political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Friday, October 13, 2006
Who Should Present The Westminster Hour?
Since Andrew Rawnsley's abrupt departure from The Westminster Hour there has been much speculation as to who the new presenter should be. Kevin Maguire speculates in his New Statesman gossip column this week that the BBC is seeking a 'Cameroon sounding' voice. Whatever that may be. I suppose that rules me out then... (that was a joke). My shortlist would consist of one name... James Landale. James has made the transition from print journalist to broadcast much more smoothly than most. He has good camera presence, speaks with authority and avoids the kind of hectoring interviewing style you often get with modern day TV journalists. And he's one of the nicest guys in political journalism. [That should ruin his chances - ed].
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He has good camera presence...
That should stand him in good stead on Radio 4!
Trust you to spot the flaw in my argument!
He's very dashing. Your type, Iain?
Good idea. James Landale is witty as well. I'd also suggest Steve Richards, similar strengths, possibly better contacts and more experience? Also, Steve isn't an Old Etonian!
Andew Rawnsley should present it. His new TV programme is absolutely hopeless and he should hotfoot it back to Radio 4 with his tail between his legs forthwith.
Plus he went to Eton, so he will fit in with Dave
Another Eton boy
Should be a blogger. If not you, then Guido - he won't be seen.
Iain - you should apply for the job :) It would give the BBC a kick in the right direction.
Rawnsley's gone? Great. I'll start listening again.
All we need now is an old Etonian to replace Blair and their coup will be complete.
Instead of constant anti-Etonian sneers, all you inverted snobs should be asking why the state system doesn't seem to be producing enough high calibre candidates. We've recently seen the row over the dumbed-down GCSE Science exam, the drop in pupil numbers taking foreign languages and today the news that you can get a Grade A in GCSE English Literature without actually reading any of the set books or plays in full.
Doesn't anybody care that our state schools are turning into secondary moderns with only private education filling the role that used to be taken by our state grammar schools?
"Doesn't anybody care that our state schools are turning into secondary moderns with only private education filling the role that used to be taken by our state grammar schools?"
Oh, yes, Fiona Millar does. All the stiff ideological baggage is there in the same article by her on the subject that gets regurgitated in the Grauniad every 3 or 4 weeks.
"only private education filling the role that used to be taken by our state grammar schools? "
Charlotte, you mean turning out intellectual giants like David Cameron???
I have to say my general experience of people who went to Eton at university and at work in the City has been mixed. Some ex Etonians were charming and open others were rude and closed. Perhaps the same might be said of the population as a whole. I was a bit surprised when a friend (who had not been there himself but had been to one of the top five public schools) recently sent his son there.
How about Dennis Sewell. His 'Talking Politics" is one of the few decent politics shows on BBC radio.
Yes, but are we really sure we want a flagship programme introduced by Harry Potter?
He is very easy on the eye with a good face for radio.
Steve Richards is alright when not lapsing into Estuary English (as he's prone to do on Any Questions) or writing standard liberal left crap on prisons and Europe (prison doesn't work, public services are so much better on the Continent - does he think his readers are so gullible as to realise that such good public services are almost always attributable to the domestic legislation of countries such as Germany rather than the EU?)
I'd prefer Lansdale, though, as he's far less pompous. As Old Etonians go, he sounds very neutral (far less plummy than David Cameron or Prince William).
I have some sympathy with the comments made earlier. As someone who went to a comprehensive, I'd say there's too much political correctness in the state sector - competitive school sports weren't banned at my school (they are in some), but what was really tiresome was being told that Midlands Records of Achievements were more important than GCSEs (as if - instead of giving the less academic pupils worthless scraps of paper, why not allow them to learn a trade such as bricklaying or plumbing?) and how the teachers didn't take the trouble makers on one side (that would be discrimination, you see) but insisted on dragging in the entire form for patronising lectures which would begin 'We realise it's only a minority of you....'
And, as with the government's ridiculous 50% in higher education target (which will just mean even more people in university who need to be given remedial essays in writing essays and reading academic books, as already happens, plus lazy workshy dickheads chattering away in the lectures they're forced to attend by school-like attendance registers), there's the pretence that everyone can be academic. Result? The really academic end up doing ridiculous numbers of A-Levels just to try to stand out from the crowd for Oxbridge entry, while the less academic are frustrated and alienated (which results in discipline problems or truancy) and end up as NEETs.
As a member of the Labour Party, I think the government should leave the grammar schools in Northern Ireland alone.
An Old Etonian to replace Blair? The only Old Etonian left in the PLP is Mark Fisher, and he'll probably stand down at the next GE.
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