An edited version of this piece appears in today’s Independent. I have italicised the bigger chunks not in the Indy for any of you who may have read it already, so you can skip to those bits! Also quite interesting for journalism students to see what the sub-editors decided could hit the deck as they cut to fit the space in the paper. This longer version is also being published on the paper’s website
There are many ways to judge a play. Did you enjoy it on the night? Would you recommend it to others? Do you want to see it again? And does it make you think, and keep thinking?
One would imagine the first of these is the most important, and likely to dictate the answer to the others. Yet with POSH I did not enjoy the experience of watching the play. But I have recommended it to everyone, am planning to see it again soon, and I have spent at least part of every day since I saw it thinking about what it means, what I really think about it and whether it has lasting political and cultural significance.
So why did I not enjoy it, when it is clearly topical, well-written, well cast and acted, and likely to damage the Tories? The answer is that for parts of it I felt quite ill. Not ill in the manner of the fictional Riot Club members throwing up after downing too much wine, champagne and spirits. But ill at the thought that this might just be an accurate portrayal of the Bullingdon Club on which it is so clearly based, and therefore a picture of our current rulers, their values, what they really think, believe and say when they are not minding their ps and qs whilst decontaminating the Tory brand.
The audience reaction also made me feel queasy. To one side of me was my partner Fiona and her mother, both of whom like me would argue that a non meritocratic class system based on wealth, connections and private education has done real damage to Britain. We laughed rarely, even when what was said was funny. To laugh would be to indicate a shared enjoyment of what was being said and done. Around us there were other, perhaps like-minded people revolted by the sexism, the snobbery, the belief that money and contacts could get them out of any scrape.
To my immediate left were three middle aged American tourists who seemed bemused but gradually joined in with the laughter of those who were enjoying the jokes and the banter more than I was. I sensed a fifty fifty split between the uproariously laughing and the silent.
I did some pretty wild and crazy things at university but nothing like this lot, though I do confess to occasional drink-fuelled violence, not least with types similar to those in the play. I had never encountered people like this and their braying, arrogant born to rule ‘superiority’ brought out the worst in me, broadened my anti establishment streak and hardened my support for the politics of the left.
I do not loathe all posh people in politics. My diaries contain regular fond references to two Old Etonians in particular, fellow diarist Alan Clark, and Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames. The fondness is for the size of their personalities and perhaps also because of their never pretending to be something they weren’t.
The story in POSH is fairly simple. The Riot Club has had to move out of Oxford and instead hold its night out in a small hotel. They are determined to live up to the worst excesses of their predecessors and as they do so, social, political, cultural and sexual views emerge which some in the audience found repellent, others hilarious. ‘That brought back so many memories,’ chuckled the cashmere-sweatered, check-shirted, orange-chinoed, pinky ring wearing guy behind me to his wife as they left for the interval.
When I chaired a debate on Laura Wade’s play a few days later, director Lyndsey Turner, who is most certainly not posh, said that during the interval you could feel the divide between people. The posh enjoying it more than the non posh. At times she thought things might explode.
The interval is directly preceded by a hugely powerful speech by a character who alas shares my name and who is sick to death of the wealthy having to pretend to like and care about the poor. He also reveals a vulnerability, a real worry that whereas many think they have everything, it doesn’t feel like that to them. They know most people think they are ridiculous. They have to lie about the purpose of the dinner. And though Labour are out of power, they don’t yet feel like the Tories are in power.
Alistair becomes the key character in the second half when he makes another powerful and brilliantly crafted speech and gets involved in an altercation with the hotelier whose daughter is molested after a prostitute hired for the night is asked to leave.
Enough on the plot, what of the politics? David Cameron must have thought he had managed to defuse his poshness as an issue when Labour ran a by-election campaign with class as a major theme, only to see it backfire. And when he was decontaminating the brand he did a pretty good job presenting himself as a fairly ordinary middle class guy, albeit of the upper variety.
He was clearly conscious of the issue’s risks. He didn’t talk too much about Eton and makes sure – for now at least – that his children use state schools. And someone has gone to a lot of effort – and presumably used a lot of money – to take out of circulation the picture of Cameron, Boris Johnson and pals in their Bullingdon uniform.
Governments create culture whether they intend to or not. It was a while before so-called spin became the favoured target of comics and satirists, but it stuck, as I know only two well from Rory Bremner, Malcolm Tucker and the rest. Posh could well become to this government the cultural tag that spin became to ours.
It is doubtful the play would be the success it has become had Cameron and Co not been in power. The question is whether it really does capture something about him and his ilk.
When I was on Midweek on Radio 4 last week I chatted with Libby Purves in the Green Room about the play. She thought it was ridiculous. Over the top. Unrealistic. Silly.
But one of the panellists on the debate I chaired said she felt it did portray a kind of truth, that there are people like the Riot Club members in existence and they include people now running Britain. The panellist was Rachel Johnson, editor of The Lady, sister of Boris. She went on to say class was becoming more not less relevant and ‘at the risk of sounding like your beloved Fiona’ it will not change while we have the social apartheid of private education. Wow.
One of the most powerful political quotes of this Parliament was the jibe by Tory MP Nadine Dorries MP that the problem with the Government was that it was run by two arrogant posh boys who don’t know the price of milk. ‘Don’t forget the arrogant,’ said Rachel. ‘It is the combination of posh and arrogant that could be lethal.’
So why has that lethality seemingly now been unleashed when in the Crewe by election the posh card was deemed to be a disaster? The answer probably lies in the Budget. The top rate tax cut revealed an instinct. It put an end to ‘all in this together’ and suggested they were in it for their own kind.
Empathy matters in modern politics. Cameron was quite good at it in opposition. But in government – from student fees to scrapping EMAs, unmandated health reform to a stealth strategy to return to two-tier state education, from horse rides with Rebekah Brooks’ to misunderstood LOLs and country suppers, the sense is of an out of touch elite pretending to be different to who and what they really are. They have to pretend because they want to do what they failed to do last time, and win a majority. They would struggle to win a seat if the public thought POSH was them.
But when your profile becomes as high as that of a PM or a Chancellor or a wannabee PM with a personality as big as Boris Johnson’s, the public will work out their true character.
