26 May 2010

Tweet revenge: Off with her head!

 It seems that when a morning-coated flunky cried ‘hats off strangers’ ahead of yesterday’s State Opening of Parliament, the Prime Minister’s wife, shockingly, had no hat to remove.

Hard to believe, but the fact that the perfectly turned out Samantha Cameron was not wearing a hat whilst sitting demurely in the public gallery of the House of Lords represented a major parliamentary moment.

Sarah before her wore one, Cherie too, Norma did the same. Dennis? He must have had a topper to hand. But Sam Cam so broke with Parliamentary tradition that she attracted note.

Liz Kendall went one further.

The new MP for Leicester West was so startled by the anthropological scene that befell her that she not only snapped what she saw, but Tweeted it too.

‘I felt like I was in such a different world’, said she upon seeing so much fur, accompanied by more diamonds and tiaras than she could count.

Poor Ms Kendall is being dragged before the Sergeant at Arms, whose office informs me, ‘the incident will be dealt with appropriately’. Has the Sergeant ever Twittered? Will she Tweet Ms Kendall’s punishment?

What is appropriate in so inappropriate a scene? How many stoats died to provide all that ermine; how much did the livery, the brass work, the carriage maintenance cost? One of them is only trundled out to carry the inanimate crown.

The scenes in Parliament jarred awkwardly with the tableau at the far end of the House of Lords – the fresh faced coalition politicians craning to glimpse the panjandrum unfolding before them.

Here were they attempting to represent the smack of firm government in the face of the worst fiscal crisis in modern memory and their place of work had been reduced to a picture of such flummery, sycophancy, and Silver Stickery, as to put the efforts of the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit and Alice herself to shame.

Conjure the mace wielding threats from the Sergeant at Arms against the unfortunate Ms Kendall; the picture of the bewigged Ken Clarke staggering backwards up the steps to the throne, and tapestry is complete.

Expenses? The mere tip of an iceberg of anachronistic pantomime?

Was it the ‘establishment’ simply offering several of its fingers to the high reforming aspiration of these public school educated revolutionaries?

Were we witnessing a scene so spectacularly well enacted that it put to shame those who seek austerity and change?

Was this a pageant of such vital connection with our past that it must be preserved at all cost?

Or was this an enactment of such patent absurdity that it cast further doubt on the entire Parliamentary enterprise either to reform itself, or to follow up upon the high-flown aspirations of people like Liz Kendall who have eschewed a blameless life ‘outside’, to come in to try to serve the citizens amongst whom they move and have their being?

Cromwell? Faulks? How great was your failure? What punishment can possibly now fit Ms Kendall’s unforgiveable act of rebellion?

Tweets by @jonsnowC4

73 reader comments

  1. Tez OAP says:

    You are right. We dont live in a big society we live in a big lie. Did anybody spot the necessary cut to the royal purse? One rule for the establishment while the working class will pay the price for their parasitical greed.After decades of Thatcher Tories,Blairs New Tories,Browns 2nd hand Tories, and Cameron Clegg 3rd rate Tories we are now supposed to believe that there might be an element of hope in the election of another labour leader.Dream on.

    1. Moonbeach says:

      Who is excluded from the much spoken for ‘working class’? And where do you place the ‘Don’t work, won’t work’ brigade? Are they also parasitic?

      Give us a break from the ‘Class War’ bit. Please tell us what you support rather than trotting out the old communist mantras; theories that have failed the world over and cost millions of lives.

      At least capitalism for all its faults generates wealth for others to squander.

    2. Jim Flavin says:

      In case u have been on Mars for the past few years – it was Capitalism that has got us into this Recession – and the guys who got us into it were called in to get us out of it !!!!. Now the Banks do better than ever – reward themslves with even bigger bonuses – they who were bailed out by taxpayers money . I could not care less what ” class ” a Capitalist belong to or belonged to – but the idea that they reward anyone but themselves is way off – Sit back and watch .

