Friday, 16 December 2011

"What a plonker" in Botley, sorry North Hinksey

Oh dear, oh dear! The Oxford Mail's Insider column reports (15 December 2011):
THE Insider knows only too well that council meetings can go on a bit. But if you have stood for election, it is probably wise to try hard to concentrate on those occasions voters come to County Hall to beg for your support.

As library campaigners put their case to the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Committee, member Alan Thompson revealed an unusual style for concentrating on the debate, closing his eyes and resting his chin on his chest at one stage.

However, when it came to the important bit, he wasn’t caught napping, springing into action and casting his vote on behalf of the electorate.

BUT it is at parish council meetings where the real drama lies. North Hinksey Parish Council has been caught up in “plonkergate”: just who did or did not call someone else a “plonker” at the council meeting on October 11?

Chairman Neil Clark believes that Remembrance Day Sub Committee chairman Bryony [actually Briony] Newport said “What a plonker!” at him across the floor of the meeting. [Newport was council chair before Clark.]

Mrs Newport insists she was misheard. In fact, she said: “procedures have not been followed and it would be plonkers to support it as repercussions would follow.”

It is easy to see how to the too [sic] very similar sounding phrases could have been confused.

It all makes The Insider proud of British democracy.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Neil Clark’s leotard moment?

In 1996 Pat Buchanan was running for President and concluded a speech by saying: “And, together, we will chase the purveyors of sex and violence back beneath the rocks whence they came.” In 2002 he thought the ‘culture wars’ were virtually lost to his opponents favour as children now experience “a culture they were born into and have known all their lives. Public homosexuality, pornography, abortion, trash talk on TV and in the movies, and filthy lyrics in popular music have been around since before they can remember.

An earlier post compared the attitudes of Neil Clark with the American conservative Pat Buchanan. In 2003 Clark wrote in Buchanan’sThe American Conservative: “if Pat Buchanan announced he was standing for president again, I would be on the next plane out to join his campaign team.” This is fantasy, the anti-communist Buchananite right would be unlikely to appoint someone with Clark’s politics, but I would not have thought it was hypocritical until recently.

On YouTube one can find a multi media presentation of a modern dance production of something called “The City of the Lame” given in Budapest during April 1999. A Mr Jones has been paralysed and is keen on “fisting” Nurse Hermione, who is caring for him. He also uses words like “fuck” and “boobies”. Quite shocking for “moral and social conservatives“, but not for the rest of us, or it now seems for Neil Clark who appears as Mr Jones and whose voice is heard on the soundtrack. Clark was living in Hungary at the time and he also participates in another section.

One would suppose that someone who attacked Roy Jenkins for wishing to relax censorship laws a few months before ingratiating himself with Buchanan was being genuine, but perhaps not. Presumably this ‘double act’ is an attempt to maximise an income from journalism, though conclusive prove is impossible to find.

Clark has argued for journalists to be transparent where they have a financial interest in matters they write about. He criticised Stephen Pollard on these grounds three years ago when Pollard commended the NHS for cutting spending on homeopathy. "Now, it may well be true that" homeopathy is nonsense "and that the writer honestly believes the words he has written", he wrote, but remained opaque as to why he choose to attack Pollard on this issue. No need to worry though, Neil Clark is a man of great integrity and incredible honesty, but his wife works as a herbalist.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Sun Says It

Under the heading "Sick Smears" a Sun editorial today has this to say:
HOW desperately sad that William Hague is forced to reveal private heartache [his wife's miscarriages] to silence malicious gossip.

Mr Hague, Tory Foreign Secretary and a politician of immense integrity, is the victim of a baseless whispering campaign suggesting a relationship with a male aide.

It is a miserable sign of the debasement of our politics that such rubbish can be peddled.

We can only speculate on who is delighting in smearing Mr Hague.
The innuendo about Mr Hague and his former aide first appeared on the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog, but "we" can assume the writer is implying it originates from the official opposition. But which publication in 1998, following the 'outing' of Peter Mandelson by Matthew Parris, asked whether the Labour government then in power had a "gay mafia" and was forced to apologise within days. This incident came after years of homophobia from Richard Littlejohn, Garry Bushell and other contributors. Readers will recognise the construction, but other Sun haters may smile at the implication that the rag recognises it has published rubbish.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Potentially stuffed?

Monday's Start the Week featured Peter Hennessy referring to discussions in February held at the Cabinet Office about the “tacit understandings” around a potential hung parliament. He is nominally referring to an Election night broadcast:
Hennessy: … I had to bat for the British Constitution on the BBC Election programme, and if I hadn’t had this bit of paper to wave it would be extremely difficult to the hold the line. Because people were ... politicians [were] exhausted, seeing their possibility of office being snatched away, were saying what they wanted the constitution to be rather than what it is, and without that bit of paper, I would have been stuffed Andy.
Marr: [gulps] Well I, … we wouldn’t want that Peter. (pause, laughter) […] Certainly not on air.
Now what could the ‘private’ joke be about? Happily this event, or rather exchange, will be available on the BBC site until 1 January 2099; the comments above occurred at about the 40 minute point.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Shifting Sands

"Once again the Useless Tories are thinking of bringing Ken Clarke back to their front bench, so as to look as if they have some, er, bottom.

