How Claudia Winkleman colluded with Gerry Adams to ruin the start of the week


Adams and Winkleman, the two names trip off the tongue like Abbott and Costello, Hale and Pace, Spackman and Reichmark. What a mind-mashing pair they are, partners engaged in a brutal war on the political and broadcast culture of Britain.

Now I don’t want to make too much of this but the two became temporarily conflated in my mind on Monday afternoon and I so resented the pair colluding to maroon me in a psychical dark ages, that I resolved to shame them by immortalising their new association with the written word.

Adams, as you may know, is the Northern Ireland MP that achieved what few thought was possible, being active in Irish Republicanism throughout the ’70s without being a member of the IRA. Occasionally he’d chat to them in the pub, meet up to play pool and go round to Rory O’ Bastard’s place to watch Cromwell, getting in the zone. They’d pontificate on Richard Harris’ performance, turning the air green with rage at every self-righteous speech the character delivered. There’s little worse, Adams would argue, than a religious zealot with a murderous bent.

In IRA parlance Adams was, at best, a collaborator but not a combatant. Just how did he remain so hands off? No one knows but give him his due, it couldn’t be easy – particularly with his blood lust. Not being directly involved, a mere go-between, you’d imagine the bearded bastard would have empathised with poor old Jean McConville, whom regardless of her success in incubating her husband’s seed (a sentimental spasm exhibited by every journalist who reported on the story) didn’t deserve to be taken from her home, tortured, shot and buried in a secret location back in 1972 upon the orders of the IRA army council (Area commander, G Adams). I was reminded of Tony Benn’s recollection of a cab driver’s comment that, “the thing about Gerry Adams is that he sticks to his guns.”

A new book alleges that Adams ordered the execution. Read that again, a British MP has been accused of ordering a woman be abducted from her home, tortured until she confessed to collusion with the British Army in a kangaroo court with savage roos and then dispatched with a bullet to the brain.

What’s interesting, that is to say revolting, about Adams and other Sinn Fein politicians is the language they use to refute allegations that in any other context would be career and life destroying, so indifferent is the sociopath to any suggestion of moral abortion. Adams said he “rejected absolutely” the accusation that he ordered a woman murdered. On the mainland you might hear a politician “reject” the notion that they’d fiddled their expense claim or exaggerated some statistics. “Rejecting” murder is not dissimilar to “taking issue” with an accusation of rape or “begging to differ” when fingered for genocide. It doesn’t seem to be drawn from the appropriate register of refutation.

If evidence came to light that George Osborne had paid a gang to kidnap an old girlfriend, torture and kill her, it’s unlikely that Tory Central Office would issue a press release saying “George rejects these allegations absolutely”. It’s more likely that they’d sue for libel, or, should there have been any truth in it – and there might, let’s not dismiss it out of hand, say nothing while Osborne called his lawyer – a process known in Westminster as “Thorping”.

Murder is rather serious you see, it’s not something you deny with carefully couched language. Rejecting an allegation isn’t quite the same as denying it after all, you’re simply saying you don’t accept the allegation as it’s been put to you. It’s a form of plausible deniability – not equal in weight or law to an unequivocal denial. We know that neither Adams nor Sinn Fein would consider the death of this woman as anything more than a military reprisal, so you can understand why Gerry absolutely rejects the notion that he ordered a murder. Of course the woman is dead but murder? He will go and be a pedant on such matters.

If Mrs Thatcher was right about something – keep reading, I’m coming to it – and there is no such thing as political murder, only the common or garden criminal variety of which we’re all familiar, and have occasionally been fortunate to avoid indictment for, then Adams is being accused of one of the most serious offences on the statute book. Sinn Fein were so outraged that the leader of their party had been accused of murder, they came out all guns ablazin’ with this:

“The allegations are not new. Gerry Adams has consistently denied these. In the last years of his life Brendan Hughes was very ill and he publicly disagreed with the strategy being pursued by (Irish) republicans.”

Emphatic, I’m sure you’ll agree and good of them to add the word “Irish” in parenthesis, in case we got confused and imagined that Hughes had been motivated to out Adams as a murderer because of John McCain’s choice of running mate in the 2008 Presidential election.

All of this leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, not dissimilar to a wet rag being stuffed down the gullet, but outrageous though it is, not to mention an affront to the rule of law and the principles that underpin the very democracy that these degenerates now pretend to represent, it’s not quite as galling as Claudia Winkleman’s appointment as host of the BBC’s Film 2010. You may see no moral equivalence between the two and neither do I but let’s not let a sense of perspective obfuscate the fact that these two stories came one on top of the other and form, in my mind, an Axis of Arrrrrrggghhhh, which is resolute in its commitment to destroying my way of life.