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Jim where you are right that it was the greed of bankers(capitalists) that precipitated the crisis.It was the Labour Governments (socialists) profligacy and reliance on those bankers , that got us where we are to day.They thought the gambling money ran a sound economy.That is why they should never EVER be trusted with the countries finaces again.

    4. Tom Wright says:

      I’d love to hear from the likes of Jim Flavin and Tez OAP just exactly what they would replace capitalism with. (genuinely, sincerely).

      Yes the banks did a lot of damage and were run by greedy fools. But, they were allowed to do this because successive governments, left and right, allowed the city free rein: the tax take is massive – Gordon deliberately turned a blind eye knowing the problems, because if he reformed the city he would not be able to fund the NHS and other changes he wanted.

      There has never, ever been a period in history where a nation has enjoyed sustained economic growth without the free movement of capital. Indeed, the free movement of capital is inextricably linked to every period of prosperity. The industrial revolution for example was a product of the protestant reformation – a direct result of the increase in lending money for profit that came with the end of the sin of usury.

      This is particularly true in the socialist holy grail of manufacturing. Manufacturing involves the use of raw materials which must be paid for in advance. Lending is by far the best way.

  2. a civil britain says:

    so liz kendall a little overawed by coming to london – but i can’t see a story in this piece…

  3. Heather says:

    I’ve long felt the whole state opening of parliament to be nothing more than a pantomime. Yes, a lot is rooted in (ancient) history, but a lot was resurrected by the Victorians for their new Palace of Westminster. It seems so out of touch with 21st century life. Perhaps it is time to consider whether it’s worth all the expense, and set to modernising our politics properly.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Perhaps it would be better to look at 21st century life and see where that can be improved,rather than just discard the past.
      It is all keep up with the jones irrespective of cost.A moral lacking uncaring society built on greed.A materialistic society that lives on unaffordable debt.So much knowledgeand so little sense .Sex education at the age of seven and we dare to wonder why 10 year olds are in court accused of rape .Trendy teaching that forgets the importance of reading and writing.
      A new connective media of the internet , used by criminals to spread and produce pornography.Not used for the benefit of mankind.
      Children produced for the state to look after,or mothers working and leaving then with others to bring up .No family life .No wonder society is in the state it is, youngsters running riot with knives , guns and drugs,without morals.
      There is little to be said on behalf of the 21st century .Lets have a little old world pageantry

  4. Margaretbj says:

    I thought that you would see it as an act of rebellion and applaud it; it appeals to the rebel in you.Don’t you think it was just a mistake?

    The State costumes have been in the royal wardrobes for a long time, They are not new money and date way back. Getting rid of the ermine, the brass, the gold, the diamonds tights and pearls will not alter history. To suggest that we should suddenly change it all because we find the triumphalism embarrasing smacks of 1984ish re- writing of history.

    The scene juxtaposes the past and the present and I find the time switch fascinating.We must keep tradition flourishing and keep our root identity. We as a nation can measure our progress by this.

    I remember as a kid having a brass Royal Coach to play with, bought for me by his boss in the Prudential. I remember mum and dad being proud as we were the first to have a tele-fusion and the neighbours came in to watch the coronation.

    We are going to have to put up with austerity..we do not desire it.

    Hey where is your liberalism? the demure Sam Cam looked like a young women from an Austen novel ready to take the riches of the snobby upper classes.

    1. Saltaire Sam says:

      ‘Hey where is your liberalism? the demure Sam Cam looked like a young women from an Austen novel ready to take the riches of the snobby upper classes.’

      She’d be robbing herself, Margaret – she’s more aristocratic than her husband

    2. Saltaire Sam says:

      Richard – it is not compulsory to follow these people’s tweets. I only know S Fry (a real British treasure unlike most of the royal family) is prolific because people keep telling me so. I’ve never read one of his tweets, nor will. Blogging takes up more than enough of my time.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      yes Margaret , i agree .We need a reminder of old world morals in this immoral world

    4. Margaretbj says:

      I know she is an heiress, that’s the crack, but not talking about fact , talking about novel appearance.. still not quite as aristocratic as DC’s rels though.

