Sunday 2 March 2014

Who does Admiral Lord West fancy? And who does he envy? Read on


Onwards and..........................

The paper review panel on today's Broadcasting House consisted of actor Tom Hollander (of the BBC's Rev fame), Lord West of Spithead (Labour) and Camilla Cavendish of The Sunday Times who, Paddy said [in his introduction], is "conducting a review for the Health Secretary in England, Jeremy Hunt, into healthcare assistance" - thus neatly suggesting where she might just possibly stand on the political spectrum [whilst, at the same time, including a clip of her - by way of introduction - praising the skills of NHS staff for good measure. Paddy's profoundly emotional pro-NHS bias is something I've commented on before.]

But, I hear you ask, did Paddy finally get round to telling us that Lord West is a Labour Party peer, after serving in Gordon Brown's government? 

Well almost:
Lord West won the DSC in the Falklands War. He was the last to leave his frigate, HMS Ardent, as she sank. He rose to run the Royal Navy before briefly steaming into politics.
They covered the Oscars first, and film's apparent rise (at TV's expense). 

I did smile at Lord West's contribution here. He agreed with Tom Hollander that cinema is resurgent, especially as you can have a meal while sitting on sofas at cinemas these days. ["That's the expensive way of going to the cinema", quipped Tom.]

I've never understood how the outstanding Lord West - quite possibly the most conservative/Conservative-seeming man in the entire world - can possibly be a Labour peer.

But if butler-employing, Conservative-defecting millionaire Shaun Woodward and expense-grabbing, bell-tower-owning Tory grandee-turned-Labour minister Quentin Davies can become (and remain) Labour politicians - in this topsy-turvy, LibLabCon world [as they say in comments threads at the Telegraph] -  then anything is probably possible.

Camilla, true to form, began with...The Sunday Times. She quoted her paper's David Smith giving us good economic news about the recovery.

As I heard her I thought, 'George Osborne will appreciate this take on things, but then also thought that [pro-Labour, as I see him] Paddy would feel duty-bound to counter this...

...and, immediately, Paddy did just that (I knew it!), asking about how fairly distributed the growth is (Labour territory, of course) and inviting Labour's Lord West to comment...


Aha, but what's this exchange?:
Paddy: You were a GOAT in Gordon Brown's government.
Lord West: I was a GOAT. I tended to focus on security, and things like that rather than deep political issues, I have to say.
Paddy: That's a good point. That's a get out!
Lord West: It is a get out!
The GOATs in Gord's cabinet were non-partisan, non-party types, you'll (hopefully) remember.

Yes, yes, BUT Lord West is NOW a Labour Party peer and NOT a cross-bencher, and I've heard him make party-partisan points on Radio 4 before since 2010. Unclued-up Radio 4 listeners (even those who like Mark Tully) risked being misled into thinking that Lord West is a completely non-partisan figure by today's Broadcasting House, something this exchange reinforced yet further. 

We then learned that Lord West fancies Victoria Coren, who he finds "dramatically attractive" (as, indeed, she is), and that he envies David Mitchell (which it's more than my life's worth to agree with).

[Can this man really be a Labour Party supporter, in the age of Harriet Harman? Surely, he remains a GOAT at heart after all. [And possibly a randy one to boot]].

Lord West was backing Victoria's article in the Observer, where she says that the Royal Family should be splendid and remote rather than wearing jeans and trying to be like us. The splendid Lord West agreed with that. [Again, why is this man sitting on the Labour Party benches?]. 

Tom Hollander [who I kept on warming to] again rather nailed Lord West here [perhaps unintentionally] with another quip [with which I also agree]:
They can't win though, can they? If they get too democratic then Vicky Coren writes that, and if they wear too many medals and gold braid 
Lord West (and HM The Queen)
then everyone will accuse them of being remote.
Lord West recognised the joke, and laughed at himself. (Good man.)

Lord West (Labour) then told a short anecdote about David Cameron getting lost on one occasion coming back from the Palace to Number Ten. 

"David Cameron got lost coming back...?", said Paddy (ears pricking up, like a biased puppy dog). 

"His driver got lost", clarified Lord West [being an honest sailor at heart]. 

They still laughed.

Next, The Independent on Sunday and Amazonian tribes, evil loggers, our burgers. Boooo!!!

Then The Observer on gold under the sea, and our "delicate eco-systems" and the "huge threats" to our environment. Plastic, scary, billionaires, and another Boooo!!!

Next the Observer again - this time a piece about the death of the world's oldest Holocaust survivor, concert pianist Alice Herz-Sommer (a life I was glad to hear commemorated on Last Word this Friday). There's a film about her, according to Tom Hollander, which we must see that shows her playing Chopin with arthritic hands at the age of 106.

[Well, there's also a clip on her at the age 108 on YouTube which also shows her playing Chopin that you might like to listen too. The arthritis is clearly having its toll but the music's beauty - and her former glory - is still there to hear.
Lord West then took us back to the Independent on Sunday and a piece about Ukraine that backed up his careful position.

Camilla Cavendish finally broke us away from the Observer/Independent on Sunday see-saw and took us to the Mail on Sunday and that amnesty granted to former IRA terrorists (and those comfort letters). What about an amnesty too for the soldiers involved in 'Bloody Sunday'?

...finally, one for Lord West: "Phwoar!"

Lord West agreed that we need to be even-handed here, rather than favouring the IRA at the expense of British soldiers, and argued [rightly] that "there's no moral equivalence" between the IRA terrorists and those soldiers involved in 'Bloody Sunday' [once again, please tell me why the wonderful Lord West sits on the Labour benches?]. He then rubbished the IRA's "Ah well, we believed in something, therefore we're the same as your British troops" argument, adding that "that would justify Islamic extremists as well" and provide "get-out-of-jail-free" cards to them, rounding off by saying that he doesn't think we should keep pursuing our own soldiers "who did this in their line of duty" - to which I can only add a parliamentary "Hear! Hear!" [again, once again, please tell me why the wonderful Lord West is sitting on the Labour benches?]

Finally, Paddy returned to the Oscars and mentioned the BBC's current obsession 12 Years a Slave [and it really does come across as an obsession, BBC], asking [as if he'd not asked a leading question] for his choice. Tom let him down badly, saying that he wanted Dallis Buyers Club to win. [That made me laugh too.]

I enjoyed this BH paper review.

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