Tag Archives: Dowden

Dowden’s Minack mess-up: was he incompetent or was he lying?

Boris Johnson’s Tory government can’t seem to get anything right, can it?

While the G7 summit was taking place, partners of the G7 leaders were invited to visit the famous Minack Theatre, a clifftop amphitheatre on the coast, facing the Atlantic Ocean.

Afterwards, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden turned the event into a pantomime by tweeting: “This unique venue was one of more than 650 theatres helped through Covid with support from the £2bn culture recovery fund, ensuring that it can entertain visitors for years to come.”

All together now: Oh no it wasn’t!

Theatre bosses responded: “Sorry @OliverDowden but this is not true. We did not benefit from any CRF money as we were not eligible to apply. It turned out having a good level of cash reserves meant we had to fend for ourselves and utilise our own reserves.”

Zoe Curnow, the Minack’s executive director, said on Sunday she was surprised to see Dowden’s tweet. “To try to score a political point is unfortunate, to be completely honest. Obviously the DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] didn’t think to check we were on the list.

“We weren’t on the list because we didn’t qualify, and we didn’t qualify because we run ourselves in such a way that we had enough reserves to see us through.”

That’s not to say that the Minack hasn’t been hit by Covid lockdown restrictions, though!

It lost £300,000 last year and was forced to lay off 15 staff members – something Ms Curnow described as “soul destroying”.

She went on to make the political point that open-air theatres like the Minack should be allowed to go back to full operation sooner than their indoor counterparts because conditions are far less conducive to the spread of Covid-19.

But – again – Dowden and his colleagues are unlikely even to have thought of this.

If they can’t be bothered to check whether a theatre is receiving grant money, they’re never going to be interested in fiddling details like whether meeting conditions to reopen mean it should, even if that makes the difference between prosperity and job losses.

Dowden’s only interest was in winning PR plaudits. Instead he was not only panned but proved that his own career should close – due to bad reviews.

Source: G7 partners’ trip to theatre backfires after minister’s gaffe | Politics | The Guardian

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Ollie Robinson/Shamima Begum: why are the LEFT being attacked over racist tweets?

Tory hypocrite: Oliver Dowden. His only previous contribution to public debate is a claim that it was safe to go into a swimming pool with loads of other people who had never had a Covid-19 test in their life. That was right before the second wave (of the virus).

This is a weird one.

It seems cricketer Ollie Robinson has been found to have published racist and sexist tweets 10 years ago, when he was 18 or 19 years old.

The messages were unearthed by somebody who, one can only conclude, wanted to harm Robinson and timed their release to take place at a moment when he was on the field, making his debut representing England.

I would suggest that there is a certain amount of malice involved in that.

Robinson apologised immediately on being told about the revelation, but has been suspended from the England team for its next match, pending an investigation.

He has been criticised for failing to delete the tweets. It seems likely, to me, that he had simply forgotten about them. Such things happen. I’m not trying to defend him; I don’t have to. He has apologised.

But when Tory Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden stepped in saying much the same, the responses were extremely revealing. Here’s his tweet:

Here’s a response:

Far-right headbangers leapt to the conclusion that “The Left” in its entirety must be saying that Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK, despite her support for IS and her former status as an IS bride.

That’s not what was being said. And it isn’t the Left being hypocritical here.

Dowden is a member of the government that barred Begum from returning to the UK, because of her attitude when she was 15. He also wants Robinson to be forgiven for his attitude when he was 18.

That is hypocritical. It is also a false comparison.

Robinson has apologised. Begum has not. In interviews with her, she made it clear that she still held the views that took her to the Middle East; still supported the ideology of IS that beheaded its opponents. She had seen decapitated heads and thought nothing of it.

So the right-wing attack dogs who are attacking the left are not only supporting a Tory hypocrite; they are themselves taking a hypocritical attitude.

And then they complain about “cancel culture”!

Source: Ollie Robinson: ECB ‘has gone too far’ in reaction to tweets, says Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden – BBC Sport

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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