In praise of… W?!

REGULAR followers of this blog will know I’m hardly a fan of W, what with the stolen election, Guantanamo Bay, CIA agents being publicly identified, etc.

But listening to The News Quiz on Radio 4 tonight has almost made me a supporter of the 43rd, even at this late stage in his presidency. It almost made me throw up listening to those so, so clever, self-satisfied,  smug panellists (I exempt Jeremy Hardy from this criticism because he is actually funny) smirking loudly at Bush’s (admittedly phoney) Texan accent and laughing at their own witty observations about how stupid he (and therefore America) is.

(And that was before the whole embarrassingly self-congratulatory rubbish about jolly hockey-sticks protests against Heathrow’s third runway, to which all the contestants were inevitably, predictably and depressingly opposed. Still, I guess you use Gatwick to fly out to your Tuscany villa, don’t you?)

Anyway, back to W: whisper it, but no-one gets to be president of the world’s only super power by being stupid. Yes, he mangles his syntax more violently than John Prescott at an NFU rally, but just because he can’t swap repartie with Stephen Fry does not make him a hillbilly. His record on aid to Africa, for one thing, puts all his predecessors to shame.

Admittedly, his record on just about everything else is rubbish, and, as I said, listening to The News Quiz only made me almost support him. But spare me the political “wisdom” of most (not all) of these Radio 4 comedians. Honestly, by the way the Toksvig sneers self-approvingly, you would think she’s a Liberal Democrat or something.



Filed under Media, United States

15 responses to “In praise of… W?!

  1. Yes, he mangles his syntax more violently than John Prescott at an NFU rally, but just because he can’t swap repartie with Stephen Fry does not make him a hillbilly

    If he was a hillbilly, that would be something, but he isn’t. He is the incredibly privileged son of an incredily well connected man. Even if the insults are over the top sometimes, it isn’t as if he got there by pulling himself up by his bootstraps.

  2. Auntie Flo'

    “Still, I guess you use Gatwick to fly out to your Tuscany villa, don’t you?”

    Radio is a great mystery to me, so ignore me if there’s some meaning to the above that I will never grasp. I take it to be addressed to us great unwashed out here.

    If so, you’re wrong in the case of this airport expansion protestor because:

    1. I can’t afford a Tuscan villa

    2. And I never fly.

    3. I double dare you to answer just one of the questions I’ve asked you regarding airport expansion.

    Tell you what, I’ll make it easy for you. How about pulling apart my claim that airport expansion costs UK 100,000s of jobs.

    Then I’ll make it even easier with the claim that aviation currently costs UK around £20m to £40 billion a year in hidden subsidies and that these subsidies are largely financed by additonal taxes on the poorest in our society.

    Even worse, the proceeds of this vast amount of secret taxation are tipped into the coffers of the very richest.

    Go on, Tom, I’ve just hung myself out to dry, rip my claims to shreds

    ….unless of course, you can’t.

  3. wrinkled weasel

    “the stolen election, Guantanamo Bay, CIA agents being publicly identified”

    “What has come to trouble me over the past few weeks is the suspicion that if the hanging chads in Florida had gone the other way and Al Gore had been elected, we would not now be about to commit British Troops”.

    (Robin Cook, Resignation speech, 17th March 2003)

    Don’t forget.

  4. Chris' Wills

    The enviros should love W as well.
    Say it in a hushed voice; W created the largest marine reserve in the world, along with the funding to police it.

    I’ll wait and see what history says about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  5. angryvoter

    Basically tom. It’s people like that that give your entire movement a very bad name. The problem is that’s pretty much the way EVERYONE who claims to be a Labour Supporter, with a newspaper column or radio slot, acts.

    I mean, you seen the latest bout of stuff with Dolly Draper?

  6. Paul

    It all depends on how you judge a President really. It would be interesting to know what the critics make of his legislative success and ability to influence Congress when the Bush Presidency books are written.

    A quick search shows that his use of the veto (regular and pocket) is actually quite low for Bush, yet 33% have been overriden – the highest since Franklin Pierce. That probably says something about his record…

  7. Dave H.

    As the owner of mp3 copies of just about every NQ episode since 2000 (and downloading the latest podcast is slowing this connection to a crawl) I won’t criticise the show lightly, but to me the heyday was Linda Smith & Jeremy Hardy comically sparring alongside the witty smugness of Alan Coren. When you heard that any of those three were on the panel you knew at least one belly-laugh was guaranteed.

    Sandi Toksvig is quick and sadly she really knows it. She’s generally the first to laugh at her jokes.

    Although Mr Obama will be inheriting a car crash of an economy, all he has to do to earn the gratitude of the world is to be less of a loon than Dubya. Shooting fish off a log or what?

    For much the same reason it’s depressing that the party likely to form the next government isn’t at least 30 points ahead in the polls. With all the original pathologies associated with their creed added to the new ones created by their reinvention as New Conservatives it’s almost as if they had become utterly crap too.

    Rather like “Boris or Ken?” The only answer ought to be: “Is that really the best choice we can manage?”

  8. John

    “no-one gets to be president of the world’s only super power by being stupid.”

    Well, I suppose it helps that Daddy was also President, is stupidly well connected, has an enormous amount of pull within the Republican party, and that your surname is “Bush”.