If their true character is the one they try to present to the world, POSH will be nothing more than an interesting and divisive piece of entertainment. If the public decide it is closer to the one on stage at the Duke of York’s then by the time the planned cinema version comes out – which could have an even deeper cultural impact – Cameron could be on his way to becoming a political novelty; a one term PM who fought two elections and won neither. And his poshness will be one of the reasons. Because it is impossible to see this play and imagine that the people it portrays remotely get how the majority in Britain live their lives, or even care.
@ Alastair Campbell’s diaries, Burden of Power, were published on Thursday, £25
Out of circulation? This is 2012. http://bit.ly/Oe1BxO
I think you’d only find the likes of Cameron and Johnson funny if you didn’t realise what a menace they were. Out campaigning back in April, I encountered some North Americans who thought Johnson was ‘kind of sweet’. Perhaps they liked his funny hair.
Perhaps satirists will only get stuck in to the Conservatives if they’re properly elected. Perhaps at the moment the country is in limbo, with the two coalition partners now trying to disengage from one another and no proper direction for the country.
By the way, you will know better than anyone to what extent Tony Blair may be helping Ed Miliband, if indeed this is the case. However, I must disagree with you when you said (somewhere else) that Blair’s re-engagement in UK politics would be a positive thing. Blair had his time and shouldn’t be trying to rewrite history. Ed is in the middle of a long journey to win back activists to a party decimated under Blair. Moreover, a lot of people were very glad that some distance could be placed between Labour and Blair’s bizarre positioning on certain issues (eg ID cards, faith schools). I’m afraid Cathy Ferguson, whom you quote in the second volume of your diaries, was right – Blair was basically a Tory. And whatever his skills as a politician, the idea under him that public services could be a little bit privatised has paved the way for much worse. So I hope he resists any encouragement to speak out, as has been happening recently. Ed needs his contemporaries, not the perma-tanned uber rich, to step up to the plate.
Brilliant comments by Rachel Johnson. On the education apartheid for sure, but also when she said its not just the posh, its the posh plus arrogance. I don’t think other posh leaders like Churchill, Attlee, MacMillan or Benn had the same smug, self satisfied arrogant quality that Cameron has.
I read a good piece on this by Matthew Parris, sorry no link, where he talked about the kinds of things he and his middle class family did, the sort of house they lived in, their attempts to improve it, the sort of cars, dinners and holidays they enjoyed, and the utter contempt that the truly posh people he met in education had for such little people stuff.
This may be the most promising time of this parliament. Both Ed Miliband and David Cameron have made quite populist, hardline moves in the past couple of days, Miliband on immigration and now Cameron on welfare. These topics can certainly win elections.
Janan Ganesh pointed out on the Daily Politics yesterday that all the polls show that the public will support absolutely any level of toughness on welfare claimants. So despite the furore from media luvvies about for example the 26k cap, almost all the public not only support a cap but want it much lower.
I remember when I first heard Osborne say “we will limit benefits so that no family on welfare receives more than average wage” I thought “oh thats quite a positive step in the right direction” and then I thought “wait a minute… average wage??? Surely we should make damn sure that no family on benefits ever ever gets as much as minimum wage!”
I have believed that toughness on welfare will win the next election for Cam for quite some time now. I don’t agree with his remedies for this personally (nor with Milibands) but realise mine is very much a minority view.
‘unmandated’ is the key word.
Just as they made other people’s decisions ‘for them’ decades ago when they were trashing local hostelries, thinking (or pretending they thought) that material compensation was sufficient for what people had created by and for themselves and had earned, they are making changes to the whole of society that we have not authorised and ‘re-decorating’ to their own choice of colour scheme.
I just caught up with this interview with the ‘POSH’ playwright and was struck by this bit …………………..
“The play is a series
of bold ‘what ifs’ rather than a documentary. And the ‘what if’ of the
last scene is, ‘what if they are just better?’
No, they just think so.
In fact, ‘dismissive thugs’ would be more suitable.
The rape in the play (which pre-dates the coalition) could now seem like an allegory for the exploitation of Clegg’s previous reputation and his ‘I’ll work with anybody’ pre-election.
I can identify Cameron and Johnson easily, and Osborne I think, but I could do with a steer on the rest.
While we are talking posh people, can I just say that I think the most out of touch, sheltered, blinkered, privileged, upper class, stuck up bitch of the lot is Christina Odone of the Telegraph.
I heard her recently defend Pippa Middleton, when her partner was pretending to fire that gun at paparazzi, as a spirited young woman enjoying the company of suitors etc, as if it was out of some period drama novel. Maybe that’s fair enough. But if it had been Jordan or Tulisa aiming a BB gun out the back of an M3 through Essex or Hackney I bet Odone would have seen it in a different way.
She is always talking about lazy scroungers who won’t do jobs in pret a manger and the like – on this I would agree with Michele’s prescription that those without experience cannot talk. The likes of Odone would get killed working in a place like Pret a manger. People who don’t do physical jobs, or have never done physical jobs, should really think twice about lecturing those who have to do them.
Funnily enough, I am told that Ed Miliband has some interesting views towards physical jobs, and I was most surprised to see one of my least favourite labour politicians, Andy Burnham, make an excellent defence of these workers. He said they should be allowed to retire earlier, or get bigger pensions, because they die earlier. He also brilliantly was the first politician I heard answer a question about the poor poor uni students with “what about the kids who don’t get to go to university? I want to talk more about them.” Fair play Andy.
I’m not sure many will ‘step up to the plate’ for EM.
He showed himself, just pre-selection as leader, to be someone with a hang-up about being a younger child, desperate to prove something he might have considered ‘tough’ but which was totally needy and exhibitionist.
It’s something he can never grow out of.
His brother, as well as being older, is many times more tough.
Cameron getting hold of the wrong end of the stick once again, with regards to the increasing benefits bill of the country – if the torys hadn’t sold off so much social housing, benefits would not end up in the pockets of private landlords with their high rental charges. He needs to approach it from the other direction first.
Won’t be long for the return of high rate of homelessness, rampant under-25 crime, with the even more of the clogging up of prisons. A blank cheque for solicitors – that looks to be the profession to be in in the near future. And wait for the u-turn on police forces cut-backs when “things” kick off, crime rocketing.
Your conviction that POSH represents the Bullingdon
Club accurately suits your class war wishes, as Ed’s Labour party can be
seen to want to appeal to a constituency of racist bigots and to fuel a class war.
