The recall of parliament to pay tribute to Margret Thatcher might have turned into the predictable “She was lucky to know me” Tory love-in had it not been for Glenda Jackson. So awesome is Glenda’s speech that no comment is needed from me!
So the BBC have decided not to play Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead on the Radio 1 Chart Show this Sunday )it currently looks like it will enter the Top 40 at number 3). It will broadcast a “short clip” during a news item explaining why it is in the charts.
The BBC issued this statement:
The BBC finds this campaign distasteful but does not believe the record should be banned. On Sunday, the Radio 1 Chart Show will contain a news item explaining why the song is in the charts during which a short clip will be played as it has been in some of our news programmes.
Ben Cooper, The Radio 1 controller said on his blog:
Nobody at Radio 1 wishes to cause offence but nor do I believe that we can ignore the song in the chart show, which is traditionally a formal record of the biggest selling singles of the week. That in turn means that all songs in the chart become an historic fact.
I’ve therefore decided exceptionally that we should treat the rise of the song, based as it is on a political campaign to denigrate Lady Thatcher’s memory, as a news story. So we will play a brief excerpt of it in a short news report during the show which explains to our audience why a 70-year-old song is at the top of the charts. Most of them are too young to remember Lady Thatcher and many will be baffled by the sound of the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz.
There are two sad things about this whole row. First is that if the Tory press, namely The Telegraph and The Mail, had not run this story on their front pages the whole campaign would not have been so successful.
Second, and this one really is the killer, If you’re over 21 you won’t even listen to the chart show! Here’s a test, if you’re over 21 do you even know what’s number 1? Me neither.
The whole issue with Thatcher is not something you can understand unless you were there. Sure everyone will have a view but only those of us that lived through it will understand the strength of feeling that has led to this whole row in the first place.
The BBC, like the lion has taken the coward’s way out but it looks like a decision made by the scarecrow – who didn’t have a brain. And what’s it all over? Well an iron woman rather than a tin man but both were missing the same thing!
People often say that you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, an opinion, particularly where public figures are concerned, that I’m not sure I agree with. What people say about you after you’re gone is largely determined by what you choose to do whilst you’re alive: nice people are remembered fondly and those who choose to be unpleasant are often vilified.
So how will we remember Margaret Hilda Thatcher born October 13 1925, died April 8 2013? Everyone will have an opinion I’m sure but lets consider the facts.
Thatcher’s first and greatest gift to this country is without doubt unemployment. Previous governments considered full-employement an absolute necessity, she considered it an inconvenience. She changed unemployment from evidence of a failing government to a respectable and somewhat desirable situation: “a price worth paying”, a way to keep wages down. In 1983 I worked for £3.50 an hour. In 1993 a friend of mine took a job, doing exactly the same thing for £3.50 an hour. 10 years of Tory government, massive profits for the wealthy and the lowest paid still on the same wages.
Unemployment soared as she dismantled the UK coal, steel and shipbuilding industries. Miners, some of the hardest working people in the country, were branded “the enemy within” because they wanted to work and support their families. Whole communities have been thrown on the scrap heap. Many of those workers are now part of the generational unemployed.
I grew up in Lowestoft, Britain’s most easterly town. A place where men worked in the fishing or shipbuilding industries. There is no fishing now and shipbuilding and construction firms are have just been derelict sites since the 80s. Now we have minimum wage chicken factories. Maggie created a whole class of jobless men and forced women back into the workplace.
No wonder Maggie considered unemployment, “a price worth paying,” she expected the victims of her policy to pay it, it’s almost like medieval practice of the condemned man paying his executioner.
Next she gave us The Great British Sell-Off, BP, gas, electricity, water, BT, railways and busses. Prices for all of these have soared as foreign owners milk the british public.
She flogged off our council houses without ever intending to replace them.
To Maggie profit was the great deity, people were just consumables to be used and discarded as required.
Then there was the most unpopular policy of any government ever: the Poll Tax. Whilst most political commentators state her euro-phobia as the reason for her eventual downfall I have always believed it was the Poll Tax.