    Apart from that of course…

  9. Jay

    I enjoy the News Quiz and I like Sandi Toksvig. For some reason she, unlike her panellists, doesn’t strike me as self-congratulatory or smug despite being the wittiest of them all. Ditto Mock the Week. When the day comes (and it will) when the ubiquitous, uber-smug and condescending Marcus Brigstocke is on, I will stop listening. Saw him on Question Time (why does the Beeb believe comedians will have something worthwhile to say about politics?) when he seemed to suggest that, since HE couldn’t understand the Lisbon Treaty, the Great Unwashed wouldn’t and, therefore, there shouldn’t be a referendum. (Tip for Marcus: if there was the will for a referendum, the salient points of the Treaty could be written in plain English for we proles).

  10. Downsman

    The problem is that you have no sense of humour. People do not listen to Radio 4 comedy programmes for insightful comments on world politics but for laughs. Yes, Bush has been an easy target but there will be others. Perhaps your real beef is that you are too insignificant to rate a mention yourself!!

  11. “Anyway, back to W: whisper it, but no-one gets to be president of the world’s only super power by being stupid.”

    George W. Bush, like his President dad and Senator grandad were members of the Skull and Bones secret society. John Kerry is also a ‘Bonesman’.

    Despite having an extremely small membership, members of this fraternity seem to do rather well.

    Talking of ‘Prescott’, this was W’s grandad’s name.

    Some interesting articles about him:

    How Bush’s grandfather helped Hitler’s rise to power

    So how did GW Bush become President?

    I rather fancy the industrialists of the USA wanted him to be their puppet. Who better to appoint in order to start a war?

    Winners: arms manufacturers, petrochemical giants, Big Pharma and Dick Cheney’s old mates at Halliburton.

    What a ruddy stitch-up!

  12. bupendra bhakta

    Auntie Flo’
    January 16, 2009 at 8:42 pm
    Then I’ll make it even easier with the claim that aviation currently costs UK around £20m to £40 billion a year in hidden subsidies

    Wow – do you think you might be being a bit too precise with your numbers there?

    I detest Jeremy Hardy for one or two prejudices he may have which I won’t go into here.

    In general if you appear on the BBc and demonstrably share their trendy leftie view of the world, you’ll always get an invite back.

    That £3.3 billion they confiscate from us every year gives them a lot of pulling power.

  13. Andrew F

    You oppose Guantanamo? That’s a pleasant surprise.

  14. ani

    The esteemed Andrew Roberts gave him a good write up, and he’s no dummy.

    I like those sqiffy middle class folks who talk politics around the dinner table – really funny and not quite getting it.

  15. Auntie Flo'

    Sorry, Tom, my tables looked ok, but then deformatted all over the place.

    Retyped below:

    bupendra bhakt, have a look at the following:

    In 2005

    Aviation tourism had a
    balance of payments
    deficit of: £18 billion pa
    x 2 by 2020/30?

    Cost of CO2 emissions
    Stern Report
    levels: £3.2 to 6.3 billion pa
    x 2 by 2020/30?

    Aviation’s fuel tax
    exemption which
    taxpayers subsidise: £5.7 billion pa
    x 2 by 2020/30?

    Aviation’s VAT
    exemption which
    taxpayers subsidise:

    Aviation’s VAT subsidy £4 billion pa
    x 2 by 2020/30?

    Total: £31.9 to 36 billion

    And that’s not all.

    Who pays the cost of aviation’s exemption from the ‘polluter pays’ principle? We do, citizens and taxpayers. And it’s a huge subsidy tab that we are picking up to enable aviation’s billionaire entrepreneurs and the 4% super rich who are frequent flyers to run off with their ill gotten gains Scot free.

    Damage to air quality
    Breach of WHO guidelines on air pollution
    Damage from carcinogous particulates
    Damage to Physical health
    Stress caused by aircraft noise
    Damage to psychological health
    Damage to health from sleep disturbance
    Damage to the environment
    Damage to emissions targets – fines?
    Squandered dwindling oil resources
    Damage to our planet
    Damage to education from flight pauses

    And that’s not all.

    Who picks up the tab for the additional road infrastructure that aviation necessitates? Who do you think? When BAA Stansted wanted part of the M11 extended to become a slip road for the airport, they ‘generously’ offered to pay HALF the cost of their own road. I believe the road extension was said to have cost around £20 million. The taxpayer – outrageously – paid half of this sum.

    Cost of:

    Road infrastructure
    Emergency services
    Standard policing
    Policing of demos
    Policing of hijacks
    Train infrastructure
    Water infrastructure
    Drainage infrastructure
    Replacement of overloaded infrastructure
    Pollution due to extra traffic

    Who pays for all of this? We do.

    And that’s not the end of the subsidies either.

    Tax exemptions for the aviation industry, financed by extra taxation on Joe and Jill public, were introduced after WW2 to help aviation recover from the damage the industry had suffered during wartime. The war’s been over for more than 60 years. Aviation recovered decades ago. So why do we continue to pump taxpayer subsidies into this mega rich and most privileged of industries?

    No other luxury industry which disproportionately serves the richest gets this special treatment, so what makes aviation a special case?

    Why do we allow aviation to cost us the earth?

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