When fitted to your own admission of “I did some pretty wild
and crazy things at university but nothing like this lot, though I do confess
to occasional drink-fuelled violence”, and by reference to:
it seems that your conduct may have been similar
overall. (Did you declare all your earnings for tax?)
click the link rather than the photo – there is Osborne in the selection of photos, a close-up.
The gap between the rich and poor in Britain is the widest in EU.
I think that’s Ed Balls front row bottom left
Really pleased to see the first good shot fired by Alistair Darling in the UK vs Independence battle! All the people he got on the podium were miners, soldiers etc, whereas Alec Salmonds launch party had a load of actors, luvvies, media dahlings!| 1-0 Darling!
Same stuff affected the ridiculous AV vote, whereby politicians like Nick Clegg managed the amazing feat of wheeling out a load of more even more annoying and even less credible people than themselves, such as Eddie Izzard and that Shakesperian actor whose name I’ve mercifully forgotten! Once more, unto the screen and out of stuff you don’t understand dear friends, once more! Muhahahah!
Channel 5 news? Bugger! Why don’t you give us more of a heads up Alastair, for gawds sakes! You don’t work for MI5, do you? So say will you, flipping ‘eck!
might as well try plough into their iplayer version, full of adverts, might get there after quater of an hour of fanny pads and kitcat choccy bars, if I am lucky…
A bit like this
The working class can kiss my ars’
I have got the Prime minsters job at last
Which government isn’t an “out-of-touch elite”? The whole “out-of-touch elite” is becoming a bit of a tired cliche. It turns out that, in order to be “in touch”, you have to pretend that money has no real value and that we can spend without conscience for ever more. As for being POSH, Cameron isn’t necessarily arrogant, but he has a nasty brutal streak that Blair does not have – a good thing for leadership unfortunately. It guards against Blair-esque infantile dreaming.
AC’s Wiki page would have suited you just as well Rich (as well as not implying you were breaking a scoop) …. d’oh.
? pardon ronnie? Looks bugger all like him, he is not that good looking, and that smarmy. : )
Ouch, for the second time in two weeks just watched Peter Hitchens beat a labour rival half to death with sheer truth and logic. The victim this time was, the usually rather good, Chris Bryant.
Bryant admitted the blatantly obvious truth, as did Ed, ie that it was constituents who foresaw and experienced the problems of immigration, before the posh labour mps in their ivory towers did, admitted there should have been points based systems to limit immigration etc.
But Hitchens beat him over the head with the bit admitted by Neather, namely that Blair and Brown deliberately tried to flood the country with immigrants, as part of their drive to create a permanent labour majority of immigrants, public sector workers and welfare claimants.
A Sweden style experiment was planned. I reckon the sooner the better, the sooner we try swedish socialism, the sooner we will have the inevitable catastrophic crash that Sweden had in the early 90s, and the sooner we can get round to adopting the free market reforms that Sweden has been adopting at a ferocious pace on its way back to recovery.
The variation I’ve heard is ‘I’m in the House of Lords at last’. It usually applies to former trade unionists and Labour politicians who have made a career ‘on the backs’ of the working class. It has no relation or relevance whatsoever to Cameron’s social set.
AC is not shy at issuing rebuttals is he? The article was published in May 1980.
The hypocrisy in his outpourings about the Bullingdon club members is breathtaking.
Had you cared to open the link a few days ago that you actively braggardly declined to do you would have found contemporary information from Andrew Neather describing exactly why we NEEDED immigrants in the early 2000s.
Perhaps you even do know, yourself, what skills we were short of in the early 21C – after all haven’t you introduced immigrants to companies you’ve worked for?
You would have realised the so-called ‘report’ of AN’s statement had been refuted and corrected by him years ago.
You would have therefore known that Peter Hitchens is a liar (or perhaps he’s actually just like you ….. sticks his fingers in his ears or his hands over his eyes when faced with FACTS).
For the second time … all that you allow in response to your posts is ad hominem, when all you boast about is your lousy opinions and proudly decline INFO it’s not possible to respond about anything other than your own ‘quality’.
Here y’are again reaguns, some facts to inform your opinion (the same facts you declined reading on Saturday).
Peter Hitchens is a liar, he knows AN responded and corrected the false reports of his statements.
What editor does PH work for though? Aha …… this revolting piece of it …
Once again FYI, if you actively and boastfully refuse facts and want to stick to the pirouetting with only opinions, you can only attract criticism about them = you. It’s unavoidable.
Carl Bildt doesn’t seem to agree with your ‘analysis’ (aka : opinions) and … surprise surprise ….. he also doesn’t subscribe to your notion about letting banks fail, in fact he knows how Sweden was kept from sinking :
Thank you to Alastair for letting me post this. I posted the same first paragraph on the Telegraph, under Odone’s latest drivel, and they let the sharks at me for a while before removing the comment altogether. A tad thin skinned is the Odone.
I don’t do politics at work, from time to time I’ve been asked by companies/bosses to look for people to fill positions, and like anyone with a network of contacts I contacted the people I thought would be best for the job, better yet when they were friends. They all had the legal right to work here.
Usually the jobs were advertised through the usual channels in the UK first, not that this was any of my concern. I happen to think if the company had wanted to, they could have found UK workers to do the job, but it might have been more expensive. We didn’t make the rules.
In theory, in the industries I am talking about, we had a “skills shortage”. In reality we had no such thing, the company just didn’t want to pay for the skills, it was a “money shortage”. I heard some big computer bod in Ireland a few weeks back talking about how he “could not find developers”. I’ll find him 500 developers tomorrow if he is willing to pay them higher wages than they are getting now. If he is not, then of course he’ll struggle to find them, the twat.
So I’m dubious of the skills shortage, except perhaps in a few fields like medicine. But as you well know, most of the workers we brought in were not to fill any skills shortage, we already had plenty of skills in plumbing, cleaning and retail work – it is simply that these immigrant workers were cheaper.
As for ad hominem, it is when you try to argue against me by saying “what is your experience” that we get into that, whereas a proper debater can stick to facts and logic in order to argue. Golden rule, once they start attacks on the person, they know they’ve lost the argument.