"Mr Clarke is without doubt an asset, a quick-witted and human politician who has a life outside Westminster (his love of jazz is genuine, not a pose). He also has plenty of bottom." Peter Hitchens "Will Israel never learn? Each bomb is a gift to its enemies: Devaluing the £ in our pockets", Mail on Sunday, 3 January 2009

"So much for the Tories, then. Surely, this must be the end. Finding that nobody takes seriously their ‘Shadow Cabinet’ of unknowns and teenagers, and unknown teenagers, they have delved into the cupboard of the yesterdays.

"In there they have found Ken Clarke, an unreliable medium-range missile, decommissioned many years back because of its habit of landing on its own troops. Next it’ll be John Major, Lord Heseltine and Michael Howard. That should cure us all of nostalgia. ... No government containing Mr Clarke could offer anything better than a repeat of the Major years." Peter Hitchens "What use is Ken against Mandy? They agree on everything", Mail on Sunday, 24 January 2009

"But Mr Clarke doggedly keeps on in active politics, a rare grown-up in a government of inexperienced and callow young men. I actually rather like Mr Clarke, as do many people. (He is funny and convivial, his enthusiasm for jazz is genuine, and his knowledge of it real, and he tends to tell the truth in preference to spin. He took it in good part when I once tried to present him with a Labour Party membership card)." Peter Hitchens "What will real Conservatives do about this Torberal Government?" Mail Online weblog, 12 May 2010

"I agree completely with that awful old wet liberal Ken Clarke. Talking about politicians and crime, he says ‘the failure of the past has been to use tough rhetoric and to avoid taking tough decisions that might prove unpopular’.

"Quite. I would much rather have an honest, straightforward mugger-hugger like Ken in charge, weeping and snuffling about rehabilitation and similar rubbish, than a false friend of the people like that phoney hard man and closet liberal Michael Howard, all mouth and no truncheon.

"That way, we all know from the start that we can expect no help from the State against the misery of modern Britain... What unites Michael Howard and Ken Clarke (and the Labour Party, and the Liberals) is that they wilfully don’t have a clue about crime or disorder. They wilfully know nothing about policing. They wilfully don’t understand what happens in prisons. They know that the truth is very Right-wing indeed, so they hide from it." Peter Hitchens "This mugger-hugger knows the truth, just like the ‘all mouth and no truncheon’ phoney", Mail on Sunday, 4 July 2010

Friday, 2 July 2010

Pat Buchanan ... and Neil Clark

"Those of us in childhood during the war years were introduced to Hitler only as a caricature … Though Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction could commit murder and genocide, he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier’s soldier in the Great War, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him. But Hitler’s success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path." Pat Buchanan in the St. Louis Globe – Democrat, 25 August 1977

[on Charles Lindbergh's Des Moines speech, 11 September 1941] "And then he said the Jewish community is beating the drums for war, but this is going to be a disaster for the Jewish community if we get into war. And of course, that was verboten to say, but frankly, no one has said he - what he said was, you know, palpably untrue." The Political Cesspool Radio Show, 29 June 2006 (streamed on Stormfront and other white supremacist websites)

"I write as a committed, and totally unreconstructed, Old Leftist. Yet if Pat Buchanan announced he was standing for president again, I would be on the next plane out to join his campaign team. But how many of my fellow socialists would join me? Until the Left is ready in its hordes to link up electorally with the old antiwar Right, the brutal truth is that we have no chance of defeating the Bush/Blair axis. Buchanan himself has already called for such an alliance." Neil Clark "Why left and right should unite and fight", New Statesman, 17 March 2003

"In the late 1940’s and 1950’s … race was never a preoccupation with us, we rarely thought about it …. There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The ‘Negroes’ of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours." Pat Buchanan Right From the Beginning (1990)

"This has been a country built, basically, by white folks." Pat Buchanan The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 16 July 2009 (at around the minute point)

"Rail as they will against ‘discrimination,’ women are simply not endowed by nature with the same measures of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed in the fiercely competitive world of Western capitalism … The momma bird builds the nest. So it was, so it ever shall be. Ronald Reagan is not responsible for this; God is." Pat Buchanan Washington Times, 18 November 1983

"I agree with you about Pat Buchanan - he's certainly more pro-worker than most Clintonian Democrats." Neil Clark's blog comment ("It's time to be radical, Dave") 9 March 2010

"... the left needs to jettison some baggage and spruce up its thinking. Since the 1960s we have picked up several false friends, who have done our cause no good at all. The first of these is political correctness." Neil Clark "Why left and right should unite and fight", New Statesman, 17 March 2003

Sunday, 13 June 2010

There's gratitude for you

The Press Gazette quotes Boris Johnson:
"They [the press] are regulated by a Press Complaints Commission whose luminaries include the editor of the Daily Mail."
He means Paul Dacre:
"I'm sure that he is a fine fellow in many ways but I think it's a bit like putting the regulation of door-to-door salesmen in the hands of Boston Strangler."
Dacre is Editor in Chief of Associated Newspapers which, at the time of the London Mayoral election in 2008, wholly owned the London Evening Standard. For much of the noughties the Standard gained a reputation for being tough on Ken Livingstone, Johnson's Labour rival. Is something affecting Johnson's memory?

Roy Greenslade points out: "Dacre is chairman of the editors' code committee, which has no say in the day-to-day running of the PCC. Its membership does not overlap with that of the commission itself."

Off topic, but last January spin doctor Alastair Campbell relayed a theory of a psychologist friend that Dacre is secretly in love with him.