Margaret Hodge: Opera-loving Labour harpy
who bad-mouthed The Last Night of the Proms
presides over a wastrel programme
called ‘The Cultural Olympiad’

A propos of QUANGOs, there are other elements of Government which are surely otiose. One set of entirely unnecessary such entities I recently came across whilst looking for something else, discovering a whole new Nether World as I did so. Cast your mind back, then, to the end of June 2007 when Gordon Brown finally stomped into 10 Downing Street.

Then, as well as appointing the normal set of Ministers to office, he doubled some of them up as Minister for the South-East, Minister for the South West and so on, appointing a minister for each of those entities which mirror the EU Regions which are designed in due course to supplant our national government. At the time they attracted almost universal critical comment, though events soon crept on and submerged them in a tide of floodwater, animal disease, terrorism. Since then we have been concentrating on such as the Treaty of Lisbon and the Labour meltdown.

Those are, for sure, matters of grave moment but one should not lose sight of how this Labour Government beavers away at the business of subverting our national identity and the body politic. Notwithstanding the overwhelming rejection of ‘regional government’ by the doughty voters of the North-East, Labour has, as it always does, elected to buck the opinion of the electorate and has injected new life into regionalism by appointing specific ministers to oversee this set of proto-prefectures.

You might well ask, what on earth do they find to do?

Spend shed loads of money on ghastly vanity projects is, unsurprisingly, the answer.

Here is a sample, from something called the Government Office for the South-East, presided over by one of those utterly awful Labour Harpies who seem to be in such ready supply, Margaret Hodge. It is evident that the post announced here and the activities undertaken by the appointee are replicated in every such region:

Caterina Loriggio has been appointed by Culture minister Margaret Hodge to be ‘Creative Programmer’ for the South East. Caterina will be one of eight Creative Programmers across England, and will take forward plans for an inspiring Cultural Olympiad in the run up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Based within the Regional Cultural Consortium, Culture South East, she will:

Encourage and enable arts and cultural bodies to get involved, and create opportunities for ordinary people to take part,

Become a dynamic link between the regions and London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

Assess whether local projects meet the criteria to become part of the Cultural Olympiad, and

Ensure that each region’s heritage is as well represented as its 21st century technology.

Accepting the post Caterina Loriggio said:

“Already benefiting from 550 festivals, 190 galleries, 300 museums and more than 500,000 people working in the Creative Industries, the South East is well placed to take full advantage of the exciting opportunities presented by the Cultural Olympiad. I am really looking forward to coming back to the region to work with this vast number of inspiring cultural providers and to create with them a fully integrated Olympiad programme that will celebrate both the local, regional and international”.

Culture Minister, Margaret Hodge said:

“The Cultural Olympiad in the run up to 2012 gives us a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the culture and creativity of our country. Thanks to the appointment of Creative Programmers in the Regions, our vision to put on a UK-wide celebration of the UK’s cultural life as part of the Cultural Olympiad is now a step closer.

“The Creative Programmers will bring about a package of innovative regional activity, helping to make a real and lasting difference. They will bring a wealth of experience and energy to making this a unique celebration of cultural life across the UK.”

I reproduce this guff in extenso and commend a quick read of the rest of it and then have a root round, provided always you are of phlegmatic mien. Does it not come straight out of the Manual Of Government Announcements that used to belong to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union? This piffle could quite easily come straight out of Pravda circa 1965 and would be a joke were it not for the fact that it all involves spending oodles of Taxpayer’s money.