The other day, you posted a load of points, one of which was that “there was no alternative to mass immigration” ie there was nothing labour could do about it in your opinion. I never had any intention of debating your other points, I simply picked this one piece of putrified garbage and refuted it.
I don’t need to read anything further than I have already read in order to state that labour could have stopped immigration any time they wanted to, as Ed Miliband and Christ Bryant have now admitted themselves, and they even gave a solution that did not involve ignoring the EU or leaving the EU.
Er… was that link supposed to be a present to me?! It totally backs up the case made by Peter Hitchens and everyone else!
Who says he should?
It’s common knowledge, go chew on a bone.
Yep, Greece is much more egalitarian and getting moreso by the day.
Oh I shouldn’t play such a cheap shot, I agree that we should do things to make Britain more egalitarian, just probably don’t agree on what those measures should be.
Well that’s a good article, he’s not an unreasonable man.
He doesn’t deny the negative consequences (moral hazard), nor the causes (20 years of mismanagement as he states), and states clearly that it wouldn’t have been a good idea to return to high regulation.
Reasonable people can argue about whether it was the right thing to do or not in Sweden. Even I would say that the outcome was not disastrous. But as he states himself, Sweden’s case was not the same as others. Ireland tried to copy Sweden’s example, but it was truly disastrous for Ireland, and it is proving to be disastrous for most of the others. Iceland did the opposite and they got better outcomes than Sweden or Ireland.
One very important nuanced point he makes is that they only guaranteed the depositors (and presumably bondholders) not the shareholders. Ireland, and the UK on the other hand guaranteed everyone. As he points out, hammering the shareholders made damn sure that Sweden’s banks would think twice about being so reckless again, whereas us protecting our shareholders guarantees that they will be reckless again. Ie it went some way to addressing the problem of moral hazard.
The only quibble I have is the talk of getting the money back, making a profit, this is false, its spin. Its like if there were a car factory earning the government 10 million pounds in tax per year, and then the government smashed up half of it at a cost of 2 million and it only made 5 million pounds the next year, and the year after, before rebuilding itself to its full capacity of 10 million, then 12 million etc. I’m sure you can easily see how the government could claim at various stages that it had “paid back the money” etc when a sane appraisal would say that in actual fact the government destroyed at least 20 or 30 million, that could have been put towards schools, hospitals etc.
Perhaps the word ‘bitch’ is what did for you.
Your (and anybody else’s – including my own) dislike of her doesn’t give you the right to use that word.
It also doesn’t give you the right to defame female doggies.
You have no proof it was ‘the Odone’ that got it removed, Toxigraph has ‘dislike’ function and also, I believe ‘report’. I doubt she would care about a droog’s opinion of her, most women wouldn’t.
IF you posted with FACTS, if you were able to back your points up as being actual facts, if you were interested in others’ facts rather than boasting like a yob that you are not you would receive posts about those points; agreeable or disagreeable, possible to be argued about.
As you do not, as you boast about your lack of interest in facts and your ambition to only post opinion, you (for holding and not re-evaluating those biased and often illogical ‘points’) are all that can be disagreed with.
May I ask what is common knowledge? The hypocrisy?
Sounds like a good number to me! But what’s this? 20 – 28 years old, then there’s less demand? Just my luck! Missed out again! I shall have to be satisfied with another reading of my well-thumbed ‘In Praise of Older Women’. As Yeats said, ‘Picture and book remain’. Meanwhile if I were you, Tricky, I’d get out more.
You didn’t read down to Andrew Neather’s response did you?
Got a scroll function?
You didn’t respond to mine about whether, if Labour or any other govt stopped immigration from certain nominated countries they would be breaking International conventions (and some laws).
Or did you?
if so, post the link to it.
PS: In this case of course the ‘certan nominated’ would apply to those EU countries you think should be barred from UK.
Still sure we should leave the EU btw?
I dare you to predict what would happen if we planned it for the end of this year (or your choice of when). How would things go or was it just more bovver-booted pirouetting?
Can you PLEASE understand that quotation marks denote a quote.
Your ‘quote’ :
“there was no alternative to mass immigration”
was not about anything I have posted.
When you mean ‘words to the effect of’, post that.
Either way, in this case, you are wrong.
“……Could POSH become ….. the satirical tag ….?”
I don’t think it should.
Posh (in the old money way) is an accident of birth and doesn’t mean a person will turn out to be a bully, a knowall, selfish, a destructive spoiler, determined to in-breed or any other of those awful characteristics we see in this lot.
There are other more worthy tags (and I don’t mean swear words).
Hey man, I’m a great admirer of yours, especially your poetry. So I’m slightly disappointed that you’re taking my comment here seriously. I would have expected you to join in with some more ridiculous suggestions – Dennis Skinner leaning on the window-sill, perhaps? They all look so stupid and loathsome that anything goes…
Nope Rich, the history.
I presume your last word was a typo.
If only it actually was your last word but shucks, you seem to be a badly driven masochist.
So good to see you do appreciate the usefulness of underestanding the point of comparing interest costs with inflation when it suits you 🙂
I certainly did read his response!
Too tedious for a full reply. Look up “paraphrasing” and get back to me.
Tedious again. Yes I did respond. Not a damn thing would happen. We can stop all immigrants from all countries tomorrow, and not a damn thing would happen – what are you expecting, airstrikes? Gunboats up the Thames? Plenty of Labour and Tory politicians, civil servants and policy wonks have stated this can happen without trouble.
The only possible ill effect would be that some countries would try to get into trade wars with us, but as a net importer, this would make those countries the stupidest countries in the world, and would harm them not us.
Of course I’m not for one minute suggesting we should go down any non-immigration route. We should simply have our own vetting system, see what skills we need, use the points based system, and allow people in on work permit basis only, ie no getting treated like UK citizens. All these workers should have to have enough money to support themselves through a short jobsearch should they lose their UK job, and enough to pay for their flight home if unsuccessful.
I am absolutely certain we should leave the EU, in its current guise. We entered it to be in the single market, which was a daft idea itself but no matter, we did not enter it to join a country called Europe. If we left there would be no negative consequences whatever. We could simply become a larger version of Switzerland, ie the non-EU Switzerland that leads the way in every respect among European countries. Again, you don’t need me to wargame this, it has already been done to death by more qualified people, no need to reinvent the wheel.