      Appearance and Reality Sam.

  5. Paul Begley says:

    Well done Samantha – I’ve never liked hats! But I’m also quite keen on keeping the occasional ludricrous piece of “Alice in Wonderland” as part of our parliamentary system – helps to maintain the sense of humour we’ll all need to get through the next few years. And as for those who persist in treating all of real life as a place from which they can text, Tweet etc, in case there’s something more interesting happening elsewhere – well, hanging’s too good for them!

    1. the-Richard-of-Nottingham says:

      “And as for those who persist in treating all of real life as a place from which they can text, Tweet etc, in case there’s something more interesting happening elsewhere – well, hanging’s too good for them!”

      Quite so. Although hanging might be a little extreme. Just regular and extreme humiliation would be a start. Let’s begin with Stephen Fry. Is there anywhere to hide from him and his constant stream of thoughts on everything ?

    2. Paul Begley says:

      Sam tells we don’t have to listen – I find that I do. I ‘d like for example, to be able to browse a bookshop (or a supermarket) without hearing one half of a conversation from someone with a mobile phone but no ability to make decisions. Or to watch a school concert without five or six would-be Mike Leighs scampering about with video cameras. Or to take part in meetings or social events where all present were actually taking part, rather than busily texting and e-mailing other people about more interesting things.

  6. Saltaire Sam says:

    How can it be wrong for Ms Kendall to take a photo for her constituents when the whole thing is being shown on TV and subject to ‘grabs’ by all and sunder?

    At a time of austerity, when business needs boosting, our capital city grinds to a halt on a working day for street pagentry. All that is needed is for the prime minister of the day to stand up and read out his/(preferably) her legislative programme at the start of the debate.

    The current charade is demeanng to the queen who has to spout whatever is put in front of her. Wonder what will happen the day she’s asked to read: ‘My government will make Great Britain a republic.’

    The state opening must go. Not only would a lot of stoates be saved, we could probably save the jobs of many decent people in the public sector if this flummery was cut out and a vastly reduced upper house concentrated on what it does best – testing government legislation.

    Yet, I fear that is a vain hope because I understand our reforming coalition is about to create a whole new bunch of peers.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      You are a true socialist Saltaire , who would strip everything away to the lowest common denominator.Reduce everything to drab mediocre peasantry, where the state runs our lives from the cradle to the grave.
      I for one am glad we still have our Queen/King as a figurehead leader of our country and government .That she has a legislature to run the country in her name was a battle that split the country in the civil war .
      When a republic was achieved , it didn’t take long for the same country to realise the folly of its ways
      The problem with changing a system that works and holds the government to account, is how do we know the new model will work???

    2. Margaretbj says:

      Nothing demeans the Queen. She has played the part immaculately all her life.

      We know what duty before dishonour is, we know what stiff upper lip is , we know what English manners are, we know how to rise above bad press and crushing media attention. We know how to live an ordered life..we know because Elizabeth has added to and perpetuates the dignified English Lady.

      I actually love hats, and would wear one regularly if it was an accepted practice in Holcombe Brook and my ears didn’t stick out.

  7. Gerry says:

    What has Sebastian been writing about now then?

  8. Sarah Wilson says:

    Brilliant, Jon! Long may you reign as king of the gadflys in British journalism. Beautifully written critique of the British obsession with flummery which is long long past its prime.

  9. Julian Young says:

    I fear that rather than commenting on events, Mr Snow is giving us his opinions on society. How nice it must be to look down on these traditions from the ivory tower of a public school education and the safety of the television branch of the fourth estate. I agree with Margaretbj amd a civil britain – he is looking for a story to further and reinforce his own opinions.

    Also it appears that he has not used the word panjandrum correctly – perhaps I am being thick but I do not know how a person or title, however pompous or pretentious, could unfold?

