HUNT BALLS: Why the post-Olympics arrogance of Jeremy is a good enough reason for Cameron to sack him

This from the Daily Telegraph today:

‘It should have been the easiest of questions for an experienced Cabinet minister to answer. Appearing at a press conference the morning after the 2012 closing ceremony, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was asked, perfectly reasonably, why the Government’s school sport strategy was not more “joined up”….Instead of dispatching the half-volley with a platitude before going on holiday, he gave a tetchy, telling response. After criticising the Olympics coverage of the reporter, Hunt said he was “astonished” he had “dared to ask the question”, and then failed to answer it.’

For all its myriad faults (the biggest being its ownership by two decidedly anti-social Barclay* twin tax exiles) the Torygraph is by some distance my favourite paper. The paper’s current overt and vulgar attempt to push the claims of Boris Johnson for a Premiership he couldn’t take up before 2016 I find irksome, if only because years ago I fingered Bully-Boy Boris as up there in the Joint Number One position as Most Dangerous British Politician alongside Harriet Harman.

But it remains my favourite read because it has renegades in its midst, it doesn’t spike them all the time, and it doesn’t have that disturbing Izvestia air about it that the Guardian has these days.

As regular Sloggers willing to believe even half the stuff at Hunt Balls will know, Jeremy Hunt is a nasty, oleaginous piece of work. His remark about an experienced journalist “daring” to ask a question speaks volumes as to how he sees himself and his peers in relation to the citizenry, judiciary and media they serve.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Somehow, it never does with Jeremy. For Mr Hunt – who resembles the ghastly Old Queen Mandelson in some ways – profits from the same technique used by pernicious Peter in his dealings with the 24/7 news culture. Sometimes he lies, at others he just dissembles, and at best he obfuscates. Even though he is not in the same sociopathic class as Mandelson, his rodent cunning is only ever just below the surface.

Starting with a swagger last week – “Nonsense. London’s retailers are quids in” – being immediately contradicted by the London Retail Association didn’t seem to bother him. I can nevertheless tell you via a valued Tory source that Hunt was soon thereafter rung by the Cabinet Office and told to shut TFU. But he then went on to tell The Independent: “It was quieter in the first week of the Olympics, but picked up a lot in the second week. West End businesses did well – theatre bookings up 25 per cent on a year ago according to Andrew Lloyd Webber, restaurant bookings up 20% according to Visa.”

So now Andrew Lloyd Webber is an economics researcher? I was unable to find anyone who felt things ‘picked up’ during the second week, nor was I able to find anyone at Visa willing to explain what exactly had gone up by 20% in relation to what. The Telegraph again:

‘Tour firms, hotels and restaurants said they had found the Games to be one of their quietest periods. Neil Wootton, managing director of the sightseeing specialist Premium Tours, said business was down by 42 per cent year on year: “It will take a long time to repair the shortfall of this summer. The knock-on implication has been felt by all attractions, venues, hotels and pubs we use – with some privately owned establishments calling us in panic-stricken attempts to drum up business”. Even traffic at Heathrow, Britain’s busiest airport, showed the floods of people entering the country had not materialised.’

But the Huntmobile ploughed on.

“We got everyone to their Olympic events on time,” said the bare-faced Minister. That’s simply not true: even among my own limited circle of feedback, the opening ceremony transport was chaotic, and throughout the Games unpredictable. Spouting drivel like this, Hunt sounds like the African despot insisting that 150% of the population voted for him because, in their enthusiasm, many supporters voted twice.

Typically, the claim only addresses half the issue. Getting home was the problem for most people, and night after night Sloggers emailed me to say that the Tube at the end of play was crowded bordering on dangerous. None of that should detract from the joy felt by millions either at home or in the Village at the largely positive Carnival atmosphere, and of course the historic success of our amazing athletes. But like every cowboy bandit chancer, Jeremy Hunt Minister of Culture compounded his mendacity by offering this quite staggering piece of illogic:

“We wouldn’t have been able to [get people there on time] if we hadn’t warned people that central London was going to be busy, discouraging some non-essential travel.”

Non-essential travel? Poppycock: they emptied London, and lost Britain much-needed productivity thanks to stay-away workers. Hunt and Johnson overdid that part of the strategy to the point where the London economy wound up losing any chance it had – slim at the best of times – of benefitting from the Olympic Games. They will never admit this, but to paraphrase Shakespeare, “Are they not both dishonest men? They came to bury facts, not to raise them”.

* Kenneth Williams diaries employ the cockney rhyming slang “a Barclays” with amusing frequency. I have often thought about its true meaning in relation to the offshore brothers.