Why don’t you tell me what the armageddon would look like if we leave the EU. I’ll go easy on you and start by reminding you that we buy far more than we sell from the EU, and we contribute more than we take out – so they would be the net losers, and the ones who would not want to enter any tariff wars or suchlike.
Garbage, I don’t say a single thing that is not backed by facts, or where logic cannot deduce what the facts must be (ie on the EU referendum.)
When it comes to economics – I’m all facts. GDP, growth, deficits, amount of QE, amount the pound has been devalued etc – all that is needed are the facts.
It’s true that it almost certainly wasn’t Odone who had it removed, but doesn’t stop me ribbing her, and those who got offended and had the thin skin on her behalf.
As for the word bitch, well I hope you have read enough from me now to know that I will never submit to the politically correct posse – I will carry on calling a spade a spade. I also know that (this won’t surprise you) having been called every swear word going myself, I know that it is really not that bad, and anyone who gets offended needs to remove the poker from their arse.
If Christina Odone can call on nurses to be paid less, or worked harder, then I think the nurse can call her a bitch, and if I was the judge I would say that Odone is the one who has caused the most offence.
What about a miner who lost his job in the 80s? Can’t he call Thatcher a bitch? Or worse? And Scargill the same? As I am sure you are aware, those miners do, and I fully support their right to do so. If I feel someone is a bitch, or a b, or a c, or a mf-er then I shall continue to say so, and if it offends people then I hope they realise that it wasn’t meant as a friendly barb. Thats like when people say prison doesn’t help criminals. Prison is not intended to help criminals. Bullets are not intended to help the people they shoot. And the word bitch is not meant to save its recipient offence, it is meant to cause offence.
I appreciate that Hypocrisy is a word not understood by Labour nowadays: aggression the only answer. Attack dogs posted lest hard questions are asked. Go girl, always the last word.
Don’t paraphrase me.
It takes comprehension and for someone who used ‘the finest among nothing that was fine’ (oh, am I paraphrasing, or am I quoting?) is not a reliable technique.
We’re looking at it from different perspectives.
Being isolationist and exploitative, believing that being born in a country equates to being a part owner of it is wrong headed imhoo; being boastful about the rightness of selfishness is distasteful but there y’go.
All facts can be interpreted and distorted; nobody gains anything from your chewed up and spat out interpretations.
Show the working out, show your sources, prove it’s honest.
Oh come on ronnie, I was joking with you, but my humour can be crisp dry at times. Many people don’t get it.
And thanks for the complement about my warblings put into poetry – I am still an amateur, but working on it. I still can’t spell though, and am too lazy at times to check my spelling by book or online. Think the secret I am working on is self-deprecation, amongst other things.
An ok then, Balls could pass as any one of them. It takes one to know one, and that is why he winds their springs up. All the best.
Can you explain what you think is hypocritical about distaste for the Bullingdon Club?
Taste is, after all, an individual’s own.
Please do qualify what seems like defence of it.
Oh if only one could imagine you save the word for special occasions but your pseudo macho posturing makes me sure things are otherwise.
No, I really don’t. Inflation is the greatest evil we all face, the worst event of the 20th century was caused by inflation, there is never any conflict inflation is always the worst outcome, always.
I don’t even see how the point relates to what we are discussing anyway.
This isn’t really the forum for that, but I do so when appropriate. Anyone interested in that sort of thing isn’t usually on these boards (try the guardian economics btl) and its not like people are persuaded by facts anyway. When I have stated the facts about minimum wage, that’s been really well received here hasn’t it? Or immigration numbers? Or trade with the EU? That’s changed a lot of opinions on here hasn’t it?
You’ve described somewhere how you’ve introduced cheap ‘immigrant’ labour to your employer/s.
Were these people really immigrants (as in being or intending to become citizens, dedicate themselves to staying) or were they EU citizens entitled to free movement, to come and go at will?
Did you do well out of making the introductions, good favour and all that out of providing exploitable people? Did they work on or off the books? Do you equate yourself with the type of agency that EM actually wants closed down?
Don’t ‘go easy’ on me pet; 8 out of our top 10 export destinations are in the EU. Were we not members and those 8 buying countries had to pay normal import tariffs on our goods, would they really still buy from us, after our saying ‘I’m alright Jack’. Grow up fgs.
Re elsewhere (not time to find it), note that one of the connotations of the word ‘bitch’ is someone being ever-available, as a poor female dog is. Take note that you sound rabidly sexist, tone it down.
Take note of the last paragraph (who knows, you might even lose consciousness at the typo in it) :
Save the word bitch for special occasions? Yeah not really, I use the phrase “stupid bitch” regularly when referring to women, but I think it is less offensive than the terms I use when referring to stupid men – and the latter is more often seeing how politicians, bosses etc are still mostly men. Of course I use the word bitch for men too when appropriate, for example when british politicians use to do the bidding of their Russian masters, or “dogs” if you will.
How many times do you need to think about it?
Borrowing, at interest rates 1/6th rate of inflation, to fund infrastructure we can start using sooner rather than later, thereby improving QoL sooner rather than later, saving money vs what everything (from materials to labour) would cost later AND providing work now rather than later AND what’s more benefitting the people sooner rather than later ….. how many reasons do you need to agree that sometimes borrowing is better than the alternative?
I really thought you’d got it but there y’go (or don’t, given your preference for tough butch pseudery).
I don’t have whole days to fill with posting.
You read this from AN (in Oct ’09, a few days after the Toxigraph had ‘reported’ – or distorted – his statements) and you still don’t perceive Peter Hitchens as a big fat liar?
Do you imagine PH.ut was ignorant of it?You have a future under Dacre too 🙂
“Neather objected to this exaggeration of his comments.
“Multiculturalism was not the primary point of the report or the
speech”, he clarified in a follow-up published three days after his
original article. “The main goal was to allow in more migrant workers at
a point when – hard as it is to imagine now – the booming economy was
running up against skills shortages. But my sense from several
discussions was there was also a subsidiary political purpose to it –
boosting diversity and undermining the Right’s opposition to
“Somehow this has become distorted by excitable Right-wing
newspaper columnists into being a ‘plot’ to make Britain multicultural”,
he said. “There was no plot. I’ve worked closely with [Barbara] Roche
and Jack Straw and they are both decent, honourable people whom I respect (not something I’d say for many politicians).”