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Jon indeed does give us his opinion on society and bully for him,even with his left wing bias ,he gives all of us the opportunity to reply and accepts our views even if he disagrees .I believe he is an honest reporter who sees it according to his views and blogs for us .I occasionally have to put him and others right( :)

    2. Saltaire Sam says:

      Adrian, I don’t mind you putting everyone far right – what I do object to is you keep referring to the last Labour government as socialist. If anything they were Thatcherite which is why the country is in such a mess.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Saltaire ,i have had my biggest laugh for a long time “the last Labour government Thatcherite!!!!!!”.Gordon with his continuing reference to prudence tried to kid us he was Thatcherite and believed in sound money .I think she was his mistress and led him astray .He ruled both as a chancellor and prime minister trying to take from the rich and giving to the poor and lowering standards all the time .No Saltaire he was a true Socialist or we would not be in the mess we are.

  10. Patrick says:

    As the MP’s went over to the Lords, I thought they looked a bit of a rabble. Chattering loudly away like a bunch of school kids between classes. Surely they could have been organised a little better.

  11. Peter Simpson says:

    What utter pug wash! The cost of the State Opening of Parliament is more than offset by the millions of tourists visiting Britain as a result of all this. It is precisely the quirkiness of Black Rod, the wigs and the splendour that appeals to foreigners. Britain’s reputation for pomp and circumstance carries a goodwill that cannot be simply calculated or left to the whim of a government barely dry behind the ears. Tradition is something to be proud of, not to be discarded with light-hearted flummery.

    1. Jim Flavin says:

      Depends what u mean by tradition . Certainly the tradition of the British Empire was nothing to be proud of – they after robbing a country left nothing but cagaos behind when they left .

    2. Julian Young says:

      Jim Flavin has a downer on the British Empire, true it did some truly awful things which should never be forgotten but it was also a force for good. Let’s not forget that after 1807 a large part of the Royal Navy’s duties included stopping the slave trade and in it’s dying breath, the Empire, sacrificed itself to defeat Nazism.

  12. Jim Flavin says:

    IMO- as a non UK national I think it is a pantomine – and a costly one . Royalty – all Royalty -UK or not – is just a costly farce . I was looking up the Leichenstein National Anthem some weeks back [ to check it was same as UK one — it is ] – and the welath the Leichentein Royal family have is unreal – hundreds of Billions . Why should some people be hardly able to carry the jewels they wear – while others are unemployed – may turn to drugs etc . these people get their wealth just by a chance of Birth – and waht do they do — attend meetings about charities etc – go on tours etc – or like yesrday waste a day reading out someone elses speech . These people are in the same league as the bankers — if not a good deal worse ..

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Jim it is a shame that as a non UK national you do not appreciate or admire the pomp and pageantry of a true democracy that is the envy of many countries world wide.Countries whose citizens pay millions into our exchequer to come visit and see our traditions and history

  13. Britt_W says:

    I wish even more twitpics were tweeted out from the inner goings on in the House (-s). Tweets, audioboos and the rest of it. We need to open up, not close doors. And, as Saltaire Sam rightfully pointed out – it was all sent live on TV anyway!

    As for the ermine, brass & general pompous ceremony – it most definitely does not fit in to the 21st century way of living, no matter how many tourists it attracts. There is nothing wrong with old traditions as such, but they should reflect our modern views and values, in my view.
    In Sweden (my home country) we also used to have similar parliamentary grand openings. They were abolished back in the 70s and – life has moved on.

    Finally, given we find ourselves in an enormous economic crisis, this Alice in Wonderland scenario sends out all the wrong signals.

    1. the-Richard-of-Nottingham says:

      “…this Alice in Wonderland scenario sends out all the wrong signals.”

      Curious. What “signals” do they send out ?

    2. Britt_W says:

      What signals..? Well, basically – “We can afford this, because you – the underdogs – pay for it”. In a time when we’re all supposed to take cuts and tighten up.

