Tag Archives: sponsorship

Starmer party is too ‘timid’ to challenge far-right claims or offer alternatives. Why?

Starmer and Sunak: perhaps the reason there’s little difference between them and their parties is that they are chasing sponsorship from big business for their own personal gain, rather than doing what the public pays them to do – which is find solutions to the problems being created by the firms they are courting.

Economist Richard Murphy has published a column highlighting concerns that Keir Starmer’s STP (Substitute Tory Party – formerly Labour) is too “timid” to challenge right-wing claims about immigration, climate change or anything else, or to articulate an alternative vision.

He suggests three reasons for this:

Is it that they spent too much time watching Top Gear over the years and now live in fear of that culture?

Could it be that they have a deep-seated insecurity when it comes to standing up to the interests of big business when the latter so clearly want what the country does not?

Or is that they simply do not do ideology-based politics and so go where the money is, with money filling the vacuum where their convictions should be?

It comes down to the same thing. Starmer has decided to do what the Tories always do: chase the cash that comes from big corporate sponsorship for his own personal gain.

The national interest can go hang, as far as he is concerned.

I’m willing to bet we’ll find evidence of this if we have a look around. Or have you found some already?


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Straight-talking university conquers critics of refugee scheme with this great response

The University of Reading is This Writer’s alma mater so I am proud to report this particular story.

The university announced a plan to offer up to 14 sponsored places to refugees living in the Reading area, on June 19 – developed in partnership with Reading Refugee Support Group and the university’s own students’ union.

Unbelievably, this laudable scheme has attracted enmity – from small-minded little-Englanders, one can only conclude.

Its response is what make me a happy alumnus today:

“Tough. Jog on.” Right on!

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Should movie stars keep their politics to themselves?

Celebrity endorsement is always a bit “hit and miss”, isn’t it?

How many times have you seen a big name pimping themselves out in a sponsorship deal that has left you cringing with embarrassment for them? How many times have the deals gone sour because of events in the celeb’s personal life (think of Tiger Woods, or Kate Moss, for example).

The unpredictability of the endorsement effect is magnified in politics. Will you still respect a celeb if they are exhorting you to vote for a party you despise? What if it’s a person you don’t like, asking you to support your own choice? What if it’s someone you do actually rate, but they’re soliciting your vote in an unpalatable, tasteless way?

I remember my 13-year-old self turning his nose up at the late Kenny Everett when, supporting the Thatcher government in 1983, he said “We’re going to kick Michael Foot’s walking stick away!” (Mr Foot, also now deceased, was the leader of the Labour Party at the time).

On the other hand, when Sir Michael Caine supported the Conservatives in 2010, it didn’t bother me at all. I’m a fan of this prolific actor and will continue to enjoy his work, despite his unfortunate choice of allegiance. But then, I was never persuaded by Sir Michael to vote for the worst government in living memory. I wonder how many moviegoers were.

All of the above brings me to the announcement by Clint Eastwood that he is backing Mitt Romney’s US presidential election campaign.

Mr Romney’s plans involve tax cuts for the very rich, but he won’t offset their effect by closing other tax loopholes or creating other revenue streams. He’ll use the increased debt this creates as an excuse to strip social security and medicare down to nothing.

Put yourself in Mr Eastwood’s position. He’s a very rich man, and would probably benefit from Romney’s planned tax cuts. He has served as Republican mayor of the town of Carmel, in California. Also, he’s on record as saying that Barack Obama is a “greenhorn”, without the necessary experience to run the US government.

That’s fine for him. Now ask yourself: What effect will his endorsement of Romney have on an Eastwood fan of meagre means, whose life is enhanced by social security and medicare and who would suffer if these were dismantled?

They’d probably vote for Romney because their idol told them to do it – and then, if he gets in, repent at leisure.