Getting into a tank with a handbag
Former Primer Minister, Baroness Thatcher died on 8th April following a stroke as she read in her London Ritz hotel suite. She was 87.
The Thatcher years fuelled a more intense national order where everything and anything could be totally and openly justified as long as it made money. Community spirit, if it ever really existed, was largely dismantled and any desire for social cohesion was left battered, bleeding and unnecessary.
The ideology of Thatcherism was that of the individual, “There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and families.” she famously said in an interview for Women’s Own magazine in 1987 and she meant it.
In the days that have followed her death, Britain’s longest serving and only female PM has proved as dramatically divisive in death as she was throughout her life.
There have been impromptu parties celebrating her death and Tweets from incumbent members of Parliament hoping that she “burns in the hell fires”. Along with towering eulogies from the grandees of the far right and everyday go-getters who pulled themselves up by their own boot straps, like to brag about it and can’t understand why feckless scroungers can’t do the same.
The one thing that everybody can agree on however is that she revolutionised Great Britain in a way that is still rippling out in its influence and always will.
The April news headlines…
Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as the new Head Coach of Sunderland football club was greeted with a storm of controversy and recrimination. Di Canio, he of the fascist salutes and Mussolini sympathies, is a right wing Roman who was once quoted by the Ansa news agency as saying “I am a fascist, not a racist.” On learning of the fiery Italian’s appointment, David Miliband looked to score points immediately with his own resignation as a non-executive director of the North East club over those “past political statements.” That Miliband takes the helm of the New York-based International Rescue Committee (IRC) this September is probably unrelated. The IRC is a not for profit humanitarian organisation founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein. Since leaving government, Miliband is estimated to have earned over £1m and his latest appointment carries a £300,000 salary amongst many other perks, meaning that the former MP for South Shields will soon be earning more than President Obama.
The UK Independence Party looks set to field as many as 2,000 candidates in the May local council elections and also now occupies third position in most national opinion polls. Speaking on LBC radio back in 2006, David Cameron famously described UKIP as “A bunch of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.” A Tory criticism that is far more complimentary than the English Defence League’s April 2013 endorsement that urges all “Nationalist parties to stand aside in areas that UKIP have a good chance of winning.” That UKIP’s policies appeal to the abhorrent EDL who really are a bunch of fruitcakes, loonies and open racists benefits no one apart from David Cameron. As it will surely persuade many ‘ordinary’ Conservatives not to switch their allegiance and vote for UKIP, in what was an increasing possibility.
Ian Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has claimed that he could survive on £53 a week. A figure that a caller to BBC Radio 4 said was all he now had to live on following recent benefit cuts. Duncan Smith lives rent-free in his millionaire wife’s Grade II listed ancestral home. The 16th Century Tudor house boasts a swimming pool, tennis courts and three acres of grounds, so luckily for him, he won’t have to try.
A good way to become the sister of the Queen is to have a sister who marries a boy who is going to be King one day
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has an incredible ability to never say anything interesting, noteworthy, offensive, incisive, contentious, inspiring, engaging, stimulating or controversial. That’s quite some skill if you really think about it. Her vacancy is such that I’m not even sure she knows that she is married, let alone to the future King.
“A Queen? Who me? Really?” Pauses, “Oh, ok that sounds quite nice.”
Duchess of Being Her Sister, Pippa Middletion, on the other hand seems a little savvier, with ambitions which do include dressing nicely but also exceed them.
The derriere enhancing dress at the wedding was no accident.
“The cameras picked that up? Who me? Really?” Pauses, “Oh, ok that sounds quite nice.”
Her 2012 debut as an author with the coffee table entertaining manual ‘Celebrate’ whilst laughed out of town on its release for imparting advice such as “have a bonfire” on Bonfire Night and “why not have pumpkin soup” at Halloween, netted her a £400,000 advance.
And in April she replaces Delia Smith as the ‘face’ of Waitrose and will arrive with a column for the ‘Waitrose Kitchen’ magazine on the subject of preparing a ‘Friday Night Feast’.
Pippa describes her new supermarket magazine column as “An exciting opportunity to share my passion and enthusiasm for food and entertaining.”
But she’ll definitely have to raise her game from the ‘Celebrate’ recipe for ice, or advising that toasting marshmallows requires a long-handled fork and flames, even if her copy is for a supermarket magazine.
Chuka out the trash…
Chuka Umunna is the incumbent Member of Parliament for Streatham and the Shadow Business Secretary in Labour Party leader Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet.
Like a human press release with connections, Umunna personifies that new breed of ‘career politician’, having followed the classic ideological sequence of:
College > University > Legal Career > Political Career
This experience-free fast tracking surely leads to policy forming as if college projects in a modern Parliamentary world of spin, budget allocation and information management. Which must also be leaving genuine ideologies for human progress, social development and economic longevity cowering naked in oak paneled corners.
He’s the type of man you can imagine skittering around Whitehall in tailor-made suits whilst hooting into an iPhone on his way to a focus group to discuss what he should wear to this year’s British Retail Consortium dinner. This, having received a disappointing 29% approval rating for the colour of a tie he wore for a recent appearance on Question Time.
Back in the ‘Legal Career’ phase of Umunna’s overwhelming desire to help the people of Great Britain through a commitment to Labour Party principles, he made postings within the forum section of a networking website called ‘A Small World’.
‘A Small World’ is an invitation-only, online community that has previously been described as a ‘MySpace for millionaires’. The homepage of the site currently teases with a feature article for members, suggesting “For the world’s Jetrosexuals, there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to aircraft purchase.”
Umunna’s 2006 postings included this delightful man of the people musing, “Is it just me or is there a serious lack of cool places to go in central London at the weekends? Most of the West End haunts seem to be full of trash and C-list wannabes.”
At least he can easily jet over to Ibiza whenever he wants to avoid the proletariat scum and enjoy the £1m villa, overlooking San Antonio Bay that is owned by his mother on the party island.
Chuka Umunna has been tipped as a future Labour Party leader.
Mainstream rock and roll has devolved into throwing hotels out of television windows…
Structured, reality television show, The X Factor, has been rapped by Ofcom for the excessive plugging of a hotel where the show’s contestants were staying.
The Corinthia Hotel in central London was mentioned in 8 of 13 pre-recorded introductions with the singing contestants in a single episode.
Ofcom concluded, “There was insufficient editorial justification for the repeated references to the hotel during the programme.”
So ITV’s music based flagship has literally inverted rock folklore by throwing a hotel out of a televisual window.
Instead of a 24” PYE shattering in a kaleidoscope of shards on the terrace below Keith Moon’s bedroom window, this inversion merely hawks the London branch of the Corinthia chain of hotels in the ad breaks.