    3. Margaretbj says:

      .It is obvious .. Alice follows the white rabbit and watches time , instead of engaging… more of a moral than a wrong signal …

      Love the citation of Captain Pugwash.

      Feel emotional about Lord of the Rings.. good diversionary outlets…so much symbolism in our lives….. no signals, just a soup of emotion and ever and forever becoming.

    4. Margaretbj says:

      Balderflippingdash.Lets all walk around in robotic grey , because tradition has the appearance of opulence whereas modern-day is bursting at the seams with Europoverty. Look at India, the clothes , the bangles and jangles, look at Africa, the rich colours, materials, show of tribal tradition and ritual.

      Inhale it, swallow it , touch it, get intoxicated on it ..It’s full blooded colourful life.

  14. akamrburns says:

    Like Ms Kendall I too felt I was in a different world. I had watched excerpts of this panjandrum (what a glorious word!) before, but yesterday I had a distinctly uneasy feeling in my gut having watched the ‘anachronistic pantomime’ unfold. I have serious doubts that ‘the Parliamentary enterprise’ has the will to reform itself and rid us of this expensive and unnecessary absurdity. What chance though when the be-suited commoners all aspire to wear ermine! I too think that this is the ‘establishment’ waving several fingers – not only to the’ public school revolutionaries’ (here’s hoping!), but to all of us – in a marvelously British way of course. However we are perhaps all a bit more aware of the ‘waving of fingers’ having recently witnessed similar salutes from the banking fraternity. Somehow yesterdays pantomime might just have been seen in a very different light. We are all a little hungrier for transparency and honesty than we were. Anachronistic practices distort reality and need to be changed, and the sooner the better. How brave will our ‘public school’ revolutionaries be? Methinks not very! (I think ‘akamrburns’ is about to morph into ‘son of robespierre’!

    1. Julian Young says:

      panjandrum is a glorious word but it has been used inaccurately. The OED says:
      1. a mock title for an important person. 2 a pompous or pretentious official etc. [apparently invented in a nonsense composition (1755) by S. Foote]

    2. akamrburns says:

      Oh I know, but I think the reinvention is so much better…(2010 by J. Snow)

    3. akamrburns says:

      You see even John Prescott couldn’t resist the cosy comfort of the mock ermine!
      What will he become? Lord Prescott of Flunkery-cum-Twaddle?

  15. Calum says:

    Of course, you miss the minor point that as a lady Samantha would not remove her hat anyway; only the men should.

  16. Saltaire Sam says:

    Do you really think if you were starting from a blank sheet of paper that you would invent the royal family and all the pagentry around it just to create a tourist industry?

    I think this is a myth anyway. The tourists seldom get to see the queen or other royals – as don’t most of their subjects. It is the buildings they come to see and some of the money wasted on the royal family would be better spent on maintaining some of our cathedrals and other great feats of architecture

    1. Sonja Astley says:

      Couldn’t agree more. The foreign tourists flock in when the pound is cheap and they like to visit the old buildings, just as they do when they go to Versailles where there hasn’t been a king for some time now. All these riches would still be there in a republic…

    2. paul begley says:

      Sam – few things have caused quite as much misery as groups of people looking at society, deciding they could do better starting with a blank sheet of paper, and setting out to make the paper blank. On another post on this site, Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine” got a mention recently. Read this to see what people have done in the cause of getting to a blank sheet of paper on which to design their perfect world.

  17. Ravinder Taylor says:

    Don’t you believe the excuse given by Liz Kendall! Having taken over the safe Labour seat of Leicester West from Patricia Hewitt, to whom she was a Special Advisor, she knew exactly what
    she was doing ie getting herself noticed. She wanted a high profile right from the start as exemplified by her standing centre stage in her bright red dress in the photo of the 232 new MPs. As for being clean ‘outside’ the house. She has adopted the title ‘Leicesterliz’ to suggest that she was a local candidate during the campaign when she only moved to Leicester in January. having been parachuted in from Watford/London!

    eat
    eat

    1. the-Richard-of-Nottingham says:

      Caught her on the East Midlands news the other night. What a gal !! She’s a real right-on political pop-star. She’s going to be a bellyful of laughs.

