Monday, 23 March 2009

Boris Johnson gets in a spin over St George's Day


The Daily Mail love a bit of meat and Boris has just handed them a steaming plate of it:

"London Mayor Boris Johnson is to defy the politically correct brigade by staging a week-long festival in the capital to celebrate St George’s Day, with the red and white cross of England’s patron saint flying proudly from his City Hall offices."

Gor bless you Bozza!

"The move follows a series of incidents in recent years in which people have been banned from displaying the English flag on the grounds that it is racist and could offend Muslims because of St George’s association with the Crusades."

Bloody party-pooping Muzzos.

"Mr Johnson told The Mail on Sunday: ‘St George’s Day has been ignored in London for too long but I’m truly pleased to announce some fantastic events to mark this occasion...

‘St George’s Day is a time to celebrate the very best of everything English and the Cross of St George will proudly fly outside City Hall on April 23. I look forward to hopping on a Routemaster and encouraging everyone to join in the fun and celebrate England’s great patron saint.’

Saint Boris?

Now I hate to break up the party boys, but if anyone has ignored St. Georges day then it's Boris himself, who despite loving his country so much, has somehow managed to miss this event

This event:
This event:
And, er, this event:

But then maybe things were different over in Henley.



-Update-
The BBC didn't do themselves any favours either, claiming that St George's Day celebrations were not funded by the last Mayor:

video

Er, wrong:


Mind you, if you think that's bad, take a listen to yesterday's Vanessa Feltz Show.

I switched off once she started singing Jerusalem and blessing Boris. Unbelievable.

46 comments:

Martin said...

Great minds and all that Adam! You'd have thought someone would have told Boris about the pass celebrations!

AdamB said...

Yes, you make some good points about the risks attached to this kind of thing. Again it's pretty shameless stuff from Boris, if not that surprising...

Phil said...

Did the immigrant amnesty lose him too many votes from the BNP'ers do you think?

Helen said...

Barefaced lies from Boris.

Here's Ken's programme of "ignoring" St George's Day last year:

http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/culture/stgeorge.jsp

"For the 5th year running London celebrated St George’s Day with a series of free events. For 2008 English Food was the central theme for the Trafalgar Square event, where the world famous Borough Market relocated for the day. In addition, the popular annual Shakespeare’s Birthday celebrations at the Globe took place as well as the Festival of St George at Covent Garden and parade at the Cenotaph.

* Festival of English Food
* Shakespeare’s Globe
* Festival of St George
* Parade at the Cenotaph"

Tom said...

*innocent smile*

I've posted the quote from the Mail and the list of last year's events on a current affairs forum, to see what the response will be from the local BNP mouthbreathers...

Helen - your story, if you want to post it up on BW.

Anonymous said...

St George's Day hardly got a mention back in the 50s and 60s, and political correctness hadn't been invented then.

Guano

Anonymous said...

On the GLA website, where it announces this year's St. George's Day events, the article begins:

"Following on from the success of the St George's Day celebrations in 2008..."

That doesn't look like a denial, or a rewriting of history to me.

Freeloader Kenski's celebrations of St. George's Day came about after prolonged protest (that I can remember well), then widely reported in local media, that he was open to funding all manner of celebration of every cultural nuance you could imagine, except Englishness. It was true.

The events that subsequently transpired, (listed in your article), were low key, and mostly banal (ignorable). You reckon watching a Monty Python DVD is an inspiring way to celebrate English heritage?

If, by comparison, one considers the effort deployed around the organization and promotion of other cultural events in the city, then Johnson's point is essentially correct.

The question becomes: will he do any better? The details are still a bit sketchy, (and not promising), but I'll wait and see.

By the way, the Chinese whispers that sometimes pass among the lefty like-minded blogs is really a sign of weakness (in the argument), and bad for business. Just telling the truth is already difficult enough (for those who care about such things).

--Regards, St. George (of Ealing)

AdamB said...

