BBC – self-censorship of cowardice?

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the trailer for the film The Wizard of Oz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Suprised Tin Man

Someone with a heart (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

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!


Clegg Under Fire Again, But This Time By Tories.

Liberal Democrat Poster

Photo by Divinenephron

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


What does Dismal Dave have to look forward to in 2013?

English: David Cameron's picture on the 10 Dow...

English: David Cameron’s picture on the 10 Downing Street website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Look behind you prime minister. Big set piece rebellions, disgruntled backbenchers and lurking ‘Big Beasts’, David Cameron has been given a rocky ride by his own party this year – and it does not look like 2013 will be any easier.

 

Conservative MPs conspired to kill of House of Lords reform, banded together with Labour to send the prime minister a symbolic eurosceptic message on the Brussels budget, fumed at suggestions prisoners may have to be given the vote and split over the Leveson report.

 

Coupled with big signature rebellions in the Commons, Tory MPs dissatisfied with the prime minister’s leadership of the party or with individual policy decisions are not shy about speaking out.

 

This year saw Nadine Dorries launch her now infamous “arrogant posh boys” attack on Cameron and George Osborne and it is not difficult to find other backbenchers who are willing to criticize their leader, if not perhaps in such colourful language and with such vehemence.

 

As well as the usual suspects, the ‘Big Beasts’ of the party also started to stir. Former leadership candidate David Davies teamed up with Liam Fox to articulate a more right wing message for the party – distinct from Cameron’s more deliberately liberal approach.

 

Ominously for Cameron, next year does not look likely to see a warming of relations between No.10 and the backbenches, with several confrontations penciled in for January.

 

First up will be Cameron’s speech on the EU. His “tantric” teasing of his backbenchers by delaying the speech has raised expectations and most will settle for nothing less than a pledge to hold an in or out referendum.

 

In the same month the coalition will introduce legislation to allow gay couples to marry. Cameron will allow his MPs a free vote, but with over 100 Tories expected to oppose the plan the Bill will expose a deep rift in the party. The split will gift Labour a chance to rubbish Cameron’s claims to have detoxified his party.

 

The repercussions of Leveson will roll on, with Tory MPs in favour of the statutory underpinning of press regulation, a move opposed by the prime minister, unlikely to keep quiet.

 

And of course, there is the small issue of the economy.

 

Clacton MP Douglas Carswell says the internal strife could be solved if the government beings to show signs it is pursuing a “coherent and credible free market policy” on the economy and addresses backbench concerns about the EU – starting with the prime minister’s speech.

 

“I think in order to be credible it will have to make it clear there will be a referendum it also needs to make it clear in that referendum an option will be in or out,” he says.

 

“If we get it right on the two big fundamental issues of the day all the other stuff will melt away. Those are the bread and butter issues that decide elections.”

 

He predicts unless Cameron can show he means business on the economy and Europe other disagreements, such as same-sex weddings, will continue to “flare up” and take on a significance they would not otherwise have.

 

“I find the issue of equal marriage the whole row deeply depressing,” Carswell says. “People I respect are fighting each other. I think both sides need to take a deep breath and remember Christmas is a season of good cheer, let’s get it right on the two big issues.”

 

Tory MPs fear that the biggest winner from the government’s approach to the EU and game marriage will be Ukip – which has the power to deny Cameron an overall majority at the next election if it snatches a few votes in marginal seats.

 

Recent polls have shown the anti-EU party led by Nigel Farage securing record levels of support, largely at the expense of the Tories.

 

Carswell puts Farage’s success to more than Europe. “I think the anti-politician mood, the anti-mainstream mood, can only really be dealt with by making parties open source,” he says.

 

He urges the Conservative leadership to embrace political change including open primaries and the introduction of a recall bill. The Tory party can no longer ben run as “private clubs from the 1950s”

 

Neutralising Farage as an electoral threat will be a real test for Cameron, as Ukip will hope to continue its advance next year with the goal of winning the 2014 European elections.

 

The prime minister could be in for a tough 2013. And that’s before mentioning the problems Nick Clegg or Ed Miliband may cause him.

