Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Ben Gummer should know better

Ben Gummer’s latest missive to the Morning Ipswich Star (not on Star website but is available here) was not his finest hour. I cede to no one in my admiration for Sir Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony, which was frankly the best artistic production I have ever seen. It was, and this is not too strong a word, a masterpiece and he should be duly honoured by Her Majesty for this service to his country. 
I won’t bang on about the Opening Ceremony too much (I have written a full review here) but I do have to take umbrage with the MP for Ipswich, who could only say the most obvious thing any politician would say – post-Aidan Burley tweet – about the ceremony, choosing deliberately to concentrate on the last third of the show:

“..what came through clearly was the pride we have in the diversity of our country – both in our different nations and in the multiplicity of the people who call themselves British and name Britain their home.”

Really, is that the best a Cambridge double-starred first historian could say about the three-hour spectacular tour of British history and the massive contribution we have made to the world? 
How could historian Mr Gummer not say anything about Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Boyle’s genius depiction of the Industrial Revolution, which brought mechanisation and great wealth to Britain and then the rest of the world? How, with the biggest research and development centre in Europe on Ipswich’s doorstep, could Ipswich’s MP not mention that the Opening Ceremony celebrated how the World Wide Web was invented by a Brit, with Sir Tim Berners-Lee taking a bow in the Olympics Stadium and to the one billion people watching world-wide?
Yes, the Olympic Games were about sport but to brush aside the extraordinary geopolitical event, which London 2012 was, is at best naive and at worst very cynical (if he thinks Ipswich people don’t get politics!).
Mr Gummer says: 

“These Olympics have not so much celebrated the Olympic movement, or Britain, or buildings, but pure competitive endeavour, which is what it should all be about.”

You are kidding, Mr Gummer? Equestrian was deliberately moved by Lord Coe – a politician of the grandest order if there ever was one – from Windsor Great Park (a perfect natural habitat) with a shack called Windsor Castle as a backdrop to Greenwich Park in built-up South London. Why? Because it offered  a superb backdrop of the economic powerhouse of Great Britain across the river: the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, with television pictures beamed across the globe. Now that’s soft political power or hard political power, whichever it is.
I am disappointed in Ben Gummer for segwaying in his piece from stock praise – rightly – for the diversity we have in the UK to racism. That is the classic rhetoric of the Left. Mr Gummer wrote the below when describing a dispute in a restaurant between a customer and a waiter over the bill (something which takes place thousands of times up and down the country every day):

“Frankly, I doubt that they [the customer] would have behaved like that had the waiter been white.  So we butted in and suggested they be more polite.

Speaking to the waiter afterwards, he said that although he was born and bred in Britain, worked hard in Britain and contributed to Britain, the way some people treated him made him doubt whether everyone accepted that fact.  He was making a subtle point and we all knew what he meant.

How sad that should still be the case.  We should take Danny Boyle’s idyll as an injunction as much as a pat on the back.”

Ben Gummer really should have taken a step back before writing this. It is quite possible that the disagreement the customer had about their bill would have still taken place if the waiter was white. Unpleasant people can be unpleasant regardless of race: some people just don’t know how to behave respectfully to people of the same or different colour. Perhaps, Mr Gummer should remember this before he starts firing off allegations of racism?
If Mr Gummer’s final paragraph in his article was an attempt to link the legitimate opinions many have on multiculturalism (including Prime minister David Cameron) and diversity with a non-subtle allegation of racism then this is quite disturbing to hear from a a representative in Her Majesty’s Parliament. This only serves to stir up tensions and is divisive and those in positions of influence should steer clear of such rhetoric.
My wife and I had a wonderful time when we visited the Games to watch the Mens’ Trampoline: we were all mixing together – irrespective of nationality, race or creed – and helping each other out as we navigated through the transport system, security and the Olympic arena. The London 2012 Olympic Games were such a positive and inspiring time and it’s a shame the MP for Ipswich has used his article to put a negative gloss on this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Mr Gummer should not let his left-wing prejudices cloud his highly intelligent mind like this. And if they do, he should not write them down. We all have off days and I am sure the Ben Gummer I selected back in 2007 will resume normal service again soon.


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Thatcher hatred displays great ignorance

This Friday a film biopic on the political career of Baroness Thatcher is released at cinemas nationwide.
I have deliberately not listened, watched or read any reviews on The Iron Lady as I find doing so spoils the enjoyment when I get round to seeing the film but I see the usual suspects haven’t missed an opportunity to peddle their abuse towards an 85 year old woman.

More websites have been set up to count down the days until the former Prime Minister dies, including isthatcherdeadyet.co.uk and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are peppered with grotesque insults about her. Labour controlled Sunderland Council have officially condoned the revolting comments of their Deputy Council Leader who said she hopes Margaret Thatcher “burns in hell”.

And yet I feel more pity than anger towards these ignorant Socialists. They harp on about how Thatcher destroyed communities by winding down inefficient state controlled coal mining but in fact many miners and their families who had two brain cells to rub together and the nouse to move to find work took the opportunity to enter the burgeoning wealth creating private sector industries which helped take Britain from the basket case of an economy in 1979, and labelled as the “sick man of Europe” by our sneering European cousins, to the fourth largest economy on Earth by the time her legacy had been cemented in 1997. I personally know people who worked in the mines in Yorkshire who moved into the IT sector and saw their income rocket with a nice detached house to match. They aren’t weeping for the good ol’ days because they weren’t.

Socialists seem to forget what a mess this country was in before Margaret Thatcher came to power: three-day weeks, nightly power cuts, the dead laying unburied. Before Brown almost bankrupted the country again the UK was a transformed, rich country.  People became two or more car families, they had yearly holidays abroad, enjoyed lower taxes and bought affordable electronic goods – do the loony Left think this happened by accident? No, it happened because a brave, shrewd, tough, intelligent woman fought to the top of the Conservative Party and became our Prime Minister, implemented the policies of free markets and monetarism, which were rewarded by her winning three elections in a row.  The likes of Cllr Florence Anderson should stop and think why it is she has a standard of living only dreamt of by ordinary people in the 1970s, despite the economic mess her party has today got us into.

Margaret Thatcher was so successful that her second greatest legacy after the economic is the Left had to become more like her to get elected. Isn’t that right Tony?

There has also been premature talk of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, which I hope is many years away. But when the great lady does pass away I would strongly support a State Funeral. This would be the only way of reflecting the incalculable positive impact of Thatcher’s economic policies on millions of lives in this country and the impact her foreign policies, along with President Reagan, had in freeing millions of Europeans from tyranny.

Quite frankly, Baroness Thatcher is our greatest living Briton – and long may that continue.