Head of State, A Political Entertainment

Andrew Marr book signing

Andrew Marr book signing

I arrived at the venue Raddison Blu, to find there were no tickets left. Most annoying, as Tourist Information had told me there were tickets, turn up.

I was then given a different time. Even odder. Turned out I was at the wrong venue. At least explains why it was not same location as the map.

I arrived at correct venue, Mandolay Hotel.

It was packed, must have been a couple of hundred or more people.

Head of State is a satire. Andrew Marr, is following in good footsteps. Was not Jonathan Swift writing satire? If it cannot be written as fact, then disguise as thinly veiled fiction.

We no longer have politicians, who we may not necessary like, but at least we respect, Winston Churchill, Clem Atlee, Harold McMillan.

The political class is not up to much, never done an honest day’s work in their life, party apparatchiks, yes men, lobby fodder, and with each intake it gets worse.

Andrew Marr suggested minimum age of 40 to gain entry to Parliament.

But would that work? Surely what we need are intelligent, articulate, independently minded Members of Parliament who understand the issues, who act for their constituents and not Big Business and other vested interests.

And that is only one of the problems, Parliament has no power. It has been transferred to the EU and and global corporations.

And it will get worse. Most trade agreements are not about trade, they are about passing power to global corporations.

How many have heard of TTIP? is it being discussed? And yet that will involve a massive transfer of power to global corporations.

Journalists are not up to much either. Real journalism involves hard facts, hard graft, doing the leg work, checking, double checking.

Someone has to pay for it, and no one is willing to pay.

How do you get on the bottom rung? Work as an intern for nothing. Only the rich can afford to work for nothing at least voluntarily. The poor are forced to work for nothing under Workfare.

Add in corporate ownership of the media, and the media is seen to be owned by the same corporations as the politicians.

Add in the revolving door, same schools, same universities, same clubs, and you have the media-political establishment driving the mindset.

Stephanie Flanders, once BBC chief economic correspondent, now works for an asset management company. Other BBC journalists have become political spin doctors. Former spin doctors get wheeled out by the BBC to spout garbage. Former newspaper editors get their own shows.

It is less an owner barks orders than the servile journalist knows what is expected.

George Orwell:

Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip. But the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip.

John Pilger:

The truth is, Britain’s system of elite monopoly control of the media rests not on News International alone, but on the Mail and the Guardian and the BBC, perhaps the most influential of all. All share a corporate monoculture that sets the agenda of the “news”, defines acceptable politics by maintaining the fiction of distinctive parties, normalises unpopular wars and guards the limits of “free speech”.

There is a room in Parliament with a print out of speeches. The Member for So and So gave a speech Somewhere. Most of those speeches did not take place, no one bothers to check, and yet they get reported as fact.

Most journalism is churnalism, regurgitation of what has already been reported, or worse still, copy and paste of press releases as news.

The Scottish referendum and UKIP have served as a wake up call. SNP has seen a tripling of its membership since the yes vote. There is a massive rejection of Westminster. In Scotland this is reflected in the desire for independence and a rejection of austerity. In England, anti-EU and vote for UKIP.

In Scotland there was a massive turnout. There was engagement. How doe we achieve this in England?

One way is to engage people, devolve power down to people, involve them, participation.

In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein shows there is an alternative, we just have to have the will.

The media political establishment is itself a satire.

  • Caroline Lucas cut off mid-sentence on wato when arguing for inclusion of UKIP and Green Party in any national debate
  • failure to report massive anti-austerity march a few weeks ago
  • failed Chancellor and has-been politician Nigel Lawson wheeled out as climate expert
  • the ignorant views of Owen Paterson on climate and energy given airtime let alone credence
  • failure to report let alone discuss any alternatives to austerity
  • tittle-tattle
  • yah-boo politics
  • emphasis on Westminster

The ultimate satire has to be the book launch of Head of State hosted by David Cameron at No 10 Downing Street with the media and political circus in attendance.

Pause for one moment. If Vladimir Putin hosted a book launch in the Kremlin for a Russian journalist, would that journalist have any credibility?

Andrew Marr has made an incredible recovery from a stroke he suffered a couple of years ago. He is still frail, needs a stick to walk. NHS has brilliant intervention to save the life of a stroke victim, but very poor after care to aid recovery. Most stroke victims are written off. But as Andrew Marr has shown, you can suffer a stroke and recover. But it needs intensive physio over years and that is not available on the NHS. He paid for it privately.

Andrew Marr provided a tantalising insight into the political world.

A model introduction by Jim Parks, no waffle, no preamble, simply welcoming Andrew Marr to come and join him on the platform. Which is as it should be.

One Tree Books has for the last few years been the official festival bookseller. And that is as it should be. The Festival depends upon local support, in return the Festival supports local indy bookshops. It was offensive to book lovers to find WHSmith selling the books, a failing High Street chain that has no interest in books.

Head of State is the first attempt at fiction by Andrew Marr. He did not find it easy. Like dropping the innards of a watch on a table, then wondering where all the pieces go. As an aid, he drew caricatures of the characters.

Andrew Marr was the founding editor of the Independent and BBC Political Editor. He currently hosts the BBC1 Andrew Marr Show, and presented the Radio 4 Start the Week from 2005 to 2012. His acclaimed television documentary series include Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain and Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain (both of which have associated books of same titles). Head of State was written whilst he was recovering from a stroke in 2013.

Guildford Book Festival 12-19 October 2014 at venues in and around Guildford.

Top Story The Katzing Digital Report (Thursday 16 October 2014).

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4 Responses to “Head of State, A Political Entertainment”

  1. keithpp Says:

    Occupy Democracy
    https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/occupy-democracy/

  2. keithpp Says:

    The vote against Right of Recall, only serves to show how corrupt has become the political system.

    https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/right-of-recall-lost/

  3. keithpp Says:

    The rise of Russell Brand and Nigel Farage has proved one thing — the rest of our politicians are an indistinguishable mess
    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-rise-of-russell-brand-and-nigel-farage-has-proved-one-thing–the-rest-of-our-politicians-are-an-indistinguishable-mess-9821845.html

  4. keithpp Says:

    MPs to escape expenses investigations after paperwork destroyed by Parliament
    https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/mps-to-escape-expenses-investigations-after-paperwork-destroyed-by-parliament/

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