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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Music to their ears

Being the holiday season many of the feature articles are written before Christmas whilst journalists ready themselves for the festivities, and then are published whilst the self-same authors are working off the turkey in the local gym. Yesterday's Western Mail article on the music that inspires Assembly politicians is one such piece and it shows.

It is difficult to know what question the politicians in question were asked of course so it is unlikely to be their fault that the final result comes across as a bit of a parody of such end-of-the-year pieces.

Labour's John Griffiths for example was inspired by John Lennon’s Working Class Hero and Imagine and he wore Rock Against Racism and Nuclear Free Wales badges on his denim jacket, alongside a Che Guevara patch. I wonder whether he also went by the nickname of 'Wolfie'.

Mike German tells us that his political stance was influenced by Shostakovich’s seventh symphony, written and performed during the World War II siege of Leningrad. He said: “It gave me a sense of the resistance and defiance of totalitarianism which has strengthened my political creed that none shall be enslaved by conformity, and the pursuit of freedom which is such a pillar of Liberal Democracy.”

Whilst Jenny Randerson 'salutes the genius of the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby. She said: “It’s all about the impact of loneliness and isolation.” Bethan Jenkins is invigorated by the Manic Street Preachers and is a particular fan of their song Socialist Serenade, whilst Joyce Watson says she has never forgotten the moment during the 2000 Labour Conference when Nelson Mandela made a surprise appearance and Gabrielle performed her hit Rise.

Hats off to Mick Bates though who treats the piece with the levity it deserves. He tells the reporter that on a desert island, he would hope to be able to listen to Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, the Sex Pistols, Tito and Tarantula, and Pink Floyd. When feeling “miserable” and in need of sympathy he listens to Bob Dylan’s Tangled up in Blue. He turns to Dylan again when he needs to “go on the attack” and plays Hurricane, which depicts the arrest of black middleweight boxer Ruben Carter.

Maybe my problem is that I am tone-deaf, listen to loud raucuous rock music to help me stay awake on long journeys and have no musical soul whatsoever. I have certainly never been inspired to political action by a piece of music nor has a concert or rendition been linked in my mind with any momentous event.

In fact when it comes to great cultural feasts I have the attention span of a flea and need to digest great works in small chunks. This could be why I was not asked to participate in this survey.
Nah Peter. Its probably cus your answer would have been too high brow!
It really is laughable to see those labour AMs pronouncing on their earlier anti-war and solidarity protests yet they now appear quite happy to remain members of a party that has waged an equally unjust and murderous war in iraq - not too mention the illegal bombing of serbia which included the use of cluster bombs of course. Hmmm....i wonder what paul robeson, che or john lennon would have thought of that? Not exactley giving 'peace a chance' is it!

This is my favourite song at the moment - care to comment Peter?

By way way - Happy New Year to you!

Prediction for 2009: Trouble ahead for Nick Clegg

Posted By: James Kirkup at Dec 29, 2008 at 11:16:10 [General]
On a quiet day for us low-lifes on duty at Westminster, there's not much to do other than ponder the year ahead. So here's a prediction for 2009.
A Liberal Democrat MP - probably one from the south-west of England - will cross the floor to join David Cameron's Conservatives.
The move will throw attention on the losses the Lib Dems are almost certain to sustain in southern England at the next general election, something Nick Clegg has tacitly acknowledged by focussing his party's campaign preparations on northern Labour seats.
Mr Clegg himself has already accepted that his leadership hasn't so far been a glorious success.
It's a conclusion that is quietly shared by a significant number of his colleagues. Let's be clear here: there's no appetite for another act of regicide, but there is real unease among Lib Dem MPs, especially those in the south who think they're for the chop.
It's all very well for Mr C and friends to argue that by taking seats from Labour they can off-set the Tory advances and maybe even make a net gain at the next election. But that's cold comfort for southern Lib Dem MPs pondering redundancy.
Incidentally, another source of yellow friction is the man you might think is their biggest success, Vince Cable. Some believe that Mr Clegg has erred by allowing Vince to hog the economic limelight so much. They ask whether the Cult of Vince that has grown up benefits the party or just Dr Cable. Undoubtedly he has established himself as one of the media's favourite commentators. But how many people will vote Lib Dem because of him?
You cannot seriously expect me to comment on your personal fantasies.
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