She considered Nelson Mandela a terrorist, supported the racist apartheid regime of South Africa.
“Black Monday” wiped billions off the nation’s reserves when we were forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism as a result of her leading us into it a too high a rate of interest.
Many people have said that at least she stood by her guns, but look where her pointed them? It’s easy to stand by your guns if you point them at the weak and those unable to defend themselves.
People say we have a lot to thank her for and that’s true:
If you are unhappy about energy and water firms (mostly foreign owed) ripping you off, thank Maggie selling them off.
If you are angry that there are whole families where no-one works, thank Maggie for ending full employment.
If both you and your partner have to work just to be on the bread line, thank Maggie for making profit more important then you.
If you or your children cannot get on the housing ladder, thank Maggie for the 80′s housing boom that started this endless cycle of spiralling house prices.
If you are one of the two million on the housing waiting list thank Maggie for selling of the council houses.
The Iron Lady might be gone but we will never forget her, not least because we will still be paying for her legacy for generations to come.
Angry residents of the Cotswold town of Chipping Norton have voiced their concerns to David Cameron that the Government’s austerity measures are having a direct effect on their children’s welfare.
In a letter to the Chipping Norton News one fuming parent detailed the trauma that her 10-year-old daughter experienced after being told that mummy and daddy could not afford to buy her a new pony. ‘It has been absolute hell,’ she explained. ‘Little India hasn’t come out of her room for days after up turning the scullery table and cremating her teddy bear in the Aga. Thank God she’s got an en suite.’
‘Other parents I have spoken to at our monthly Supper Clubs are experiencing the same issues. Hyperventilation, bruises to the feet following extreme stamping and fainting fits are affecting the health of vulnerable children across the county. It’s getting just like the Third World.’
There is evidence too that pony breeders and Gymkhana event organisers are feeling the pinch as a result of parental cut-backs. ‘In the run up to last Easter I’d already sold 12 Shetlands, 6 Welsh Ponies and 3 Grade Horses. This year I’m still left with 13 Ponies and now the only interest I’m getting is from the French and Tesco,’ said breeder Steve Braithwaite from Cheltenham. ‘Local charities are really suffering too with the annual Gymkhana getting hardly any sponsorship this year, even from Waitrose or Holland & Barrett.’
Other businesses have also reported a downturn in sales. Marjorie Sinclair-Smythe who runs True Blue Gifts in Charlbury said, ‘Things have got extremely tense lately, as a matter of fact I’ve had to take all of my Thelwell horse and pony merchandise out of the window as children are breaking down as they pass by. Last week someone even posted a steaming lump of horse turd through the letter box which really was the final straw.’
A shortage of social workers in the area has exacerbated the problem with parents forced to employ extra nannies, to deal with anger management issues and to wear saddles and harnesses when required.
David Cameron’s speech on the EU has put Ed Miliband between a rock and a hard place. True it was driven not by policy but by politics. Six months ago, the Prime Minister had no intention of promising an in/out referendum on the EU but his recalcitrant backbenchers and an insurgent UKIP forced him into a dramatic reverse ferret. His address, then, was less about outlining a sophisticated vision for the future of the EU (one that Cameron’s fantasy of an à la carte Europe, in which Britain picks and chooses which rules it obeys, does not represent) but simply about getting him through the 2015 general election.
On that limited basis, the speech may prove to be a success. The early reaction from eurosceptic MPs, such as Douglas Carswell, suggests that it will help to unify a Conservative Party that has been badly divided over the EU since the election.
The biggest long-term problem for Cameron remains that having promised a “fundamental change” in Britain’s relationship with the EU, he will struggle to persuade the eurosceptics in his party that it is in our interests to remain a member if he fails to deliver. The result would be the worst Tory split for decades as some cabinet ministers, such as Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson, argued for an ‘out’ vote, while others argued for an ‘in’ vote. But that, if Cameron wins a majority at the general election (and it remains a very large ‘if’), is not an issue he will have to face until long after 2015.
