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Images of 2010

Paul Mason | 10:21 UK time, Thursday, 30 December 2010

Election night programme: I prepare with Newsnight's lighting and sound technicians to the background of Greek riot pix

If I look back at my email inbox for the first working day of January 2010 it contains the ominous Sunday evening exchange with Labour HQ entitled: "Please register me for CX Presser" - CX meaning the then Chancellor, Alistair Darling. Darling was about to launch an attack on the Conservatives for promising to spend £35bn more than they could budget for:

"Until they explain how they will plug this £34bn gap in their list of promises, they cannot credibly say anything about what they'll do on the deficit," 
said Darling the next day.

Well in a year a lot has changed. There is no longer a gap in anybody's promises but a meticulously detailed plan to shrink state spending by £113bn. And Alistair Darling is no longer in office, and emails from Labour HQ no longer get an urgent response on a Sunday afternoon.

The first big highlight of the year for me was Davos. Following a bleak 3 hour train ride through Switzerland I got to stay in a kind of youth hostel at £200 a night and the privilege of hearing various rich and famous people flail around for ideas, punctuated by sessions "sponsored" by fragrant middle eastern monarchies extolling the values of classical music for the needy.

At a breakfast with Darling and Peter Mandelson - or rather at a non-breakfast which their aides had forgotten to order - it was impossible not to be distracted by the sight of two camo-clad Swiss snipers, on the roof behind the two ministers, cheerily trying to unfreeze the bolt on their Barrett Light 50, which had frozen overnight.

But Davos was notable for one event: the looming Greek budget crisis was evident. George Papandreaou and George Papaconstantinou were both there and, amid the weirdness and inconsequentiality, stood like rocks - amid the roiling surf of journos and flashbulbs - trying to exude the confidence they would need to save their country.

By February I was in Athens, on the streets with refuse collectors and dockers. "We're family men, we don't do social explosions," they told me. Papaconstantinou admitted to me that the country was basically corrupt.

But the Greek crisis dragged on: unbelievably the Eurozone's politicians simply failed to muster the will to act in time so by the time Alistair Darling and the Labour government came to be judged the real issue, for everybody except America and China, was the deficit.

Between the Greek crisis and the first mega Eurocrisis I got the chance to tour Britain asking the question "What's wrong and how do we fix it?" It was not a happy country. I went to Margate - where "whats wrong" turned out to be, for the English-born population, migration. I went to Stoke, where the problem was lack of money in the economy. I met Londoners preparing to emigrate. I travelled on a train to West Wales with the Welsh rugby fans on their way to a match in Dublin.

On the Arriva train to Carmarthen, the rugby fans were drinking lager at 11am but profoundly polite. They filled the carriage, sharing it with mums, kids and pensioners: every time one of their songs came to an f-word they left it out. Then they generously sang "Ireland Forever Standing Tall", "O Flower of Scotland" and of course "Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau", completing their musical tour of the British Isles with: "I'd Rather Wear a Turban Than a Rose".

As the election kicked off somebody high up in the Labour Party leaked me an important, as they thought, radical demand, demonstrating Labour's new commitment to its voting base: a "Cadbury's Law" to prevent predatory foreign takeovers of British firms. I will always remember the repeated phonecalls that night, right down to the wire, from senior Labour press officers: "We're steering you away from Cadbury's Law; you will look very foolish if you mention Cadbury's Law." That's what all governments seem to end up like, in the end.

When we consult the record of Twitter on the night of the first leaders' debate I think we may find I was one of the first journalists to use the word "Cleggmania": I tweeted it seconds after the debate ended, because I was following various realtime graphs showing floating voters' responses. Wow, was the response. As I said at the time, Clegg simply demonstrated he was the kind of bloke who might know somebody with a nose stud.

I was in the BBC's Millbank newsroom when that other memorable moment happened: we were all watching live as Gordon Brown was played back his exchange with Gillian Duffy. There was a collective groan - not of sympathy, I assure you; nor were there any whoops of delight: it was just like seeing Mohammed Ali floored at the end of his career only this time by a self-inflicted punch.

Post-Election weekend was a blur. Though in constant contact with various people involved in setting up the Coalition, at one point filming myself sprinting backwards shouting questions at Danny Alexander, also sprinting, down Whitehall - the main event was going on in Brussels, where Sarkozy was banging the table to try and save the Euro. This story famously got three minutes on Newsnight on the crucial day because there was so much drama in the election itself.