See also How the immediate Olympics bonus became a long-term payback


20 thoughts on “HUNT BALLS: Why the post-Olympics arrogance of Jeremy is a good enough reason for Cameron to sack him

  1. “…night after night Sloggers emailed me to say that the Tube at the end of play was crowded bordering on dangerous.”
    Not exactly a piece of seriously evidence-based journalism, John.
    Given that most “Sloggers” are negative, glass-half-full, miserable old todgers who like nothing better than a whole-hearted moan it’s not surprising that they reported that the tubes, overground and trains were crowded. This is mere anecdotal evidence of the most biased and sloppy kind.
    OF COURSE transport was crowded – 200,000 people leaving the Park at the same time?? What a surprise the carriages were stuffed to the gunnels. But did these moaning minnies have to wait hours in queues as you have to do every time you take pubic transport out of Wembley stadium? I don’t think so. Did they get home in reasonable time? I bet they did. What did these folk expect – an empty private Pullman carriage with bar staff and flunkies? Do they always travel airlines ‘Ferst Clarse’?
    MY circle of friends – “glass-half-full” types to the last man and woman – which accounts for maybe 30 or 40 visits in total – was all full of praise about the issue of getting out of the Park and onto homebound transport.

    Now there is no anti *unt man in the country stronger in the belief that this excuse for a man should be taken out and flogged and relieved of all duties bar slopping out at the nearest hard prison (not run by G4S). But come on John, let not your prejudice against “the British Spirit” and sport in particular (other than Man U – which can scarcely be described as sport when they consider Rooney to be a half decent footballer) get in the way of rational and serious comment about the guy’s real failings, cheatings, lyings and downright uselessness viz Private Eye ad nauseum and the Slog ditto.
    *unt as ter go! Fully in support. The man’s a complete *unt.
    Nuff said.


  2. JW – you asked for examples that you were allowing prejudice to prevail over evidence. Here’s another one – @Dunx pretty much nails it. Trains are full after major sporting event? Who’d have guessed?

    You are right about Hunt though. He’s gotta go.


  3. He also had a total hissy fit on Newsnight either last night or the night before when asked what he clearly felt to be an impertinent question in a similar vein.

    Like the awful Louise Mensch and Baroness Arsey I get the impression that Mr *unt is one of those Tories as much despised by voters on his own side as by opposition voters.

    A third rate Mandelson.

    Come to think of it, all these people, (Cameron in relation to Blair and Osborne who daily seems to morph into Brown’s jowly truculence) are but third rate versions of the equivalent Labour bastards.

    God help us.


  4. I wouldn’t be surprised if the devious runt got a note from Tory peer ‘Lord’ Lloyd Webber reminding him that he is just plain old ‘Mr’ and should in future show due hat-tipping deference.

    (Whilst on the other side of the note, thanking him for talking up his pantomimes in the West End whilst the free Saturday evening promotional stuff on BBC1 was temporarily suspended….)


  5. Nice to read an honest appraisal of the Olympics bollox. The govt, beeb and MSM are all wrapped up in a cloud of self congratulatory back slapping about how ‘We did it right’. Keep it simple, eh Coe ? For the simpletons who paid for it all.

    But the cheap soundbite, the mass MSM hype, worked and worked well. The sheeple of Britain lapped it up, glorifying in the wonderfullness of the opening and closing ceremony fiascos, and the superiority of the gurning, oft drug fuelled efforts of the organisers, never mind the athletes !
    Which means your protest is like pissing in the wind John. Canute trying to turn back the waves.

    I stopped watching the beeb for the whole fortnight. There was no news.
    to glean regarding the state of the economy or if I will ever find another job at fiftysix. BBC 1, 2 and three became entirely devoted to the glorious spectacle so I gave up on the remote control entirely in the end.

    Well all thats left now is the dust and rubbish, the empty buildings, and
    the enormous bill, to be picked up, once more, by the taxpaying squeezed.


  6. Pingback: OLYMPIC EFFECT: Rooster Boris in booster Benito bollocks drive shocker | A diary of deception and distortion

  7. Well, just to take the other side of the argument – those “stay away” work from home londoners (of whom I am one) now have more dosh in their pockets, having saved from paying huge rail faires, £2.00 bottles of water, hidden service charges, VAT, £3.50 ice creams, 50p to go to the toilet etc etc

    And its savings that grow an economy. So stay at home, I say, don’t go out! Grow veggies in the garden. Zip up your pockets and don’t spend a damn penny I say!


  8. Of course, none of this is important. They are all as incompetent as each other, bobbing corks in a rancid sea of mediocrity.
    What is REALLY important, is how crap the closing ceremony was. A melange of hackneyed images, probably re-hashed from the great millenium dome exhibit team.
    Barely an act under 50, a clumsy John Lennon death mask, a circus-act cannon, and a host of Simon Fuller manufactured acts. I heard that even cockney barrow-boy Damien Hirst designed the union jack…..
    Lucky I missed Winston, what was that about?
    That told the world how we really see ourselves, a totally busted flush.
    (so we also get the politicians we deserve)


  9. Pingback: John Ward – Olympic Effect – Rooster Boris In Booster Benite Bollocks Drive Shocker – 16 August 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  10. FTW precisely. I waited in hope thinking a glorious firework display might redeem it but…… clearly they’d run out of moolah by then.

    Busted flush? Damp squib.


  11. Dunx:”Given that most “Sloggers” are negative, glass-half-full, miserable old todgers who like nothing better than a whole-hearted moan”

    You mean glass half empty in that particular context?


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