“The Right see plots everywhere and will hyperventilate at the
drop of a chapati”, he concluded. “The Left, however, will immediately
accuse anyone who raises immigration as an issue as ‘playing the race
card’ – as the Government has on several occasions over the past decade.
Both sides need to grow up.”
You are doing my answers for me:
“But my sense from several discussions was there was also a subsidiary political purpose to it – boosting diversity and undermining the Right’s opposition to multiculturalism.”
“The Right see plots everywhere and will hyperventilate at the drop of a chapati”, he concluded. “The Left, however, will immediately accuse anyone who raises immigration as an issue as ‘playing the race card’ – as the Government has on several occasions over the past decade. Both sides need to grow up.”
Oh but its not what I mean when I use the word bitch, nor is it what most people understand. I had some teachers who were definitely not ever-available for example, but they were certainly bitches, and stupid ones at that. I had plenty of male teachers who were stupid
In my house growing up, there were swearwords we were not allowed to use, ie f, c and b words, and a few others… but bitch was fine.
“Don’t ‘go easy’ on me pet; 8 out of our top 10 export destinations are in the EU. Were we not members and those 8 buying countries had to pay normal import tariffs on our goods, would they really still buy from us, after our saying ‘I’m alright Jack’. Grow up fgs.”
Er, I wouldn’t want to patronise you ‘pet’, but you should really think about leaving the economics to the adults. You want figures? Go look them up – there is not a single one of those 8 export destinations that we don’t import more from than we export to – so for any, repeat any, european country to enter into a tariff war with us, would be very very stupid on their behalf, would do them damage and do us no damage at all. We run trade deficits with all of them.
An EU immigrant is no different than any other immigrant – if our government wants to stop them coming in, they can. Perhaps you think Russia, China or the US is in the EU? Well they aren’t – therefore the EU cannot put a gun to our head. It can try a knife, but will soon find its brought a knife to a gunfight.
The immigrants who I have helped to get jobs have been from various countries, Brazil, South Africa, Belgium, but mainly from India and Poland.
None of them were cheap labour, perhaps cheaper than a British counterpart, but still well paid. Usually we couldn’t find British workers with the same skills, without headhunting and outbidding rivals, whereas the skills could be got from India and Poland without doing that.
Neither inflation nor interest rates can be relied on in this way. Our cost of borrowing is low now, but we could borrow a load of money now, and next year find interest rates have risen, like they have in France and Italy – we can’t carry on paying back at the old rate if that happens.
This is where all the arguments from Balls and Krugman fall away, oh sure they are good for people who get their economics from Question Time, but a serious scrutiny shows that while they pretend that they just want to stimulate during a recession, you can go back as far as you like and you will NEVER find a time when they thought it was right to cut, to run surpluses, which is what Keynes endorses, the man they claim to follow.
Again, don’t see what it’s got to do with the Swedish situation. The Swedish situation wasn’t disastrous – doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been improved upon – Iceland did just that.
Oh and once again, there is nothing tough or butch about the policies I call for. If we were all tough and butch, then we wouldn’t need the policies that I want. Do you think I want stiffer sentences for criminals because I think we are all tough, or because I think we are vulnerable?
It is socialism which demands tough people, the sort who can do grinding work under pain of death. I much prefer the cushier, higher standard of living that capitalism brings – nothing tough or butch about that, its the opposite.
Funny that you flick between calling me tough and telling me I’m pirouetting… I guess you don’t believe the stereotypes.
In October 2009 Neather wrote an article for the London Evening Standard entitled “Don’t listen to the whingers – London needs immigrants”
All the rest from you is hyperventilation and prejudice. Do you want ‘us’ to exclude everyone from the privilege we have (especially as some of it was made unfairly) and act like the characters in POSH?
Q. Child/ren living with you reaguns or is all your protest about schools out of excitement re costs you don’t feel the need to share?
You use the word ‘trade war’ about partners that would be rejected exes? Durrrr ….
A country that can buy goods from trading parners and ex-enemies without duty or with it from any.other is going to have to consider the first cost, we would lose. Not just the sales but in the expenses of re-opening trade markets with others further away (who would also have higher transit costs to add in before their own duty charges).
Not sure why anyone from an ex-BRICs / now BRICS country would need your help in staying here vs their growing home countries but as you didn’t acknowledge the question re whether you gained, let’s face it that in one way or another you did and it’s what made making intros acceptable to you.
One of EM’s targets – exploiters.
Re ‘bitch’, you don’t get to choose your own meaning, whatever you were ‘brought up’ to think is or isn’t acceptable is irrelevant.
Much as I dislike CO’s arch religiosity and conformity it’s discrete from this … I’m glad your post elsewhere was removed and the sooner male wimps stop relying on a covert sexual threat or evaluation to insult a woman with the better.
‘pirouetting’ isn’t performed only by female dancers nor only by humans.
Make them the ONLY way people like Jimmy Carr and Dave & Siblings can avoid immediate tax.
Back to the situation pre-Thatcher.
……”Empathy matters in modern politics. Cameron was quite good at it in opposition.”…..
Osbo too …. he said in opposition that tightening our regulations would lead to Canary Wharf emptying and shifting overseas.
Today he says Labour had been ‘clueless’.
Their own moral responsibility is the only reason for Barclays now being exposed, what regulation could monitor and spot their rounding up or down of thousandths of a percentage point on xillions-worth of transactions per day?
Perhaps it’s even the slowdown in world transactions over recent years that has allowed closer scrutiny.
ALL the EU trading partners we export to had bought more from us in the last full year (especially the newer members).
It will be interesting to see how Dave’s performances this year will impact that record.
I have no real problem with what we pay for education, I simply want more discipline and better results and I do not believe it takes money to do this. In fact if we chopped teachers who do not deliver, we would soon find the remaining ones delivering a bit more.
I believe in capitalism and incentives – but lets not pretend Sun Tzu, Stalin, or Mao were not able to motivate people.
As for Neather, he quite simply pointed out that though he believed we needed immigrants, he also believed that either a main driver or at least a nice side benefit was the rubbing the rights nose in it.
Did we need immigrants? Skilled ones certainly. Unskilled ones? Well given our current education and welfare system we probably did. With a different system we probably wouldn’t.
