Posts Tagged ‘Age UK’

Vox Political on Jeremy Hardy’s Attack on BBC Bias

February 14, 2016

Mike over on Vox Political has written an interesting piece about Jeremy Hardy’s quip on the News Quiz, attacking right-wing bias in the BBC. The piece begins

Comic Jeremy Hardy let the cat out of the bag on last Friday’s episode of BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz.

Answering a question about senior citizens’ charity Age UK working with electricity supply e-On to offer older people an energy tariff that costs £249 more than the cheapest rate, he said:

“Old people are being ripped off, paying too much for stuff. It would help if we had a nationalised power industry who just set a lower tariff for older people, obviously. Shoehorn that one in; that will get cut.”

He was suggesting the programmes BBC editors would remove his comment because of its obvious political content. Then he continued in whinging tones, in mockery of the attitude he was claiming the BBC had:

“‘We can’t be seen to have opinions on the radio because the Charter’s up for renewal. Ooh, the Telegraph might ring us up. Ooh, what will we do then?’

“In the interests of balance I should say that private enterprise is bracing and the old are a burden on society and should die!”

Mike then goes to show how similar a piece put together by Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s head of news, on Corbyn’s attempt to end in-fighting in the Labour party was with comments about the same issue from David Cameron. They’re so similar that it basically just looks like she just slightly rewrote it. It’s another piece of proof of how biased against Labour the BBC now is.

See Mike’s article at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/02/14/nice-one-jeremy-hardy-lays-into-bbc-impartiality/.

Like Mark Steel, Hardy’s a comedian with very strong left-wing views and a biting, trenchant vein of pure sarcasm when it comes to the Tories. He’s been one of the staples of the News Quiz for over a decade, pouring his scorn on the political spawn of Margaret Thatcher. Much of his humour consists of rants against the Conservatives, or New Labour, and their awful policies, as well as the right-wing press like Paul Dacre’s mighty organ. And some of these can be very, very accurate.

I particularly remember one diatribe in which he described the grotesque nature and sheer stupidity of the audience at the Tory party conference. He said, with some exaggeration, that they were still laughing at some vile joke of one of the speakers at the expense of the unemployed/immigrants/unmarried mothers several minutes after the cabinet minister had said it ‘because they’d only just got it’. Well, he’s right about the audience at the Conservative party conferences: they are grotesque. Hideous in feature as well as temperament and mentality. I can remember one day, back in the 1990s, when I was so bored that, for want of something better on TV, I actually turned on to the Tory party conference. Possibly I thought I was trying to educate myself about current affairs. I don’t know. I do know I turned off soon after.

Why?

Simple, really. It was boring, and as nasty as Hardy said it was. One of the speakers got up on the stage to make some gibe about Labour, state spending or the working class, and the audience roared with approval. Then the camera cut to show the audience. And they really were a bunch of elderly mutants! They looked like a cross between Mrs Slocombe from Are You Being Served? with the evil alien Krool from the 2000 AD comic strip, ‘Bad Company’.

Krool Pic

Now imagine this in a blue rinse and massive fake eyelashes laughing at the unemployed.

Hardy and some of the other regular guests on the News Quiz did have strong left-wing sympathies. These also included Mark Steele and Francis Wheen, the biographer of Friedrich Engels. I suspect, however, that despite Tory whinging about left-wing bias at the Beeb, Hardy and the others were a minority, a last bastion of left-wing politics in what was basically a right-wing, very establishment organisation. Certainly Mike’s cited study after study to show how biased the Beeb’s news reporting is, as have several of the commenters on this blog. And if you look, they’re shoved on the Radio 4, which has always traditionally had lower audience figures than television, and which seems to be geared to catering for minority interests. The audio version of BBC 2 and Channel 4, before those were remodelled and made more like BBC 1 and ITV. The Beeb will continue claim that they’re not biased. Even when they are. But kudos to Hardy for pointing it out and challenging it.

Vox Political on British Elderly Mugging Cameron

March 25, 2015

Yesterday I reblogged a piece by Tom Pride about the heckling Cameron got when he attempted to address Age UK. Mike over at Vox Political has posted a rather fuller description of the events. Mr Pride’s talent is in using his sharp wit to satirise the pompous, vain and cruel. In so doing, he pokes fun and generates laughter from some extremely serious issues, which in themselves aren’t funny at all. Like the government’s continuing campaign to grind and starve the ordinary working people of this country into abject prostration, without even giving the merest qualms about the lives they destroy on the way.

In the case of Mike’s piece, it’s clear that the senior citizens’ own comments and their colossal lack of respect for the Prime Minister were also sheer comedy gold themselves. Mike’s article begins

Late last night (Tuesday), this writer was surprised to read a tweet from arch-Tory Andrew Neil, asking, “Does anybody feel that wheels are falling off Tory campaign?”

Perhaps Mr Neil had seen David Cameron’s performance at an Age UK meeting yesterday, where pensioners – widely believed to be the Conservative Party’s most loyal and likely supporters – did everything but climb onto the stage and physically rip the comedy prime minister apart.

If they are representative of all the UK’s senior citizens, then yes – not only have the wheels fallen off Cameron’s cart but the horse has bolted.

Arriving late, Cameron explained himself by saying he had just taken his 175th cabinet meeting. This display of pride at his longevity in-post impressed nobody – let’s face it, the man was facing a crowd whose defining feature is longevity. Perhaps Cameron himself was impressed by his (non-)achievement. If so, one has to wonder why; one of his first acts as prime minister was to fix the length of the current Parliament.

It was at the questions that he really fell to pieces. The first was about his diabolical treatment of the National Health Service – on which many elderly people must rely, of course. Why was it falling apart? Cameron’s claim that there was an army of carers, plus more doctors* and nurses, was met with a succinct reply from several areas: “Rubbish!”

“The NHS needs more money,” shouted a member of the audience, while another shouted: “You promised free prescriptions… we want the NHS how it used to be.”

And from there, it seems that the situation got worse.

Mike’s article’s entitled Pensioners knock the wheels off Cameron’s wagon. It’s at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/03/25/pensioners-knock-the-wheels-off-camerons-wagon/. Go there and see how it’s a mistake for any politico to take the elderly for granted.

Reading some of the heckles, which come as replies to the statements and rhetorical questions Cameron threw out as part of his spiel reminded me of a second rate comedian vainly trying to hold his own against an audience fresh from tasting stage blood on the compere and cast of the Rocky Horror Show. As Mike once said to one of the hosts of that spectacle of debauchery when it played in Bristol many years ago, ‘Put it this way, you have your lines and the audience have theirs, and sometimes theirs is better.’

Cameron’s meeting with the oldies should have ended with the long, time-hallowed cry of ‘What does this play lack?’ ‘Meaning.

Just don’t turn up the next time he does his one-man act with the water pistol and toast. He’ll have you arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.