Posts Tagged ‘Glenda Jackson’

Private Eye on the Extreme Right-Wing Views of Tory MP Chris Philps

June 9, 2016

One of Private Eye’s regular columns is ‘The New Boys and Girls’, in which they run unflattering profiles of newly elected MPs. In this fortnight’s issue for 10-23 June 2016, the new bug selected for criticism and having their skeletons taken out of their closets is Tory MP Chris Philp. Philp is one of those, who used to boast thirty years ago about being ‘Thatcherite achievers’ – in other words, Yuppies. He comes from a working class background. His grandfather was a lorry driver in Peckham. He went to Oxford, and after graduating founded a series of companies. The Eye points out that in contrast to all his self-promotion and boasts of success, the reality was a series of bankruptcies and cheated creditors.

What I found interesting wasn’t so much about his repeated failures as a businessman, but his connections to the extreme Thatcherite right. The Eye claims that as well as being a member of the Tory party, Philp flirted with the Freedom Association and wrote a pamphlet praising workfare for the Taxpayers’ Alliance:

Chris Philp is one of the most ambitious Tory MPs of the 1015 intake and – as a millionaire tax-avoider – a politicians for our time.

After he narrowly lost to Glenda Jackson in Hampstead and Kilburn by 42 votes in 2010, the Camden councillor was parachuted into Croydon South, one of capital’s safest Conservative seats. He arrived for his selection meeting in south London as a generous party donor and a former member of the Bow Group who had dalliances with the far-right Freedom Association. He was the author of Work for the Dole, published by the Taxpayer’s Alliance, which advocates community work and training for the unemployed in return for benefits. (p. 13).

The Freedom Association is an extreme neo-liberal outfit, which first emerged in the 1970s as the National Association for Freedom (NAFF), before they found out what this word meant. They stand for privatising everything that ain’t nailed down, ending the welfare state and banning trade unions. They were involved in trying to break a number of strikes in the 1970s. Worse, they also gave their support to the various South and Central American Fascist dictators and their death squads in the 1980s, even inviting one of them to come to one of their dinners as a guest of honour. They also supported South African Conservatives, who defended Apartheid. Guy Debord’s Cat has run a series of articles on this organisation and its squalid history, if you want further information.

Workfare is another policy that first emerged in the 1980s under Thatcher. I can remember various Tory politicos enthusing about it on Breakfast Television when I was at school. It was an idea that they took over from the Republicans in America. It’s a nasty idea that I, and many other bloggers, including Mike, the Angry Yorkshireman, Johnny Void and Tom Pride, to name just a few, have attacked as little more than slavery, designed to provide cheap labour to big business, especially the supermarkets.

As for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, these pass themselves off as an independent organisation, and regularly interviewed as such by the Beeb. They’re nothing of the kind. They’re a Tory astroturf organisation. The Alliance isn’t affiliated to the Tory party, but its tax-dodging leadership are all members. When they aren’t being prosecuted for tax evasion, as several are.

This then, is the political background to Chris Philp, a fan of extreme right-wing politics, who wants to exploit the poor for as much as he can get out of them while dodging tax himself. Exactly the kind of person to expect promotion under tax-dodging, exploitative right-wing, Dave Cameron and his cabinet of unreformed Thatcherite thugs.

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Peter Cook versus Ian Duncan Smith: Now That Would Be A Speech Worth Watching

July 1, 2014

Peter Cook pic

The late awesome Peter Cook, Comedy Titan and Tormentor of the Establishment

I’ve just now reblogged Mike’s article from Vox Political, ‘DWP Debate Highlights Duncan Smith’s Failure to Perform’, describing at length the near total and absolute failure of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms. They have gone well over budget, and over time. Unfortunately, time and money are not the only things that they have cost. Tens of thousands of people had died in hunger and poverty thanks to RTU’s and his Coalition collaborators calculated destruction of the welfare state. Mike’s piece is worth reading for the video of Glenda Jackson laying into Smith in a devastating critique, which includes comments on the man’s personal sanctimonious demeanour. To which he responds by giving his usual unctuous, contemptuous and contemptible smirk that serves him instead of a reasoned rebuttal.

It reminded me of Peter Cook’s routine laying into Harold MacMillan when performing in cabaret at his club, The Establishment. Cook regularly used to perform spoofing MacMillan personally. In one of these acts, he plays MacMillan replying publicly to a letter he has received from a senior citizen, worried that his pension is no longer big enough to support him. After reading out the letter, Cook as MacMillan, says, ‘To which I reply,’ there is then heard a ripping noise as he tears the letter up, ‘Be of good cheer’. He then makes a very funny, satirical speech exactly in the manner adopted by politicians like the Conservatives when trying to tell you that despite the abundant evidence to the contrary, you are somehow better off.

This was at a time when satire was generally new, shocking and subversive. There was legislation expressly preventing comedians from performing impressions on television without the consent of the people they lampooned. When Private Eye first came out, it was seen as very suspect and only a few newsagents initially stocked it. The culture of deference to those in authority was so strong that when Robin Day wrote his autobiography in the 1980s, Grand Inquisitor, he was still shocked and enraged at That Was The Week That Was to describe it as ‘deplorable’.

Cook challenged that automatic deference to authority. And he wasn’t afraid to do it to their faces.

Supermac once turned up in the front row to watch one of Cook’s performances. The great man noticed, and homed in on him. He moved right in front of MacMillan, and said in his voice something along the lines of ‘And so I turn up, smiling stupidly when someone is sending me up’.

Watching RTU smirking inanely in front of Glenda Jackson, I wished Cook was still with us and was ready and willing to do the same to him. He’d have had a field day metaphorically disembowelling a pompous, incompetent nonentity like RTU.