Whats my take? We can take as many immigrants as we want, on work permits. They should have a right to work here and earn money. They should not have a right to avail themselves of our public services, unless they have paid in lets say a certain amount of tax first. When they lose their job, they should be sent home.
That’s not how language works Michele. I didn’t choose my own meaning, I use the meaning as it is understood by most people that I am acquainted with. I think calling a man a wimp is much more offensive than calling a woman a bitch by the way, but you can call away.
You really do need to un-dense if you are going to talk about trade with the EU. If country A sells 100 million of good to country B, but buys 200 million of good from country B (A being us, B being any european country) then any tariff war entered into would be ruinous for country B’s economy but would actually improve country A’s economy. So they would be daft to do that, but if they did it wouldn’t harm us.
As for making introductions, the BRIC country I know best is India, but Brazil can be included in this too – despite the BRICs booming and us stagnating it is still very worthwhile for Indian professionals to come here and work, we still pay far higher wages. Did I benefit from this, of course I did, who is denying that? Our company was able to use them to make money, which helps me stay in employment, helps the company make money which will hopefully bring wage rises and bonuses for me, and yes it is another skill that gives a good impression of me with the company. I’ve also made quite a lot of friends in the process, including a couple of good friends. I happen to think our company should pay some of the guys more, but that is not up to me.
Maybe explain more of this sometime.
That is total nonsense – no EU country buys more from us than we buy from it, repeat NO eu country. Look it up.
You’re really quite proud of your ugly mind aren’t you?
You made ‘the’ post then came back on to thank AC for allowing it on and boast about its content and whinge about disapproval on another board and even to presume that ‘the Odone’ (words akin to) had had you removed there.
Wassup ….. needed to bring people’s attention to it and boast about your cyber thuggery? How pathetic.
You didn’t mention whether they were on the books.
This relates to what had been sold in 2010 btw, not vs our imports from them.
Balance of Trade is anyway a pretty crude measure, given it’s only about raw figures and disregards so much – including value per citizen and types of products.
Yet again the spouting sounds secondhand, informed by NO recent or direct first hand knowledge. As ever.
Not much different to the agencies EM criticised then are you?
Did you do grammar btw? Recognise the structure of the phrase ‘tough butch pseudery’.
‘Pseudery’ is the noun, ‘tough butch’ describes it.
Still waiting Michele.
You have two choices:
1. Continue with your ridiculous logic that people who haven’t experienced a job, a country etc cannot comment on it, in which case I demand to know the jobs and localities you have experience of, so that we can ban you from commenting on anything else, by your own rules and your own logic.
2. Admit this was amateurish nonsense and join the rest of us in the accepted means of debate.
Exactly, our trade may have increased, but they all sell us more than they buy, so would be shooting their own foot to enter tariff war with us.
And even if they were that stupid, it would simply improve our trade balance.
Of course they were on the books, all registered, paying tax etc, its not the sort of business that could be done any other way. And yes the non-eu workers have the appropriate visas and permits.
To michele re the “not much different from the agencies EM criticised are you” yes I am different. Its the same argument that EM employed effectively against the tories pointing out the 45p tax would benefit the rich tories. People said “It benefits Miliband and Labour too, they should shut up.” No. Ed Miliband could talk, because though he may now pay less tax, it was not him who legislated that, so he can hold his head up high.
Likewise with me, if I was the prime minister, I would severely curtail the amount of immigration we receive, though I would still make sure the immigrants we need for hospitals and so on were welcomed with open arms. But I am not in government, I didn’t make the rules, so its not my fault, or my company’s fault, for playing along with them. If we don’t take the cheapest workers available, then our rivals will and they can undercut us on price then.
Another example is CAP. I do not agree with CAP, I don’t believe we should subsidise rich european farmers at the expense of poorer european farmers and very very poor african farmers. But if I had a farm I wouldn’t refuse the CAP money. There is no contradiction in this whatsoever.
Tony and Alastair I’m sure were no fans of Murdoch – but they still played along with him. Thats life.
Oh ok I’ll stop posting now.
Or maybe I won’t.
My mind may be ugly to you, I don’t care, but I suspect its simply because you don’t agree with me.
You have NOT been exposed to 1.
Don’t wish to comment about anything other than being an amateur employment agent introducing cheap workers to companies?
Your choice and entirely understandable, especially if, as seems likely, they were off the books (as well as likely being on less than minimum pay which you loathe so much and say will leave UK workers redundant …. oh the irony).
You have spouted, repeatedly, about schools.
It is logical to wonder about your ‘knowledge’, the basis on which you ‘think’, based on your having first hand exposure to schools since your own education ,,,,, or have you not?
It is reasonable to presume that if the answer is not then your ‘opinions’ are based on those of others or on those hacks whose job it is to wind us all up.
Some, clearly, enjoy being wound up.
In the context of education you do know I have exposure/contact since my own education (admittedly over a decade ago and in the last throes of the last Tory administration) and have been a volunteer on school fund-raising committees since then.
My opinions of what I found have been posted.
My opinion about the crap idea of chucking up a whole system and replacing it is that it is showy-offy destructive, being from someone who has yet to prove that a single one of his ideas so far has been/will be successful.
Total and too-quick change is not reliable, especially change invented by a supplicant to the Bulliboys, someone understandably bothered about his wife’s job role (not to mention his own future needs and who’s the wife’s best friend).
There’s dishonesty about; Clegg has said Dave did not know about Gove’s Bullingdon-ish plan. It has since come to light that he did.
So …. do you or do you not have contact at first hand of education later than your own (in that temple you described as something like ‘the finest among nothing that was fine’ d’oh).
You’ve overlooked that I explained that the ‘more’ was in the context of what they’d bought the year before. MORE THAN THE YEAR B4 …. and likely to continue growning if Cameron has less to do with our relationships there. context of their
1. Michele, this one is not going to go away – if you demand that other people have first hand knowledge of the topics on which they post, then you must give us a list of the topics on which you have first hand knowledge, if we are to debate on those terms.
In doing so you will disqualify yourself from opining on anything you have no experience of, so you will have to spare Cameron and Osborne for a start, unless you have been Prime Minister / Chancellor?
Don’t you see how ridiculous your position is while you continue to spout on all topics?