 

 

 


Bad Friday

Cameron speaking in 2010.

Cameron speaking in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the government  it’s Good Friday, but for many families with children who will lose £510 a year due changes to the tax and benefit system, today is most definitely a Bad Friday.  David Cameron insists that his party is the party of, “the strivers, the grafters, the family raisers,” but like the much maligned, “we’re all in it together,” this is proving to be another Tory lie.

The figures come from the much respected Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) who showed that families with two children are bearing the brunt of changes due to come into effect from the start of the financial year. Cameron dismissed the findings saying he,”did no accept the figures.”

Many people believe that Cameron’s government is losing touch with people but I think that it is quite clear that they were never in touch in the first place. The granny tax, the pastry tax, now the children tax. What did the millionaire cabinet come up with for the rich? A cut in the income tax!

The rational behind the cut in top rate of tax was that the rich weren’t paying it so the rate had to come down. Perversely  if the rest of us don’t pay our tax then we don’t get a tax cut we get prosecuted.

So if by, “the strivers, the grafters, the family raisers,” Cameron actually means, “the bankers, the privileged and the super-rich,” then yes I agree but otherwise, pull the other one David.


The benefit, the Chancellor and the Coward

English: David Cameron's picture on the 10 Dow...

Image via Wikipedia

Today from The Chimera Paper, a tale of three parts

Part One: The Benefit

Child Benefit to be precise currently paid to parents of children school age. Paid for every child regardless for the parents’ circumstances.

Part Two: The Chancellor

George Osbourne, not the sharpest knife in the draw, but one day he had an idea.

And this was he idea: he thought that if you or your spouse earn more than £42 475 a year then from 2013 you shouldn’t receive child benefit. He presented it as the government sharing out the pain of the austerity plans fairly. We are, after all, “All in it together,” and he told everyone this was, “Tough but fair.” What’s more, it didn’t involve putting up taxes so wouldn’t offend Tory MPs who hoped that by the time it came to be implemented we’d all be getting better off and those hit would scarcely notice.

Part Three: The Coward

Well as we know it hasn’t really happened that way. We’re not getting better off and in fact wages are falling in real terms. So enter David Cameron. Cameron took a look at the chancellors plan and realised that people (mostly women but not always) who stay at home and bring up their children while their married partner earns £43 000 or more were complaining that the government was robbing them of thousands of pounds a year for doing, what the Tories had always said was, the rich thing.

Well Cameron is used to being unpopular, he doesn’t mind taking on the NHS, forcing public servants to pay for bankers bonuses. He attacked teachers, nurses, doctors and wants to privatise the police. This whoever is different.

Why?

Well stay-at-home mums with higher rate tax payer husbands are natural tory voters and clearly he can’t upset them. Time for a cowardly U-turn. It doesn’t matter really, he can make up the lost money by reducing other benefits. It doesn’t even matter what benefit just so long as it is one claimed mostly by non tory voters. Fortunately that’s most of them.


Benefit Cap, Is IDS Right?

English: Iain Duncan Smith, British politician...

Image via Wikipedia

Should non-working families earn more than working ones? Is it reasonable that families on benefit can live in houses that working people can only dream of? These might seem obvious questions but this is the basis behind the government’s proposed £26,000 cap on benefits which will mean no family can claim more than £500-a-week in welfare, the equivalent amount of a £35,000 salary after tax. Iain Duncan Smith thinks the answer is no, it’s not reasonable and the public seem to agree. For all the problems this government is causing people, when it comes to a benefit cap it seems impossible to find anybody who’s against it and it’s not hard to see why.

In my street alone are two six-bedroom houses and one eight bedroom one. I couldn’t afford to live in any of them despite working  full-time as a teacher. All three are occupied by families with no-one working. I doubt that my street is unique.

It seems to me that we need to look fundamentally at the way we pay benefits. Benefit calculations bear no resemblance to the way wages are paid. Working people don’t get a pay raise because they have another child or move to a larger house why should non-working people?

It is strange for The Chimera Papers to support a Tory policy but on this occasion we do!