But the story would not go away. Deficit reduction set the agenda for the Coalition - indeed formed it.

That summer something unprecedented happened: Labour politicians who had risen to power without ever having to be nice to anybody suddenly had to be nice to a lot of people, including journalists. You could suddenly discuss things rationally with people who had confronted you from behind an Uruk-hai-like phalanx of advisers and spin-doctors. Other scarpered, never to be seen again until their memoirs came out.

During the post-election downtime I went for a refresher on the BBC's compulsory hostile environment course. Though what happens on that course has to remain secret, it is grueling and sometimes emotionally shocking and it reinforced my conviction that any politician who proposes to begin any kind of conflict - and I mean rebels, "community leaders", activists etc as well as Defence Ministers - should first go on that course and see what the collateral damage of conflict feels like.

Jessie Carolina and the Hot Mess perform in Washington Square NYC. It was the year of the retro photo app (other apps are available)


Looking back over my diary this summer technology changes loomed large. I got Freesat installed, discovering true HD; I fell victim to the volcano cloud, missing a book launch in Perugia but doing the meeting remotely from my living room via Skype. Finally I handed back my BBC Blackberry and got an iPhone, convinced by my wife's Googlephone that the age of the unlocked, uncorporate device was irresistible. The iPhone opened a world of realtime publishing: I twittered more than I blogged by the end of the year; my jogging runs are pathetically logged in real time on my Facebook page; I took photos of my Gary Indiana trip using Hipstamatic - we will all have one of those stylized scratched, 50s-era photos of ourselves to look back on and remember 2010, thinking - "why did we do that?" (as in this photo of Jessy Carolina and the Hot Mess, a band I stumbled on in Washington Square, right).

In July I remember a tetchy press conference exchange with the bosses of the Euro bank regulator as they launched their "stress tests": few journalists in the room felt the tests were worth the paper they were printed on and so it turned out. By the year's end the two Irish banks that had passed the test were to be nationalized, busted by the very thing the Eurobankers had refused to test for - the inter-action between sovereign debt and banking solvency where the banks are propped up by the state.

I'd been to Spain to document its debt woes, getting hauled in by the Spanish embassy to discuss my various misconceptions thereafter. Indeed Spain will be the crucial country in 2011 - because its politicians will either stop the rot on sovereign debt or succumb to it. They will have to be the legion that does not break, otherwise the Euro will. It's as simple as that.

After the Spain trip I made elaborate plans for a pan-European filming trip to explore the crisis there - but we ditched at short notice and re-allocated the whole project to the USA: I was becoming convinced that the Obama fiscal stimulus wasn't working and that, while the coverage of the Teaparty movement was finally getting near the roots of the discontent, it needed to be covered in depth, on the ground, looking at the social and economic conflict from both sides.

We set off into the deserted ruins of the former-industrial powerhouse of Gary, Indiana, documenting for a week the simple and prosaic failures of the Obama administration's economic strategy. I got to hear Glenn Beck deliver a 90 minute unscripted speech. We went to Georgia and Tennessee, exploring the layers of history and animosity that underpin the new sharpness in American politics. "Much of America," said one of my editors, glumly, reviewing the footage, "is basically a museum of the 20th century".

October-November were the months where reality finally bit into the post-election euphoria. Cleggmania evaporated; much of the social-liberal wing of the Conservatives, around Letwin and Maude, went quiet as the full realization hit everbody as to the sheer scale of fiscal retrenchment they had unleashed. The Big Society, inevitably, got turned around as a slogan by the government's opponents.

I remember watching Ed Miliband's stony, stunned face as he came out of the briefing room knowing he had won: a face that did not become any less stunned as he tried to deliver a speech, the implication of which was that Labour had spent the past decade going in the wrong direction. Listening to the reception to Ed Miliband's speeches, and hearing the incessant buzz of discontent among Labour members and MPs as autumn turned to winter, it became clear what an uphill task he has. Like Clegg he will probably have to reinvent the party he leads, finding a whole new set of people who agree with what he is doing now, rather than what the party stood for before.

The last two big events of the year, for me, came hard on each other's heels: Ireland and the student movement.

We sensed early that Ireland was in deep trouble and hauled the finance minister Brian Lenihan onto Newsnight to assure Jeremy Paxman that there would be no EU bailout needed. Then, over the weekend, my BBC colleague Joe Lynam broke the story that the bailout was, indeed, in process. We all rushed to Brussels for more stalling, stonewalling and denials from the Eurozone's panjandrums, whose performance on public platforms was commensurate with that of a cadre of officials who do not need to be elected.