Oh come on AoE this is weak stuff from you.

The only Chinese whispering has been by Boris himself and the Daily Mail (and other media outlets). Boris said in the paper that "St George’s Day has been ignored in London for too long" By who?

The only two events listed on the site are 1) a Trafalgar Square concert (no change) and 2) Shakespeare's Birthday (no change). Take a look at the programme from last year:

http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/culture/stgeorge.jsp

It's virtually identical to what is being talked about this year, except this year I've had to listen to two hours of Vanessa Feltz telling her listeners that Boris has saved Englishness and read posts from the BNP telling me how Boris has been swayed by the words of Richard Barnbrook. It's complete bunkum and it's been caused by a piece of unnecessary and cheap spinning by Boris.

Tom said...

You know what, it would be dreadful if, say, the GLA budget for St. George's Day 2009 had been cut in line with everything else. Bad show, old chap.

You can see why a smokescreen might come in handy. Perhaps an FoI request?

Simon said...

I think the essential problem with St George's day is that no-one really knows what English Culture is. The usual suspects bleat on about political correctness without suggesting ways to celebrate or complaining when it is celebrated that it is too PC. Do they want us to do a morris dance, drink tea and then opress some colonials?

Also the fact that St George probably never set foot in the country and possibly never even existed make me wonder why he is even our patron saint. And given that suspicion of Catholics is one of the founding principles of English Democracy, why are we bothering with Saints anyway?

On that basis then yes I would say watching Monty Python is an inspiring way to celebrate English Heritage as it showcases the uniqueness of English Humour and is a damn sight more relevant to our nation than the story of St George and the Dragon.

AdamB said...

As far as funding goes, I think funding from this year's budget will be the same as last year before a possible cut coming in next year (dependent on what sponsorship they can get). Don't quote me on that though as I'm still looking into it.

Tom said...

"Also the fact that St George probably never set foot in the country and possibly never even existed make me wonder why he is even our patron saint"

You fool. It's because of Britishness. If we were too logical the French would invade.

Anonymous said...

I did make the point that, so far, Johnson's plans are "not promising" either. Let's see what he comes up with.

Though I predict in his case, it will be the characteristic lack of organizational prowess that will rain on the parade...and ironically not the political posturing that I fondly remember Ken by.

I sympathize with your Vanessa troubles. With a choice between her and Jenni Murray, come ten o' clock, the radios in Ealing get switched off.

Chinese whispers:
1. http://www.mayorwatch.co.uk/does-boris-really-not-know-london-celebrates-st-george%e2%80%99s-day/20097199
2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/davehillblog/2009/mar/23/boris-london
3. http://torytroll.blogspot.com/2009/03/boris-johnson-gets-in-spin-over-st.html
4. http://tinyurl.com/c7yt6f

(sorry...couldn't resist that)

--AOE

Anonymous said...

Simon wrote:

"I think the essential problem with St George's day is that no-one really knows what English Culture is."

That's not true. Many people know what English culture is. Many people don't, and that ignorance can be explained, in part, by the unwillingness of English society to celebrate it properly. There's plenty to celebrate.

"The usual suspects bleat on about political correctness without suggesting ways to celebrate or complaining when it is celebrated that it is too PC. Do they want us to do a morris dance, drink tea and then opress some colonials?"

I could offer you many many suggestions -- that don't involve morris dancing.

"On that basis ..."

...the basis that you don't know what English culture is....

"then yes I would say watching Monty Python is an inspiring way to celebrate English Heritage"

That figures.

--AOE

Alex J Thomas said...

"You reckon watching a Monty Python DVD is an inspiring way to celebrate English heritage?"

Um, yes? It's as good as any other.

Of course, there's a bit more to it than that:

"This year's events focus on English humour and includes a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Trafalgar Square on St George's Day itself, plus a compilation of
clips from well-known comedy shows, compiled by the British Film Institute, and a Pythoninspired 'coconut orchestra' world record attempt."

