Monday, May 11, 2015

Old Tory reflects

Lord Patten, musing before the big brains at Berkeley, California as Britain voted, was depressed about two aspects of political life in the UK.

First, the trend for debates in which members of the electorate take a pop at their representatives...

"One of the features of this election campaign is the abuse which politicians have got from the public in television programmes and so on, and it's outrageous. I mean, you can think that politicians have made a bad job of things, but Britain isn't governed by a group of lying bastards. There are a lot of politicians that are trying their best even if they haven't made a great fist of it - and politicians should be prepared to say that for themselves"

Second cuts to spending on "soft power" over the past decade.  

"We were proud of things like the World Service of the BBC, we were proud of higher education, we were hugely proud of our cultural we've cut the Foreign Office, if you include the World Service direct funding, by something like 30% in the past five or six years; we're squeezing public service broadcasting to the international community, at the same time as Russia and China are pumping money into that; we have made it more difficult for our universities to recruit the best because of our attitude to visas and to immigration. Politicians should be prepared to stand up for spending more money on our relationship with the rest of the world".

The full lecture is here: there's a couple of good Vatican jokes at the start of Lord Patten's sontribution, six minutes in.

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