Inbetween the Lenihan interview and Brussels I put my feet up on the sofa and switched on the Newschannel, only to see people smashing Millbank Tower. It was pretty obvious something big was happening - and not only from the level of violence and the policing failures on the day: a student occupation movement had begun that would, by the year's end, create a whole new zeitgeist in politics, finishing off Cleggmania and sparking a new cultural debate in the British intelligentsia. Even now there are arts movements, music, manifestoes, comedy etc being created that will probably shape British culture long after the exact events of Day X (10 November) become misty.

I ended up reporting on both the occupation movement and the final riotous student demo outside Parliament. I've been on many demos and public order situations and this was, on a scale of 1-10, about 7 in terms of violence at the point of conflict - despite the fact that the majority went with non-violent intent. It also, as I noted a few hours later, marked the entry of British "estate dwelling youth" into political protest. Basically the concept arts groups from the Slade and Goldsmiths found themselves dancing by the firelight of a vandalized bench with kids whose music is largely banned from all but pirate radio, and to whom enmity with the cops is not some shocking, new thing.

And that's the year. We switched from an entrenched, fearsomely efficient Labour political establishment to an initially laid-back Coalition who, in the early days were able to go to work by pushbike but who now have to have their party HQs guarded against arson attacks, and worry about stuff that comes through their letterbox.

The Euro crisis was stupendous and is not over. The incapacity of some of Europe's leaders equally stupendous.

America, a country full of friendship and warmth to outsiders - even ones like me who ask annoying questions - is angry with itself, and may yet tear itself apart politically.

Culturally I have seen some masterpieces: Bryn Terfel in Die Meistersinger at the Proms; the Gauguin exhibition at Tate Modern, vividly demonstrating how beautiful life can be once you give up stockbroking and chill out on an island; Mark Rylance mesmerizing once again in the revival of Jerusalem.

I've also been frustrated by the paucity of decent TV drama (ADD: I should have said "Jimmy McGovern excepted"); the predictability of much of what's on stage in Britain - and I mean the subsidized artistic theatre, not the West End. Few new novels have grabbed me: my book of the year is Stefan Zweig's autobiography - The World of Yesterday - which is a haunting account of the run up to both World Wars of the 20th century: and of the cultural revolution Europe went through in the last great period of globalization and individual freedom.

I'm ending the year with a strong desire for something to blow away the cultural cobwebs of Britain: its press dominated by the obsessions of middle aged men in cardigans; its TV drama stuck in a tawdry rut; its cultural establishment entranced by various overhyped novelists and concept artists; its bookshop windows full of the re-hashed tales of yesteryear.

As a journalist, a year's work gives you a privileged front seat at the spectacle of history. But if I think back through everything I have seen, nothing beats the seals and dolphins swimming through Ramsay Sound, Pembrokeshire, oblivious to the manias and fretfulness of human life, sentient only of the flows and currents of their freezing tidal raceway.

A peregrine on the Welsh coastline

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Amazing post!

  • Comment number 3.

    So who really runs Britain Paul?

  • Comment number 4.

    What about the circuses bit, i.e. X Factor! You have fallen into the confusion of the interchangeability of public sector cuts and tax increases with deficit reduction. 2011 will be a year of discontent when it will be not just students who become angry.

  • Comment number 5.

    Paul,

    One of the best blogs there is.
    Keep it up in 2011.

    As for 2011, watch the dollar.
    The massive increase in the supply of dollars will mean higher interest rates if the US want China & the others to keep funding the US budget deficit.

  • Comment number 6.

    It would seem that the moral, intellectual and political cul-de-sac is narrower and darker than it was this time last year. This is emulated in the economy where the narrow-way built up over the last twenty-five years has become truly perilous. No sun-lit uplands here or even in prospect. We will have to walk back and follow that other fork in the road.

    The political class are now staring their own bankruptcy in the face as they find themselves forced to present to the public the bill incurred for allowing themselves to be bribed by the political class in the first place. Nobody knows what to think any more, always assuming there is something to think about. Tomorrow is not an opportunity, it is fear!

    The Deficit is a disaster that cannot be resolved without huge pain throughout the land. After that is paid down - and it will need to be paid down faster than it is now - there will still be the Debt to face. All those debts put off until tomorrow have fallen due as contrary to rhetorical theory, tomorrow does come.

