LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
14 May 2016
Waiting in the Wings

Witless John Whittingdale’s determination to hand over all media to the greedy,
duplicitous Murdoch has not proceed as planned. All together now: ahhhh, the
poor orgy-loving, S&M fancying, prostitute-preferring Culture Secretary. He
didn't get it all his way did he? Should we then assume he’ll be seeking solace in
the chains of one of his favourite ‘escorts’?

The Government's White Paper on the future of the BBC was finally published.
It's said that loose-suited Whitty wanted to ‘clip the wings’ of the BBC. Wings?
Clearly he wanted to rip them off with his teeth and stomp on them with an all-
embracing eagerness. “Left wing? Left wing? No longer! Right-wing? Right
wing? Oh yesssss!”

The Culture (haha) Secretary did tell Cambridge students that the BBC was an
unfortunate intrusion into the free market and its abolition a “tempting prospect”.
He then told MPs he wanted “to see as much transparency as possible” on how
the BBC spends licence fee payers’ money. Transparent? Erm. Like dim-wit,
half-wit, whatever Whitty’s sexual escapes that we paid for then?

Popbitch shared that he had “many years as a Council Member of the Freedom
Association…the libertarian group whose big policy aim is to abolish the BBC
license fee [are we taking notes here?]. Other fun Freedom Association
campaigns included: stopping BBC from broadcasting the Nelson Mandela 70th
birthday concert [oh that was very nasty], supporting the right of cricketers to
tour apartheid-era South Africa” [oh very, very nasty].

Whitty has faced continuous accusations he is trying to run down the BBC by
backing the BBC board with Tory cronies and ordering it to stop the race for
ratings. And scrapping the BBC Trust to be replaced with a new overreaching
‘unitary’ board regulated by the government’s watchdog Ofcom.

Six government appointed watchdogs involved in editorial decision making? Oh
really? The government has insisted on a “health check” which allows it to review
the new charter after five years. Hmmm. Watch this space. And watch channel
4 as it’s still on Whitty’s sell-off list as soon as possible.

Having failed at his attempt to totally restrict, reduce, silence, axe the BCC,
Whitty must be spitting those feathers. Oh we do hope he doesn’t choke.


Mind the Gaff

At a Buckingham Palace tea party, the Queen shared her opinion – yes, she
does have them – with the Scotland Yard commander in charge of policing the
Chinese state visit last October by President Xi Jinping that drummed up at least
£58b in Chinese investment. The Queen revealed that members of the Chinese
delegation "were very rude to the ambassador", exclaiming: "Extraordinary!" I’m
thinking at least £58b is extraordinary for a single visit.

Also extraordinary was that China’s top tabloid The Global Times made it a
headline when it quoted the Queen’s remark which would normally be censored.
They wrote: “The West in modern times has risen to the top and created a
brilliant civilisation, but their media is full of reckless ‘gossip fiends’ who bare
their fangs and brandish their claws and are very narcissistic, retaining the bad
manners of ‘barbarians’. As they experience constant exposure to the 5,000
years of continuous Eastern civilisation, we believe they will make progress”.
Ouch! Really?

Like the progress that has resulted in their investments/stakes in most of the
country from Barclay’s to Weetabix to Pizza Express [I’m betting you didn’t
know that] to House of Fraser to Thames Water to Imagination Technologies to
Sunseeker – huh? Oh right. Yachts of course. Tip of the iceberg or tsunami or –
well, possibly beginning of the Silk Route. Nothing is safe is it? Not even your
breakfast.

Barbarians at the gate? Worse. They have a secret Plan B to build two nuclear
facilities by-passing the French firm EDF. They will have invested £100 billion in
the UK in 10 years. Don’t expect Chinese officials to adapt British manners.
Why would they?

So where was the King of gaffes? Well, he isn’t the king is he – so the Prince
of…. Remember when the P of G infamously told a group of British students
during a 1986 state visit to China that they would become ‘slitty-eyed’ if they
remained in the country any longer. Now whose cultural manners was he
reflecting exactly?


Keep Abreast Now

What is it about breasts and EastEnders? What is it about breasts-on-show and
EastEnders? If you’ve forgotten [how could you?] simply remember Kat’s. Can
you remember anything else about her? Oh you know you can’t. Then there was
the sad attempt to focus on the cleavage of all the other actresses. Even those
without cleavage. Beyond sad really.

So then what is it about EastEnders and cancer? What is it about EastEnders
and women with breast cancer? It began with Peggy, who was diagnosed with
breast cancer in 1996, 1998, 2016. I could list all those afflicted, but you get the
point.

So what is it about mastectomies and EastEnders? Seriously, I’m not certain I
want to know as it reveals a sort of perverse misogyny really.

We can only assume we will be lucky enough to have writer, Pete Lawson, to do
the full-on emotive dialogue. So wrong. Pete is always so wrong when he tries to
‘do female feelings’. Or we could have another favourite, Jeff Povey, who shares
in his misogyny: “Oh, you’re such a girl.”

Nearly everyone who appeared in EastEnders has been dragged back; some we
are happy to see, some not so much. At the end of the day, EastEnders needs
new, proper writers, just when you thought things are going well. Once we get
passed their breast/mastectomy obsession, we have been promised ‘explosive
storylines‘. Really? Oh yawn. Not their traditional kill-off car crash…please.
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