If the BFI were involved, then I imagine it was a film print rather than a DVD.

Alex J Thomas said...

@AOE"I could offer you many many suggestions -- that don't involve morris dancing."

Please do - enlighten a Welshman, wouldja?

Simon said...

"...the basis that you don't know what English culture is...."

more on the basis that it is ludicrous to celebrate the life of a possibly mythical Turk as our national day and thus watching a suitably ludicorus yet enjoyable English film is rather fitting

"I could offer you many many suggestions -- that don't involve morris dancing"

but instead you've chosen to make cheap jibes.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not adverse to celebrating Englishness and I shall probably take the excuse to drink a pint or two of Bombardier. But ideally it should be on a more meaningful day.

And it shouldn't be anything like this
http://torytroll.blogspot.com/2008/05/richard-barnbrook-making-fascism-funny.html

James said...

Victoria Hollins on BBC London News has just erroneously reported that Ken didn't fund St George's Day in previous years.

AdamB said...

Yes I just watched it. That is the power of chinese whispers AofE. Shoddy f***ing churnalism.

Wireman said...

BBC London need a rocket up their arse over this. Their abject failure to do their job is hardly serving their audience.

Tom said...

"Victoria Hollins on BBC London News has just erroneously reported that Ken didn't fund St George's Day in previous years."

Transcript? iPlayer? If I can get the exact form of words used I'll send them to the guys who did our Boriswatch interview back in January.

AdamB said...

Victoria Hollins: "London-wide St Patrick Day celebrations had funding from the last Mayor whereas St George's didn't. Boris Johnson is believed to be giving a similar budget to both."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/tv/television/latest_stories/index.shtml

The core funding for St Patricks and St George were the same under Ken Livingstone as well. Again, no change.

Anonymous said...

And this answer that Boris Johnson helpfully provided in July last year proves that he thinks he's saving London from politically correct spin by increasing funding by, er, £0 (I was going to say proves, but I'm not sure it does)

Question by Richard Barnbrook

Can the Mayor confirm how much funding he will be allocating to next years St Georges Day celebrations in London?

Answer by Boris Johnson

A GLA budget allocation of £100,000, the same as 2008, and subject to approval, is currently projected for St George’s Day celebrations in 2009.

http://www.london.gov.uk/mqt/public/question.do?id=22818

Wireman said...

Your link appears to be broken.

Here's a grab:

http://img.skitch.com/20090324-esrad8ki21jxxsujc4u32e4rt7.jpg

It's the last question in this pdf:

http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/assemmtgs/2008/mqtjul16/minutes/written-answers.pdf

Anonymous said...

It could (more accurately) be said this is a 5% real funding cut (after inflation).

Not sure why the Standard didn't report it as:

"A new politically correct night-mayor: Killjoy Boris cut English day funding"

With some mention of Boris's Turkish heritage.

Of course they could still include the standard opinion piece by Gilligan blaming "the dark forces of Ken" for a Boris decision that he disagrees with.

James said...

James O'Brien on LBC is doing a phone-in on this this morning - but he's adopting a more critical apprroach.

AdamB said...

I've tuned in now:

"Every day at the globe is Shakespeare Day!"

AdamB said...

It's still treating this as a new event though. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

Anonymous said...

This really isn't an important story.

A slightly more important story is that English people don't celebrate their culture nearly enough. Ken Livingstone would rather spend more money celebrating Vulcan culture if he heard there were a couple of working class Vulcans living off the Old Kent Road. That was a disgraceful situation. We're about to find out if BoJo is going to do any better. It doesn't look like it. That's all.

Why is no one so worked up about real London stories...like the story of the poor bastard shot to death up Hornsey Road the other night. What's the mayor doing for him?

-AOE

AdamB said...

It's important enough for you to comment four times on.

"Why is no one so worked up about real London stories...like the story of the poor bastard shot to death up Hornsey Road the other night. What's the mayor doing for him?"