    Yet if we listen to many we are still in the bubble-times of easy money. When will that illusion finally burst? It has to, because the easy money is destroying the real money, the real economy and any prospect of real value on which we can begin to build a future. Only by embracing economic realism can we expect to break out from this stagnant present. The real question is who knows what reality looks like?

  • Comment number 7.

    Our Stanley may have a profitable future ahead of him as Newsnight`s Mystic Stan ....putting us in touch with the spirits of long dead British icons.....like Dickens and Wilberforce and Enoch Powell !

  • Comment number 8.

    jim

    I did consider inserting an allusion to Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress but thought that you would find it pretentious. Perhaps we need to bring Captain Greatheart back!

  • Comment number 9.

    WOT - NO LIAR-FLYER-GATE?

    Maybe Paul regards Woolas, shooting himself in the spleen, as a non event?
    I hold the view that when Newsnight - belatedly - takes seriously the 'liar flyer' that I continue to pursue: http://spoilpartygames.blogspot.com/2010/08/entrenched-westminster-blight.html
    and address the clear possibility that it constitutes a breach BY THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY of the Representation of the People Act, he will rue the omission. After all - Britain is the home of Rule of Law is it not?
    Neither MP nor political party is above it.

    If a game-spoiling truth cries out in a dense gathering of politicians, does it make a sound?

  • Comment number 10.

    8....I dearly wish our young had Bunyan and the classics in their minds to give them a selection of imaginative civilising images and narratives to live by Stanley....and it`s more "portentous" you are than pretentious....and I just wish there were more of you and many fewer of the pitifully inarticulate air-head role models you get in soap operas and on celebrity telly!
    Happy New Year....I`m on a sabbatical journey on Saturday...a year without the internet! Bliss!

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    9...Just to explain Barrie that point 11 was in support of you but it was entirely wrong of me to include outrageously truthful comments calculated to disturb the BBC thought police and their army of priveleged cronies.
    Many apologies to one and all and a particularly Happy New Year to the Moderator of the Church of Latter Day Humbugs!

  • Comment number 13.

    A Happy New Year to you too, jim.

  • Comment number 14.

    THE JOY OF THE NEWSNIGHT HOUSE RULES (#12)

    I am truly supported Jim, by the very fact that you are REMOVED not just in ignominious limbo.

    But the greater joy is the Blogdog's employment of the word PROFANITY!
    Wait there while I check the precise meaning. Ah: 'Contempt or irreverence for what is sacred'. Well that describes my attitude to a T, but not my raison d'etre: SPOILPARTYGAMES (which will not pass the Profanity Filter if written properly).

    I shan't appeal. Some barmy judge would only declare me sane. There's no justice. . .

  • Comment number 15.

    I`ve entered a new level of moderatorial displeasure folks....my last post was "disappeared" entirely without even the discourtesy of being flagged up on the naughty step!

  • Comment number 16.

    you want to be a dolphin? hunted by killer whales? ears blown out by a Royal Navy submarine sonar [when they don't run around]? Caught in a spanish fishing net? Dolphins live in a darwinian world with no licence fee comfort blanket?

    my year has been seeing one lot of hayekists being replaced by another set of hayekists whom one might call hayekist xtra. So no philosophical change of direction there. Public office morality is still 'whatever you can get away with' which still seems to be 'within the rules'?

    People voted to strike for ponzi pension schemes not caring who the mugs are who put the money in as long as others continue to get a gilded payout [which isn't very fraternal spirited?].

    people who think themselves intelligent are locked into a doomed 20th century education model and angrily painted the Mandela statue in westminster as part of the trustafarian riots.

    Once again China promised all year to raise their currency 'when the time is right'. They raised interest rates and their currency 'fell'. This the hayekist/anarchist govt tells us is 'market forces' and not a war against british jobs. Mervy said the world economy is a zero sum game so for china to get rich we must get poor. The government is at ease with that even if they have to borrow massive amount of money to keep funding 'the dream' that we are a first world country.

    Despite the wheels coming off the discredited climate movement carbon trading bounded like a happy bunny extracting more cash in a machine designed to transfer wealth from the many to the few. How high do taxes have to go to stop the next ice age? or the sun blowing up into a red gas giant? How will the compensation work then?

    The Norman monarchy role gaming got a boost to its apartheid minded culture with not one but two weddings. The victims of 'stockholm syndrome' are too excited to speak. They know their place.