Give you an example – have you ever worked on a government IT project? If the answer is no, then have you no right to complain when they spend 10 billion pounds on a system and then scrap it? Is it only IT workers who can speak about it?
How about bankers, are you not allowed to criticise them, seeing as you have no experience?
2. Your opinions about too-quick change: never realised you were such a Conservative.
3. I don’t need to teach in my local school to know that people committed suicide there when I was a pupil, due to bullying, and that in the past 5 years they have had 2 more bullying related suicides (allegedly homophobic bullying) and also a number of students have switched schools for the same reason. How about the parents of those children – they have never taught in that school, therefore they must be silenced according to 1984 Michele style. This isn’t a joke.
4. I assure you that every worker that got a job due to my introduction was getting paid at least double the minimum wage (25k is the lowest salary anyone I introduced ever received) and most were earning a helluva lot more than that. It is certainly true that every one of those workers in the short term at least, kept a british worker out of a job. But if we hadn’t done that, or rivals could have and could have provided cheaper products to our clients. We didn’t make the rules. It could be argued that in the long run, because we were successful, we then employed more British workers than we would have done without our earlier foreign hires, though I am not arguing that. Again, if you buy that argument then you really should vote for Ronald Reagan!
1. I have never spouted to defame Govt IT projects.
Like IT projects (or any commissioning) anywhere it is often the supplier that is not up to the job, not understanding the need or asking the right questions re the spec.
These mis-matches between buyer/supplier exist in most commodities, most are not subjected to the same media scrutiny or distortion when things go awry.
It’s an apparent-departee that frequently exploited that little lie re NHS systems.
2. I believe in planned change, don’t believe in chucking the pack of cards in the air to see how many can be caught, which is all that this lot are doing – diversion tactics rather than admit they do not understand.
Improve GCSEs by all means, nothing should be static and not change with the times.
Imbue recent school-leavers with the feeling that their hard-won qualifications are worthless? Pur-lease.
3. What area is this?
I think you’ll find there are also teenage suicides following cyber bullying, do we think of closing down the internet?
Why blame schools and/or teachers? Is it ‘cos it’s so easy to be agreed with?
Take heart from this :
4. Cake and eat it time?
EM’s main target in the speech you so-enjoyed was about those that profit from immigrants.
However they do so, whether as agents charging intro-commissions or as a means of increasing their own profits it still makes your enjoyment of his pirouetting nonsensical.
I’m not a fan of EM and don’t think he brings anything to Labour or ever will.
1. Its not about schools, or IT projects, or banks – its about the corner you have boxed yourself into, in an attempt to box me in, that I cannot comment on education because I am not a teacher, and if I have no kids in school (which I’ve neither confirmed or denied as I do not seek to help you with your ad hominem tactics.) We are either allowed to comment only on areas of personal experience, in which I want to hear nothing from you about banks, prime ministers etc, or we are. It is standard debating practice to be able to comment on anything, based on force of argument, evidence and logic.
2. Sounds pretty conservative. You can decide if that is good or bad.
3. I am not mentioning the area, for a couple of reasons, not least 1 above. Why blame schools and teachers? Because its schools and teachers who fail to discipline bullies. And yes steps could be taken against cyber bullying too. And if a particular school has a worse record for bullying, in terms of people leaving and people committing suicide, then its fair to assume its not the internets fault. Especially when one has firsthand ‘experience’ of how feeble the teachers are.
4. That cake and eat it line is nonsense. No better than those who tell rich celebs who call for higher taxes “well why don’t you just write a cheque to government if you’re so concerned”. Its feasible to want to change the rules, but to operate within them in the meantime, in fact thats what civilisation is.
1. No need to box you in to anything, you pirouette right in. We all have experience of banks and financial institutions and PMs and some of us have long (and continuing) experience of third world and how things are when there is no enforcement on employers to treat workers decently.
2. Sounds planned, sensible and methodical, the way Alan Milburn and successors improved our NHS. Don ‘t try to define progressive, it’s LOL-able.
3, If you can’t back up your claim that 2 school age kids in your area committed suicide due to bullying you can be suspected of exploitation of any that did and of exaggeration ..;. for what?
A sodding cyber spat? From the link:
……………..”The research, which was carried out as part of the National Confidential
Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, showed
that there were 1,722 adolescent and juvenile deaths by suicide in the
UK between 1997 and 2003, which represents 4% of all suicides in that
time period. The majority of young people were aged 15-19 (93% of the
sample), and overall, the most common methods of suicide were hanging,
followed by self-poisoning……”
Teachers do not ignore bullying (and how many teenagers suffer for too long as they are too embarrassed to complain?).
A child does not become a bully because of their school, it’s learned behaviour, usually from home.
You clearly have no respect for teachers, try facing up to some in an education forum, let us know how that goes.
4. I’m not sure you’re qualified to define what civilisation is.
1. We all have experience of using banks, and being governed by a PM, and of going to school, or having kids going to school. But according to the dead horse you keep flogging, in order to comment on schools we need to have taught/lectured, therefore by the same logic in order to comment on banks or pms we need to be bankers and PMs.
Maybe stop flogging the dead horse and flog the bullies instead (joke.)
2. Fair enough, just pointing out that most progressives are conservative on some things and vice versa, most of us want to keep some things and change others.
3. What do you mean I can’t back it up, the people committed suicide due to bullying, well known to their parents and friends, what do you want written testimony? Obviously if you think I’d make such a thing up to win an argument… well you shouldn’t even discuss things with me in that case.
I am not saying that schools create bullies of course, but they do tolerate them. They cannot control the home life, but they can issue discipline for bullying done in school, and they can expel pupils for bullying. This approach would work wonders, a lot of bullies would reform, and if they didn’t then at least they wouldn’t hurt the innocent children. Yes the bullies may suffer diminished life chances then, but they chose that, the innocent did not.
Debating on teachers forums?! I have friends who are teachers, that is enough for me, its not my main interest. I know teaching is hard, and have said many times that I couldn’t do it. However I would have no qualms whatsoever in expelling a bully. A lot, not all, teachers are high and mighty and condescend other adults the way they do to their kids. Pointing out that many people leave my profession to teach/lecture, but hardly anyone ever moves in the other direction, usually puts sirs nose out of joint 🙂
4. Not defining civilisation any more than you designing cake and eat it.