For now, the Prime Minister enjoys the distinction of being the only party leader to have promised to give the electorate a vote over the EU at some point in the near future. This leaves Labour and the Liberal Democrats, both of whom have argued that Cameron’s pledge is a rash one, in a difficult position. If they seek they match his offer at some point before 2015 (most likely in the form of a straight in/out vote, rather than one tied to renegotiation), they will look weak; following, not leading. If they do not, they will stand accused of denying the British people a say over an institution that has changed dramatically in the 38 years since the first and only EU referendum in 1975. Will Miliband and Clegg allow Cameron to be the only leader to stand up at the TV debates in 2015 and promise a referendum on the EU? Almost certainly not, which is why both must now work out how to climb down in the most graceful and painless way possible.
- David Cameron promises in-out EU referendum – video (guardian.co.uk)
- Cameron’s referendum vow: it’s blackmail, says Europe (theweek.co.uk)
- UK referendum on EU promised by Cameron (radionz.co.nz)
- Watch live: David Cameron faces MPs on EU referendum at PMQs (telegraph.co.uk)
Labour and Lib Dem peers joined forces on Monday to defeat David Cameron over plans to re-draw the electoral map, leading the Tories to accuse Nick Clegg of trying to “fix the next election” in his favour. The House of Lords voted to delay any change to number and size of constituencies from 2013 to 2018, a blow to Tory hopes of making the change before the next election. The government’s plans were defeated by 68 votes.
The vote was also the first time first time Lib Dem and Tory ministers have voted against each other since the formation of the coalition in 2010. In all, 72 Lib Dems voted against the Government with none voting in favour.
The proposed re-drawing of the map would likely benefit the Tories to the tune of 20 extra Commons seats. By siding with Labour against the plan, the Lib Dems aim to make it harder for Cameron to secure an overall majority in 2015.
Clegg decided to order his MPs to vote against the boundary changes after Tory backbenchers scuppered plans to reform the House of Lords. Angry Tory peers rounded on Clegg and the Lib Dems during the debate in the Lords, arguing the changes to the electoral map were not connected to reform of the House of Lords – but rather had been linked to the AV referendum.
Former Conservative Scotland secretary Lord Forsyth accused the deputy prime minister of a “double cross” given Cameron had delivered Tory votes for the referendum. ”The prime minister risked the future of the Conservative Party as a party of government by agreeing to that [The AV referendum],” he said. “And yet here we have today, the Liberals still trying to gerrymander our constitution.”
Tory peer Lord Dobbs slammed Lib Dem peers for voting against the boundary review, telling them he would need the “telescope at Jodrell Bank” to find their principles and accused Clegg of trying to “fix the next election”.
Senior Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard said the Conservatives should not be surprised at the vote. ”In countries across Europe where coalition is much more the norm, it is much more normal and people understand that different parties vote in different ways on some issues while agreeing on packages of measures where they can find agreement in what they both consider to be in the national interest,” he said.
Despite the Lib Dem pledge to vote against the changes and Monday’s defeat in the Lords, the prime minister has indicated he still intends to push it to a vote in the Commons. A No 10 spokesman said last night that Cameron still intended to hold a vote in the Commons to try to reverse the defeat. ”The PM remains of the view that we should have fewer MPs to cut the cost of politics, and more equal size constituencies so that people’s votes have more equal weight,” the spokesman said.
Without Lib Dem MPs, Cameron is highly unlikely to have the votes he needs to win, as he would need to convince MPs from the other small parties, including the six SNP MPs, to vote with him. An alliance of Tories, the SNP and DUP members would number 317. There are 312 Labour and Lib Dem MPs
- Tory fury as Lib Dem peers join Labour to delay boundary review (guardian.co.uk)
- PM defiant after boundaries defeat (express.co.uk)
- David Cameron defiant over parliamentary boundaries defeat (independent.co.uk)
- Lords Vote To Delay Boundary Changes (news.sky.com)
(might be satire - but I'm not all that sure any more)
Conservative Party MPs were in shock tonight after the Liberal Democrats surprised everyone by not going back on a pledge they had made and decided to actually honour it instead.
In a separate development, leading Tories were also said to be unhappy about the vote in the House of Lords to delay a constituency boundary review…