  • Comment number 17.

    ...the Met Office has been hijacked from its proper role to become wholly subservient to its obsession with global warming. (At one time it even changed its name to the Met Office for Weather and Climate Change.) This all began when its then-director John Houghton became one of the world’s most influential promoters of the warmist gospel. He, more than anyone else, was responsible for setting up the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and remained at the top of it for 13 years. It was he who, in 1990, launched the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Change, closely linked to the Climatic Research Unit in East Anglia (CRU), at the centre of last year’s Climategate row, which showed how the little group of scientists at the heart of the IPCC had been prepared to bend their data and to suppress any dissent from warming orthodoxy.....

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8223165/The-green-hijack-of-the-Met-Office-is-crippling-Britain.html

    is the met office a publicly funded cult? John Houghton has promoted carbon trading as a good idea thus helping divert money from the many to the few.

    http://www.jri.org.uk/brief/climatechange.htm

  • Comment number 18.

    AND WHAT ABOUT THE SALT POLLUTION?

    We at the BS Institute (Blame Salt - Director: Barrie Singleton) have calculated that climate is being destabilised by positive feedback due to salt from ancient seas, spread on roads and flushed to rivers in each thaw. The salinity of the ocean, held steady at 3.5% - even through the Medieval Warm - is now rising. Salt is a Penthouse Molecule, it makes suppliers in the Third World able to buy penthouses. But, more to the point, it alters river fauna and riverbank flora, so subtly, no one notices. THAT'S THE DANGER! They don't want you to know.

    STOP THE SALT SPREADING - LIE IN THE SNOW.

  • Comment number 19.

    So Paul has been all round Britain clocking the mood of the studiously unheard lower orders....like Mrs Duffy...but what is the Newsnight "take" on duffyist concerns about immigration...is it more of Brown`s "they are all stupid racist xenophobic bigots".....and when will you get on to some sink estates and foreign occupied neighbourhoods and have the courage to investigate with the same zeal you show for going through the dirty linen of foreign countries?

    (Notice how the entire political/media class avoided putting Brown`s Bigotgate gaff under scrutiny for anything but its political effects...no one asked whether Mrs Duffy was right...because that`s not want the ruling class want examined!)

  • Comment number 20.

    to add to the drama disappointment iplayer has a category called 'Religion and Ethics'. What a waste of space. The weak tea and currant bun fare is truly evidence that whoever runs it does not know the meaning of either of religion or ethics nor its role in human society.

    Given that if you get philosophy wrong people die the programming is woeful. At least in Drama you had one or two fireworks that shone briefly to light up the darkness. In R&E there has been nothing but safe sofa chat and sing songs.

    gresham college has done more tv public service on religion and ethics than the 'we don't do religion/ethics' bbc? The short sightedness is if you do not provide something a bit more meat and two veg then the space is left open for the extremists to spout unchallenged? why do the bbc pretend they do religion and ethics? its beyond their competence?

  • Comment number 21.

    20... How can they do religion and ethics in depth...they clearly see their role as molifying and calming rather than boldly enlightening and courageously frank.
    Just imagine what the consequences could be of challenging the powerful religious and political and economic and social myths and fantasies about in the world?

  • Comment number 22.

    YES YES YES!

    Great points Jim and Jaunty. The Beeb thinks it is edgy, but never goes near real contention. e.g. I gather a self-described 'gay' castigated Elton and Civil, regarding their joyous New World Order. Will the Beeb seek out other dissenting homosexual individuals, and get their views? I have always wanted to know if any find alternative coupling anathema. There is not much heterosexual anatomy that Woman's Hour does not now probe. LET'S DROP THE OTHER SHOE!

    Edgy New Year to all.

  • Comment number 23.

    22 I wonder?The Beeb perhaps doesn`t think it`s edgy...so much as providing an counterbalance to the conventional mainstream media and our capitalist onr party state...and our majority white indigenous culture.

    But it is in real trouble because fundementally it`s driven by the liberal humanitarian Guardian-reading lefty atitudes that sneer at lower order white British conventions and conservatism of a Thatcher kind but then find themselves having to somehow support or turn a blind eye to the often more conservative foreign cultures of the immigrants it`s so keen to promote and protect from criticism....and for good reason.