Why don't you ask him?

Tom said...

"Why is no one so worked up about real London stories...like the story of the poor bastard shot to death up Hornsey Road the other night."

We actually drove past that spot about an hour before the shooting.

My London murder stats still show a 40-50% fall in the last four years, though. If the Met police under Boris and Kit can pull off a 40-50% fall in violent deaths in the next four years I'll take my hat off, but let's remember where we came from, OK?

Anonymous said...

"It's important enough for you to comment four times on."

That doesn't make it an important story, (which it isn't). I won't be commenting on it again.

"Why don't you ask him?"

Was that petulence...I'm not sure. Anyway, maybe I will ask him. I thought you might be interested too. Uncle Tom over in Boris Watch takes an interest...with a little help from Prof. Plod. I wonder who he is.

-AOE

AdamB said...

Make that five times.

Anonymous said...

"My London murder stats still show a 40-50% fall in the last four years, though. If the Met police under Boris and Kit can pull off a 40-50% fall in violent deaths in the next four years I'll take my hat off, but let's remember where we came from, OK?"

I'll just say I don't think it's good to make party politics out of this. As for the stats, as the good professor indicated, you need to be careful. Having said that, things are definitely better than a few years ago. However, what is disturbing about Sunday's killing, is that it looks like the work of organized crime. There's been very little of that for years.

-AOE

Anonymous said...

AOE - I wonder what you would be saying if Ken had won the Mayoral election and was cutting St George's Day funding by 5% in real terms, while spinning (and fooling the mainstream press that this is true) that he is sticking it to the politically correct brigade while doing so by pretending this is the first time such an event has been funded.

I'm sure it would take on a lot more importance.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what you would be saying if..."

The answer to your (courteous) question is I would have been annoyed -- and I was. Mostly my reaction was to make a lot of humour at his expense.

If, after the hype, Boris delivers just another damp squib, I'll be annoyed with him too.

My advice to the human race is always be sceptical. A spin on spin, is still spin. The most insidious deception is to become a victim of your own propaganda -- hey, that's why I'm here to help!

-AOE

AdamB said...

< /self-importance >

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't understand AOE.

What were you annoyed with? I don't remember the previous Mayor cutting St George's Day funding by 5% and spinning it has a triumph against political correctness by lying about what was previously done.

Alex J Thomas said...

I'm still at a loss as to how I'm supposed to celebrate St George's Day. Perhaps I could learn some Welsh, then ask an Englishman (or woman) to beat it out of me.

Tom said...

" < /self-importance >"

It *is* Toby Young, isn't it?

Nigel said...

Boris has learnt that it is perception that counts, not reality. Tell your lies often enough and they'll quickly become the accepted truth.

Tom said...

"Boris has learnt that it is perception that counts, not reality."

Indeed - there's a good example just plopped into my RSS reader about how a successful prosecution of a utility under the existing streetworks legislation for digging up a pavement without providing a safe walking route shows that Boris is right to change it to smooth traffic flow. Eh?

sarah hart said...

I cannot understand why the right-wing have only got worked up about St George's day in recent years because every other culture had an event to celebrate. The only traditional, non-religious events known in England was Guy Fawkes night. All public holidays are derived from governemnt decisions (eg August Bank Holiday).
My dad told me about there being Empire Day in May once and that was a flag waving day. It seems when the empire went, no one thought of having a replacement. It seems sad that the only time that the right-wing and the racists can come up with an alternative (St Herges Day) is as a reaction to other peoples' cultures. Sad, really sad.

sarah hart said...

Sorry - apologies. I didn't mean to offend anyone - it was a genuine typo - it should read St George's Day

Helen said...

Re Empire Day: http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1951/jun/07/empire-day-recognition#S5CV0488P0_19510607_HOC_173

Helen said...

Boris should've picked up the comedy theme again this year. How about The Goon Show as an example of typical English humour - written by an Indian-born Irishman?