      She’s just what the East-Midlands needs at a time when every job in the region is making its way to China.

  18. adrian clarke says:

    I have no problem with the dress of the Lords , be it Judges Bishops or Peers.It is within the fine traditions of this country.
    I do not like the fact that manyPeers are just old parliamentary hacks promoted on a poltical whim of the leader of a party.
    There is a real case to elect a completely new house of lords,where people of many attributes can stand and political favours can not be given .A totally indipendent non political second chamber that can scrutinise government bills and hold them to account.
    Then get rid of the existing peers .Let them keep their titles , but no benefits to accrue from them

  19. Alexandr says:

    Dear mine! All is fine both Samantha and David Cameron, not necessary to search guilty, all are guilty. In fact actually all have taken a hand in disorder of Empire, its economic space, its leading part in the world. It is a sick theme, but it is necessary to recognize all admitted(allowed) mistakes. The faster we correct mistakes, the faster all situation will be corrected

  20. Gerry says:

    Perhaps they could roll a panjandrum down the aisle with rockets lit. It didn’t work too well when tried on the South Coast beaches during WW2, but it might do better on the firm flooring of Westminster.

  21. anniexf says:

    Given the parlous state of the economy we should be very careful not to chuck out the very things cash-spending foreign tourists come to see i their millions: our quaint traditions.

  22. John Smith says:

    Oh come on! Firstly Liz Kendall may have broken convention but as Saltire said we saw it all on telly. Still I suppose if everyone whipped out the mobie and took a photie, it would disconcert. As for pomp and circumstance, keep it up. It’s what we as Brits do best. After all what else brings the tourists to Britain but its history and the chance to see its pageantry.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      John where i can agree many of us saw it live , but her actions merely go to show the contempt and rudeness of the younger generation.A complete lack of etiquette , that made this country what it is .A bit like the ignorance of the socialist workers last sunday

  23. John Smith says:

    I think the stoats expired at about the same time that the idea of a republic did.
    Can’t see the Brits putting up with boring old republic. They did have one in the mid 1600s but it seemed that the guvnor wanted to be king anyway.

    1. Mudplugger says:

      The killer question for all republicans is “Who would take the place of the monarch ?”.

      We only need to look at most republics to see the type of scheming, low-life politicos who occupy such posts. Would anyone really prefer President Blair, Brown or Cameron ? And where would that leave the role of the Prime Minister, where more real power lies than in almost any presidency ?

      At least with our current monarch (disregarding the dysfunctional family) we have a Head of State who knows her job, carries it out impeccably and with utmost discretion – and after almost 60 years, that’s quite a tribute.

      We may, of course, worry about what will follow her and whether the constitutional reserve which she has so successfully observed will be retained – if not, then calls will soon arise for major change.

      But, until it becomes a problem, let sleeping corgis lie.

  24. James Askew says:

    Throwing my hat into the ring, as obviously SamCam couldn’t, it seems to me that the pageantry is harmless, and any financial savings by abandoning it would be miniscule compared with the crisis we allegedly find ourselves in. Must we always give up tradtions just because they are traditions? Changing tack though, has anyone noticed how quickly economic crises come and go? Do economists really understand what happens? Should the subject really be regarded as a rational science? Or is in fact the whole neo-liberal economic system fundamentally flawed, has it always has so, and we are witnessing its terminal collapse? Cheery note, but perhaps it is time to put the community first, to abandon the cult of the individual, and to accept the need for change. Whether that is in the policies of the Conversatives, with or without the Lib Dems, is debatable – but surely that is the idea of the Big Society?

