wyevale Garden Centres, resulting in WGC deciding to stop selling pets, not that the business put it quite like that. AA describes itself as 'campaigning peacefully against all animal abuse ', which I suppose I should take at face value. Quite how fringe this organisation is can be judged by this footnote that I spotted:
"For simplicity's sake, we have used the word 'pet', even though we would prefer to use the words companion animal. Equally people shouldn't 'own' pets, but in reality they are able to buy and sell them as commodities".
Naturally, they are against drug testing on animals, but also seek to ban the Grand National and pheasant shooting. It also enthusiastically promotes vegetarianism / veganism.
I don't have a 'companion animal' and have no desire to have one, but I think this caving in by WGC is regrettable. In brief, my position on animals is utilitarian.
(As promised earlier. There are further notes to transcribe, and my own take on it yet to come. I have worked up my rough notes into a dialogue, so nothing written should be taken as beiung a verbatim quote from Robin)
‘Can We Trust the BBC?’ Robin Aitken and
PW: Should we need to trust the BBC, or could we be more distant?
RT: No, as the BBC is not just another media outlet and is quite possibly unique. Its raison d’être is its supposed trustworthiness and its reputation is based on that. It cannot be allowed to let that rest as it is bigger, more powerful and has a greater reach than any other media outlet in the
PW: You coined the phrase ‘institutional leftism’ to describe the BBC. What do you mean by that?
RA: I felt that the BBC was showing a consistent bias and had reported that to senior figures in the BBC, up to and including the governors. The McPherson Inquiry termed the Metropolitan Police ‘institutionally racist’, meaning that the Met is not explicitly racist, but was inadvertently so owing to its institutions and culture. Likewise, I believe the BBC and its people act in good faith, but they cannot see the elephant in the living room. The institutional leftism shows up in its instinctive mistrust of capitalism, and it should be remembered that it is a pre-war corporation set up along with similar institutions like the Forestry Commission. The BBC model was not the only possibility, and it can be compared to the
The natural instincts and values of ‘BBC Man’ are protean – he or she will probably be an arts graduate and will be fully signed up to the progressive agenda: anti-racist, internationalist, sceptical of moral conservatism and religion - particularly the American religious right, in favour of increased public spending and multiculturalism. Issues on that agenda are deemed not to be open to discussion, and at programme planning meetings that would be wholly evident. There are questions on British contemporary morality that cannot be asked, and the issue of multiculturalism only became an area for ‘legitimate’ debate when the Left started discussing it. In a programme planning session there would be no conservatives, or at best one in twenty. With age, one could become a ‘mad right winger’ and be treated as something like a court jester.
PW: How does the BBC react to criticism? Does it think it has to enlighten people?
RA: Consider the
BBC people have a supreme self-confidence, and this can be seen in credibility of reporters when they are door stepping. I was once let off by a
PW: Looking at Islamism,
RA: The phrase ‘Islamic Terrorism’ was banned by the BBC… The BBC thinks or assumes it is right and wants to avoid giving offence or inflaming community tensions. However, there is no escaping that there are home grown terrorists. The BBC pulls its punches for the best reasons, but it is nevertheless wrong headed to do so. Consider the hoo-hah it would make over the annual stop and search figures released by the police, showing a high number of young black men were being stopped. Some 80% of street crime is committed by young black men, but those figures that would have contextualised the data were never mentioned. The BBC does not want to make trouble, but it is tailoring the news. The BBC, is it the best? Maybe, but it could be better, as it isn’t perfect.-----------------------------------------
I found Robin's thesis highly persuasive, and he gains an immense amountof credibility from having been on the inside for so may years and being a highly respected journalist. He clearly has an immense amount of fondness for the organisation and his criticism is very much that of an insider who is a candid friend who wishes to save it from itself, rather than being an ideologue who seeks a Year Zero approach to reforming the corporation. His own politics appear to be soft right / mainstream, and despite the monstering I expect him to receive from the BBC and its amen corner in the left wing press, attempts to smear him as being (take your pick) as a failure, an opportunist hack, a puppet of a 'vast right wing conspiracy etc are unlikely to have much credibility with any other than the wholly credulous. Likewise, I suspect that we on the right will be in error if we attempt to portray him too much as one of us when the book hits the book shops, and would risk undermining him as a fair minded critic.Like many of my readers, I find much of the BBC's news coverage (let alone some of the other dreck they pump out) induces teeth grinding and I'm glad I have a digibox so I could watch Sky News coverage of the Israel / Lebanon action as the BBC's reporting was so utterly infuriating. While I day dream about scrapping the licence fee and making it a subscription channel, I do not think that there is anything like the political will, whoever forms the next government, to take the organisation on. What I do think has possibilities is licence fee top slicing (whereby funds from the licence fee go to any broadcaster broadcasting public service programmes - whatever they might be deemed to be), and I know from some consultancy work I have done that this prospect terrifies the corporation. Given that Channel 4 broadcasts some programmes that are at least as worthy of public funding as the average day's schedule on BBC1, I think the idea has legs.