Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Why the Hunt Show Must Go On

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Why the Hunt Show Must Go On

Article excerpt

Rupert Murdoch isn't the only elderly gentleman giving Jeremy Hunt palpitations--the Duke of Edinburgh's frailty has added to the Culture Secretary's burden. Prince Philip's hospitalisation during the Diamond Jubilee weekend prompted Whitehall departments to cast an eye over plans for a royal send-off on a ceremonial gun carriage when the 91-year-old curmudgeon shuffles off this mortal coil. Ministers discovered that, should the moment occur during London 2012, the International Olympic Committee will insist that the Games carry on. This could prove embarrassing, not least because the men's and women's marathons start and finish on the Mall, in front of Buck House. My snout whispered that the course would be moved, but Hunted fears a Daily Mail-inspired backlash over a perceived lack of respect. Footie was cancelled on the day of Di's funeral, as was your correspondent's cricket match between hacks and the TUC. The Olympics, however, stop for nobody.

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The politburo of Labour's Progress tendency should beware the old "seat trick" when granted an audience with Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary. Robert Philpot, the director of Progress, wrote to the union baron asking if he and the faction's chair, the willowy Lord "More Andrew Than" Adonis of Camden Town, could put the turbo-Blairites' case after Kenny demanded the group's proscription. In the 1970s TV series The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin, the boss of Sunshine Desserts, CJ, intimidated underlings by seating them in a chair that made a farting sound. …

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