Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gotta have faith-a-faith-a-faith

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair told his monthly press conference faith schools were a "difficult" issue.

Which is odd, because about a year ago two-thirds of the British public polled by ICM/The Guardian told Tony Blair that faith schools were a "difficult" issue - they told him they didn't want any government money in it whatsoever - but our evangelical leader kept on diving headfirst into the God pool.

Faith schools are in the news today because they may be asked to take up to 25% of their intake from other backgrounds, but why the hell has Blair invested so much money and intellectual weight in them in the first place? If a veil is a 'sign of separation' then Christ knows (haha) what a school system where 5 year olds are delineated on the grounds of their parents' religion is.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

DC won't wash-ington

I positively implore you to watch Armando Iannucci's thoroughly satisfying use of splice-and-dice that has Blair and Cameron dueting on David Bowie's 'Changes'. For once the playful editing shtick really works, and it's all the more telling that the montage is compiled from only two speeches, one by each leader, made within a week of each other. Singing from the same hymn sheet, as it were.

I'm actually less convinced of DC's ability to edge Brown off the centre ground this week than I was last week. Ending his speech with a rhetorical turn that included the phrase "let sunshine win the day" made him seem more like Barney the Purple Dinosaur than Benjamin Disraeli. If gravitas has an antonym, he managed to acquire it at that moment.

One thing's for sure, we're going to have a great new blood sport to play over the next two years: watching disaffected rightist Tories peel off as they realise that Cameroonian Conservatism won't necessarily get them into government. John O'Farrell once said that the most integral principle for Tory MPs is that of winning power, but there'll be a few 'send em back, lock em up, string em up' voices calling after Cameron before too long. This is the rousing finale to his conference speech:

"Let optimism beat pessimism, let sunshine win the day and let everyone know that the Conservative Party is ready - ready to serve, ready to fight, ready to win, ready to have a nice picnic on the lawn, ready to get our shopping from Fresh 'n' Wild, ready to sign up to become a Friend of Kew Gardens, ready to go for a family bike ride in the country, ready to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, and ready to inhale deeply, letting our lungs fill with hope and birdsong and sugar and baby kittens whose eyes haven't even opened yet..."