    1. paul begley says:

      The “Big Society” got an even-handed and generally positive response from all participants on “This Week” last night. I don’t think there’s much wrong with the idea if it is enabling, not regulating. In practice it has two problems to deal with if it’s going to work. First, by the simple expedient of having its corporate HQ’s in London, the private sector sucks a lot of wealth out of the provinces, and the only route to transfer some back is through Big Government’s tax & spend. Second short contracts and job hunting on a national level means that a lot of talented people are semi-detached from their communities – they’re not staying in one place long enough to put down roots.

    2. Saltaire Sam says:

      I am all in favour of local communities being given more say in their affairs but it is only of value if there is someone listening.

      My local area office does a superb job of providing forums for people to have their say and they do listen. But I’ve noticed that the more affluent parts get more done because they know which levers to pull.

      Those living on what were once council estates are often just as passionate and just as anxious for improvements to be made but having spoken to the local housing trust there is nowhere else for them to go. When the housing trust takes no action, leaving them with properties in need of repair or with damp conditions, they become angry and doubt the worth of the Big Societ andpolitics in general.

      Not everyone on these estates is a benefits sponger – many are working hard in low paid jobs. These often poor quality houses and flats are all they can afford and they just want some of the basics of life that most of us take for granted.

  25. Margaretbj says:

    If I now support Jons article/blog and defend it against the adverse criticism, I fear he would be offended by my intervention and I contrive that he would think ..thanks, but I’m fine and can stand alone with my opinions.

    Nevertheless, I don’t ever find this man pompous, pretentious, full of himself , looking down from an ivory tower. He does his job and played with plastic (well they could have been metal) toy soldiers when he was young.

  26. Alexandr says:

    We talk a lot about the attractiveness of Britain in the eyes of their neighbors. to establish all the good-neighborly ekonomichskie connection. The power and the elite have to offer to its people and settling a decent idea of Wellcome, which is eternal – it is Classics.

  27. Paul Begley says:

    A final word in favour of the flummery at the state opening of parliament. What would we have without it? An assembly of corporate pachyderms (overweight men in grey suits), and if we were really lucky, a legislative programme described in the mindless grunts of “bullet points” and Powerpoint slides.

  28. Saltaire Sam says:

    Apologies – this is off topic but important.

    George Weah has an article in the Guardian today (THU) that says that 72million childen in the world receive no education but if the wealthy countries contributed an extra $12bn a year EVERY ONE of them could go to school.

    I estimate that’s about half of what we are planning to spend to replace Trident. Which of the two projects do we think would do more good?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/may/26/south-africa-world-cup-education-reality-for-all

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Saltaire ,what a nice thought, but i thought that you considered it wrong to interfere in other countries.I think educating many foreign nationals leads to our vunerability in the world .How many of those that we have sought to give education ,have tried and actually committed acts of terrorism and violence against us .Do you believe if all that money was given to foreign backward countries it would go to education and not their leaders coffers?

    2. Saltaire Sam says:

      Adriah, as the great Mr Lennon once said

      You may say I’m a dreamer
      But I’m not the only one
      I hope one day you’ll join us
      And the world can live as one

      Go on, Adrian, Imagine!

  29. Anthony says:

    Ms Kendall, parachuted into Leicester with no connections with the City or its politics, may have felt she was also in a different world when she found her constituency as well as her seat in the house. I wonder if she tweeted about that too? (It is a sad reflection on the state of the Labour party in my home city that they could not find even one string woman candidate locally for the all woman short list)

  30. phil dicks says:

    “Broke with parliamentary tradition” – I don’t think so. This woman is no rebel – she’s another fashionista; can you imagine a more slavish crew than ‘fashion types’?
    “…represented a major parliamentary moment”; wake up, Jon. She’s an insider.

  31. Vivien says:

    At least the ceremony and the building have colour and decoration. A typical 21st century scene of an official gathering might take place in a hall bereft of any sort of decoration whatsoever, even of pictures, and the people might be dressed mostly in drab, drab colours. What aesthetic interest does that have?