The film programme (since 1971) was once a reliable digest of the week’s releases fronted by a revolving door of journalists, including the two Barrys – Took and Norman. Norman took over full time from 1972. Under his stewardship viewers were treated to a sober dissection of each flick, informed by intelligence and good humour. Auntie never gave the programme much prominence but thought to invigorate it with a populist streak when they gave the show to Jonathan Ross in 1999. Winkleman completes the trajectory toward debasing the format to the point where viewer participation may not even be necessary. Sensing that people would see her accession to the chair as an act of cultural terrorism, she was on Twitter an hour later, reassuring people that it wouldn’t be just her – she’d be chairing a discussion of real critics. This might be the BBC’s tacit acknowledgement that she can’t front it alone or perhaps that she’s better suited to the sofa discussion format that engenders viewer putrefaction during spin-off filler like the Wink fronted Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two. Perhaps they feared an advance on television centre in scenes reminiscent of last year’s Nick Griffin on Question Time farrago. I know I was ready to go if the call went out.

Now, we can be reasonably sure the new format will work fine but was Winkleman really the best choice of host? We can all watch movies – that’s the wonderful thing about them, it’s a completely democratic art form, but we can’t all read movies – not effectively, which is the reason 95% of film criticism is lazy, threadbare and little more than a précis of the movie (passively) viewed with a lot of unsupported opinion and, to borrow a phrase from an old lecturer of mine, eery impressionism tacked on the end.

Those that think the appointment is harmless should consider, pun intended, the bigger picture. It isn’t simply that the BBC don’t take film seriously – any fool can see that but must they make it so obvious? Where’s the equivalent of Radio 4’s Film Programme on television for example? Why do we have numerous programmes about music and art but so little serious (and dedicated) cinema output? The BBC has put its flagship series in a scheduling ghetto for years and on a Monday night too, a superb choice when new releases crown on Fridays.

Now, handed an opportunity to give the programme a heavyweight host and a prominent place in the schedules, they’ve capitulated to that imaginary constituency of younguns that won’t watch anything unless it’s fronted by someone young, excitable and genetically gifted (Coincidentally the title of a forthcoming BBC 3 documentary). It doesn’t even matter that they’ve created this audience, rather than it pre-existing, the public wants what the public gets and their imaginary wish list of TV must haves will be considered. It isn’t just that Winkleman and Cotton and Willoughby and, well maybe not Holly because she’s lovely isn’t she but the other two, debase broadcast culture with their ‘isn’t everything AMAZING’ approach to presentation – the plastic personalities, the vacuity, the faux enthusiasm, but let’s be honest, that’s got a lot to do with it.

So when we look at these two stories and wonder whether Claudia Winkleman’s new job is worse news than Gerry Adams’ murder allegation, the answer is probably not but Adams exists in a political and ideological ghetto, safely sectioned off from the rest of us – he isn’t supported by a group of angry young men armed with Libyan weapons bought with American money anymore. Winkleman however, IS television and there’s seemingly no escape from the trend she represents; a move toward a cultural necropolis in which we enthusiastically reserve our plot and jump in on demand. The rot will continue, so one day you’ll turn on the TV and everyone you see will look and sound exactly like the people you know from the pub, from your job, from the supermarket – the exact people that you used to watch television to be liberated from in the first place.

Still, good luck Claudia, I’ll be watching you in September. I may even tune in to Film 2010. Please make one blow job gag an episode, as below.

Published in: on March 31, 2010 at 15:00  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I came across this article by accident and could not let it pass without a comment.

    I found absolutely no information about my niece, Claudia but I learnt a lot about Ed Whitfield.
    I have never heard your name before, but I don’t live in England so that is understandable – but from reading what you wrote about Claudia it is apparent that you like voicing opinions about people and things of which you are totally ignorant.

    Ignorance may be blissful, provided one doesn’t trumpet it out. So we learn that Ed Whitfield is stupid and arrogant.

    Claudia got a respectable degree at Oxford (New College) – like her father, who was at Balliol. She is anything but stupid. in fact she is quite brilliant – and she is far from being arrogant. Some of her columns for ‘The Independent’ were remarkably good – profound and very witty.

    I am absolutely delighted that her appointment helped to ruin your day. Unfortunately I do not have that chance.

    • Be assured that should I suffer a complete mental collapse I’ll send you notice, giving you your chance to strike.

  2. Claudia Winkleman The British Comedy Awards…

    Claudia Winkleman – The British Comedy Awards Claudia Winkleman Vogue Bvlgari 125th Anniversary Party……

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