Monday, November 11, 2013

British government displeased when TV presenter calls PM  a 'complete idiot' over plans for World War One centenary

Downing Street is demanding a ‘full and public apology’ from the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman for calling  the Prime Minister a ‘complete idiot’ over his plans for the First World  War centenary.

The extraordinary public spat has erupted after the Newsnight presenter claimed Mr Cameron had likened the commemorations to last year’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Mr Paxman incensed No10 when he told BBC chat show host Graham Norton last week he was ‘troubled’ by Mr Cameron ‘talking about how millions of pounds were going to be spent marking this anniversary’ and the fact that he had ‘compared it with the celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee’.

Mr Paxman said: ‘Therefore people get the idea that somehow this is going to be celebrated. Well, only a complete idiot would celebrate such a calamity.

'Three quarters of a million men never came back to this country.   'Millions of men served. Millions of men were wounded mentally and physically. No one would celebrate that. It was just Cameron’s clumsy use of language.’


I think Paxman was right.  It was a clumsy use of language. And for a government to be calling for a retraction of a criticism is  thoroughly anti-democratic.  Of all people, politicians have to be able to take criticism


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the presenter concerned knew what the PM meant, that it is a commemoration not a celebration and he is just a complete unfeeling prick.

A. Levy said...

Nice to have you back Jon. Hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

It's very sad if today's politicians try to make party-political capital out of the way a tragic war of 100 years ago is commemorated, and there seems to be the danger of it turning into a sort of circus, media-wise, commercial-wise and otherwise. And then an eventual boredom with the whole thing if it goes on from 2014 to 2018.
The centenary should certainly be an opportunity for serious reflection on such a World War (its causes, conduct and consequences), and maybe some yet new insights and perspectives may emerge.