Daily archives: May 24, 2009

Julia Exploited

Nadira and I spoke with Julia Naidenko this afternoon before her performance tonight in the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent, and she had been crying. She said they were forcing her to dance to music that was totally unsuitable, and not allowing her choreography.

Interestingly, she said that the same thing had happened at the first round televised audition. She had taken with her a CD of Arabic drum music to do a traditional belly dance, but had not been allowed to do it, and instead told to dance to Shakira and with a more pop choreography.

That contradicts the whole carefully presented image of the show, of which the story line is that at the auditions the acts just turn up and nobody knows what exactly they are going to do.

That image of spontaneity was manifest most spectacularly in the case of Susan Boyle, where the video made famous on You Tube pretends that the judges did not even know she was a singer or whether she would be any good. The judges then proceeded to manifest what, when you know the truth, you can see is terribly ham acted astonishment.

In fact, just as Julia had her music and choreography altered before her audition, the show would have already seen Susan Boyle, have known exactly what Susan Boyle was going to do, how good she was, and had quite probably chosen the song for her. I bet even the clunking jaw dropping of the judges was rehearsed.

The “Susan Boyle moment” was a brilliantly produced fake.

Anyway, back to poor Julia. Today she was made to dance to Lady Marmalade, which was totally inappropriate in every way for a belly dancer, and made her look just like a Vegas showgirl.

I should say that I am very, very proud of Julia. She picked herself up, made the best anybody possibly could of it, and performed a kind of dance that is not her own with such elegance and allure as almost to redefine the medium. And she looked absolutely stunning. But I know that she feels unhappy, not that she didn’t get through to the final, but that she never did get allowed to show her own dance to her own music.

Don’t worry, Julia. Your niceness and decency shone through, you moved like a dream and a million people fell in love with you. Your friends are proud of you. You are a wonderful, graceful and intelligent woman. You don’t need to chase faked dreams..

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Bercow Exposes Cameron’s Hypocrisy

Tory hypocrisy – and that of David Cameron in particular – is exposed by their attitude to John Bercow as a possible speaker.

I have to admit to an being an admirer of Bercow because he has been the most consistent and active supporter of human rights for Uzbekistan in the House of Commons. Strangely the only other MP who comes to mind straight away as a doughty parliamentary supporter for the Uzbek people is also a Tory, Greg Hands.

But the Tories apparently hate Bercow, as witness this Spectator blog article today.


And why do they hate him? Because he is a backbench MP with a mind of his own, who does not slavishly follow the party whip.

The Mail on Sunday editorial attacking Bercow today describes him as “Increasingly New Labour.” But that is untrue. Where Bercow has been particularly inclined to rebel, is on issues where there has been an unholy alliance between the Tories and New Labour to bring in mad policies. Bercow has therefore voted against university top-up fees, foundation hospitals and various manifestations of the private finance initiative – all things where his party supported Blair – and has gone futher than his party in opposing New Labour “anti-terror” legislation.

In fact Bercow’s voting record looks more Tory veering to Lib Dem than to New Labour – with the major exception that he voted for the Iraq war.

That last is only one example of an area where I disagree with John Bercow. But when the man votes on any issue, it is not because someone told him to, it is because he has thought about it and used his brain to decide what is best.

That is exactly the sort of MP we need.

It is also why the Tories hate him. And their hatred of him exposes the full extent of Tory hypocrisy. They will jump on any reformist bandwagon going in a direction which may help them into power. But once in power, they will rule with just as much of an over-mighty executive, just as much throttling by party whip, just as much contempt for independent parliamentary thought, as New Labour have shown.

The Tories simply want their turn to be the elective dictators.

Andrew Marr questioned David Cameron rather well on precisely this point this morning. Cameron was trying to do his feely touchy reformist bit, and Marr moved to pin him down on whether a Tory government would allow more scope to parliament, by allowing backbenchers to make up their own minds how to vote. Cameron said there should be more free votes, but that politics was a team game and collective responsibility an important principle.

Marr then went on to question Cameron about his attitude to Bercow for speaker. While saying that a party leader should not support a particular candidate, Cameron managed to give the impression that he had just smelled something very bad, and added “But it must be a figure with the necessary respect and authority”, plainly meaning to cast doubt on Bercow’s possession of those qualities.

Remember, if you vote Conservative you do not get reform.

You get Tories.

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Women MPs Have More Front

The female of the species is more deadly than the male. While several of the worst offending male MPs in sleazegate have announced that they will stand down at the next election, the females all continue to tough it out. While the men caught with their hands in the till have appeared shamefaced, the women have defended themselves shrilly.

Nowhere has this contrast been more sharp than in the case of Andrew Mackay and Julie Kirkbride, who are guilty of the same offence in the most literal sense. Husband and wife, both MPs, they lived together and each claimed a second home allowance.

He has announced he will stand down. She is battling on. What is that about? It is made worse by the additional, though comparatively minor, complication that it is her brother who was living, against the rules, at one of their homes.

Kirkbride is just one example.

The shrill fool Nadine Dorries, after lying about where she mainly lives and deliberately concealing from her constituents that she did not live in the constituency, tells us she feels got at. The horrible Hazel Blears still continues to bounce right into our faces. There is a good argument that Margaret Moran is the most blatant abuser of the rules to get money, and abuser of her position for her lobbying company. She shows no sign of going voluntarily at all.

You have to pinch yourself to believe that Tessa Jowell is still in the Cabinet after laundering, through her joint mortgage, money that has been proven in court to come from crime.

Steen, Mackay, Viggers, Martin, Chapman and others are going. The women so far just will not go. Their behaviour is so hideous, they will be putting back the cause of women in politics for a generation.

I think the phrase brazen hussies, selected with due care and attention, is in fact totally appropriate.

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