Friday, May 11, 2007


You may not have noticed, but Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is going to resign on June 27 after more than 10 years in the job and after a Labour Party election the chances are that Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, is going to take over as party leader, and therefore become Prime Minister, and sometime thereafter there will be a general election and we all get to decide who does what. Tony Blair will be going to see the Queen on June 27 to tender his resignation.

The reason you might have missed this news is that before Tony Blair made any announcement at all, and this is ignoring the last two years of mounting speculation, the entire British media was choc full of every single thing he was going to do. The BBC Radio 4 programme, "Today", dedicated what appeared to be the entire show to what was going to happen. Before it happened. While they were at it, they predicted what was going to happen after what was about to happen actually happened. This was good news, because sometime later, the TV news bulletins speculated wildly about what was going to happen AFTER what happened had happened.

Then, luckily, something actually happened. Tony Blair made a speech. We knew that because he was tracked by helicopter all the way from London to Sedgefield, (Hi BBC, what's your carbon footprint for that shot?), his own constituency where he made the speech we had all predicted earlier and dissected, (the helicopter even took shots above the plane he was travelling in - this is a new shot, to the uninitiated, above the plane above the ground before anything has happened kind of shot) which signalled a veritable flood of what HAD happened over the past ten years in a series of montages that had clearly been lying in wait.
For something to happen.
Which isn't bad.

Then, after pausing for breath and allowing the what had happened packages to run their course, we kicked off again with what was about to happen. How much money will Tony make? Will Gordon succeed? Will the country accept a dour Scot?

I must have missed the memo. I thought news told you what HAD happened. Not what was about to happen. (sigh)


williamt said...

(you don't know me, right?)

I was very disappointed with the helicopter thing. For a start it spent ages hovering around Downing Street when they'd clearly gone out the back way. We were in serious danger of having no journey to watch at all.

"You've lost the news!", I was shouting at the TV.

Then when the plane took off, it frankly seemed a bit of a half-hearted effort by the helicopter to keep up with it.

"Faster, faster, little one" I cried as the wing-ed bird faded over the horizon.

On a big news day like this at the very least we should have spent some decent money on a helicopter that can outperform a plane: ie another plane. It could have taken all the correspondents from Westminster up to Sedgefield and back again.

(My suspicion is the BBC and Sky agreed to share their helicopters with one at each end of the journey.)

Anyway, we are pathetic compared to France. After the election result had been announced, a group of at least 6 motorbikes surrounded Sarkozy's car as it sped through the streets of Paris. Not police you understand, they were up ahead, this was photographers and cameramen.

It was superbly executed work, one bike would move round to the right hand side of the car and film for a few seconds through the window (which helpfully they'd left open), then drop back, accelerating again round to the left of the car whilst another bike pulled in to position.

I reckon the same bike could have stayed there all along, but the fact they'd devised a relay system says it all about the differences between France and the UK.

The BBC's Jon Sopel even noticed a motorcyclist holding a microphone up against the window and trying to interview Sarko during the journey. Now *that's* journalism.

Nationwide said...

Well, they practice every year in the Tour de France for a start.
Today's Independent criticised Blair for flying to Sedgefield, carbon footprint-wise, but sadly they never even noticed the beeb helicopter.
But anyway, what's going to happen tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

That's the trouble with 24 hour news channels, they don't have anything to report. So they turn to speculation, which anyone can do. Even my grandmother. And she's dead.

Nationwide said...

That's the point. Endless pontificating, speculation and whatif.......?
Rolling news has a lot to answer for. As has the Pope.

The TV Controller said...

I can reveal that Tony Blair has just signed up to front a new series on my channel. It's very exciting!! Hope you don't mind me sharing it with you.