Friday, January 16, 2004

The Sound of Silence by John Cage, 'performed' tonight by the RPO and broadcast on BBC Radio 3... An appraisal by Alfie the critique.....

Thankyou, but don't just take my word for it - 'hear' it yourself, tune in tonight. Don't worry if you miss it, I'm sure a CD is even now being banged out.

The Mea Culpa Club – membership strictly restricted…….

Just watching Geoff ‘buff’ Hoon donning his tin hat and taking cover, busily reading the Rev’ Blair’s Gideon bible – he’s on the holy chapter ‘Itwasntmeguvidicus’. It looks like they’ll have to prise his hands off the seal of office and his bum off the seat of power to get rid of him – after all, he’s hardly likely to say "OK, fair cop, I’m a complete and utter cretin" – is he?

I mean, I bet Geoff’s a nice bloke, someone you’d trust to pull you a decent pint at your local – but not to organise a delivery 35,000 pairs of desert boots or indeed, flak jackets and stuff….

It got me thinking – when was the last time, the very last time that a British politician jacked it in, declared his innings, called time on his tenure, shouted last orders….. because he had made an unforgivable error of judgement. Completely ‘cocked up’ for want of a better phrase. "I’ve had a meeting with the Prime Minister… after much consultation, both he and I agree that I have made an unforgivable mistake and furthermore that I am an utter, utter prat. I resigned 2 seconds before he would have sacked me, I intend to follow a career in television"…..

So who was it then? What with our terrific crop of noble politicians it can’t be that hard can it? After all they’re all human – ergo, they make mistakes, don’t they? So, if they do make a mistake, you'd expect them to go, right?

Hmmmmmmm, now let me think, who was the last Minister to fall on their sword shaped portfolios for the crime of cock-up?


Robin Cook and Clare Short – resigned over Iraq.
Estelle Morris – said she "Didn’t enjoy it any more"
Stephen Byers – sacked by the Rev’
Alan Milburn – wanted to spend more time with his family
Sir Norman Fowler – said he had a young family
Michael Hesteltine – jacked it in over a row about Westland…
Cecil Parkinson – Love child scandal
Lord Lampton – sacked for smoking hash and bedding laidees of the night.
John Profumo – ditto to above, apart from the spliff.

And so it goes on, Government Ministers are sacked for stupidity, seeing the light, smoking the dope, bedding the floozy, realising they have a family or getting all principled ….

I’ve wracked and wracked my grey matter. The last Minister I can think of to say "I’m a divvy, get me out of here" is Lord Carrington in 1982 – that’s 22 years ago for God’s sake!

Note that Carrington was not an elected MP. Perversely he was a very able Minister who took his eye off the ball. The forces of Argentina invaded South Georgia and that was it. Even then he had to insist to Thatcher that she accept his resignation.

When interviewed later, Lord Carrington said "Mea Culpa"… Nuff said.

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