Monday, July 31, 2006

The end of start

‘General flies back to front’ was a favourite newspaper headline in the comedy era which included such gems as the goon show, that was the week that was and I’m sorry I’ll read that again; an era when WWII was still a recent memory for many (but not for me, I’m not that old). The title of this post is my feeble attempt at homage.

It marks the passing, happily only for its summer holidays, of Start the Week on BBC Radio Four. It was a particularly fine edition this morning and I urge you to download it, subscribe to the podcast, listen again to it (all these goodies are available for free on its web site, just follow my link) or listen to the shortened repeat on your wireless this evening.

Andrew Marr was joined by Roy Hattersley, Patrick Hannan, Stella Duffy and Julian Baggini. They spoke about George Bernard Shaw and socialism; Arthur Scargill, Margaret Thatcher and the miners’ strike; a satirical, Orwellian view of the 1st decade of the 21st century; and thinking about thinking and what we think.

Roy Hattersley has been fortunate enough to have been the subject of several of my letters to newspaper editors and the like over the years. Some of these have been published (including this and this) but many, alas, did not see the light of newsprint. He is, I think, a theoretician rather than a practical politician. Overall he’s probably an asset to the Labour Party but he still doesn’t seem to get why it’s important to get elected if you want to get things done. He seems content to talk about getting things done......


At 12:08, Blogger Johnny said...

I much admire Roy Hattersley, not only for his political principles but also for his ability to stick to them. Hattersley is one of those rare Labour politicians who have not been totally taken in by the New Labour project.

A project which tells us that another world is not possible, that Tory policies done by a New Labour government are better then those same policies done by the Tories themselves, that we have to stick to the mediocrity of the stagnant centre ground and to be a socialist or on the democratic left is to be ‘old’.

What’s the point in getting Labour elected if no one knows what they stand for? If you have given up everything that defines who you are? Betrayed the fundamental principles of the founding fathers?

At 13:40, Blogger Mike Ion said...

You are right, this morning's edition was one of the best (I think Andrew Marr, on the whole, does a superb job).

I am not sure I agree with your views on Hattersley. He came to Shrewsbury when I was the Labour PPC in 2005 and spoke to over 100 members for 30 minutes without notes about the need for Labour to continue in office but also about how we need to be clear about how we govern when we achieve office.

At 17:32, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Labour under the leadership of which Lord Hattersley was part was able to deliver almost nothing because it made itself so unpopular that it let Mrs Thatcher's government be elected.

Under its present leadership it's delivered huge pension increases for the poorest million or so pensioners. It's delivered new school buildings across the country and extra books, computers, teachers and learning support workers in every state school. It's delivered more doctors, nurses and dentists than ever before and has embarked on a massive renewal programme for our NHS which has been under-invested in for half a century. It's delivered SureStart and soon they'll be a centre in every town. It's taken real steps to clamp down on the nuisance neighbours, anti-social behaviour and low level crime which have plagued our county's social housing areas for decades. It's re-established our relationship with our partners in the EU whilst maintaining good relations with our oldest ally the USA. It's lifted almost a million children out of poverty and increased our overseas aid budget almost to the target of 0.7% of GDP. It's run a stable economy with low interest rates helping millions of ordinary people to afford to pay their mortgages. It's increased employment opportunities to their highest ever levels.

Johnny, quite how any of this has "betrayed the fundamental principles of the founding fathers" is beyond me.


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