    We can talk of cruelty to animals but shut our gobs about halal slaughter....we can criticise Anglicanism but say not a word against Judaism or Islam...we can criticise parliamentarians who fiddle their expenses unless they happen to from minority cultural groups...and slowly by degrees the Beeb is backing into a corner as the range of holy cows and unquestionable interests grows and grows....leaving us English chavs and our shameless lives as the only targets for their satire available to attack.

  • Comment number 24.

    23 ..as the only targets for their satire available to attack.

    ..

    and east europeans.

    Could there have been meerkat ads with a 'jokey' indian accent like in Mind your Language, It Ain't Half Hot Mum or a Jim Davidson Chalky White accent? Given Meerkats come from the deserts of South Africa why not a south african accent?





    so all this goes to show if there is no examintion of what people pretend as the highest idea of the mind then, like Mao said, all sorts of contradictions can exist.

  • Comment number 25.

    We could introduce a sort of questionaire to highlight the gradual disappearance of free speech.
    Would we have been able to say this on That was the Week that Was....or could that person bemade into a Spitting Image puppet and ridiculed in the same way?
    What subjects do we know will never get aired on the Moral Maze and why?What happened to Channel4 before it became an American channel?
    Why can we only read about these issues in Private Eye? Why is there no edgy version of Question Time held on sink estates and with NO serving politicians on the panel?
    I can dream....but now I just have to tip-toe past the moderator and quietly pin this post very gently on the thread....shhhh!

  • Comment number 26.

    Commodity price surge sets stage for global food crisis in new year:

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/food-d31.shtml

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Excellent post as usual Paul, up to your thought provoking best.

    Only one drama caught my eye this year, and this only cuz I had flu and didn't have the strength to press the button on the remote. (I don't watch much telly these days, just RT and the football as the rest of the content is dire)

    Misfits Christmas Special - they did the nativity in a surreal and bad language way that would alienate the non-target audience (older people). They did the final scene (mary giving birth) in such a way that I fell off the settee laughing, tears streaming. I can honestly say that it was the funniest thing I have seen all year, best thing is that most people would say it was the most offensive thing on telly all year.

    Keep us updated on Gary, you might have found a good indicator of the way things will turn out in the states.

  • Comment number 29.

    Accept my apologies for echoing Bob Rocket but when reading the comment on TV drama being poor but my instant thought was that the teen dramas have been strong. Not just Misfits but also Skins and Being Human.
    I enjoyed Downtime Abbey. ITV are good at early 20th C (see Marple and Piorot).
    I don't think any UK drama has had much to say about the world we live in for a while now.
    US drama hasn't much to say either but it now has a believe in long term story arc that isn't strong in the UK. So the likes of Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy are very watchable.
    I don't think film is doing much better.

    The best books I've read have been popular science ones. I recommend The Art Of Choosing in particular.

    With regards to the student protests two things struck me.
    First
    was the reaction here with only a few posters condemning what happen. Which is similar to the thoughts of people I know in real life. Smashing stuff up appears to be considered a not unreasonable reaction. If that is a general feeling there may be trouble ahead.
    Second, politians seem to be completely disengaged from it. I haven't heard any of them say anything about it. It's like they think it'll go away if they ignore it.

  • Comment number 30.

    excellent post, Paul and it blew the cobwebs away...glad you like Jimmy McGovern..he drinks in our boozer and shouts when Liverpool get beat which is the norm nowadays, and I'm a fan!

  • Comment number 31.

    Paul
    Excellent review.
    I share your passion for wildlife and strong desire to bring about a wind of change.
    Two years ago I spent 6 weeks in New Zealand looking at the way Tourism New Zealand run their expanding tourism industry.
    I found a country where almost everybody sings in tune from the same branded hymn sheet.
    While in New Zealand, I took up every opportunity at my own expense to get close as possible to whales, dolphins, albatross, seals, sea lions and penguins. All were cherished spine tingling experiences.

    A gale force 10 is required to blow away the cobwebs in Britain's tourism industry.
    Nobody seems to reconise tourism's worth to the British economy.
    The way we run and fund tourism in this country belongs to a different era.
    Brand Britain requires rebranding and professional marketing.
    It's an industry without a strategy, run nationally by a quango of amateurs and domestically by tourism committees made up of semi-retired pensioners from other trades and committee seat collectors.
    It's fragmented, outdated and requires root and branch reform.
    So can I tempt you to take a hard look at Britain's decaying tourism industry, outside of London in 2011.
    I have two reports at hand.
    Brand New Zealand v Brand Britain & State of Trade
    Happy New Year

 

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