    1. adrian clarke says:

      true vivien , just look at the welsh and scottish asssemblies

  32. Paul says:

    Could it be that a fashionista in power represents the class oppressive, casually racist ‘new democracy’ that is a product of capitalism.
    Benefit culture would not exist in parts if there was a correctly developed education system with industrial links and infrastructure to support it. Getting people smart doesn’t mean employable especially if the employers are casually racist and class oppressive. England’s only alright if you are a white middle class public school boy with a Prada school bag and YSL shoes.

    Fashion for the very rich is different from the ethos of the Topshop tribes.
    I would rather a PM dressed H & M or possibly got the odd bargain from oxfam. That’s more representative of fashion in this country. Ironically many people that work in fashion don’t follow it. Fashion is also close to another scary political word…

    1. Tom Wright says:

      You make no sense whatsoever.

      What basis do you have to call the new administration ‘casually racist’? On what basis do you claim employers are classist and racist?

      I was born into a family of very modest means, went to a comprehensive, don’t have a degree, and was one of 11 children. I have never owned anything as vulgar as a prada bag.

      I’ve got decent employment in a career that I’ve worked my nuts off to build.

      The difference between me and you is that I know if you put your mind to it and work hard you can acheive things. You’d rather blame others, think of yourself as a victim of society and not even try.

      I don’t like the boys from Eton either. In fact I think the pursuit of money for the sake of it is immoral. But I don’t see the connection with class: the boys from Eton didn’t stop you from acheiving. They never said you: don’t launch your own business, don’t study hard, don’t improve. Why are they responsible?

    2. Paul says:

      I believe ‘no hat’ is a step in the right direction though. A respectfully toned down wardrobe is surely more empathic of the peoples concerns.

    3. phil dicks says:

      Tom Wright:”I’ve never owned anything as vulgar as a Prada bag” – top line.
      If we step-back from this lost-without-the-certainties-of-Posh&Becks-culture, doesn’t this line sum things up?
      Top-of-the-range-designer-nonsense described as vulgar. Doesn’t that make intuitive sense?
      What exactly is fashion? Yesterday’s cringe.

  33. Paul says:

    I was referring to the fashion industry as ‘casually racist’. Trust me without divulging too much I know. On employment I believe that the government needs to more carefully scrutinise employment law in favour of the rights of it’s workers. As many people across the country are exploited by corporate giants with no rewards for performance or possibility of ‘working their way up’.
    People now are used and abused as resources nationwide.
    As far as class is concerned 7% of the country’s most wealthy take 50% of the country’s most high paying jobs. Again in relation to fashion many kiddies who ‘know people’ go straight though to the big league without any qualifications at all. The same is for many other facets of society/employment. And I know from experience that if the name and face don’t fit people don’t get jobs.
    Fashion in this country is a great expression of individualism and national identity however it’s accessibility also mirrors the problems with the widening poverty gap, brand worship and innate consumerism. It’s true that we need more business to boost the economy and I like to think the government care to regulate things better.

  34. Moonbeach says:

    Let’s do a simple cost benefit analysis on the tomfoolery that is undertaken in our name.
    Why do our elected representatives ‘tug their forelock’ to Royalty?
    At least with an elected President we could vote them out, ignore the hangers-on (like that peasant Fergie, Edward and so on) and save money on all ceremonies.
    The Royal Family celebs could then truly enter ‘showbiz’ and the Guards could be retired rather than serving soldiers. Tourists would still come to see them and the Royals might just become self financing.
    As it is, unless things change, we know that we will be supporting Charles, then William and all of their servants, sycophants and friends for years to come.
    And whilst on the subject, we might consider changing the National Anthem to focus on our nation rather than asking God to save just our Monarch!
    For those who object to my view, I have read verse 4 (but never sung it) and some may see ‘Queen’ as a synonym for ‘British Isles’. Well, if that’s the case then let’s sing ‘God save our British Isles’!

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