Friday, 23 April 2010

Who's the boss?

Last night I heard 2, or possibly all 3, would-be prime ministers say, "You are the boss," as their answer to the question of how to clean up politics. What a superficial and favour-currying thing to say. Where does it leave leadership and vision? To say to the general public - some of whom still don't even know who Nick Clegg is - that they are the boss sends shivers down my spine. If you take this mantra to its logical conclusion you end up with the tyranny of the masses, the rule of the uneducated, and an abdication of responsible government.

It's same argument about parent-power in schools. It sounds good as a vote-catching phrase, but actually parent-power can result in pushy parents who are only concerned for their own offspring interfering in the professional running of schools by competent teachers.

Democracy is not about governments just doing what the public want. If that were the case then governments would bring back hanging, and would evict law-abiding people of non-white ethnic backgrounds. Democracy is about choosing a government that has a vision to govern.

I shall be listening carefully to Messrs Clegg, Cameron and Brown in order to get a sense of their vision for government, not how they will simply please the public in order to gain their votes. I'm still undecided about how I shall vote, though I think I have decided how I shall NOT vote. There is still time to decide, and I think it will make a big difference to the political landscape this time round.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Paradise Garden

Last night we enjoyed a top-class concert given by the young orchestra 'Sinfonia d'Amici' under their conductor Harry Ogg, an undergraduate at Cambridge. Our daughter was playing the cor anglais in the beautifully evocative and sensual 'The Walk to the Paradise Garden' by Delius. The orchestra is made up entirely of students, at school, university or music college and would stand comparison with any good professional group. The playing in the Delius brought out every nuance and layer of sound colour, and was followed by a wonderfully taut performance of Rachmaninov's 'Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini.' Not so much a rhapsody as an inventive set of variations. The concert finished with a rich, full-blooded performance of Tchaikovky's 5th symphony, played with a mixture of delicacy and swagger.

What was so inspiring about this concert, apart from the music itself, was the initiative that Harry Ogg has taken in founding the orchestra. It started with friends from the London Schools Symphony Orchestra, but as they leave left the LSSO it has begun to take on a life of its own. Harry is both a musician and an entrepreneur and I wish him and the orchestra well.